PositionCommon Foreign and Security Policy

The degree to which Europe - and the European side of NATO too - had been concerned about the Bush Administration's attitude can be gauged not only from the Commissioner's remarks but from what NATO Secretary-General George Robertson too said in recent days. "A more effective European capability is not only good for the transatlantic relationship - it is absolutely necessary for its continued survival. It demonstrates that Europe is serious about doing its fair share", he said in London.And Lord Robertson went on to express his perception of the view from the other side of the Atlantic: "This is exactly what North America wants from Europe in the 21st century. Which is why successive American administrations have supported this project, not only rhetorically, but also by offering the use of their military assets inside NATO in support of EU-led operations". As he pointed out - and as all those in favour of finding a solution to the current tensions in NATO over EU defence policy have been pointing out energetically - nineteen heads of government and heads of state agreed in Washington at the NATO summit in 1999 to put it in NATO's new Strategic Concept.The co-ordination of echoes was evident in the NATO Secretary-General's remarks on recent US views: "I was very gratified to see President George W. Bush reiterate that support when he met with Prime Minister Blair at Camp David last weekend - and I am sure I will receive the same message when I meet with the US President myself, next in the White House. And nobody could put it more clearly and elegantly than the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell when he addressed the North Atlantic Council Foreign Ministers recently: "The United States supports the development of a European Security and Defence policy that strengthens the Alliance and adds to European capabilities. We welcome Europe's determination to acquire the means for becoming a stronger, more capable partner in preventing conflict and managing crises." That voice of support from the new US Administration demonstrates clearly that ESDI is not a lever pulling the two sides of the Atlantic apart - it is another link binding them together, into a more flexible and effective crisis management community." And similar expressions emerged from EU Ministerial with the US in Washington.But other problems remain unresolved over EU defence policy - ranging from continued misperceptions over its scope, and the continuing stand-off with Turkey...

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