I Hispano-German Strategic Seminar

Madrid, September 22

The Seminar was organized by the INCIPE and the Stiftung Wiessenschaft und Politik (SWP) from Berlin, Germany. Assistance was given by the Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies from the Defence Ministry, the Public Diplomacy Division of NATO and the German Embassy in Madrid. The working languages were Spanish and German, with simultaneous translation.

During the Seminar a Working-Lunch took place, with attendance of approximately forty representatives from different Spanish and German institutions and organizations. The German Ambassador in Madrid, Mr. Georg Boomgarden, gave an address to the participants of the seminar on “European Security and Defence Policy” and the evolution of Spanish-German relations in this field. Mr Ambassador emphasized that “the Spanish borders are in Moldova and Ukraine and Germans on the Mediterranean sea”. Referring to transatlantic cooperation, he stressed that “one could not make a bridge with one big and strong pillar and twenty weak and small ones, competing amongst themselves as to which one will be closer to the big one”.

After the lunch-address by the German Ambassador and at the proposition of the director of INCIPE, Mr. Vicente Garrido Rebolledo, there was a toast to the future of the Spanish-German cooperation in matters of external policy, security and defence, as well as, to the vision that this first seminar would be followed by a second one in Berlin in 2004. The same evening, after the Seminar, there was a reception in the German Embassy in Madrid for the participants and their assistants.

The Seminar was inaugurated by the President of INCIPE and Ambassador of Spain, Mr. José Lladó, the Spanish Minister of Defence, Mr. Federico Trillo-Figueroa y Martínez-Conde, the Ambassador of the German Federal Republic in Madrid, Mr. Georg Boomgaarden, and Mr. Peter Schmidt, Member of the Research Unit on EU Enlargement of the SWP.

At the inaugural speech, the President of INCIPE, Mr. José Lladó, pointed out that this was a meeting among friends. He also said “the differences between Spain and Germany are necessary and logical, but today we are intending, with this first Spanish-German Strategy Seminar, to begin a dialog between experts in the search of an understanding”. Mr. Peter Schmidt pointed out that the seminar took place at a moment of change within the EU: the Enlargement and the Convention. “Although there are some differences between the Spanish and German points of view regarding the EU security and defence policy, seminars like this are essential because” as the Ambassador of the German Federal Republic, Georg Boomgaarden stressed “the European countries immersed in the process of the revision of their defence policies and Germany, as well as Spain, published in the year 2003 their new Defence Strategies.” The German Ambassador pointed out that 9-11 showed that nobody was safe, but “a free and democratic society needs security and stability”. Finally, the Spanish Defence Minister, Mr. Federico Trillo-Figueroa, congratulated INCIPE, in the name of the Government, for this initiative and for the organizing of the seminar. In his opening speech, the Defence Minister stressed that, in the New World Order, post 9-11, a similar process like that developed after WWII has emerged, when the USA took the role of the leader of the Western Word.

The first Conference on “The European Security Strategy: German and Spanish point of view” was given by Mr. Reinhard Rummel, member of the Research Unit “European and Atlantic Security” of the SWP and Mr. Darío Valcárcel the director of the magazine Política Exterior and the general secretary of INCIPE. The moderator Mr. Vicente Garrido Rebolledo, the Director of INCIPE, stressed the importance of this meeting to enable the two countries to surpass their existing differences regarding the questions of Security and Defence, especially in the heart of the EU.

Meanwhile, Mr. Darío Valcarcel pointed out that the European countries are making revisions in their defence strategies and although, nobody is seeking a confrontation with the USA, on the other hand, nobody wants to be a satellite. “The EU has to be coherent and homogenous” he stressed. Referring to Iraq, Mr. Valcárcel pointed out that “the reaction of President Bush was inappropriate, but it is the reality that we have to accept”.

