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Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned

Countries in Europe and Beyond

Edited by Emily Munro


The GCSP would like to thank Dr. Fred Tanner (Deputy Director, GCSP) and Emily
Munro (Project Ofcer, GCSP), who organised the round-table. Curtis Budden, Damla
Sar, Jennifer Wallace (Faculty Assistant, GCSP) and the Special Programmes team at
the GCSP led by Hrair Balian contributed to this nal publication, and their support is
gratefully acknowledged. A generous contribution from the Directorate for Security
Policy, Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, Switzerland, made
both the round-table and the publication possible.

Published by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy

Avenue de la Paix 7bis, P.O. Box 1295
1211 Geneva 1, Switzerland

GCSP 2005

Designed by Damla Sar, Geneva, Switzerland,

Printed by Nove Impression et Conseil, Route de Champ-Colin 2, 1260 Nyon

ISBN 2-8399-0092-0
Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned
Countries in Europe and Beyond

How is a policy of neutrality and non-alignment made

compatible with active engagement with the EU and
NATO, with special reference to robust peace operations
and the global ght against terrorism?
The Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP)

The Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) is an international foundation established
in 1995 within the framework of the Swiss participation in the Partnership for Peace

The GCSP is engaged in 4 areas of activities:

< Training < Research < Conferences and Outreach < Networking

A Foundation Council consisting of representatives of 33 Members States oversees the

work of the GCSP. An international Advisory Board, including prominent personalities
with expertise in the security eld, guides the management on key policy issues.

I N T R O D U C T I O N ........................................................................................................... 4
Raimund Kunz Ambassador, Head, Directorate for Security Policy, Federal
Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, Switzerland

A U S T R I A ........................................................................................................................ 7
Thomas Hajnoczi Head, Department of Security Policy, Austrian Foreign Ministry
Comments on the Austrian position ............................................................................... 13
Hanspeter Neuhold Professor, Head, Department of International Law and
International Relations, University of Vienna, Austria

F I N L A N D ........................................................................................................................ 17
Kari Mttl Special Advisor, Policy Planning and Research, Ministry for
Foreign Affairs, Finland
Comments on the Finnish position .................................................................................. 23
Tapani Vaahtoranta Director, Finnish Institute of International Affairs

I R E L A N D ........................................................................................................................ 25
Keith McBean Director, International Security Policy Section,
Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland
Comments on the Irish position....................................................................................... 32
Patrick Keatinge Fellow Emeritus, Institute for European Affairs,
Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

S W E D E N ......................................................................................................................... 35
Anders Bjurner Ambassador, Head, Department for European Security
Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden
Comments on the Swedish position................................................................................ 41
Bo Huldt Professor, Head, Department of Security Policy,
Swedish National Defence College

S W I T Z E R L A N D ............................................................................................................. 47
Paul Seger Ambassador, Head, Directorate of International Law,
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland
Comments on the Swiss position .................................................................................... 54
Fred Tanner Deputy Director, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Switzerland

C O N C L U D I N G R E M A R K S ........................................................................................ 57
Erik Windmar Faculty Member (seconded by the Swedish Government),
Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Switzerland

Switzerland had the pleasure of hosting a round-table on neutrality on 15 November

2004 at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). This was the second meeting on
the topic of being a neutral/non-aligned country in Europe: the rst event was held
in Helsinki at the initiative of the Swiss Embassy and hosted by the Finnish Institute of
International Affairs, on 26 September 2003. This second round-table was a direct result
of the success of the 2003 event, including the debate that was generated amongst
the participants and the subsequent interest in the publication that resulted from
the meeting (Neutrality and non-alignment in Europe today, Finnish Institute of
International Affairs, Report 6/2003).

As in the rst round-table, an ofcial and a researcher participated from each of the
ve neutral/non-aligned countries in Europe: Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, and
Switzerland. These participants were not all from neutral countries, but also non-
aligned countries; in addition, Switzerland is not a member of the EU. These realities
are necessarily reected in the papers.

While discussions focused on being a neutral/non-aligned country in Europe and

on developments in the European Union in 2003-2004, especially the drafting of a
European Constitution, the GCSP altered the focus of the debate to concentrate on
how neutral/non-aligned countries respond to the pressures of involvement in conict
management, peace support, peace-building, and the ght against terrorism.

The following papers reect the debates that took place in November 2004 and respond
to the broadly conceived question put to the authors prior to the round-table: How is a
policy of neutrality and non-alignment made compatible with active engagement with
the EU and NATO, with special reference to robust peace operations and the global
ght against terrorism? This question helped orient the authors to focus on exigencies
of todays security environment and challenges, if any, to nations with a neutral/non-
aligned policy. The European Union framed the discussion for most of the authors,
while the centrality of the United Nations in this sphere was also emphasised by some.

We hope that you nd the papers thought-provoking and that they generate a lively
debate on the international security policy of neutral/non-aligned countries. Certainly,
from the Swiss perspective, the issues discussed in these papers are of particular
relevance today.

I would like to extend my appreciation to the Geneva Centre for Security Policy for
organising this successful event.

