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Priorities of the CS presidency: cooperation with NATO

(B2)Czech Prime Minister Topolanek presents this January 6, in general terms, the priorities of the Czech presidency. In terms of defense and security (ESDP), there are three of them, as already detailed by the Minister of Defense, Vladka Parkanova: capacity development and European Defense Agency, operations, cooperation with strategic partners, “with emphasis on NATO“. A triptych, all in all quite classic, of any presidency since it includes the divisions of any council of Ministers of Defense. The objective remains to “continue the momentum of the work accomplished by the French presidency” affirm the Czechs.

1. Capabilities / Defense Agency (EDA). The Czech Presidency wants “support and facilitate the continued strengthening of European capacities by placing emphasis
particular on certain points, such as helicopters and the EATF project for a European air transport fleet”
. On the European Defense Agency, the Czech Republic wants to pay particular attention to the process of developing the European Defense Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) and to promoting the role of SMEs in the field of armaments. Finally, it is “continue to advance the idea of ​​the Erasmus exchange program“, the recent initiative launched by the French presidency – to strengthen interoperability through officer exchanges. The evaluation and preparation of the CME 08 and CME 09 crisis management exercises are also on the program. But the presidency also wants, more broadly, to look at the EU's training and exercise program. Last point, but not the least important: the evaluation of the recommendations on the capacities of the General Staff in terms of planning (post-Wiesbaden measures) must be made under the Czech presidency.

2. Operations: Bosnia, Chad, Somalia. The Czech Republic is “aware of the particular importance” from the Balkans. She will therefore closely monitor the security and political situation in the region and intends to “support the debate on the future evolution of operation ALTHEA”. It will also be necessary “take up the challenge of the 'new hat' of EUFOR Chad”, the handover to the blue helmets in mid-March 2009. The “smooth transfer of responsibility is important both for the future of a safe and secure environment in the region and for credibility” of the operation underlines the minister. Finally, the presidency promises – even if it comes from a “landlocked” country – to “pay proper attention” to the maritime military operation in Somali waters for “carry out this mission successfully".

3. Cooperation with strategic partners : NATO first and foremost. Among the various ongoing partnerships (UN, African Union, etc.), the Czech presidency intends to highlight “focus on NATO“. It exists "an urgent need, and opportunity, for significant improvement in cooperation between these two organizations“. Point of view shared by the “previous EU presidencies” she emphasizes. The Presidency will strive to improve EU – NATO cooperation “in theaters of operations, particularly in Kosovo and
“. It is also about facilitating “coherence in the development of military capabilities“, and “theharmonization of planning processes” of these two organizations. “Here we have a window of opportunity” explains the minister. The two working organizations are currently working on reviewing their own planning processes. Which could allow us to harmonize them with the objective “to have better consistency and avoid duplication. This opportunity must not be missed. To be effective, the approach on both sides must be marked by pragmatism and the goal of achieving".

Other details on the calendar and l'agenda
Councils of Ministers.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).