In his response, Reinhard Rummel stressed that Europe is “safe and free, but one must cooperate and count on new partners, and Germany is always willing to cooperate”. “We are finding ourselves in a world where the challenges are changing and in which the majority of conflicts are regional ones” continued Rummel. In most cases, the world conflicts are due to bad government and corruption. Some of these conflicts develop outside of Europe, but within EuropeÕs security space and directly affect the stability of the Continent. Rummel pointed out that after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germans thought that Germany would no longer be a boarder country, but new challenges showed that this point of view was wrong.

Referring to the project of the European Constitution, Rummel pointed out that Germany disagreed with some of the aspects agreed upon by the Convention. But, on the other hand, Germany, as well as France, does not think it will be advisable to open up the package of measures adopted. For example, the creation of a Ministry of European Foreign Affairs, provided for in the Convention (Germany disagrees with this), the reinforced cooperation for the ESDP, the Enlarged Catalogue for the Missions of Petersberg, or creation of a the European Armament Bureau.

The fist Panel was dedicated to the “European Defence Industry and Military Capacities” and the participants were Julián García Vargas, Executive Counsellor of EXCEM Group and former Defence Minister; General Div. Mr. Angel Menéndez Nava, Deputy Director of the International Relations, General Division of Armament and Material (DGAM), Spanish Defence Ministry; Mr. Daniel Best, Armament and Material Attaché of the German Embassy in Madrid and Mr. Burkard Schmitt, Research Fellow and Assistant Director, Institute for Security Studies of the European Union. The round table was moderated by Mr. Jorge Hevia, General Director of Institutional Relations, Ministry of Defence.

Mr. Julián García Vargas, mentioning some figures, stressed that between the first hundred armament companies, the first forty of them are American companies, while the next thirty-three are of European origin. In his opinion “it is true that the European companies are weaker than their American counter partners, but they have a bigger potential”. “Europe was able to create ECSC, when the steel was a strategic product. Afterwards, within the EC, CAP was designed when agriculture was also a strategic sector. The same thing happened with the Free Circulation of People. If Europe was capable of doing all of this” continued Mr. García Vargas “the European Union is capable of doing the same in the field of Defence”. The Former Defence Minister stressed that “we must improve cooperation between the initiatives OCCAR and LOI, and include the ArmamentÕs Agency in the new European Constitution, in the same way like it is in the draft of the Convention”. In this case, concluded García Vargas “the EPSD will be one reinforcing pillar of NATO”.

General Ángel Menéndez Nava pointed out that in this moment “no one European Country is sufficiently strong to be the sole client of one armament manufacturer. Nor, is it able to effectively investment the necessary level of R&D as compared to the USA’s capability. So said, it is a considerable issue that, after 2004, the USA will be made even more difficult for foreign companies to access its armament market, even nowadays access is difficult”. General Menéndez Nava stressed that it was in Leaken the last time that the subject of Defence in the European Union was discussed. This is something that did not happen in Feria, Nice, or Gottemburg. In Thessalonica, its importance was emphasized as a necessity to the European Defence Industry. In the case of Spain, the Defence Strategic Revision articulates the defence industry in three basic areas: The cooperation within the OCCAR and in the GAEO, and the enlargement of the cooperation in the framework of article 296 ECT.

For Mr. Daniel Best, in the case of the Defence Industry “there is not matter of choosing between the European fortification and the transatlantic cooperation within the NATO”. This is because he considers this area as one autonomous zone, with a complementary character. Differing in opinion to General Ángel Menéndez Nava, who was more in favour of establishing a cooperation with the USA, Mr. Daniel Best expressed his interest for the reinforcement of the autonomy of the European Defence Policy, with common interest, facing the particular interests of the USA.

Finally, Mr. Burkard Schmitt referred to the necessary reforms in the defence/armament industry that, in his point of view, needs to be concentrate on three points:
– profound reform in the materials acquisition policy (there needs to be more and fuller cooperation);
– in the R&D area, the money must be spend more efficiently; integrating the acquisitions and focusing on the long term perspective.E Similarly, the European Armament Agency needs one strong Director, preferably an former Defence Minister who will also be in charge of research;
– in this sector-the market fragmentation is a big obstacle-there needs to be created a single Common Defence Market, similar to the Civil one.

