The Western European Union


The birth of the Western European Union began some 28 years 
ago on May 6th 1955. However, this alliance was formed from the 
original Treaty of Dunkirk. The Treaty of Dunkirk was an Anglo-French 
alliance which was signed on March 4th 1947, when the two signatories 
agreed to give mutual support to each other should the event of 
renewed German aggression show it's face again. It was also to agree 
on a common action should either signatory be prejudiced by any 
failure of Germany to fulfil it's economic obligations which were 
enforced upon her by the allies at the end of WWII. The Treaty of 
Dunkirk was enhanced within only 12 months with the signing of The 
Brussels Treaty. This was a "Treaty of Economic, Social and Cultural 
Co-operation and Collective Self Defence" signed on March 17th 1948 by 
the countries of Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the 
United Kingdom, and was implemented by the U.K. Foreign Secretary 
Ernest Bevin. This new and enhanced Treaty of Dunkirk was to be given 
the name of the Brussels Treaty Organisation (B.T.O.). Among the aims 
of the treaty were the "strengthening of economic, social and cultural 
ties between the signatories, the co-ordination of efforts to create a 
firm basis for European economic recovery, and mutual assistance in 
maintaining international peace and security". Of the Brussels treaty 
two articles in particular need mentioning. Article 4 of treaty 
provided for " mutual assistance in maintaining international peace 
and security". While article 7 created a Consultative Council to 
discuss matters covered by the treaty.

 Over the coming years more talks were held on the formation of 
a European Defence Council, however these talks broke down and proved 
fruitless. A new set of talks were scheduled in the summer of 1954 to 
extend and amend the Brussels Treaty and proved much more successful, 
with the conclusion of the talks in London between September 28th and 
October 3rd. The "Paris Agreements" were signed in Paris on October 
23rd 1954 by the nine conference powers which included representatives
from Belgium, Canada, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, 
Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. 
Although some concern may be expressed at the inclusion of Germany as 
one of the representative states Protocol 1 of the Paris Agreement 
will explain this. Protocol I Amended the Brussels treaty of 1948 to 
permit the entry of the Federal Republic of Germany and Italy into the 
Treaty Organisation. The assistance in case of attack was extended to
the two new entrants. The Consultative Council set up under the 
original treaty was given powers of decision and renamed the Council 
of Western European Union. On May 6th 1955 the Paris Agreements came 
into force and the expanded Brussels Treaty Organisation became the 
Western European Union. There are however three other protocols worth 
mentioning that were agreed upon within the Paris Agreements.

 Protocol II Laid down the maximum strength of land and air 
forces to be maintained in Europe at the disposal of Supreme Allied 
Commander of NATO by each of the member countries of the WEU in peace 
time. The contribution of naval forces to NATO by each of the WEU 
countries would be determined annually. Regular inspections would be 
held by the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, to ensure that the 
limits were observed. A special article recapitulated an undertaking 
by Britain not to withdraw or diminish her forces in Europe against 
the wishes of the majority of her partners. In 1957 Britain was given
permission, by the WEU to withdraw some of her forces from the Federal 
Republic of Germany. Protocol III Embodied resolutions on the control 
of armaments on the European mainland. The Federal Republic of Germany 
was forbidden to manufacture atomic, biological or chemical weapons, 
and stocks of such weapons in other countries of continental Europe
were to be strictly controlled. In addition, Germany undertook not to 
manufacture long-range and guided missiles, influence mines, warships 
and strategic bombers unless the competent NATO Supreme Commander 
should recommend any change in the ruling. Protocol IV Set up an 
agency for the Control of Armaments and defined its functions, these 
being mainly to enforce the provision of Protocol III. The German 
Build Up Within a short period of time due to the build up of the 
Warsaw pact it was felt that the Federal Republic of Germany would be 
unable to defend itself against possible aggression from the Russian
dominated treaty, and that a number of arrangements would have to be 
made with regards to the increase in size of its forces. This would, 
it was believed enhance the FRG right to self defence against 
aggression, enhance the military strength of the WEU and at the same 
time strengthen the NATO first line of defence against the Warsaw Pact 
Forces. To enable this to happen a number of new amendments had to be 
made to Protocol III of the revised Brussels Treaty. These were made 
over a number of years. The first decision was made on April 23 1958 
when West Germany requested to be allowed the manufacture of short
range, anti-tank, guided missiles with only conventional warheads. On 
October 21st 1959 the Council of the WEU agreed to remove the 
restriction on the construction of ground-to-air and air-to-air 
anti-aircraft missiles by West Germany. Between May 1961 and October 
1963 the Council of the WEU approved a number of revisions to the 
permitted limit on West German naval vessels and their construction. 
On 24th May 1961 the Council of the WEU raised the tonnage limit for 
eight West German destroyers to 6,000 tons, which was double the 
existing general limit, to build fleet auxiliary vessels of up to 
6,000 tons and to manufacture influence mines for port protection. On 
October 19th 1962 the WEU agreed to increase from 350 to 450 tons the
limit for West German submarines "to fulfil NATO requirements". Within 
a year on October 9th 1963 the Council of the WEU agreed to raise the 
tonnage limit for West German submarines from the 450 tons agreed only 
a year earlier up to 1,000 tons. These new submarines were also 
allowed to be built in West Germany.

