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Part II

The North Atlantic Cooperation Council and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council

N THE POST-COLD WAR PERIOD, NATO has changed in at least three important aspects:
  1. NATO-sponsored cooperative institutions have been established to include the former members of the Warsaw Pact and other non-NATO countries, beginning with the creation of the NACC;
  2. it has acknowledged that political, economic and even environmental concerns are gaining greater importance, while the military missions of the Alliance have become more complex; and,
  3. NATO has redefined its military missions.

The NATO London Declaration of July 1990 cited the need for the establishment of a closer relationship with the CEE nations. In terms of concrete proposals, it suggested “military contacts” between NATO and Warsaw Pact commanders, “regular diplomatic liaison” between NATO and the states of the Warsaw Pact, and a joint declaration by the nations of NATO and the Warsaw Pact affirming that they were “no longer adversaries.”13

In April 1991 the United States reaffirmed its support for the positive developments in CEE, but implied that countries in this region should not expect membership in NATO and/or explicit security guarantees:

European security is indivisible. The United States is committed to supporting the process of democracy, as well as the independence and sovereignty of Central–East European countries. . . . Formal military alliances and guarantees are not the sole measures of national security, nor the only means of filling perceived political and security vacuums.14

At the June 1991 Copenhagen NATO meeting, the Alliance proposed the “further development of a network of interlocking institutions and relationships” with the former Warsaw Pact nations, including the Soviet Union.15 During the debates for adopting the final communique of the meeting, German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher “in particular believed that deepening the contacts between NATO and Central and Eastern Europe was implicit recognition of NATO’s role as [a] stabilizing factor in Europe.”16

In October 1991 Genscher and his American counterpart James Baker presented an initiative to put the CEE countries at ease by “strengthening and deepening co-operation”17 in a North Atlantic Cooperation Council. Thus, the November 1991 Rome Declaration proposed the creation of such a body.18 Consequently, on December 20, 1991, the NATO ministers of foreign affairs met with their counterparts from the former Warsaw Pact in Brussels for the first session of the NACC.

The first meeting of the NACC was itself of enough symbolic significance to ensure its place in NATO’s history despite a certain lack of substance. Moreover, occurring on the very day when the Soviet Union ceased to exist, it was somewhat overshadowed by this event.19

During this first session, both Genscher and Baker described the NACC as a new pillar of the emerging European security order. It was intended to play specific and unique functions.20 Among them it would serve as a forum for consultation with the “liaison states” on issues such as civilian control over the military and the conversion of defense industries to civilian purposes; it might also serve as a forum for negotiating further conventional arms control and confidence and security building measures; and it was suggested that the NACC could play a peace-making role in Nagorno-Karabakh and other contested areas in the former Soviet Union and CEE.21

James Sperling concluded that, after the Copenhagen and Rome North Atlantic Council (NAC) meetings, visible change occurred in the Alliance’s fundamental tasks:

[M]ilitary principles are reinforced by an up-dated and reformulated Harmel doctrine, which was the prior touchstone of alliance policy. The dyad of detente and defense has been replaced with a triad of dialogue, cooperation, and collective defense capability within the alliance and the triad of dialogue, partnership, and cooperation among the member states of the NACC.22

At the same time, NATO “sought to offer the former communist states some surrogate connection, just enough to keep them happy, but not too much, so as not to raise their expectations.”23 Touted as ”a most ingenious invention,” and “with no particular thinking behind it,”24 NACC was similar in its procedures and methods of operation to the OSCE, reflecting in a way the Genscherist belief “that strengthening the CSCE was a way to increase stability in Central and Eastern Europe, a vital German interest.”25

In this setting, in order to achieve its post-1989 security objectives—to create a pan-European security system that integrates Germany into Europe as an equal if not a leading state; to accelerate the demilitarization of the European area in order to create an environment favoring German economic interests, a development that would increase German leverage with the other European states and minimize Germany’s historically dictated disadvantage in the military realm; to retain an American political-military presence in Europe as insurance against the failure of a demilitarized pan-European security structure; and, to ensure the integration of the republics of the former Soviet Union, especially Russia, Ukraine and Belarus in that pan-European order—Germany pursued a pragmatic policy to secure its immediate Vorposten.