Ambassador Raimund Kunz

Head, Directorate for Security Policy, Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection
and Sport, Switzerland

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Austria


Thomas Hajnoczi
Head, Department of Security Policy, Austrian Foreign Ministry

The Neutrality Act was adopted by the Austrian parliament in October 1955 as a
constitutional law. In paragraph 1 of the Act, Austria declares, upon its free will, its
permanent neutrality. Paragraph 2 stipulates that Austria will never in the future
accede to any military alliances or permit the establishment of military bases of foreign
states on its territory.

The origin of the Neutrality Act lay in Austrias quest for full independence and for the
withdrawal of the foreign armed forces that had occupied Austria since 1945. It is not
by coincidence that the last soldier of an occupying power left Austrian territory the
day before the Austrian parliament passed the Neutrality Act. Neutrality does not form
part of the State Treaty, and, consequently, it is not a treaty obligation, but it rests on a
sovereign act of Austrian legislation that could be changed like any other legislative act
in accordance with the required parliamentary procedures. Whereas a legal obligation
to maintain neutrality was construed by some Austrian international-law experts in
the 1950s and 1960s, on the basis of a formal notication of the Neutrality Act by the
Austrian Government to all states with which Austria maintained diplomatic relations
in 1955 and their explicit or implicit recognition of the status of neutrality, this view is
no longer held.

With reference to the Neutrality Act, and beyond its legal content, the so-called policy
of active neutrality was developed during the period of the East-West conict, when
Austria was situated between two military alliances opposing each other. Given the
changed international geopolitical situation since the end of the Cold War, the political
conditions for Austrias foreign policy have also been fundamentally changed.

When Austria was admitted to the United Nations (UN) in December 1955, the UN
Charter became binding for Austria. Though the Austrian Government had called the

permanent neutrality of Switzerland the model for Austrias neutrality, UN membership
set Austria on a different course. It brought up the potential for conict between
obligations deriving from UN membership and neutrality in the then-prevalent
interpretation amongst Austrian international-law experts. A pre-eminent professor of
international law at that time, A. Verdross, argued that, by admitting Austria to the
United Nations without reservations and in full knowledge of the recently declared
status of neutrality, UN members had granted Austria a special status in accordance
with its neutrality and consequently would not expect Austria to participate in any
measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter that might stand in contradiction to
Austrian neutrality.

The rst test to this Verdross Doctrine came in 1966 when the Security Council decided
to enact sanctions against Rhodesia. The Austrian Government decided to take part in
the sanctions, since the situation was not an interstate conict and neutrality would
not apply. As long as the system of collective security of the United Nations could not
be applied because of the antagonism between the Soviet Union and the United States,
the Verdross Doctrine was never seriously challenged.

After the end of the Cold War, the situation changed. The international response to
Iraqs invasion of Kuwait led to military action under Chapter VII of the UN Charter,
and the Austrian Government decided to grant over-ight rights to the allied forces
ghting in Iraq. Beginning with this decision, Austria has held the legal view that the
obligations under the UN Charter take precedence over Austrias status of neutrality.

Austria accords central signicance to the role of the United Nations in safeguarding
world peace and international security. Participation in the UNs peacekeeping
operations has been amongst the key areas of Austrias commitment to the organisation
since the Congo mission in 1960. Since 1960, about 50,000 soldiers from the Austrian
Armed Forces have taken part in UN-authorised operations.

Austrias role in the UNs peace missions continued to develop in the 1990s. Since then,
Austria has taken part in peace-making operations and has also participated in combat

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Austria

units since 1999. These are UN-authorised missions conducted under the operative
direction of NATO or of a lead nation. Likewise, Austria grants over-ight rights for
operations authorised by the United Nations.

When Austria applied for European Union (EU) membership in 1989, one essential
motivation was that this meant belonging to the zone of European peace and stability.
From its beginnings, the European integration process was perceived as a peace project
and thus as a security concept. Hence, the EUs enlargement on 1 May 2004 also yields
benets in terms of security policy.

Upon joining the European Union in 1995, the complete body of legal and political rules
and procedures of the European Union, the acquis, was incorporated into Austrian law.
The Treaty of Maastricht and in particular its clauses concerning the Common Foreign
and Security Policy, which formed part of the acquis when Austria joined the EU, foresaw
the possibility of a Common Defence Policy (Art. J-4, Treaty of Maastricht) that could
eventually lead to a common defence. In 1994, two-thirds of the Austrian electorate
voted in favour of joining the European Union under the conditions outlined above.
The Austrian parliament decided to add a special provision to the Federal Constitution
(Art. 23f) that stipulates that Austrias participation in the Common Foreign and Security
Policy would not be impeded by the Neutrality Act. After the ratication of the Treaty
of Amsterdam, the Austrian parliament added another clause to the constitution that
allows Austria to participate in the full range of the Petersberg Tasks, which include
military action in the framework of a crisis-management or peace-making operation.
Austrias participation in the outlined tasks requires a corresponding European Union
decision, as well as the consent of the Austrian parliament to deploy Austrian forces.

The Resolution by the Austrian parliament on the Security and Defence Doctrine
of December 2001 contains the following specic recommendations for the federal

Support of EU reforms, especially with a view to developing the Common Foreign

and Security Policy/European Security and Defence Policy (CFSP/ESDP) and
safeguarding the Unions security-policy interests.

