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Defining a European Strategic Concept: 2 April 2001

02 April 2001

In broad terms a European Strategic Concept would be a comprehensive statement of the European Union’s determination to act in pursuit of its vital, general and essential interests both in Europe and beyond. Therefore, a Strategic Concept would envisage the EU as an organisation capable of not only undertaking the kind of missions for which NATO is currently tasked but also managing the pre-conflict and post-conflict civil aspects of crisis management. Therefore, the main message of the seminar was that European Strategic Concept (ESC) was too robust a term to reflect current policy and implied an end-state or finalite for European defence that would not be achievable in the foreseeable future. Current policy was focused rather on the development of a Crisis Management Concept in all its aspects that could fulfil a range of key functions and thus establish a strong link between the political and military aspects of the Petersberg Tasks. Whilst the seminar did not define a European Strategic Concept per se it established a critical path towards one by identifying three stages of development. First, the elaboration of a comprehensive Crisis Management Model. Second, the progressive realisation of a European Security Concept would represent the next stage in the political evolution of the ESDP. Third, a European Strategic Concept, the full definition of which could only take place when a common defence is fully established. Session I: The rationale for a European Strategic Concept Chair: Lord Roper (Professorial Fellow, University of Birmingham and House of Lords, London)

Rob de Wijk (Royal Military Academy, Breda)
Lars Wedin (Military Expert, EU Council Secretariat, Brussels) Session II: The scope and limits of a European Strategic Concept Chair: Jan Foghelin (Swedish Defence Research Academy, Stockholm)
Henri Zipper de Fabiani (Ministry of Defence, Paris)
Tomas Ries (National Defence College, Helsinki) Session III: Implementing a European Strategic Concept Chair: Nicole Gnesotto (Director, WEU Institute for Security Studies)
Michael Clarke (Centre for Defence Studies, London)
Stefano Silvestri (IAI, Rome)