 From 1963 up until 1980 further amendments were made to the 
original agreements which would allow the previous limits to increase 
from 3,000 tons for combat vessels except eight destroyers of up to 
6,000 tons and one training ship of up to 5,000 tons. 6,000 tons for 
auxiliary vessels and 1,800 tons for submarines. The WEU and NATO The 
French Stance Over the past few years and in particular the last 
twelve months there have been differentiating ideas on the role and 
make-up of the WEU. The French would prefer to see it as a military 
extension of the EC and would work outside the NATO structure. They 
see NATO as being institutionalised with U.S. leadership and with the
French playing only a minor role within NATO itself, it sees the rest 
of Europe constantly bowing to American wishes. Roland Dumas the 
French foreign minister stated in October 1991 that a European defence 
identity meant "the defence of Europe by Europeans". The French went 
some way to achieving this with the formation of the new Euro-Corps, a 
Franco-German brigade of some 35,000 troops, and soon offered 
membership to any other EC country. Indeed interest was expressed by
both Belgium and Spain, however both eventually declined. The Belgian 
line was that "it did not want to be the only other member of the new 
Franco-German force". The Spanish declined after being won over by the 
British argument that European defence should be based upon the nine 
nation WEU. The Franco- German brigade seems to be largely cosmetic as 
without the communication, logistical and intelligence gathering 
capabilities of the Americans it poses no substantial real alternative 
to the more than adequate NATO alternative. The appointing of Britain 
by NATO not only to head but also to commit substantial forces to the 
new Rapid Reaction Corps at the end of last year made the French 
furious. They saw this as an Anglo-Saxon dominance at a time when 
President Mitterrand was "weighing wider French participation in the 
alliance". However French officials had also hinted that French troops 
even when co-operating with German forces would not move in any way 
closer to NATO's military system. President Francois Mitterrand has 
hinted that the French might eventually put its nuclear forces at the
services of a United Europe but this would require co-ordination with 
Great Britain, Europe's only other nuclear power. The bottom line from 
the French appears to be that the Franco-German force will compliment 
and not undermine both NATO and the Western European Union and that 
the sooner American forces are out of Europe the better!