Thus, Germany advocated the necessity of Western help for the CEE countries (especially for the Visegrad states-Poland, Hungary, and the Czech and Slovak Republics) in order to obtain the guarantees that they felt they needed for their own security and a stable domestic development. Germany’s prime interest was to establish a stable security space between its eastern border and the Russian frontier.26 In this context, it also sought to engage the CEE states in European structures.27 NATO was intended to become, in the words of then Foreign Minister Genscher, “a transatlantic security bridge for the whole of Europe, for the democracies of Eastern and Western Europe.”28

These actions and statements were components of a strategy consistent with a foreign and security policy which, since German unification, “has been designed to deepen the traditional Westbindung (Western integration) and simultaneously widen the Euro-Atlantic structures to the East.”29 From a German perspective it was natural to pursue such policies because, as Christoph Boer stated,

In the long term, no country will be able to derive greater benefits from intensified cooperation with the East than Germany. . . .And as no country is so directly affected by the threat of instability as Germany, no country must do as much to reconstruct the East as Germany. Germany’s interests and responsibilities demand this in equal measure.30

In the German domestic political arena, relations with CEE and Russia in particular were perceived by public opinion in 1992 as the country’s top vital interest.31 Despite broad support in some decision-making circles for pro-East policies, “the lack of strategic thinking of the political class becomes increasingly obvious. Unfortunately, the academic community provides also little help in this respect.”32 Overall German policies before Maastricht and the collapse of the Soviet Union were prudent responses to outside challenges. After the above-mentioned events took place, however, “a more fundamental debate on European order and [the] German role within it began to emerge.”33

It might be concluded that, at the moment when NACC was created,

A continuation of the postwar strategy of self-containment, which had complemented the American security strategy of double-containment and has had the (retrospectively beneficial) consequence of producing foreign and security polices that reflexively expressed German interests in the language of Europe or the Atlantic Alliance. Germany has offered to entrap itself in integrative and constraining political and military structures, despite a legitimate claim to European leadership by virtue of geography, demography, economic capacity, and latent military power.34

From the American perspective the creation of the NACC was part of a larger strategy involving diplomacy and economics, in order to maintain a political-military equilibrium in Eurasia. It was in the U.S. strategic interest to promote a balanced configuration of power in this part of the world, presumably following from at least three specific interests:

  1. To prevent the total disintegration of the Soviet Union and, that failing, to promote the emergence of stable, democratic, and prosperous successor states;
  2. To prevent the reimposition of Soviet or Russian military or political control in Eastern Europe, which presumably can best be achieved by NATO guaranteeing the national independence, territorial integrity, political democracy and diplomatic neutrality of the former Soviet-bloc states; [and,]…
  3. To encourage stability in Central and Eastern Europe by strengthening the new democracies.35

The 8 June 1992 (Oslo) and the 18 December 1992 (Brussels) NACC meetings of foreign ministers proved to be turning points for the NACC because they “cleared the way for active co-operation between NATO and the partners in the field of peace-keeping.”36 The NACC work plan for 1993 included the following activities:

Consultations on peacekeeping and related matters, starting in a brainstorming format at ambassadorial level, followed by ad-hoc meetings of political-military experts, as agreed by ambassadors, leading to cooperation among interested NACC members in preparation for peace-keeping activities, including: joint-sessions on planning of peace-keeping training, and consideration of possible joint peace-keeping exercises. 37

According to de Wijk, “The first brainstorming session of the ambassadors took place on 26 January 1993 on the basis of a German-American non-paper.”38 As a result of these activities, in February 1993 the NACC Ad Hoc Group on Cooperation in Peacekeeping was founded.39

The U.S. in particular believed that, starting from this group, the NACC could form the nucleus of a new security system. A structure needed to be developed which would enable the partners to take part in an operational “framework,” with NATO acting as a catalyst behind this development. “The Americans directed their endeavors mainly towards involving the Russians in all questions concerning European security in order to avoid a new division of Europe.”40 The German Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel, argued for a more operational role for the NACC.41 “There was consensus within NATO that intensification of co-operation with the Central and Eastern European countries could promote stability and security in the whole of Europe.”42

Under these circumstances, the NACC activities (1992-1997) consisted in fact mainly of meetings—workshops, conferences, seminars, colloquiums, etc. The initial agenda was repeatedly expanded in annual agreed work plans,43 and eventually encompassed topics such as peacekeeping, civil emergency planning, defense budgets and economic planning, air defense, military procurement, disarmament technologies, materiel and technical standardization, and communications and information systems operability.44

Cooperation within the NACC was aimed increasingly at crisis control, and with the successful development of the PFP after December 1994, the Americans had “already maintained that the NACC had fulfilled its function, namely the demolition of barriers between East and West.”45 From the German perspective, complementarity between the NACC and PFP was required in order to promote the salient features of German security and defense policy, as stated in the 1994 German White Paper on Defense:

