Thursday, 5 February 2004

Ceisteanna (25)

Ciarán Cuffe

Ceist:

20 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Defence further to Question No. 31 of 4 December 2003, if he will elaborate on the conflict scenario envisaged in the first ever joint EU-NATO crisis management exercise CME/CMX 03 November 2003 and the success or otherwise of the exercise; the military level Ireland was represented at in the exercise and NATO's involvement in the exercise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3379/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Defence)

The European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, NATO, conducted their first ever joint crisis management exercise, CME/CMX 03, from 19 to 25 November 2003.

The scenario for the exercise, initially developed by the EU in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter, involved a conflict on the fictitious island of Atlantia between two ethnic groups over a contested area and a request to the EU from the UN Secretary General to consider supporting the implementation of a framework agreement between the parties. This scenario led to the consideration of options for a possible EU Petersberg tasks crisis management operation under Article 17.2 of the Treaty on European Union. The exercise tested planning for an EU-led military operation with recourse to NATO assets and capabilities. It also tested civilian instruments of the EU in the context of civilian operational planning.

CME/CMX 03, which was purely a desktop exercise, was conducted in Brussels and in national capitals. It tested a range of standing arrangements for consultation and co-operation between the EU and NATO in times of crisis, and the other relevant elements of Berlin plus arrangements at the strategic politico-military level, in the event of an envisaged EU-led operation with recourse to NATO assets and capabilities.

During the conduct of the exercise, EU-NATO meetings took place at the levels of political and security committee-North Atlantic Council, politico military group-policy co-ordination group and European Union military committee-NATO military committee, including experts from the EU and NATO in liaison with the Deputy Supreme Allied Command Europe, DSACEUR, as potential EU operation commander. These meetings took place in accordance with applicable standing arrangements for consultation and co-operation between the EU and NATO, in the event of an envisaged EU-led operation with recourse to NATO assets and capabilities.

In Dublin, the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Equality and Law Reform and my own Department, including the appropriate military authorities, participated in the exercise. CME/CMX03 was considered to be successful. It proved a good test of EU crisis management procedures and of the standing arrangements for consultation and co-operation with NATO in times of crisis.