Active participation in the ESDP in the spirit of solidarity, since the ESDP is currently
pursuing the aim of giving the EU the necessary means and capabilities, as well
as efcient decision-making structures, for civil and military crisis management.
Austria will make an appropriate contribution in terms of quantity, as well as
quality, to the Headline Goal and Capability Goals of the EU.

Priority support to any future efforts to realise the possibility of a common

European defence envisaged in Article 17 of the EU Treaty.

Close cooperation between the EU and NATO in the spirit of a strategic

partnership is regarded as a prerequisite for the success of the ESDP.

These recommendations not only make it clear that Austria's participation in the ESDP
as it is now is compatible with the Neutrality Act, but they also determine Austria's
position with regard to the further development of the ESDP.

Hence, Austria entered the negotiations on the draft Constitutional Treaty of the
EU with the desire to achieve progress in the further development of the ESDP. The
outcome, the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe, signed by the heads of state
or government of the EU Member States on 29 October 2004 in Rome, contains several
important steps towards widening the scope of the ESDP and strengthening the EUs
crisis-management capabilities.

Art. III-309 stipulates that:

the tasks referred to in Article I-41(1), in the course of which the Union may
use civilian and military means, shall include joint disarmament operations,
humanitarian and rescue tasks, military advice and assistance tasks, conict
prevention and peace-keeping tasks, tasks of combat forces in crisis management,
including peace-making and post-conict stabilisation.

From the beginning, Austria supported this enlargement of the scope of the Petersberg

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Austria

Art. I-41(2) states that the progressive framing of a common Union defence policy will:

lead to a common defence, when the European Council, acting unanimously, so

decides. It shall in that case recommend to the Member States the adoption of
such a decision in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.

In the case of Austria, that would mean a two-thirds majority for a constitutional law.
However, this article contains clear language expressing that, this Article shall not
prejudice the specic character of the security and defence policy of certain Member
States. It is worthwhile to recall that this wording derives from the Treaty of Maastricht,
in which it was introduced at the request of Ireland in accordance with its neutrality.

The demand in Art. I-41(3) that Member States shall make civilian and military
capabilities available to the Union for the implementation of the common security and
defence policy is totally in line with Austrias active participation in ESDP operations.
Until now, Austria has contributed military forces or police elements to all relevant
ESDP operations.

The establishment of a European Defence Agency foreseen in the same paragraph was
achieved by the Joint Action of 12 July 2004, even before the Constitutional Treaty was
signed. Austria is already participating in the rst activities of this new Agency.

With regard to the permanent structured cooperation mentioned in Art. I-41(6) and
further elaborated in Art. III-312, Austria argued in favour of an open, transparent,
and inclusive way to shape this new form of cooperation. The nal version of this text
reects this approach. While a decision on Austrias possible participation has to be
taken only upon entry into force of the Constitutional Treaty, a guiding principle might
be found in Austrias consistent participation in all sectors of European integration
hitherto. Since permanent structured cooperation deals solely with cooperation
regarding military capacities and does not create a special framework for military
operations, no separate decision-making process would be established. Therefore, no
legal problems would arise if Austria intended to participate in a permanent structured
form of cooperation.

During the elaboration of the Constitutional Treaty, Austria supported the inclusion of
a provision providing for closer cooperation on mutual defence that would be open
to all Member States. At the same time, Austria had to ensure that the nal wording
was coherent with its neutrality. When the rst version of the Constitution from the
Italian Presidency was distributed, the foreign ministers of Austria, Finland, Ireland,
and Sweden contributed a common proposal. As a result of this proposal, language
acceptable to all EU partners was found in taking up a passage from the Maastricht
Treaty that aimed to safeguard Irelands status as a neutral country.

Thus, Art. I-41(7) reads:

If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other
Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all
the means in their power, in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations
Charter. This shall not prejudice the specic character of the security and defence
policy of certain Member States.

In accordance with this paragraph, neutral and non-aligned EU members will decide
themselves on the nature and amount of their aid and assistance when such a situation

The solidarity clause in Art. I-43 stipulates that, the Union and its Member States shall
act jointly in a spirit of solidarity if a Member State is the object of a terrorist attack
or the victim of a natural or man-made disaster. After the terrorist attack in Madrid
in March 2004, the European Council of 25-26 March 2004 welcomed the political
commitment of Member States and of the acceding States, taken as of now, to act
jointly against terrorist acts, in the spirit [of this article]. As mentioned in the separate
Declaration on Solidarity against Terrorism, it shall be for each Member State or
acceding State to the Union to choose the most appropriate means to comply with this
solidarity commitment towards the affected State.

The nature of Austrian neutrality has been altered by Art. 23f of the Austrian
Constitution, progress in the development of the ESDP, and the acknowledgement that
the obligations under the UN Charter take precedence over Austrias neutral status.

