European Union & Canada
May 15, 2014

A century ago, the First World War engulfed Europe. Tens of millions of Europeans lost their lives in that inferno and in the Second World War. Young Canadians also paid the ­ultimate price and are buried on European soil, a lasting testament to their sacrifice. Out of these ashes was born the European Union, a vision of a reconciled Europe living in peace and prosperity. Through their military presence in Europe during the days of the Cold War, Canadians helped provide a supportive environment for European integration to thrive. Today, Europeans and Canadians are working ever more closely towards peace and ­prosperity, not only for our Transatlantic Community but also the world.

Last October, the President of the European Commission and Canada’s Prime Minister announced the finalization of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). It is expected to yield gains of €26 billion thanks to increased bilateral trade between the EU and Canada. But our relationship does not stop there – we also share the common goal of strengthening foreign and security cooperation, an area in which the EU and Canada already enjoy close ties.

The European Union and Canada are also launching a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). This ambitious framework for EU-Canada relations will advance the overall relationship and deepen foreign policy cooperation while providing an institutional platform that supports joint action and joint projection of our shared values around the world, including through crisis management.

Both Canada and EU Member States have an excellent track record in contributing to UN peacekeeping. The EU is a generous donor to development assistance. We are committed to multilateralism, the “Responsibility to Protect”, and other humanitarian causes. We are also strong partners in crisis management. Against the background of reduced defence budgets on both sides of the Atlantic it is logical that we should also cooperate more closely on security efforts.

The European Union and Canada’s security cooperation is not starting from scratch. We each belong to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and Canada is also an observer at the Council of Europe, the oldest pan-European political institution. Alongside Canada, 22 EU Member States belong to the North Atlantic Alliance, which, for more than six decades, has linked Canadians and Europeans in a Euro-Atlantic security community.

While our Member States have long played an active role, the European Union itself is a relative newcomer to the business of crisis management – the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) was launched in 1999. Just one year later, Canada expressed its intention to participate in civil and military crisis management operations managed by the EU.

Canadian support to EU crisis management
Launched on 1 January 2003, the European Union Police Mission (EUPM) in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the EU’s first ever crisis management mission under CSDP and the first ever civilian mission as such, benefited from the contribution of six Canadian police officers. Canada was one of 18 third state contributors, which together supplied 20 percent of the staff.

The EU was not the initiator of the Police Mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This task was taken over from the UN International Police Task Force. The collaboration with the UN has always been an important part of EU CSDP actions. EU Member States expressed this sentiment strongly in the first EU security strategy “Strengthening the United Nations, equipping it to fulfil its responsibilities and to act effectively is a European priority.” Concomitantly, the Strategy envisaged the EU developing a strategic partnership with Canada.

The EU’s first ever military crisis management operation followed on 31 March 2003 with the Concordia mission in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). As in some other operations to follow, the EU took over the responsibilities of NATO mission Operation Allied Harmony aimed at contributing to a stable, secure environment in the country. This transfer was done for the first time on the basis of the so-called “Berlin-Plus” arrangements, enabling NATO’s support for EU operations, if needed. Canada also contributed for a while to this mission.

The summer of 2003 was an eventful year for CSDP activities. Canada provided strategic airlift to the EU Operation Artemis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, supporting the first autonomous EU military operations outside Europe. We were then responding to the UN’s call to help provide security at Bunia airport as well as to other installations in the town and to allow the return of some 60,000 refugees. Thanks to partners like Canada, the European Union succeeded in deploying troops to a challenging place some 6,500 kilometres away from Europe, and just seven days after the UN Security Council passed a Resolution authorizing the operation. The European Union thereby demonstrated that CSDP would not be limited to the European continent – it would have a global reach.

The following year, 2004, saw the European Union assume its most ambitious military operation to date – taking over from the NATO Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina, responsible for ensuring a stable, peaceful and multi-ethnic Bosnia-Herzegovina. The EU’s military operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, known as EUFOR ALTHEA, succeeded the NATO-led multinational peacekeeping Stabilization Force (SFOR) in December while NATO remained in Bosnia-Herzegovina to look after defence reform, counter-terrorism, and to track down war criminals. As part of Canadian Forces’ Operation Boreas, Canada contributed over 70 troops to EUFOR ALTHEA.

