The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC)
NATO’s partnership co-operation in the wider Euro-Atlantic area is currently geographically divided three ways
- most partner countries (26) participate in the co-operation framework Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) / Peace partnership (PfP), founded in 1994
- In respect of the Mediterranean Dialogue (MeD) and the Gulf-countries (Istanbul Co-operation Initiative ICI), strengthening political dialogue is a common interest towards underpinning regional stability, as well as co-operation in fighting terrorism
- The so-called “Contact-countries” (Australia, New Zealand, Japan), countries which share common values but are further away from the Euro-Atlantic area, play an increasingly important though not institutionalised role in NATO’s network system, and contribute to missions
The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) is a forum for security policy consultations. Established in 1997, its aim is to strengthen security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region. In addition to holding regular consultations, the EAPC provides a practical co-operation framework for 26 NATO member countries and 20 partner countries (whose membership is the same as that of the Peace Partnership). Within the scope of co-operation, the Alliance offers an opportunity for partners to participate in military and civilian programmes according to their individual needs.
Over the years the EAPC lost its earlier significance for central and eastern European countries, which have either already joined NATO or are in a realistic close to doing so. However, for countries in the Caucasus or Central Asia, as well as for countries which have not made any military commitments, the body still functions as an important connection point in terms of security policy.
Parallel to NATO’s modernisation process, a restructuring of partnership co-operation has been included on the agenda. New security challenges, and the need to engage in action outside of the Euro-Atlantic region, have necessitated a review the Alliance’s partnership network. NATO increasingly requires operative support from partner countries, which tend to offer co-operation to the Alliance to various degrees in line with their own agendas.
With view to the fact that NATO’s missions are now in a geographical sense global, the idea that geographical location should play a less important role in establishing partnerships has gained ground. However, a global opening of partnerships—that is, taking NATO global—does not have the support of a number of states. Therefore, ever since the 2006 Riga summit, NATO has only put forward the goals of widening and developing partnership frameworks. In this endeavour, NATO has received considerable backing from non-EU states, which are interested in maintaining close ties with the Alliance without the commitments of membership.
Hungary believes that more effective forms of co-operation are needed in adapting partnership co-operation, giving greater consideration to the specific needs of individual countries and regions. For this reason, Hungary has an interest in a gradual and flexible development of the current partnership frameworks while keeping the transatlantic nature of the Alliance intact. In terms of developing partnership, Hungary offers greater attention in supporting three new PfP members from the Balkans (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro), and expects this support to yield stability and security in its neighbourhood. Ukraine, Russia and the European CIS countries are also of primary importance for Hungary.
Partnership for Peace (PfP)
NATO in 1994 launched the Partnership for Peace (PfP), which aimed at eliminating the division and distrust that had developed during the period of bipolar opposition, and it aimed to advance co-operation on those grounds. Hungary, which joined the PfP on February 8, 1994, was among its first members.
Post-communist countries—previous enemies—were the main focus of peace partnerships. The co-operation mechanism encompassing political consultations and practicalities offered to open an opportunity for all states which freed from Soviet dependence—including Russia—of joining a community of values held by western democracies, thus advancing these countries’ Euro-Atlantic integration. Building trust was at the centre of the political dialogue, while military co-operation assisted partner countries in building their defence reforms on a democratic basis, while offering a chance for countries aspiring for membership to make preparations, as well as allowing partner countries to join NATO-led missions in the Balkans. This new kind of co-operation was based on the principles of voluntariness and openness towards all.
The PfP at the same time offers close co-operation opportunities for those European countries—the uncommitted among them—who are currently not seeking membership or cannot expect to gain admittance in the conceivable future, but who fear that their own defence interests may be in danger as new lines of division are being drawn up with NATO enlargement.
In addition to supporting the Euro-Atlantic integration aspirations of newly independent countries, peace partnership signalled a radical transformation in NATO: the organisation has perceivably become more open, and far-reaching mechanisms of co-operation have emerged over the past decade. The development of networks has created important “inter-operative” military capabilities in non-member partner states, which were capable of working together effectively within NATO operations.