 The German Stance The German stance has been somewhat of a 
balancing act. It feels that it is demonstrating to other European 
countries that by joining with France in a Franco-German brigade that 
it is at the heart of Europe and being European. The Germans are also 
aware that they should not show negative or give the wrong signals to 
the Americans as the Americans have played a great part in keeping the 
peace within Europe for a number of decades. They did not wish to be
forced into a trade war between Europe and their Atlantic partners 
which could damage an already over stretched German economy. The 
Germans were also disappointed with the appointment of Great Britain 
to head NATO's Rapid Reaction Corps, however the rumblings of 
discontent where somewhat quieter than the French had made. There were 
a number of problems with the German commitment to the EFA (European 
Fighter Aircraft) project, and at one stage the German Defence 
secretary Volker Ruhe announced that they would be withdrawing from 
the project. This decision was reversed a number of weeks later by 
Chancellor Kohl for which the reasons will be mentioned later. The 
biggest worry facing the German question is that they no longer see 
any threat from the Warsaw pact and therefore see no reason to carry 
on spending any where near the kind of money that it had been spending 
on defence prior to it's demise. With the reunification of the 
Germany's it would prove difficult to persuade a German population 
that defence spending should be as compelling as rebuilding the East 
German economy or raising the standards of living for the Eastern half 
of Germany. German troops are still legally bound not to be deployed 
outside Germany, although during Operation Restore Hope (aid to the 
Kurdish refugees on the Turkish-Iraqi border) four German helicopters 
were deployed, but these were for humanitarian reasons and not for 
aggressive reasons. The one question that still remains is that if the 
Franco-German brigade were to be used as a complement to NATO and the 
WEU, could at some stage German troops be deployed outside Germany to 
fight in a conflict which may see NATO or the WEU involved. The 
American Stance At first the Americans viewed all the happenings in 
Europe as small and superfluous, recognising the European habit to
agree on anything to be a long drawn out affair which normally would 
end in deadlock. However with the application made by Great Britain to 
join the EC in 1969 the Americans began to pay greater interest in 
Europe. Great Britain were granted membership into the EC on 1st 
January 1973, and the U.S. saw this as a stronger and more independent 
Europe. U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger called this "The Year 
of Europe" but made a provocative contrast between the global
policies of the U.S. and Europe's "regional role". A revised structure 
for transatlantic consultation was agreed upon in June 1974 in the 
NATO Ottawa Declaration. Towards the end of the seventies there were a 
number of disagreements between regional and global policies on both 
sides of the Atlantic. Britain, France and West Germany supported the 
strengthening of the Western European Union with twice yearly 
ministerial meetings, and when in 1987 the WEU membership expanded to 
nine with the inclusion of Spain and Portugal due to their membership 
in the EC, this lead to Washington issuing a warning that "Atlantic 
co-operation must take priority over developments among West Europeans 

 In 1991 a U.S. call for a stronger Western European role 
within the alliance was matched with a warning about the adverse
impact of moves towards a European discussion on America's role within 
Europe. Visits to Europe by U.S. officials cautioned European 
governments against any practical steps towards a separate European 
Defence Identity. This did however embarrass some as an intervention 
in preempting any European debate on this matter. The Time magazine of 
March last year reported on a leaked Defence Department draft called 
"The Lone Superpower", in which the Defence Establishment proposed to 
make the U.S. the sole global policeman. The 46 page document was 
leaked by a Defence Department dissident and according to the
classified draft a Pentagon planning calculus said that "Europe and 
Japan should be pre-empted from challenging U.S. dominance". The 
leaking of this document caused great embarrassment and was swiftly 
denied. In the same month the U.S. backed a proposal to turn NATO into 
a security umbrella for all of Europe. This move reflected continued 
U.S. opposition to the Franco-German special relationship to give 
Federal Europe real authority. In 1991 Washington warned Brussels that
NATO and not the WEU should remain as Western Europe's principal 
security force, this was however largely ignored in the EC when the 
Maastricht Treaty requested the gradual increase and beefing up of the 
WEU. The Americans seem happy to enhance the WEU as long as it works 
within the frame work of the NATO Alliance and remains subordinate to 
it. It sees the WEU as the strengthening of the European pillar within 
the NATO Alliance, which the U.S. has been asking Europe to do for
some time, but is very wary of the increasing strength of the European 
military forces and co-operation between EC countries. The U.S. is 
worried of the growing political weight that the EC carries as well as 
it's economic wealth and observes a change in attitude towards 
American influence in Europe at a time when American troops have been 
drawn down from a peak of 320,000 before the Gulf War to it's present 
220,000 within Europe. The British Stance The British role has been by 
far the most difficult and most versatile of all the countries 
involved in this situation. They have gone to great lengths to 
persuade WEU countries that the WEU should be the European pillar 
within the NATO Alliance and should remain subordinate to NATO. It
realises that for the moment without the same intelligence gathering 
sources of the U.S. and it's strength in logistical support the WEU 
could not hope to fight a conflict on the scale of the Gulf War 
without superior U.S. influence. On the technological side the 
introduction of the European Fighter Aircraft in the year 2,000 in 
which Britain is playing the leading role will more than enhance the 
WEU capability for ground attack in a time of conflict. The importance 
of superior air power became all too evident during the Gulf War. It 
has gone to great lengths to try to enhance the Transatlantic 
co-operation by assuring America that the Anglo-American special 
relationship is still as strong as ever. A lot of this work has been 
done by the Defence Secretary, Malcom Rifkind, who has worked hard to 
win over other allies to the WEU as a strong but integral part of 
NATO, which could also in a time of crisis work in areas where NATO 
can not be or may not wished to be deployed. 

