30 Jun 2011 By JULIAN HALE DefenseNews
BRUSSELS - Poland will emphasize development of the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) in cooperation with Catherine Ashton, the EU's high representative for foreign and security policy, when Poland takes over the EU's rotating presidency for six months beginning July 1.
"This is especially important in the context of recent developments in the EU's southern neighborhood," the Poles said in their EU presidency program. "Poland's proposals regarding the development of the CSDP, laid down in the Weimar Letter [from Poland, Germany and France to Ashton] and adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council in January 2011, are intended to strengthen the EU's crisis-response capabilities."
In the letter, Poland, France and Germany say they "see a specific need to improve our capacities to plan and to conduct operations and missions to strengthen cooperation among our militaries and to create synergies in times of scarce resources, taking due care for complementarity with national and NATO planning capacities."
Adapting EU battle groups to "complex operational needs, including through enhanced civil-military capacities," is one area the three countries will target. Here, they are considering creating modules with comprehensive military and civilian capabilities. The three countries will provide an EU battle group in the first half of 2013. They say they are willing "to deploy it if required" and "intend to enhance its availability to better react to operational contingencies, including by focused advance planning in cooperation with CSDP structures."
Poland is organizing a seminar on EU battle groups in Brussels on July 5. National defense ministers from the EU will meet informally Sept. 22-23.
During its presidency, Poland says that it will stress "multinational initiatives launched under the 'pooling and sharing' concept." The Dutch defense minister has called for an emergency mini-summit on this issue in late 2011.
"Initiatives dealing with EU-NATO cooperation and partnership policy will figure prominently in our work," the Poles say in their program. The Weimar letter encourages close cooperation between the European Defence Agency and Allied Command Transformation and suggests dialogue between the EU and NATO on issues such as cyber defense.