As far as Central and Eastern Europe are concerned, Germany’s policy is thus characterized by three key terms: stabilization through cooperation and integration. These three factors of a forward-looking approach to stability are indivisible elements of a convincing overall concept. The transfer of stability will benefit everyone. Stability in and for Europe is the future crucial task of the Euro-Atlantic community.46

In the new context, the center of gravity was shifting to topics such as peacekeeping, arms control verification, scientific and environmental cooperation, and the conversion of defense industries, and to an enterprise designed to be more inclusive than the NACC and to encompass activities in addition to meetings—the PFP.47 Thus, a new institution was required. The NACC was replaced in May 1997 by an organization including all PFP and NACC participants—the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, a new forum that would “combine the activities of NATO’s aging Cooperation Council (NACC) and the PFP Program.”48

Warren Christopher, then U.S. Secretary of State, first proposed the EAPC on 6 September 1996.

We should involve our Partners in the planning as well in the execution of NATO missions. We should give them a stronger voice by forming an Atlantic Partnership Council. In all these ways, NATO gives us a foundation to built our New Atlantic Community—one in which all of Europe and North America work together to build lasting security, one that succeeds where all past efforts have failed.49

A few weeks later, during the informal meeting of the NATO ministers of defense (on 25-26 September 1996, at Bergen, Norway), the German minister of defense suggested a merger of the NACC and PFP, and also suggested the aim of an enhanced PFP in order to minimize the distance between NATO members and non-members.50 Thus, from the German and American perspective, this council “would be a body for consultations between NATO and the OSCE members,”51 and, thus, at the NAC meeting in December 1996, the Allies “agreed to work with the partners on the initiative to establish APC.”52

Upon its establishment on 30 May 1997, in Sintra, Portugal, the EAPC adopted the NACC work plan as its own, with a view to replacing it with an even more extensive agenda of topics for consultations. The EAPC’s founders, the NACC members and the PFP partners, declared that its establishment would be a “qualitative step forward in raising to a new level the dynamic and multifaceted political and military cooperation” already achieved in NACC and PFP, and that it would “make a strong contribution to cooperative approaches to security and form an enduring part of the European security architecture.”53

Germany insisted that the concrete tasks and purposes of such a forum be clarified. At least two aspects require clarification from the German perspective.

First, the specific relationship between EAPC and the enhanced PFP remains unclear, as does the impact of EAPC on OSCE, which basically covers the same ground. Another question has to do with the impact of a proliferation of decision-making bodies on NATO’s decision making.54

The EAPC is to be guided by the principles of inclusiveness and self-differentiation.55 It will offer options for cooperation to Partners that aspire to NATO membership but that were not selected for the “first round” of enlargement and, in a formal sense, it is dependent on the NAC. At the same time it may illustrate the disadvantages of decision-making by consensus, which include the general risk of paralysis. The EAPC “is guided by the desire to soothe the disappointment of the unsuccessful applicants for membership by creating a whole range of different offers.”56

In this setting, because PFP and the process of NATO enlargement represent essential elements in the Western effort to extend the pattern of peace and prosperity achieved by NATO in Europe during the Cold War to a larger area, they deserve closer scrutiny.



13. North Atlantic Council, London Declaration, July 5-6, 1990, par. 6-8. This declaration was made in Paris in November 1990, less than eight months before the Warsaw Pact was formally disbanded in July 1991.

14. Paul Wolfowitz, then Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Remarks at the Conference on “Future of European Security,” Prague, Czechoslovakia, 25 April 1991, pp. 3-4. Text furnished by Professor David Yost, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California.

15. New York Times, 7 June 1991.

16. Rob de Wijk, NATO on the Brink of the New Millenium: The Battle for Consensus (London and Washington, D.C.: Brassey’s, 1997), p. 31.

17. Ibid.

18. After the summit the countries of the former Warsaw Pact, including the Baltic states, were invited to a meeting with the NATO ministers of foreign affairs to formally commence the new initiative.

19. de Wijk, p. 63.

20. The initiative provided for annual meetings at ministerial level in the NACC, periodic meetings with the ambassadors, extra meetings “as circumstances warrant,” and regular meetings with the Military Committee and other NATO committees. The meetings would concentrate on matters of NATO expertise, such as defense planning and civil-military relations. See North Atlantic Council, Rome Declaration on Peace and Cooperation. Rome, 7-8 November 1991, Sect. 9-12.

21. Ibid., p. 21; James A. Baker, III, “US Commitment to Strengthening Euro-Atlantic Cooperation,” US Department of State Dispatch, 2 (23 December 1991), p. 903; Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Bulletin der Bundesregierung, 27 (12 March 1992), p. 264; Robert Mauthner, “NATO, CIS peace plan for Nagorno-Karabakh, Financial Times, 11 March 1992; Edward Mortimer, “Europe’s Security Surplus,” Financial Times, 4 March 1992.