In 2005-2007, Canada lent the EU a helping hand in Congo by dispatching police officers to the EU Police Mission in Kinshasa (EUPOL KINSHASA) which trained more than 1,000 police cadets.

We have come a long way since the early days of CSDP. The EU is currently undertaking 15 CSDP operations, including 5 military and 10 civilian operations in Europe, Asia and Africa. An operation has just been launched in the Central African Republic and a civilian mission is being planned for Mali. The EU has established the CSDP Panel to facilitate dialogue and practical cooperation in crisis management with Ukraine and other East European countries – parties to the Eastern Partnership.

Canada has supported the evolution of the EU’s input to international crisis management. Rather than defining the conditions for a Canadian contribution to CSDP operations in an ad hoc manner, the EU and Canada concluded an Agreement in November 2005 that established a framework for Canadian participation in EU crisis management operations. At our 2008 bilateral Summit, we approved a joint work programme dealing with crisis management, conflict prevention and training. It envisaged: strengthened police cooperation in the field in Afghanistan, the Balkans and the Palestinian Territories, as well as strengthened cooperation to build capacity in the areas of conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and crisis management in Africa.

At present we are happy to have Canada on board in the EU Police Mission for the Palestinian Territories (EUPOL COPPS). Established in January 2006, it seeks to buttress sustainable and effective Palestinian policing in the context of the security sector reform. Over the course of the mission, 11 Canadian police advisers, one of them a Deputy Head of Police Advisory Section, have supported European colleagues. Currently, we are supported by two Canadian police officers. In addition to the valuable work of its personnel, Canada has been funding the EUPOL COPPS projects, implemented by UN agencies that will improve the ability of the Palestinian police to run forensic investigations, as well as to better meet human rights and security standards in their penitentiary institutions.

Canadian police experts have contributed to the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX KOSOVO), which commenced in February 2008, to assist the Kosovo authorities in building an independent, multi-ethnic police and justice system. With 1,650 international and 1,050 local staff at its height, it is the largest civilian mission ever launched under CSDP.

At present, one Canadian is part of the EU Special Investigative Task Force. Headed by a U.S. lawyer, former prosecutor at the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and made up of around 25 staff from about 15 countries, the Task Force conducts a criminal investigation into allegations of wartime and organized crimes.

In March, we said goodbye to 16 Canadians serving in the EU Police Mission (EUPOL) in Afghanistan. What started in 2007 as a single Canadian police officer’s contribution to the newly-launched EU mission to provide civilian police and rule of law expertise to Afghanistan, turned into a substantial augmentation of EU capabilities by 23 Canadian colleagues at the start of 2014. Canadians have been deployed to Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat, and Kabul.

Our Canadian colleagues were very experienced and engaged, and were considered a valuable reinforcement of the EU mission. Canadians were involved in establishing a functioning Incident Command structure for the Afghan National Police, which will save lives of both Afghan police officers and citizens in the case of a major incident. The EUPOL Herat Field Office developed an inventory of criminal investigation case files that was modelled on a Canadian example. It is being considered for implementation throughout other jurisdictions in Afghanistan. As part of EUPOL, Canadians have mentored and advised senior-level police officers within the Afghan National Police while also providing logistical support to the Police Staff College and Crime Management College.

Gregory Boltyansky, a Canadian police officer with EUPOL’s Training Component, called the opportunity to partner with EUPOL “a tremendous honour” as well as a “life-changing experience” – surely not only for him, but also for the lives of all the Afghans affected by EUPOL’s work.
The EU appreciates Canada’s material contribution to CSDP operations. For instance, Canada contributed one million Canadian dollars towards a Human Resources Information System, implemented by the ongoing EU Training Mission in Mali, which will help in reforming the Malian defence establishment.

Stronger Common Security and Defence Policy
For the first time in nearly half a decade, the EU Heads of State and Government held a focused discussion at the European Council (December 2013) on how best to strengthen the CSDP in hopes of enabling the European Union to assume increased responsibilities as a security provider. The conclusions highlighted Member State consensus around three “clusters”: strengthening CSDP’s efficiency and visibility; enhancing European defence capabilities; and reinforcing Europe’s defence industry.