While the Neutrality Act remains in force, it has been reduced, by the developments
outlined above, to its core substance: namely, that Austria will not participate in wars,
join a military alliance, or permit the stationing of foreign troops on its territory.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Austria

Austrian Commentator Hanspeter Neuhold

Professor, Head, Department of International Law and International Relations,
University of Vienna, Austria

In her rst statements as Austrian foreign minister, Ursula Plassnig, who took ofce on
20 October 2004, pledged continuing respect for the countrys neutrality. She also saw
no reason for a debate on this pillar of Austrias foreign and security policy. Her position
is remarkable for two reasons:

1. The sterreichische Volkspartei (VP), the senior partner in the governing coalition,
had in the past been the driving force behind dening Austrias international status
as bndnisfrei (alliance-free), similar to that of Finland and Sweden, and had even
proposed that the country join NATO. On 15 October 2004, however, the leadership of
the Christian democratic party performed an about-face: permanent neutrality was to
be included in an annex to the new Constitution,1 which at that time was discussed by
the Convention, while the call for joining the Atlantic Alliance was dropped.2

2. Surprisingly, in early November 2004, the pacist Greens, who had opposed Austrias
membership of the European Union (EU) in the referendum on accession to the Union
in 1994, declared that the abolition of the countrys immerwhrende (perpetual)
neutrality was conceivable in the context of a supranational CFSP. At the same time,
the Greens posed utopian conditions: the withdrawal of all EU members from NATO
and control of the Common Foreign and Security Policy by the European Parliament.3

It ought to be recalled that Austrias immerwhrende neutrality was declared in a federal constitutional
law in 1995. Eventually, the main political parties failed to agree on the draft constitution submitted
by the president of the Convention.
These decisions were taken three years after Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schssel had derided
permanent neutrality as a clich similar to the Lipizzaner (the famous white horses of the Spanish
Riding School in Vienna) and Mozartkugeln (chocolate balls also popular with tourists) in a speech on
the Austrian national holiday on 26 October (the day on which the law on neutrality was enacted in
1955) in 2001.
In addition, the Green Party demanded a positive vote in a referendum on the issue. The neutrality
issue surfaced again in the recent debate on Austrias contribution to an EU battle group that will
also be composed of German and Czech units. If a battle group launches a peace-making operation
(the third Petersberg Task) in which armed force is used not only in self-defence, the issue of its
conformity with international law will arise. Although it would not violate Austrias neutrality as
adapted by Art. 23f of the Austrian Constitution, even a humanitarian intervention designed to
stop large-scale atrocities like Operation Allied Force in the Kosovo crisis of 1999 would be unlawful
without the authorisation of the UN Security Council. See Hanspeter Neuhold, Collective Security
After Operation Allied Force, Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law, vol. 4 (2000), pp. 73-106
(pp. 95-103), and the literature quoted therein.

Two recent developments within the EU have raised major issues for the neutral and
non-allied Member States: the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe and the
EUs security strategy, A Secure Europe in a Better World.

Art. I-41(7), of the Constitutional Treaty signed in Rome on 29 October 2004 contains
a collective-defence obligation.4 It is followed, however, by the so-called Irish clause,
according to which the security and defence policy of certain Member States is not
prejudiced.5 As a result, the neutral and non-allied members do not have to subscribe to
alliance obligations contrary to their status.6 If they invoke this exemption, they would
benet from a non-reciprocal guarantee arrangement in their favour.7

Austria is faced with a special problem in this context because, on the one hand, it
still denes neutrality in legal terms; on the other hand, it wants to belong to the
core Europe whenever variable geometry is practised. Moreover, political leaders
changed their positions on collective defence within the Union in late 2003.8 Federal
Chancellor Wolfgang Schssel initially regarded the assumption of alliance obligations
only as a modication of neutrality, then switched to the formula solidarity within
Europe, neutrality in wars outside Europe. Alfred Gusenbauer, the chairman of the
main opposition party, the Sozialdemokratische Partei sterreichs (SP), at rst wanted
Austria to participate in every stage of European integration, even at the price of
abandoning neutrality. Later on, he opposed the abolition of this status.

The initial text drafted by the European Convention had only provided for an optional alliance inter
partes within the Union. It posed no problems from the point of view of neutrality, since the neutral
and non-allied members were not required to join this collective-defence regime. However, at their
Naples meeting on 28-29 November 2003, the foreign ministers of EU Member States endorsed the
more stringent proposal of the Italian Presidency. It obliged all other members to provide assistance
by all means in their power to a member that was the victim of armed aggression. Subsequently,
the foreign ministers of Austria, Finland, Ireland, and Sweden proposed an alternative, according to
which the victim of aggression may only request aid and assistance, which the other Member States
may grant or refuse.
Already inserted in Art. J-4(4), of the Maastricht Treaty on European Union in order to safeguard
Irelands neutrality.
On the history of the collective-defence obligation in the Constitution, see Waldemar Hummer,
Beistandspicht Solidaritt Neutralitt, in Gunther Hauser and Franz Kernic (eds.), Handbuch
zur europischen Sicherheit (in print).
Their partners in the EU would have to assist them in case of armed attack but not vice versa.
How this asymmetrical security regime will be appreciated by the other member countries is another
Hanspeter Neuhold, Auenpolitik und Demokratie: Immerwhrende Neutralitt durch juristische
Mutation? in Stefan Hammer et alii (eds.), Demokratie und sozialer Rechtsstaat in Europa. Festschrift
fr Theo hlinger (WUV-Universittsverlag, Vienna 2004), pp. 68-91 (p. 88).