At the latest summit in Riga in November 2006, reshaping partnership has again become one of the key courses for the Alliance’s transformation. The Riga meeting of heads of NATO member states and governments strengthened the notion that the various forms of partnership co-operation—EAPC, PfP, Mediterranean Dialogue, Istanbul Co-operation Initiative (ICI) and the other forms of co-operation with certain non-partner states—fulfil an important role in achieving the Alliance’s goals and completing its tasks. The summit adopted a document on developing the partnership and the Statement issued leaves plenty of room for this issue, becoming one of the main political messages conveyed at the meeting. The large-scale plans—starting out from noting the importance of partners’ contributions to operations—envisage strengthened political dialogue and practical co-operation in all forms of partnership.
Hungary has a vested interest in the gradual and flexible development of partnerships, providing the possible basis for a unified response to new challenges. Deepening dialogue strengthens the value community, which is a pivotal building block of co-operation.
Special attention is paid to the Balkans, where co-operation and dialogue on integrating Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina into the partnership co-operation structure is expected to realise stability and security in the region so near to us.
Due to geographical proximity, Hungary’s priority is to promote development in NATO-Russia relations, as well as a strengthening of co-operation between the Alliance and Ukraine, and the other European CIS countries, as well as the success of Euro-Atlantic integration of aspiring European CIS countries.
Relations should be improved—even with those countries that fall outside the Euro-Atlantic region, but have related interests and are ready to co-operate on strengthening a common security.
The Mediterranean Dialogue (MeD) and the Istanbul Co-operation Initiative (ICI)
NATO operates its broadened partnership co-operation based on the framework of three geographic divisions: the Euroasian PfP/Partnership for Peace; the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern co-operation; as well as the Contact-countries of Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. Within the Mediterranean Dialogue (MeD) and the Gulf countries’ Istanbul Co-operation Initiative (ICI), supporting regional stability through strengthening political dialogue is a common interest, as well as joining them up to NATO missions and co-operating in fighting terrorism.
NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue (MeD) was set up in 1994. With co-operation in this framework, the seven countries currently signed up to the MeD (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Mauritius and Tunisia) contribute to strengthening the region’s security and stability.
The Istanbul summit of 2004 made a decision to enhance the Mediterranean Dialogue and offer wider co-operation to the countries of the Middle East in the framework of the Istanbul Co-operation Initiative (ICI).
By revitalising the Mediterranean Dialogue and launching the Istanbul Co-operation Initiative (ICI), NATO aimed to extend existing political dialogue in the form of co-operation programmes while offering an opportunity to start co-operation for countries which showed an interest. Developing military interoperability, supporting defence reform and fighting terrorism, co-operation on efficient intelligence operations and maritime patrolling, border security, and civil emergency planning were also among aims. Many countries showed subdued reactions to NATO’s initiatives due to the fact that a resolution to the situation in Iraq and the Palestine-Israel conflict had stalled.
In the first phase, Kuwait the initiative open to members of the Gulf Cooperation Council at the end of 2004 followed by Bahrain and Qatar early in 2005 and the United Arab Emirates in June 2005.
The main areas of co-operation under the ICI framework included the fight against terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction, border security, crisis management and civil emergency planning. In each capital of countries that join ICI, a NATO member state takes on the tasks of a contact-point embassy.
NATO’s summit in Riga in November 2006 adopted a decision to make parts of the peace partnership programme’s system of instruments available to countries outside of the Peace Partnership (including the Mediterranean and wider Middle East countries), based on decisions on a case-by-case basis.
The Riga summit made decisions concerning the Middle Eastern training initiative. The NATO Academy in Roma will establish a new department for Middle Eastern Countries, and from 2007, NATO’s educational institutions will launch special courses targeted at students from that region.
NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism
NATO had already stated its concern about the possible threat of terrorism in its 1999 Strategic Concept, though it only actively engaged in the campaign against terrorism after the events of September 11, 2001. The Alliance, for the first time in its existence, had activated Article Five of the North Atlantic Treaty on collective defence and began to work out a programme for combating terrorism.
A decision of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Reykjavik in May 2002, which stated that NATO can engage in action wherever the fight against terrorism makes this necessary, has played a key part in connection with the Alliance’s role in fighting terrorism. That statement more or less put an end to the debate over the geographical confinement of NATO missions, and created the possibility of the mission in Afghanistan later on.
The Alliance’s missions in progress, as well as its new missions, had been broadened with the function of fighting terrorism. Examples of this include NATO’s stability mission in Afghanistan (ISAF) and the Operation Active Endeavour (OAE), a patrolling mission in the Mediterranean.
The Prague summit in November 2002 adopted NATO’s military concept against terrorism, which consists of the following main parts: measures to deter and defend against terrorism, to deal with the consequences of terrorist attacks, carry out counter-terrorism operations to destroy terrorist capabilities, and military co-operation. The concept itself states that it is impossible to fight a terror threat by military means alone. Military operations must be co-ordinated, and they must be carried out in harmony with diplomatic, economic, social, legal and communication initiatives.
The terrorist attacks in Madrid on March 11, 2004 raised the level of terrorism threat among member states and made governments decide to broaden the scope of instruments against terrorism, as well as broadening co-operation behind the aims. The summit in Istanbul in June 2004 adopted an action package which outlines a more efficient circulation and assessment of intelligence information within the Alliance, as well as strengthening co-operation on eliminating the consequences of terrorist attacks.
The fight against terrorism forms an important part of the renewed partnership programmes (Peace Partnership, Mediterranean Dialogue) as well as the launch of the Istanbul Co-operation Initiative offered with broader scope to Middle Eastern countries. Further, the alliance aims to engage in wide-ranging co-operation and consultations with global and regional international organisations (UN, OSCE, EU).
The statement issued at the summit in Riga in November 2006 reasserted that the alliance constitutes the transatlantic dimension of the fight against terrorism.
Civil Emergency Planning (CEP)
Civil emergency planning, disaster reaction and preparation are primarily tasks of national competence. NATO’s comprehensive approach to security, however, acknowledges that there are civil emergencies which can undermine both security and stability.
NATO’s Civil Emergency Planning (CEP) fulfils the role of assisting states in planning and preparations as well as helping effective international co-operation if the given state is unable to tackle the catastrophe or its aftermath. In addition, CEP civil experts delegated by member and peace-partner countries provide support to NATO Military Authorities, too, in the form of expert advice.
CEP tasks are generally undertaken under the auspices of the PfP; the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Reaction and Co-ordination Centre (EADRCC) also undertakes its own assistance, co-ordination tasks in this framework. The Centre’s task is to co-ordinate member states’ and peace partners’ donations in case of a disaster (whether a natural or industrial disaster, or a terrorist attack), should the country stricken ask for international help through NATO, and to help in the transport of disaster management equipment and staff to the territory in question.
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Alliance accepted the CEP action plan, which includes substantive tasks and activities that the Alliance’s planning committees and member states must implement in the interest of the protection of the civilian population. The action plan is regularly reviewed and updated by NATO’s relevant committee, the SCEPC (High Level Civil Emergency Planning Committee), making certain that tasks are up to par with security challenges at all times. There are eight expert planning committees working under the supervision of the SCEPC, who facilitate the implementation of CEP goals in their individual area of expertise (logistics, industry, civil defence, health-care, agriculture and telecommunications).
At its Istanbul summit in June 2004, NATO decided to deepen co-operation carried out in the area of CEP in the countries of the Mediterranean Dialogue. Countries participating in the Istanbul Co-operation Initiative were also offered an opportunity to take part in CEP training and exercises.
In 2006 member states established the CEP Rapid Reaction Force, made up of experts appointed by the planning committees, whose task was to give an assessment and advice in an emergency, as well as in connection with civilian support during NATO operations.