 The British position on the Franco-German brigade within the 
WEU is that each member country of the WEU should offer units for 
peacekeeping and peacemaking and that under a British proposal put 
forward by Malcom Rifkind the Franco-German force could be one of 
these designated units. Since this initiative the French minister 
Pierre Joxe has confirmed that the Franco-German brigade would be 
available for WEU operations. It also sees the double hatting of 
multilateral forces such as the British-Dutch amphibious force 
operating both under NATO and a WEU framework. The British have also 
been given the task of heading the NATO Rapid Reaction Corps to which 
it has committed substantial troops and aircraft. This force will be
used as the "out of area" force designated by NATO to move anywhere in 
the world within a short period of time. This appointment was seen by 
the French and Germans to be an Anglo-Saxon dominance of NATO, however 
Malcom Rifkind hinted that European forces within the NATO Rapid 
Reaction Corps might also operate under the WEU in a time of crises
where U.S. troops could not be deployed. Britain has called for all 
new European forces to be put under control of the WEU and by doing 
this hopes to group them under a broader frame work. The European 
Fighter Over the last decade the cost of weapons research and 
production has gone spiralling through the roof. In a time when 
governments are under increasing pressure to increase the amount of 
money allocated to social rather than defence spending it has made 
sense to collaborate with various new weapon systems. One of these 
such ventures was to be a collaboration between Great Britain, France, 
Germany, Italy and Spain. In 1983 all five nation air forces agreed 
upon an outline "staff target" for a joint fighter aircraft. In 1984 
all five nations endorsed a formal staff target, however by 1985 the 
French had withdrawn from the project on the grounds that the British 
would head the project over design leadership. In 1986 the Eurofighter 
and Eurojet consortium formed for the EJ200 engine development and in 
May 1988 the U.K., Italy and Germany gave the go ahead for development 
followed shortly after by Spain. In 1990 a row broke out over the 
radar system to be installed within the fighter between the U.K. and 
Germany the reasons for this were down to the cost and specifications 
required by both nations for their own interpretation of what the 
radar should cost and do. By 1991 the Germans had set up a 
parliamentary review committee due to the cost of the aircraft
increasing by three to four percent a year and with the reunification 
costing Germany vast amounts and the German budget decreasing by three 
to four percent a year due to the cost of propping up the East German 
economy it was viewed that the aircraft was doubling in cost by the 
Germans and that a cheaper and lighter aircraft should be designed and 
produced. By 1992 there was discontent not only within the German 
armed forces but also within public opinion that the aircraft was 
costing far too much. In a statement issued by the German Defence 
Minister, Volker Ruhe he said that he was not going to "destroy the
German armed forces of some 370,000 soldiers for the sake of a single 
weapon system, we cannot afford this attitude of business as usual if 
we want to make the German unification process successful. Ruhe 
pointed out that Germany's long standing commitment to the fighter 
extended only through the nearly completed development phase, and that 

all parties realised that a separate decision would be made by Germany 
on the production phase by 1994.