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Austria

In the campaign before the presidential election in April 2004, the candidate of the
VP, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, followed the Schssel formula. For her social-democratic
opponent Heinz Fischer, neutrality was incompatible with a commitment to military
assistance, and its abolition was out of the question. Fischers more convincing stand on
neutrality was seen as one of the main reasons for his eventual victory.

Other relevant innovations in the EU Constitution include a solidarity clause in Art. I-

43. It calls for joint action against terrorist attacks and in case of natural or man-made
disasters. Since neutrality applies only to armed interstate conicts, neutral states may
provide assistance against non-state terrorist networks without violating the obligations
resulting from their status.

Participation in permanent structured cooperation under Art. I-41(6) requires military

capabilities that full higher criteria, as well the acceptance of commitments with a
view to the most demanding missions. Its compatibility with neutrality depends on
the concrete operation undertaken, in particular on whether it entails the use of non-
defensive armed force against states without the authorisation of the UN Security

It also remains to be seen whether the EU Council will include Austria in a group of
Member States to which it entrusts specic security tasks under Art. I-41(5).

Hopefully, joint disarmament operations mentioned in Art. III-309 will be undertaken

with the consent of the parties concerned and therefore entail no difculties for neutral

It is also worth mentioning that Austria participated in the rst European Security and
Defence Policy (ESDP) missions in 2003. These police and peacekeeping operations
raised no problems from the point of view of neutrality. The same is true of Austrias
involvement in Partnership for Peace (PfP) with NATO and the NATO-led operations
IFOR/SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina and KFOR in Kosovo.

The Solana Doctrine has not claried the vague terms mentioned in the Constitution
but instead has added to the terminological ination and confusion in the ESDP area.
For instance, practice will have to show whether robust intervention and preventive
engagement may also include activities conicting with neutrality or the international
legal regime governing the use of force.

The provisions of the Constitution on security policy and the EUs strategic concept
received little attention in Austria, both from the political elite and public opinion. If
the Constitutional Treaty enters into force and Austria follows the formula of solidarity
within the EU, neutrality outside Europe, its neutrality will be further eroded and
turned on its head, since membership in a collective-defence system, in other words
a military alliance, would then be regarded as compatible with this status. The main
reason for the reluctance to abandon permanent neutrality is its undiminished popular
support in the country.9

In an opinion poll concerning the main fears of the Austrian population conducted in September/
October 2004, 54% mentioned the abandonment of neutrality. The collapse of the health system and
organised crime were mentioned most frequently.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Finland

Kari Mttl
Special Advisor, Policy Planning and Research, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland


Doctrinal and institutional modications contained in the 2004 report of Finnish security
and defence policy1 are directed at retaining and strengthening Finlands capabilities
in pursuit of its national interests and international responsibilities in an intensive and
complex environment.

During the Cold War, an active policy of neutrality was the key instrument for attaining
a voice and status for Finland in international relations, where power was the prevalent
broker. For the last ten years, Finnish membership of the European Union (EU) has
provided a platform for the country to inuence world affairs, where norms, institutions,
multilateralism, and integration have gained strategic signicance. At the same time,
security benets are predicated on Finlands ability to contribute to common efforts
within the EU and in other European, transatlantic, and global contexts.

Doctrinal Modication

Military non-alliance, the remaining core of neutrality, is dened as one of the basic
components of Finnish security and defence policy, along with a credible defence
capability and participation in international security cooperation, in the 2001
security and defence policy report, as well as in the 2003 programme of the present

In the 2004 report, these instrumental objectives are retained in a modied hierarchy
and structure of the overall security doctrine. Military non-alliance is connected with
Finlands defence solution: Finland maintains and develops its defence capability
as a militarily non-allied state and monitors the changes in its security environment.

Finnish Security and Defence Policy 2004, government report 6/2004, Prime Ministers Ofce,
publications 18/2004. Online: http://www.vnk./tiedostot/pdf/en/88861.pdf
Finnish Security and Defence Policy 2001, Report by the Council of State to parliament, 13 June 2001.
Online: http://www.defmin./index.phtml/page_id/356/topmenu_id/7/menu_id/356/this_topmenu/354/
lang/3/fs/12 and Government Programme of Prime Minister Matti Vanhanens government, 24 June
2003. Online: http://www.valtioneuvosto.

The report species that, in practice, this means not being a member of NATO.
The relationship is linked with changes in NATO and its role, reecting continued
instrumentality and exibility: Applying for membership of the alliance will remain a
possibility in Finlands security and defence policy also in the future.

The defence plan, which extends to 2012/2016, reasserts the continuity of Finlands
indigenous defence system based on general conscription, a modernising territorial
defence, and a reserve for wartime manpower (350,000) sufcient for defending
the whole country. Restructuring, including a network-centric orientation, driven by
nancial, technological, and demographic imperatives, is projected to preserve the
credibility of national defence capabilities. Contributions to international tasks facilitate
the qualitative development of the defence forces.

While both the defence solution and the defence system are evolving in a dynamic
external context, stronger durability and self-sufciency are attached to the latter. The
basic elements of the present defence system are viewed by both the elite and the
public to be necessary, if not the only possible option, for Finland even in the case of
military alignment. Continuity is driven by the attention given to geo-strategic stability
in the Northern European region.