Seeking to coordinate the EU’s efforts with NATO’s, the European Council called for the creation in 2014 of a new EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework as well as an EU Maritime Security Strategy, the elements for which were adopted in March. Last December, to provide greater strategic coherence, we also laid out the EU’s comprehensive approach to external conflict and crises.

With regard to the development of capabilities, the Member States agreed to provide a political impulse to embed Pooling and Sharing, an EU initiative for collaboration in capabilities development in Member States’ defence planning.

Since EU Member States and NATO Member States dispose of the same sets of capabilities, should the EU succeed in boosting progress, this would also be to the benefit of NATO. And vice versa. The success of NATO’s Smart Defence, in which Canada is integrally involved, would be advantageous to the EU. Indeed, the capability improvements identified by the EU – cyber-defence for instance – roughly match those also sought by Canada.

What’s more, the European Council agreed to pursue the four priority initiatives taken by the European Defence Agency – for stimulating cooperation in this area as well as research and development – and coordinated with NATO, include: air-to-air refuelling (to be carried out in full transparency with the NATO Support Agency); remotely-piloted aircraft systems; satellite communications; and cyber-defence.

Because defence capabilities are not owned by the EU but are the property of the Member States that produce them, we endeavour to stimulate more collaboration in defence production as part of concerted efforts to reinforce the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base. As Europe represents about 11% of Canadian defence exports, and European defence companies sustain, directly or indirectly, thousands of jobs in Canada, including hundreds of supplier-links and dozens of research projects, this too is likely to be of interest to our Canadian partner.

Outgoing NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has welcomed the impetus given by the EU to bolstering CSDP. We will continue EU-NATO dialogue and coordination prior to the NATO Summit in Newport (UK) in September to avoid duplication of effort. Indeed, the European Council deliverables should be important contributions to the NATO Summit. An enhanced EU-NATO partnership, respectful of each other’s decision-making autonomy, is crucial for rebalancing transatlantic burden-sharing, for the interoperability of our armed forces, and for the ability to make a difference in international security.

EU-Canada Partnership in Crisis Management
A common thread running through strategic documents recently adopted by the EU and, indeed, through the entire process of strengthening CSDP, is the importance of bolstering the EU’s partnerships – particularly with Canada.

Our Joint Communication on elements for a European Union Maritime Security Strategy spells it out: “The Union’s capacity to cooperate with international partners has a direct impact on its ability to safeguard its interests.”

NATO, with Canada’s contribution therein, has supported the EU’s counter-piracy operation ATALANTA. Canada continues its maritime and counter-terrorism mission through the Combined Task Force 150 (Canadian Operation Artemis). This is particularly welcome as the EU chairs the International Contact Group on Piracy off the coast of Somalia this year, in which Canada is very active.

Likewise, the Joint Communication on the EU’s comprehensive approach to external conflicts and crises makes clear that we cannot draw on the full range of our instruments and resources to make our external action more consistent, more effective and more strategic if we do not mutually strengthen partnerships with the UN, OSCE, NATO, and other international actors. Canada knows the value of this comprehensive approach. It applied the integration of defence, diplomacy and development tools during its mission in Kandahar. The EU and Canada share lessons learned and exchange best practices through a dialogue between the European External Action Service, the foreign and security policy arm of the European Union, and the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START) within the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.  

Dialogue between the EU and Canada is vibrant and takes place in many fora. In addition to EU-Canada Summits of leaders, Canadian colleagues meet with the Political and Security Committee and Ambassadors of EU Member States; and we speak to each other at the Committee of Contributors to CSDP operations.

In May, we will have the first dedicated symposium on EU-Canada cooperation in Common and Security Policy in Ottawa. It will bring together key actors in the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy Community for dialogue with their Canadian counterparts on how to strengthen our joint contribution to crisis management in view of the many security challenges faced today.

Our dedication to reinforcing EU-Canada crisis management cooperation, coupled with CETA and a new Strategic Partnership Agreement, mark the start of a new, stronger chapter in the long-standing partnership between the EU and Canada.

Marie-Anne Coninsx is the Ambassador of the European Union to Canada
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