Joint declaration on European defense
Saint-Malo, 4 December 1998
The Heads of State and Government of France and the United Kingdom are
1. The European Union needs to be in a position to play its full role on the
international stage. This means making a reality of the Treaty of Amsterdam,
which will provide the essential basis for action by the Union. It will be
important to achieve full and rapid implementation of the Amsterdam
provisions on CFSP. This includes the responsibility of the European Council
to decide on the progressive framing of a common defence policy in the
framework of CFSP. The Council must be able to take decisions on an
intergovernmental basis, covering the whole range of activity set out in Title
V of the Treaty of European Union.
2. To this end, the Union must have the capacity for autonomous action,
backed up by credible military forces, the means to decide to use them and a
readiness to do so, in order to respond to international crises.
In pursuing our objective, the collective defence commitments to which member
states subscribe (set out in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, Article V of
the Brussels Treaty) must be maintained. In strengthening the solidarity
between the member states of the European Union, in order that Europe can
make its voice heard in world affairs, while acting in conformity with our
respective obligations in NATO, we are contributing to the vitality of a
modernised Atlantic Alliance which is the foundation of the collective
defence of its members.
Europeans will operate within the institutional framework of the European
Union (European Council, General Affairs Council and meetings of Defence
The reinforcement of European solidarity must take into account the various
positions of European states.
The different situations of countries in relation to NATO must be respected.
3. In order for the European Union to take decisions and approve military
action where the Alliance as a whole is not engaged, the Union must be given
appropriate structures and a capacity for analysis of situations, sources of
intelligence and a capability for relevant strategic planning, without
unnecessary duplication, taking account of the existing assets of the WEU and
the evolution of its relations with the EU. In this regard, the European
Union will also need to have recourse to suitable military means (European
capabilities pre-designated within NATO's European pillar or national or
multinational European means outside the NATO framework).
4. Europe needs strengthened armed forces that can react rapidly to the new
risks, and which are supported by a strong and competitive European defence
industry and technology.
5. We are determined to unite in our efforts to enable the European Union to
give concrete expression to these objectives./.