While the policy on NATO membership as presented in the 2004 report is descriptive
rather than prescriptive, the fundamental signicance of EU membership for Finnish
security and defence policy has also been accentuated and mainstreamed in an all-
party parliamentary report.3 The constitutive and functional role of the EU is inserted
in the core doctrine: Finlands line of action is based on credible national defence, the
functioning of society and a consistent foreign policy as well as a strong international
position and an active participation as a member of the European Union.

The concept and practice of a policy of neutrality was dened in 1997 as incompatible
with the solidarity requirement of the political union, as Finland could not be impartial
in a conict between the Union and a third party.4

Turvallisuuspoliittisen seurantaryhmn raportti, 9 March 2002 (with a summary in Swedish and
English). Valtioneuvoston kanslian julkaisusarja 9/2004. Online: http://www.valtioneuvosto./tiedostot/
European Security Development and Finnish Defence, report by the Council of State to parliament
on 17 March 1997. The use of the term neutrality was discontinued earlier, in the context of

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Finland

A relaxed Finnish attitude applies to the possibility of common defence within the
Union. It is not expected to be invoked in the prevailing or foreseeable conditions,
where NATO remains the tool for a real capability for those seeking a military security
guarantee for their territories, including for Finland if it so decided. At the same time,
while stressing pragmatic grounds for the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP),
Finland does not exclude participation in common defence, were it to be adopted by
the European Council.

As for public opinion, support of two-thirds of the population for military non-alliance,
and thus opposition to NATO membership, has remained steady, peaking in conict
times (Kosovo, Iraq). Albeit, a majority thinks Finland is eventually tying itself to
membership. Of the alignment alternatives, NATO is preferred to the EU, while an EU
common defence without NATO is preferred to one relying on NATO. The will to defend
the country through military means remains high, as does support for conscription and
territorial defence, while a majority prefers to keep defence spending at the present

Common Foreign and Security Policy/European Security and Defence Policy

(CFSP/ESDP) as a Challenge

Working through the CFSP/ESDP not only complements and supports, but also develops,
Finlands security and defence policy. Still, deepening security and defence integration
within the Union is a challenge to Finlands capability for adaptation, though Finland
has made no reservations to the treaty obligations related to the ESDP or to the
programmatic steps adopted within it. The challenge has to do with the objectives
of inclusiveness and openness in the enhancement and implementation of the ESDP
even when exibility is introduced. The purpose is to ensure that Finland has an equal
opportunity to contribute to decisions and actions taken in the name of the Union and
to certify and verify that unity is the best way towards a more capable EU.

Finland has consistently striven to demonstrate that military non-alliance is not a

hindrance to a full and positive role within the ESDP. Consequently, situations should

Surveys by the Advisory Board for Defence Information (MTS); in December 2004, the support for
military non-alliance was 61% and alignment 34%. Online: http://www.defmin./index.phtml/lang/3/
topmenu_id/6/menu_id/ 141/fs/12; and Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA. Online: http://www.eva.

be prevented where opt-out or opt-in models are introduced as part of a common
solution, then to be possibly invoked by Member States due to their non-alliance status
or other reasons.

In the context of the 2003-04 intergovernmental conference, strengthening the EU as

a solidarity-based security community guided Finlands approach to what became the
solidarity clause (Art. I-43) and the article obliging states to provide aid and assistance
(Art. I-41(7)), as well as the provisions on permanent structured cooperation (Art. I-41
(6)/Art. III-312). A selective application of enhanced cooperation and common defence,
as suggested in the Conventions draft, was not acceptable. Finland also joined a
demarche with the other non-allied Member States, rejecting formal binding security
guarantees (contained in the rst Presidency proposal, following the language of the
Brussels Treaty, Art. V) as inconsistent with their security policies and constitutional

The nalised article on aid and assistance in the case of armed aggression on the
territory of a Member State satises Finlands objectives. While not making the EU into
a military alliance, the commitment is mutually binding and constitutes a signicant
step forward in political solidarity. It is not weakened by the non-deterministic nature
of the assistance to be provided. The reference to consistency with the non-alliance
policies and NATO commitments recognises the principle of equality. Moreover, the
solution does not harm or add ambiguity to transatlantic security relations.

The solidarity clause involving the use of military resources in response to a terrorist
strike or natural or man-made catastrophes is supported by Finland, albeit the details of
the provision of executive assistance to civilian authorities remain to be claried.

Finland has been a participant in all the civilian crisis-management operations of the
Union, as well as in the Concordia (2003) and Althea (2004) military operations. Finland
did not participate in Artemis (2003). Finland has agreed to contribute forces to a battle
group led by Sweden as a framework nation, and joined by Norway and Estonia, and to
a German-led battle group with the Netherlands.

A joint letter of 4 December 2003 by Austria, Finland, Ireland, and Sweden; cf. Foreign Minister
Erkki Tuomiojas article in the Financial Times, 28 October 2003, and his account in Suomen ulko- ja
turvallisuuspolitiikka anno 2004, Helsinki 2004; Statement on the meeting of the president and the
Foreign and Security Affairs Committee of the government, 11 December 2003.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Finland

Interventions and International Law

As another challenge, the growing demands of the ESDP and structured cooperation
have created a need to review the national principles and procedures for Finlands
participation in peacekeeping and military crisis-management missions.