The most important conclusion that could be reached from this panel is that the European Defence Industry must improve its efficiency and market fragmentation. Article 296 EC Treaty excessively limits the competition inside the European Union with regard to the exchange of armaments and defence materials. A derogation, or at least considerable modification, of Article 296 is therefore advisable.

In the Second Panel, “European Defence and Transatlantic Relations” the participants were Mr. Juan A. Martínez-Esparza Assistant Secretary General – Executive Management of NATO; Mr. Gebhardt von Moltke, former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany in the NATO Council (1999 – 2003); Mr. Bernard von Plate, member of the Research Unit on European and Atlantic Security of SWP and Mr. Herman Tertsch, journalist and columnist of the daily newspaper El País. Mr. Reinhard Rummel, member of the Research Unit on European and Atlantic Security of SWP acted as the moderator.

General Martínez-Esparza referred to three principal axes on which the European Defence is based: the USA, as the principal defender of Europe; the EU as a second defender of European territory and NATO, that was created after WWII at the express petition of European countries at the post-war era.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the concern that the USA would withdraw from Europe appeared and, that Europe would need its own defence mechanism. According to Martinez-Esparza, Europe is not capable of defending itself. This became clear when during the Balkan Wars, one more time, the EU asked the USA for help. The foundation of the European action in the Balkans was the Berlin Plus agreement, emphasized General Martínez-Esparza.

Ambassador von Moltke stressed: “It has to be showed that the new European Defence Policy is, in fact, one pillar, the reinforcing the NATO and this does not attempt to open a breach in the second one. In addition, we have to overcome the problems between France and Turkey in the framework of the Berlin Plus agreement” stated Ambassador von Moltke.

Mr. Bernard von Plate stressed the existence of, at least, two security pillars “the European and the transatlantic one. The problem is not in the pillars, but in the conjunction “and”. Besides, there is a question of confidentiality, because the USA does not have much confidence in passing the command to the Europeans, for instance in Macedonia or Bosnia. Also, it is the question of definition when a conflict is an internal one and when does it pass over to be an international one” said von Plate.

In this panel, the difference in the points of view regarding the concept of “European security” was apparent. While General Martinez-Esparza and Ambassador von Moltke were defending the point of view based on the consideration of European defence as one pillar and the necessity to reinforce the transatlantic defence system, Bernard von Plate and Herman Tertsch were mostly for the conception of an autonomous European defence, but with a strong cooperation with the USA.

The closing conference on “The new Security and Defence Challenges” was given by Mr. Javier Jiménez-Ugarte, Secretary General of Defence Policy of the Spanish Ministry of Defence and Colonel Robert Löwenstein from German Ministry of Defence. Both of them considered that the new challenges to European defence in the globalised world are, above all, international terrorism, migration, drugs-trafficking, proliferation of WMD and illicit commerce of armaments. Spain and Germany have a similar point of view of the challenges and threats related to security and defence, because both countries are the border countries: “Spain, in the south of the EU, very close to Africa and to potential sources of instability for Europe, and, on the other hand, Germany on the Eastern edge of Europe, also very close to some States that could suffer internal instabilities that could affect the European Union, as well” stressed Mr. Javier Jiménez Ugarte. All of these threats demand a close cooperation between all the European countries.

Mr. Vicente Garrido Rebolledo and Mr. Peter Schmidt presented the final conclusions. Both of them pointed out the usefulness of this type of joint initiatives as an opportunity of a privileged forum for a great number of experts from both countries to exchange their points of view and to discus the future of security and defence. The director of INCIPE, stressed that the Seminar is “trying to spread a permanent and lasting bridge between the two countries, to foment joint reflection on one subject that, in spite of the existing differences, has to be discussed”. We believe that both countries are essentials in the definition of the future of a European Security and Defence Policy, which aspire to be a Common one.

Natasha Mihajlovic
INCIPE Associated Research Fellow

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