22. James Sperling, “German Security Policy, ” in Donald M. Hancock and Helga A. Welsh, eds., German Unification: Process and Outcome (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994), p. 265.

23. Jonathan Eyal, “NATO’s enlargement: anatomy of a decision,” International Affairs, vol. 73, no. 4 (October 1997), p. 701.

24. Ibid.

25. de Wijk, p. 31.

26. Helga Haftendorn, “Gulliver in the Center of Europe: International Involvement and National Capabilities for Action,” in Bertel Heurlin, ed., Germany and Europe in the Nineties (London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1996), p. 99.

27. Bilateral treaties have been signed between Germany and the former countries of the Warsaw Pact in the early 1990s with the intent to commit the German government to advocate EU membership for the countries involved.

28. Hans-Dietrich Genscher, “Eine Vision fur das ganze Europa,” Bulletin der Bundesregierung, 14 (February 1991), p. 92. As quoted in Sperling, p. 266.

29. Karl-Heinz Kamp and Peter Weilemann, “Germany and the Enlargement of NATO,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, Occasional Papers in European Studies (OP-97/23, September 1997), p. 1.

30. Christoph Boehr, “At the End of the Post-War Order in Europe: In Search of a New Coherence of Interests and Responsibilities,” Aussenpolitik (vol. 46, no. 2), p. 5. Avalable [On line]: [http://www.isn.ethz.ch/au_pol/boehr.htm]. [30 January 1990].

31. Ronald D. Asmus, Germany’s Geopolitical Maturation: Public Opinion and Security Policy in 1994 (Santa Monica: Rand Corporation, 1995), pp. 7-9.

32. Holger M. Mey, “New Members—New Mission: The Real Issues Behind the New NATO Debate,” Comparative Strategy, vol. 13, no. 2 (April/June 1994), p. 224.

33. Hartmut Mayer, “German concepts on a European order,” International Affairs (vol. 73, no. 4, October 1997), p. 724. Ideas and arguments about the new role of Germany in international affairs in the post-1989 setting were exchanged in various political circles and foundations, in universities, think tanks (such as the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Auswartige Politik, the Bertelsmann Foundation, the Centrum fur angewandte Politikforschung) and in the quality media (most importantly the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Zeit and Suddeutsche Zeitung). However, compared to Washington, with its open competition among institutes, lobbies and political consultants, the practical influence of the German international affairs community on government policy was and continues to be limited.

34. Sperling, p. 276.

35. Samuel P. Huntington, “America’s changing strategic interests,” Survival, vol. XXXIII (January/February 1991),Êp. 13.

36. de Wijk, p. 67.

37. North Atlantic Cooperation Council, Work Plan for Dialogue, Partnership and Cooperation 1993, Brussels, 18 December 1992, p. 2.

38. de Wijk, p. 68.

39. Ibid. The work of this group progressed rapidly and as a result it prepared a series of reports in the next years. See, for example, the NACC meeting in Athens on 11 June 1993.

40. Ibid., p. 69.

41. Ibid., p. 70. The German position coincided with the French one and this was to lead to the “Pact of Stability” (known also as the “Balladur Plan”) which aimed to resolve points of difference between CEE countries by means of regional consultative forums, so that stability would be increased.

42. Ibid., p. 72.

43. This was also a result of the fact that since mid-1993 it was clear that the Central European states were no longer satisfied with the tactics of “prevarication” pursued by a mechanism of postponing decisions, in which NACC, at that moment, had great chances of being transformed. Eyal, p. 702.

44. See NATO Handbook (Brussels: Office of Information and Press, October 1995).

45. de Wijk, p. 87.

46. White Paper on the Security of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Situation and Future of the Bundeswehr, 1994, chapter 3, par. 313, p. 42.

47. See Robert Weaver, “NACC’s Five Years of Strengthening Cooperation,” NATO Review, vol. 45 (May/June 1997), pp. 24-26.

48. Kamp and Weilemann, p. 12.

49. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, speech in Stuttgart, 6 September 1996. Text from USIS Wireless File.

50. de Wijk, p. 137.

51. Ibid.

52. North Atlantic Council, Final Communiqué, Brussels, 10 December 1996, par. 9.

53. Chairman’s Summary of the meetings of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Sintra, Portugal, 30 May 1997, par. 3.

54. Kamp and Weilemann, p. 12.

55. Basic Document of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, 30 May 1997, par. 4.

56. Kamp and Weileman, p. 12.



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