Under the present legislation, a commitment of troops must be based on the

authorisation of the UN Security Council or the OSCE, and Finland shall not take part
in coercive military measures governed by Articles 42 and 51 of the Charter. While the
executive branch takes the decision to deploy forces, the parliament shall be consulted,
and the procedure is more elaborate if the rules of engagement deviate from those in
traditional peacekeeping.

While cooperation with the parliament will remain a precondition, a policy discussion
is under way to accommodate the changing needs.7 There is a growing cognisance
that the EU may need to act without a UN Security Council mandate in humanitarian
catastrophes, for example, while acknowledging the priority of the UN and respecting
the principles of the Charter. The rapid deployment envisaged for battle groups may
render a streamlined decision-making procedure necessary. Moreover, the rules of
engagement may need to be revisited. The revised Petersberg Tasks and the scenarios
based on the Headline Goal 2010 have left the denition of the upper end of intensity
unchanged, but it remains open to interpretation and ad hoc decisions.

Relations with NATO and Participation in Partnership for Peace

Finland is deepening bilateral cooperation with NATO on interoperability in the

context of the Planning and Review Process of the Partnership for Peace and on security
dialogue. Finland has participated in all the NATO-led operations (SFOR, KFOR, ISAF)
and assumed leading posts in Kosovo. As a mature partner, Finland contributes to
transition support and assistance in the multilateral Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council
(EAPC) and Partnership for Peace (PfP) framework.

See the debates in parliament on the 2004 report, 28-29 September and 20 December 2004; speech
by Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, 16 November 2004 (Finnish); speech by Chief of Defence Admiral
Juhani Kaskeala, 24 November 2004 (Finnish).

A key objective is to transcend and overcome any gap between Finlands contribution
and inuence by ensuring a proper role in the strategic and operative planning, as well
as command and control, of NATO-led operations and EU-led operations with recourse
to NATO assets through the Berlin Plus arrangement. Efforts have increased to place
Finnish ofcers in NATO headquarters and commands relevant for missions and defence
transformation. A study by the Ministry of Defence on the effects of military alignment
highlights the added value in inuence and the relatively low cost of membership.8

Another key objective is to benet from interoperability with NATO and the NATO/PfP/
EU interface in capabilities development. This objective refers not only to enhancing
the usability and deployability of Finnish forces for crisis-management missions and
cooperation in crisis situations but also to transforming the national defence capability.
The task of the military is to provide the political leadership with full exibility so that
taking a decision to join the alliance, or its implementation, would not be hindered or
prevented by the lack of preparedness or capability of the defence forces to assume
membership obligations.

Effects of a possible membership in a military alliance to the development of the Finnish system and
to the defence administration (Executive Summary), Ministry of Defence, 27 February 2004. Online:

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Finland

Finnish Commentator Tapani Vaahtoranta

Director, Finnish Institute of International Affairs

Obsolete Neutrality

The 2004 report on Finnish security and defence policy is a mixture of new and old
thinking. What is new is the emphasis on the challenges the global security environment
poses to Finland. The fact that Finlands defence solution will be based on national
territorial defence capability represents the old thinking. The third main element in the
report is the strong emphasis on the signicance of the European Union (EU) as a means
of pursuing Finlands security interests.

During the Cold War, neutrality was a key instrument of Finnish foreign policy, but the
concept of neutrality is not mentioned in the report on security and defence policy.
The absence of the concept demonstrates that neutrality is no longer regarded as a
useful tool in policy-making or in the debate on foreign policy. What is left of Finnish
neutrality is its core, that is, military non-alignment, which means that Finlands
defence is based on a credible national defence capability and that Finland is not about
to join NATO. The scope of the core of neutrality has become so narrow that it means
only the policy of non-alliance.

As a consequence of the change in Finnish thought on neutrality and military non-

alignment, whatever is left today does not complicate Finlands participation in the
Common Foreign and Security Policy/European Security and Defence Policy (CFSP/ESDP).
As Kari Mttl points out, Finland has strived to demonstrate in many ways that its
military non-alliance is not a hindrance to a full and positive role within the CFSP/ESDP.
Finland has also been able to accept the development of the CFSP and the ESDP.

Policy of Non-alliance

In the context of the Constitutional Treaty, Finland accepted the solidarity clause
involving military assistance in the case of a terrorist attack, but the mutual assistance
clause, as suggested in the Conventions draft, was not acceptable to Helsinki. Finlands

reaction to the defence clause and the motivations behind it are still being debated
in Finland. The issue raises questions about why Finland is ready to assist other EU
members if they are attacked by terrorists but perhaps not if they are attacked by other

The policy of military non-alliance seems to explain Finlands reaction. Finland has been
able to accept everything that has been done to develop the CFSP/ESDP, but binding
security guarantees is the line that Finland is not willing to cross. Thus, for the rst time,
the development of the ESDP has created a real difculty for Finland. This observation
leads to a further question about the motivation of the policy of military non-alliance.
Why is it that Finland does not join NATO? As Kari Mttl points out, Finland is
doing all it can to deepen its interoperability with NATO, has participated in NATO-led
operations, contributes to transition support in the EAPC/PfP framework, and hopes
that its contribution is matched with inuence within NATO. According to the 2004
report on security and defence policy, applying for NATO membership will remain a
possibility in Finlands policy, but the report does not give explicit reasons for Finlands
attitude towards NATO membership.