 Ruhe pointed out that two years from now Soviet fighters which 
are based only 30 kms from his home city will be more than a thousand 
miles to the east. "And between us and them there is already a free 
and independent Poland and Ukraine". To the astonishment of the other 
three nations in late June of 1992 Germany promptly withdrew from the 
Eurofighter project. Nearly a month before the Defence Minister had 
vowed to slash Germany's defence spending by another DM20-billion 
($13-billion) from procurement over the next twelve years. 

 These cuts would come on top of the DM43.7-billion 
($28.3-billion) in cuts announced by his predecessor. Ruhe's purpose
was to concentrate on modernising and integrating the East German 
resources into the military whilst keeping up the morale of the 
troops. It was with some concern that the German government reviewed 
its decision, when it later realised the implications of the 
withdrawal to its own defence industry and the true scale of the part 
that it played within the project. By withdrawing from the project it 
had put the jobs at risk of some 20,000 defence workers involved in 
the EFA development which could then go to the other countries, not 
only increasing their employment statistics but also loosing German 
firms involved in the production of parts and research valuable 
exports and money. Even the aircraft's direct rivals the French firm 
Dassault expressed concern as they believed France's own long term 
survival in the military aircraft business depended on having strong
European partners. On December 11th 1992 the German Chancellor Helmet 
Kohl had over turned the decision of his defence minister and 
reluctantly announced that Germany was to stay in the £22 billion 
project. The British were said to be delighted with the decision as 
they had put a great deal of pressure on the Germans and were at one 
time prepared to go it alone when Italy and Spain expressed doubts in 
the project after Germany's withdrawal. After consultation between the 
revamped collaboration representatives it was decided to rename the 
aircraft as the Eurofighter 2000. The German decision it seems was
based upon the effect on its defence industry as well as its wanting 
to show that it was a leading force in the WEU. A number of studies 
showed that the cost could be reduced by as much as thirty percent 
with some alterations to the aircraft that would not significantly 
alter its role or its performance. The German government stated that 
it would stay in the development project until 1995, when it will make 
a decision on whether to stay with the production phase. The current 
cost of the aircraft is put at DM 30-million, just over half the cost 
of its cheapest rival. Great Britain has some 15,000 people engaged in 
the Eurofighter 2000 development programme within Britain. The Way 
Forward The last number of years have seen an increase in the standing 
of the WEU as a creditable force at the expense of some concern shown 
by the Americans. The WEU can only remain to be a creditable force if 
it continues to work within the guidelines of international law, and 
works within the European pillar of the NATO Alliance until through 
technological advances in its weapon systems and intelligence 
gathering capabilities it will be big enough to go on its own without 
the U.S. and NATO. This must be done within the framework of the EC 
and the political and economical standing of the EC as a truly 
European assembly. On the horizon, Malta, Cypress, Turkey and Morocco 
have officially requested membership, although only the first two are 
likely to be seen as accepted within the near future. While other 
European countries such as Austria and Sweden that have traditionally 
been neutral, have made applications to join the EC fully conscious of 
the move towards political and security union, they have indicated 
that they see no problem with this. Other neutral or non aligned 
states such as Switzerland and Finland are also debating whether to 
make official requests for membership of the EC. Norway and Iceland 
are already members of NATO and should have no problems of joining if 
they should so wish. Former Warsaw Pact countries such as Poland, 
Czech and Slovakia and Hungary have expressed concern over the vacuum 
caused by the demise of the Warsaw Pact and see the EC as an "economic 
role model and political haven".

 When considered if all of these states were to join the EC 
which enhances both political and security union then the Western
European Union could one day stretch from Iceland in the North to 
Morocco in the south and from Dublin in the West even up to the very 
gates of Moscow itself. That would be a more than creditable force to 
be reckoned with!


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