CEP experts are given an important role in the NATO initiative targeting a more synchronised use of the civilian and military parts of crisis management, which was launched at the Riga summit in 2006 and reasserted at the summit in Bucharest in 2008. In addition to civilian emergency planning, disaster reaction and preparations, increased attention is given to civilian support offered to complex crisis management operations.
At the same time, reaction to “traditional” disasters evidently remains on the agenda; for example, the EADRCC’s latest international disaster assistance practice was held in Finland in June (Uusimaa 2008). Hungary’s disaster management experts regularly participate in these international practices, earning recognition from international organisations as well as their partners.
The proliferation of mass weapons of destruction and their delivery systems has posed a new security challenge for NATO. In accordance with the principle of collective defence and security indivisibility, the alliance regularly checks for effective ways to protect against a possible missile threat.
NATO launched its theatre missile defence programme in 2005 with the aim of creating a missile defence capability which is able to provide effective protection to the alliance’s military forces and high-priority targets. The programme is designed to co-ordinate member states’ existing and envisaged theatre missile defence units, such as interceptor missiles and radars, with a single NATO control system. According to the latest plans, the theatre missile defence system could start operating in 2010.
Activities connected to a strategic-level missile defence that are currently taking shape in the alliance are only their initial phase. Strategic defence, in comparison with theatre missile defence, is aimed at protecting the alliance’s territory and its entire population. It was an important step at NATO’s Bucharest summit to acknowledge the increased threat posed by ballistic missiles, to which building a missile defence system could provide part of the answer.
NATO’s strategic missile defence plans are strongly influenced by the planned instalment of parts of a U.S. missile defence system in Europe, as this could provide protection for the majority of European alliance members. With this in mind, the alliance is currently aiming to examine how NATO could connect its own missile defence system to the planned U.S. system. Heads of state and governments at NATO’s summit in Bucharest welcomed the U.S. missile defence system and made a decision for NATO to review further possibilities until its 2009 summit.
Hungary’s interest is for a consensus to emerge within the alliance regarding the details of connecting a NATO system to supplement the U.S. system. Hungary supports U.S. plans to install parts of its missile defence system in Europe, and regards it as a measure strengthening security in the Euro-Atlantic region.
NATO and Russia relations—strategic partnership
The past 11 years of institutionalised NATO-Russian relations have been characterised by an endeavour to form a practical strategic partnership. Whereas on several issues the standpoints of NATO associations and Russia are at variance, on a number of others it is both possible and necessary to develop co-operation; for example, in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking.
The formation of relations between NATO and Russia underwent a qualitative structural advancement when, at the 2002 Rome summit, the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) was formed to take the place of the Permanent Joint Council (PJC). The Council is a consultation mechanism for co-operation which represents NATO’s organisational construction: ad-hoc and general working groups were set up to handle certain highlighted themes (e.g. civil and disaster defence, peace-keeping, non-proliferation issues, co-operation on the fight against terrorism).
In spite of on-going contentious issues between NATO and Russia, the NATO-Russia Council has built up a well-functioning and sustainable structure which, given the appropriate political will, has the potential to further strengthen untapped practical co-operation.
