The transformation in world politics since the end of the Cold War and the removal of the bipolar East-West schism has led to a state of unpredictable change and, disorder.
An increased perception of instability has resulted from the collapse of the Cold War deterrence regime, based on the promise of mutually assured destruction, which provided balance in the international system. The new international order has brought the North-South divide into the forefront, the most clearly defined example being the Euro-Mediterranean division. In response to the North-South disparity Europe launched an unprecedented initiative in attempting to achieve a coherent political and economic entity with the hopes of achieving economic prosperity and peace. As devoted to the EMP as the EU is, it is still necessary to recognize the potential implications of Mediterranean instability for Europe as a whole.
Therefore, the issue ultimately remains: Are the current European security structures, consisting of NATO, the WEU, and the OSCE in fact qualified to take care of collective security with in the Mediterranean. It is of the foremost importance to clarify that the Euro-Mediterranean process intends to create an area of political stability and economic prosperity through the establishment of a political-security, economic, and social partnership. The EU’s own history demonstrates that the most durable antidotes to instability, much more than security alliances or structures, are interdependence and integration. The Euro-Mediterranean partnership initiative recognizes that achieving a common area of peace and stability goes hand in hand with the creation of shared prosperity as well as the promotion of varying forms of human transaction and exchange. Therefore, the difficult challenge of achieving stability in the Mediterranean will not be a reality in a security vacuum, but in conjunction with a socio-economic agenda as well. Nevertheless, the challenges faced by the EU must include careful coordination with the activities and plans of NATO, the WEU, and the OSCE where the Mediterranean is concerned.
The three present security institutions had initially each reflected an individual and unique purpose with respect to Europe and their roles in providing a collective security in the region. “The original mission of NATO was defined by the onset of the Cold War in the aftermath of the Second World War. It was the security of western Europe in relation to a perceived threat from Europe’s east, but included also, through integration of western forces an element of collective security among members with a tradition of mutual hostility”(Fenech pg. 157). The American led hierarchy of NATO led to the build up the WEU of which the US was not a member.
Initiated by France, the WEU was an attempt to galvanize the European Community’s commitment, formalized in the Maastricht Treaty of European Union, to create it’s own Common Foreign and Security Policy. The ultimate intention was to achieve greater European integration, extending to the political and security levels. The third contending institution is the Organization, formerly Conference, for Security and Co-operation in Europe. “The OSCE is an altogether different security structure from either NATO or the WEU. While these are essentially alliances, trying to combine the traditional function of self defense with the adopted role of sponsoring collective security, the OSCE is essentially a collective security organization with a record of bridging the divide between adverse blocs.
“(Fenech pg157). Specifically, the OSCE was to support the dente process, in attempting to ease East-West tensions. All three of these security institutions mentioned above at their inceptions utilized alternate means to achieve their desired ends of European security. However different these organizations may be, they have commonalities denominators, in which, the third proves qualitatively they are all ill-equipped to confront the security concerns with respect to the Mediterranean. NATO, the WEU, and OSCE claim the legitimacy of their concern stems from the European view that the security problems of the Mediterranean are relevant to the continent’s own security. All three are inherently Euro-centric institutions, and most importantly, all three are products of the Cold War that focused primarily on the East-West issues.
Consequently, the very natures of these institutions are fundamentally different than those of the North-South issues During the Cold War the Euro-American relationship, vis–vis NATO, was one that maintained the two sides fairly satisfied with their given tasks. Their respective perspectives, one regional and the other global, did not need to clash so long as the Europeans refrained from global roles and the Americans refrained from imposing their views on internal European matters. This ideology fractured with the issue of the Mediterranean. “Where the western Europeans saw the Mediterranean as a neighborhood and tried to treat it as such in their own interests, the Americans regarded it as a segment in a bigger, global picture”(Fenech 161). American pressure to extend the scope of NATO thus went beyond the aim of extending the front of the contest with the Soviet Union and aimed at making the alliance an instrument of broader western objectives, notably the secure supply of Middle East oil.
By the end of the Cold War the United States had proven experienced in utilizing its military and political prowess to help facilitate first world economic objectives. Therefore, the prime protest as to NATO’s involvement would be the fear of the powerful American influences on decision-making, thereby, limiting the maneuvering capabilities of the EU. Secondly, NATO is first and for most an instrument of collective security and has retained all the components of a military alliance. These qualities have designed and orchestrated to specifically deal with the concerns of Europe, not of the Mediterranean periphery. The Western European Union would be, in fact, a better candidate to assume the security role of the Euro-Mediterranean then NATO.
