BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) – At its summit, starting today, the EU is pushing ahead to integrate non-member countries into its global foreign and military policies. With the Association Agreements due to be signed at the summit, Georgia, Moldavia and Ukraine will have to gradually adapt themselves to the EU’s foreign and military policy. The association aims at enhancing the three countries’ participation “in EU-led civilian and military crisis management operations as well as relevant exercises and training activities.” Ukraine is already contributing soldiers to EU battle groups, while Georgia has contributed 140 soldiers to the EU’s Central African Republic intervention force. With its “Framework Participation Agreements” (FPA), the EU, for years, has been engaging numerous non-member countries – including Canada, Chile and South Korea – in its global policy operations. Resembling NATO’s “Partnership for Peace,” the FPA has not only the objective of attracting additional troops, but also of enhancing global acceptance of EU’s operations. However, as an EU think tank openly admits, Brussels requires a certain “degree of subordination,” from its cooperation partners.
With the signing of several association agreements at its summit that begins today, the EU is forging ahead with its integration of non-member countries into its global foreign and military policies, as is shown by the association agreements with Georgia, Moldavia and the Ukraine. Last March 21, Ukraine signed already the political section of the agreement.
“Military Crisis Management”
According, to the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, for example, the parties will seek to intensify their “dialogue and cooperation” and promote “gradual convergence” in the area of foreign and military policy. This, of course, does not mean that the EU will adapt its foreign and military policy to Georgia’s. The Parties shall, in particular, address issues of “crisis management, conflict prevention and regional stability.” This cooperation explicitly includes measures to “fight against terrorism” – which usually circumscribes a close cooperation of intelligence services and police authorities. Georgia should particularly participate “in EU-led civilian and military crisis management operations as well as relevant exercises and training activities,” according to the Association Agreement. Identical stipulations can be found in the Association Agreements with Moldavia and Ukraine. The latter also obliges the parties to “explore the potential of military-technological cooperation.” Kiev should therefore establish “close contacts” to the European Defense Agency (EDA). This must be seen in the context of the strength of the Ukrainian arms industry, which the EU seeks to make use of.
A Certain Degree of Subordination
This can be seen both in the FPAs’ political objectives and in its practical functioning. As the EUISS explains, the FPAs provide the EU additional personnel and an enhanced capacity. “Often found struggling to staff its own missions, the EU enlarges the pool of possible contributors through partnerships.” This provides an additional advantage, because in EU operations, the non-member countries finance their military missions from their own national budgets. According to the EUISS the “political dimension” is also important: “The visibility and effectiveness of the EU in crisis management” relies “partly on its capacity to attract non-EU countries and institutionalize relationships with them.” A “wide network of partners” attests to the “growing importance” of the EU’s role in a “market” of foreign and military policy where the EU must compete with other institutions such as NATO or the OSCE. However, it must be kept in mind that the non-member states’ participation in EU operations requires “a certain degree of acceptance of EU practices” as well as “a degree of subordination.” This could lead to friction.
The EUISS explains that the latter could also arise from the fact that the EU insists that foreign and military policy cooperation be guided by the “EU’s strategic interest” and that Brussels demands that its partner countries share the “EU’s common values and principles.” “Contributors” with “different priorities” may become “difficult to handle.” In practice, according to the EUISS analysis, this subordination is also obvious. Third states only receive full access to all EU-issued documents, once their participation has been accepted by the Political Security Committee. They are not involved in drafting the concept of operations or the operation plan nor do they participate in force generation conferences and they are required to accept the EU’s timeline and procedures. This is maintained even once the operation is launched. The EUISS considers that, generally speaking, the partners have been reduced to “second-class stakeholders,” “to fill gaps” in the EU’s contingents – fairly “asymmetrical relations.”