Major milestones in the formation of the NATO-Russia relationship:
1991 Russia joins the North-Atlantic Co-operation Council (currently called the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council)
1994 Russia joins the Partnership for Peace Programme
1996 Russian soldiers participate in the NATO-led SFOR peace-keeping mission in Bosnia Herzegovina
1997 Russia and the leaders of the Alliance states set up the Permanent Joint Council (currently the NATO-Russia Council) which creates a mechanism for regular consultations between the Alliance members and Russia
1998 Russian diplomatic representatives establish presence at NATO
1999 Russia suspends participation in the Permanent Joint Council for several months in protest against NATO Kosovo air strikes. Later Russia contributes soldiers in the NATO-led Kosovo KFOR peacekeeping mission
2000 Vladimir Putin is elected as Russian President and reports that Russia would like to restore a “pragmatic” relationship with NATO
2001 NATO opens information office in Moscow
Following September 11, NATO-Russian relations are boosted and Russia opens its airspace for aid consignments to Afghanistan
2002 NATO Military Liaison Office in Moscow
The formation of the NATO-Russia Council at the Rome Summit
2004 Operation Active Endeavour: Russia makes contribution to working out NATO operation in the Mediterranean connected with the fight against terrorism
2005 Russia signs the partnership operational co-operation legal framework SOFA (PfP Status of Forces Agreement) agreement
2006 Russian frigates participate in Operation Active Endeavour
2007 Russia ratifies the SOFA Agreement. In June 2007 at a special council session in Moscow and St Petersburg, the tenth anniversary of institutionalised NATO-Russian relations is celebrated
NATO and Ukraine—priority partnership
In parallel to embarkation on the building of the NATO-Russia relationship at the 1997 Madrid Summit, the Association and Ukrainian leadership signed the Priority Partnership Charter, which brought about a mechanism for regular consultations between NATO and Ukraine within the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Committee (NUC). The annually updated NATO-Ukraine Action Plan highlights the goals which enhance relations while evaluating the pursuit of reforms with special regard to the defence and security sector.
In 2007, the Council celebrated the tenth anniversary of the NATO-Ukraine Priority Partnership, while in June 2008 a session took place in Kiev. In the framework of the Individual Intensive Dialogue, Ukraine deepens its relations with the Alliance and the government elected in 2008 is striving for joining the Membership Action Plan (MAP) to advance accession.
Ukraine is the only partner country which has undertaken a role in all NATO-led operations
Major milestones in the formation of NATO-Ukraine relations:
- 1991 Ukraine joins to North-Atlantic Co-operation Council (currently named the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council)
- 1994 Ukraine is the first country from the former Soviet Union to participate in the Partnership for Peace Programme
- 1996 Ukrainian soldiers participate in the NATO-led SFOR peace-keeping mission in Bosnia Herzegovina
- 1997 Kiev opens the NATO Information and Documentation Centre (NIDC); at the Madrid Summit the leaders of the Alliance members and Ukraine sign NATO-Ukraine co-operation Priority Partnership Charter for closer co-operation and in this framework the NATO-Ukraine Committee (NUC) is established; Ukrainian diplomatic mission set up at NATO
- 1998 Joint NATO-Ukraine Working Group set up to promote defence reforms
- 1999 NATO Liaison Office opens in Kiev with the aim of concluding the partnership programmes and defence reforms
- 2000 Ukrainian parliament ratifies the SOFA (PfP Status of Forces Agreement) which is the legal framework for partnership operational co-operation
- 2002 Ukrainian President Kuchma puts forward Ukraine’s NATO-integration aspirations. Ukraine starts working out the details of its contribution to Operation Active Endeavour, the terror prevention exercise in the Mediterranean
- 2004-2005 “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine. President Yushchenko states reform aspirations and reaffirms NATO-Ukrainian co-operation as a priority. Ukraine starts building closer relations with NATO within the Individual Intensive Dialogue and an invitation to join the Membership Action Plan is raised for the first time
- 2006 The Yanukovych government states its intention for further co-operation with NATO but notes the “Ukrainian people are not yet ready” for participation in the MAP, the corridor to NATO membership
- 2007 Ukraine contributes a ship to the terror-prevention Operation Active Endeavour
- 2008 The re-elected Ukrainian leadership, President Yushchenko, Prime Minister Tymoshenko and Parliamentary Speaker Yatsenyuk sign a letter reaffirming an intention to join the MAP at the soonest
- At the Bucharest NATO Summit Ukraine does not receive an invitation to MAP but in the closing statement the Alliance notes that Ukraine will be a NATO member in the future
- 2008 June 16-17 NATO special Council held in Kiev. Meetings with President Yushchenko, Prime Minister Tymoshenko and other government members