The truly regional nature of the WEU makes it less of an East-West institution, rendering it more of a neutral player with respects to the North-South issue. However, the WEU’s campaign of EUROFOR and EUROMAFOR respectively can be seen as an application of Combined Joint Task Forces, a project in which the agendas of NATO and the WEU became closely aligned. “The Web’s objective here being the defense of southern European Territory and interests, the move represents the perpetuation and consolidation of the time honored NATO notion of the Mediterranean as Europe’s southern flank, that is to say, viewing the sea as the frontier to be defended, rather than to be bridged” (Fenech pg. 169). The manifestation of the two rapid reaction forces mentioned above are counter productivein the attempts to create a fruitful partnership. Finally, the Organization for Security and Organization, in theory, would appear as the most logical response in finding common ground between disparate blocs seeking to forge bilateral relationships in a North-South context.
The non-alliance and non-sectarian nature of the OSCE and the organization’s prime directive of bridging over troubled waters suggest by including the Mediterranean, strides could be taken. In practice the OSCE is largely a European affair, owing the majority of its objectives to the whims of Russia and the United States. Therefore, the fact that the OSCE has failed to integrate the whole Mediterranean in its process “points to the conclusion that, while what happens in the Mediterranean is the concern of Europeans, Americans and even Russians, what happens in Europe is not the concern of the Mediterranean countries”(Fenech pg165)’The end of the Cold War ushered in a new and unique world order. The United States had become the worlds true hegomon following a century filled with struggles over the balance of power. Europe may have ceased along the way to direct world affairs, but it continued none the less to be the center of the quest for international stability.
As the iron curtain rose a old division stepped into the forfront: The north -south issue. In response, the Euro-Mediterranean partnership was forged attepting to utilize pre-existing institutions to help maintain security. The very nature of NATO, the WEU, and the OSCP remains essentially, in different manners, to protect and consolidate Europe’s post World War two status quo. In direct contrast the European Union is an ambitious organization relentlessly devoted towards changeThe WEU Institute for Security Studies organized a seminar on ‘The future of the Euro-Mediterranean security dialogue’, on 13-14 January 2000 in Paris. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibilities of enhancing the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership’s political and security chapter, including the establishment of a military dialogue within the Barcelona Process.
The seminar also tried to assess the contribution that WEU’s Mediterranean dialogue might provide, in the wake of the acquisition of WEU functions by the EU, and the synergies that will have to be found between the EMP’s new security dimension, and NATO’s Mediterranean dialogue. The Cologne European Council of June 1999 the EU decided to establish a common security and defense policy (CSDP) to supplement its CFSP, and more specifically to acquire new capabilities for crisis prevention and crisis management. This process was continued at the Helsinki EU Council of 10 December 1999, and will probably be finalized at the end of 2000. The EU’s new military scope makes it easier to confer a new military dimension on the various fields covered by CFSP, including the Barcelona Process. This is relevant to EU members, but CSDP may also be of interest to EU’s Mediterranean partners for a number of reasons, which equally justifies gradually including some defense and military aspects in the EMP and in the Charter. As far as military dialogue is concerned, in principle, there are two practical ways of incorporating it in the Charter’s framework.
Either military partnership-building measures are included in existing categories of means and mechanisms defined in the Guidelines (for instance, under the heading of preventive diplomacy and crisis-management, or else within the list of general PBMs), or a new specific category is set up. This category may be called “security partnership-building measures”, or even “military partnership-building measures”. In any event, implementation of the Charter will undoubtedly depend on political circumstances. Within the framework of the Charter, the definition, planning and execution of concrete measures that are suitable for all the EMP partners will be a complex task. Informal contacts ought to pave the way to more specific negotiations. Concrete measures should be feasible and have a manifest added value for Mediterranean partners.
These measures should be conceived and approved of, at least in their general lines, by the Senior Officials of the Barcelona Process. Adequate financial and human resources should be allocated to coordinate those measures. The EU Council Secretariat might be in charge of the coordination of concrete PBMs (even in the field of military dialogue). Another possibility would be to establish a specific office, with some degree of independence, to coordinate these kinds of measures, although this possibility is dependent on the wider decision on whether and to what extent the EMP should be institutionalized.Bibliography: