Center for Strategic Decision Research


European Security

His Excellency Jaromir Novotny
Deputy Minister of Defense of the Czech Republic


Throughout its modern history, the Czech nation often paid a high price for both its own errors and the failures of European politics. As a result, the present Czech Republic’s foreign and security policies endorse initiatives and undertakings in Europe that guarantee continental and regional security, particularly those that encourage dialogue and cooperation among democratic countries. Change is coming quickly and it may continue to do so for decades to come.

But it is not only in Europe where change is taking place; the condition is world-wide. In some regions, the form this change has taken is grave upheaval. Elsewhere, change is a process characterized by the regrouping of forces and influences in order to build a global community based on strong regional foundations. Gradually such change has led to greater Euro-Atlantic security, including Central European security. NATO and the CSCE support and maintain this security, as do the European Union, the Western European Union, and the Council of Europe. In Europe now, true democracy and international cooperation and trade exist, and there is no place for threats and conflicts.


Because the forces of global development are many and varied, tension and threats have not ceased; they have merely assumed a different character. The second half of the 1990s has been marked by a gradual departure from the supposed problem-free world-wide security environment that was widely touted immediately after the end of the Cold War. In reality, the world still is plagued by countless conflicts and protracted crises, including growing instability and hostilities resulting from increased ethnic and religious tensions and the disintegration of states, such as the conflicts affecting Bosnia-Herzegovina and now Kosovo. Though much desired, the international community has not yet found efficacious solutions to these problems.

The case of Kosovo in particular indicates how much more difficult it has become for international organizations to cope with new local conflicts. Current security systems have been found to be not fully applicable, and new models must be sought that fall somewhere between peacekeeping operations and peace-enforcing actions. With these new models, military interventions will most probably take place in a flexible operational environment, one oscillating between war and peace, military and non-military operations, and conventional and unconventional frameworks. Peace operations may even focus on geostrategic regions that were formerly outside the sphere of interest. European states and organizations are therefore intensively seeking and constructing an effective security system that will support the coexistence of various security institutions based on differing yet compatible and complementary principles.

The Strategic Concept

The NATO summit meeting held in July of 1997 in Madrid confirmed that the principles and the universality of the Alliance are entirely transferable from Cold War conditions to those of present-day Europe and those projected for the future. However, the need to revise NATO’s Strategic Concept has arisen because of the changes that have taken place since 1991. These changes include the establishment of new states; the altered state of several international organizations, including NATO; and the chaotic emergence of new dangers to European and global security.

Because the Czech Republic has a vested interest in NATO’s continuing to guarantee the effective defense of all member-states and their common democratic values, we acknowledge the need for the Concept’s revision. The Strategic Concept’s points of departure have changed, and so the political, economic, military, and security instruments must be modified, with a view to adapting them to the new circumstances. An updated Strategic Concept will serve both as a guideline for the NATO military command in matters regarding the Alliance’s defense planning and as a public document representing, for all parties involved, NATO’s goals and tasks at the threshold of the 21st century. The document should comprise NATO’s accomplishments subsequent to the year 1991, particularly those aimed at stabilizing the Euro-Atlantic region, and focus on incorporating the new European security architecture and the new role being played by NATO. The Concept should be perceived positively by entities outside the Alliance as well as those within it.

The Transatlantic Link and Enlargement

The transatlantic link—including an integrated military structure and the deployment of U.S. forces in Europe—continues to be indispensable for the Alliance. We must therefore further intensify relations within NATO, as well as strive for a broader Alliance security role. Additionally we should acknowledge the new roles Russia and Ukraine are playing in the European security climate, the Permanent Joint Council, and the strengthened Partnership for Peace program within the context of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. With the work of so many, wider access to security will become even more important and will expand the possibilities for dialogue and cooperation. The Alliance’s adaptation to post-Cold War conditions constitutes one of the most substantial changes in the Euro-Atlantic region.

The Czech Republic regards the decision to admit three new countries to NATO as part of this continuing adaptation. The end of the Cold War and the major changes that took place during the early 1990s provided a new opportunity for European integration, both in the economic and security spheres. We welcome the fact that NATO is no longer a military and defense union solely for Western Europe and that it is converting to a security and cooperation institution for the entire Euro-Atlantic area.

This fact has been substantiated by the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation, and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation, and by the Charter on Special Partnership between Ukraine and NATO. These new models of institutionalized relations enable both the Russian Federation and Ukraine to become more closely engaged in consultations on measures to be adopted regarding European security policy.


The Partnership for Peace program is a prominent part of this new policy, and has become the most successful cooperative security project of the post-Cold War world. The new democracies’ participation in Partnership for Peace and the prospect of intensifying their collaboration with NATO have encouraged these countries to continue along the path of democratic reform, and to meet the requirements for full integration with NATO. We support the goals of expanding the Partnership’s framework beyond that of peacekeeping operations, of better utilizing its facilities to prepare for Alliance–non-member missions, and of providing its participants with a greater decision-making role.

No less significant is a broader access to security-policy decision making. The Czech Republic has been utilizing this access by, among other things, making use of the possibilities offered by the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), which is supported by the Partnership for Peace program and joint peacekeeping operations. The Czech Republic has also demonstrated the importance it ascribes to the Alliance’s new missions by participating in IFOR and SFOR operations. We are convinced that the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and Partnership for Peace should play a more prominent role in stabilizing the situation and strengthening the confidence in Southeastern Europe, especially in the Kosovo region.


At a time when less emphasis is being placed on the military aspects of security and more on its non-military dimensions—above all, economic and social security—we expect that the European Union will acquire ever-greater importance. Expanding the sphere of economic stability to include Central and Eastern Europe can create the conditions necessary for strengthening the security of populations and thereby the security of states and regions.

Similarly, the role of the Western European Union is becoming more significant with the prospect of NATO expansion. Allocating NATO funds for operations carried out by the Western European Union will support the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI). The Czech Republic believes that in turn the ESDI will provide the Alliance with greater flexibility as well as strengthen the European element’s role in preserving security, particularly throughout Europe.

This process is a concern of the Czech Republic. It is in our country’s interest to ensure that, in the course of this process, the transatlantic link does not become weakened. So far, fortunately, American and European security interests have remained interconnected.

The Czech Republic believes that the ESDI will enable the Western European Union to prepare for operations and that it will help to assess the capability and will of the Union to act. Therefore, the Czech Republic considers it necessary to further strengthen the WEU’s operational capacities to ensure its full political and military control over operations headed by Europeans, and to facilitate increased participation by the nations of the Western European Union in the Union’s activities concerning preparations for European operations. Preparations for CRISEX 98 clearly show that the Western European Union is involving its partners in exercises. The Combined Joint Task Forces concept also establishes the prerequisites for WEU guidance and strategic management in future operations.

It is our conviction that the CSCE is also securing a new position within the new European security architecture. The Czech Republic greatly appreciates the role of the CSCE and the deliberations on a European security model for the 21st century that are taking place within its framework. We consider it important that the CSCE is focusing on preventive diplomacy, especially the mechanisms of early warning, the avoidance of conflicts, the solving of crises, and post-crisis restoration. We are interested in fulfilling and further intensifying the obligations and principles determined within the CSCE framework, including ensuring transparency in the military sphere.

The Czech Republic views the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, with its systems of information exchange, verification, and the continuous specification of procedures, as a major component of the security infrastructure. The current adaptation of this document, which supports security in the applicable zone by initially reducing and later maintaining conventional armaments in agreed-to numbers and deployments, should remain a functioning security model in the next century.


The transformations that we are currently witnessing are evidence of the rapprochement of many parts of Europe. This coming together in turn is providing a positive beginning for future European policy. In its newly strong state, Europe will be better able to work toward global cooperation and dynamic global interdependence. This is why we must continue to engage in dialogue, cooperation, and partnership and to respect each state’s fundamental democratic values.



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