It is not likely that Finland would give up its policy of military non-alliance. Public
opinion has steadily rejected NATO membership. The public attitude has been shaped
by historical experiences and decision-makers. An active campaign by the elite would
be necessary to change public resistance to NATO membership and to pave the way for
a change in policy. This campaign is not, however, forthcoming, since the government
and the public are in agreement on this issue.

Coercive Military Measures

One change in Finlands policy may be forthcoming. The development of the ESDP has
created a need to review the legislation on Finlands participation in peacekeeping and
military crisis-management missions. It is possible that the authorisation of the United
Nations Security Council or the OSCE will not be required by Finland in the future. The
government set up a working group to prepare the modication of the legislation. The
parliament will make the decision in spring 2005.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Ireland


Keith McBean1
Director, International Security Policy Section, Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland

Overview Irelands Neutrality

The dening characteristic of Irelands policy of military neutrality is the non-membership

of military alliances. However, it is arguable that it is not fully accurate to describe
Ireland as a permanent neutral or neutralised state in that this policy is not set
out in any international treaty, nor does it have a specic domestic constitutional or
legal basis. Rather, Irish neutrality reects a policy choice adopted by successive Irish
governments. It also reects the policy preference of the overwhelming majority of the
Irish people.

The foundation of Irelands approach to international peace and security is set out
in Article 29 of the Constitution of Ireland. Here, the state afrms its devotion to
the ideal of peace and friendly cooperation amongst nations founded on international
justice and morality and its adherence to the principle of the pacic settlement of
international disputes with international law as its rule of conduct in relations with
other States.2

In recent years, a number of Irish governments have made political commitments

that they will not join a military alliance without consulting the people rst. This
commitment was given concrete form in October 2002 when, at the same time as giving
their approval for the Treaty of Nice, the Irish people backed a government proposal to
amend the Constitution to the effect that Ireland could only take part in an EU common
defence with the specic approval of the people expressed in a further referendum.

This paper was not submitted to the Government of Ireland for approval and cannot therefore be
interpreted as an authoritative statement of government policy.
Constitution of Ireland, enacted 1 July 1937. Available online at

Irelands Security Environment

The international and European security environment in which Ireland pursues its
foreign policy has changed dramatically in recent years. The democratic revolutions
in Central and Eastern Europe and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact have greatly
reduced the risk of a massive military confrontation in Europe.

The international system has witnessed fundamental changes since the fall of the Berlin
Wall and the end of Soviet domination. The major threat is no longer a devastating
nuclear war but destructive attacks perpetrated by global terrorist networks that have
opted out of the international community.

Terrorism today is a real and serious threat to people all over the world. A new form
of terrorism that operates globally and aims to have a serious destructive impact is
primarily associated with extremist groups that claim inspiration from Islam. Risks and
threats have assumed new forms, and their effects are felt more quickly and over a wider
area. We cannot close our eyes to the problems that exist even in distant countries. The
struggle against new global threats and their many diverse causes demands action
across a broad range of areas using a broad number of foreign-policy instruments.
Combating these threats requires intensied international cooperation and a greater
preparedness to tackle problems and their underlying causes.

The Irish Government welcomed and supported the new provision in the draft European
Constitution under which the European Union (EU) and its Member States would act
jointly if a Member State is the subject of a terrorist attack or suffers a natural or
man-made disaster. A Declaration makes it clear that it is for each Member State to
choose the most appropriate means to comply with its own solidarity obligation to the
Member State in question, thereby ensuring that Ireland can determine the nature of
its own response in light of its policy tradition.

The solidarity clause was given practical effect, insofar as it relates to terrorist attacks,
in the Declaration adopted by the European Council in March 2004, during Irelands EU
Presidency, in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist bombings in Madrid.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Ireland

European Security Strategy

It was the increasing focus on the role of the Union in international affairs that led, in
2003, to the decision to draw up a European security strategy. It signals a step towards
the Unions taking a more strategic approach in the area of external action.

Approval of a European security strategy at the European Council in December 2003

marked an important step in efforts to ensure that the EU remains a proactive force
for international peace and stability, rmly supportive of a strong and effective United
Nations (UN), and committed to working with others.

The underlying premise behind the European security strategy is the unique role the EU
can play in support of peace and security, human rights, and development. Through the
European security strategy, the Union has for the rst time set out a clear and accessible
vision of what its international role is at present and could be in the future. The strategy
identies the global challenges and opportunities facing the Union and the need for a
coherent and all-embracing response. It sets the context of a more proactive approach,
stemming from an awareness of the need to dene a common perception of security
threats and of the role the EU can play in tackling them.

Ireland has welcomed the proposals that were presented in the security strategy. The
clear acknowledgement of the need for a holistic approach to security, going beyond
purely military matters, is particularly enlightened. It is also encouraging that the
centrality of the United Nations, conict prevention, and the importance of focusing
on the upstream dimension to security problems have all been highlighted. Priority is
correctly given to a rule-based international order.

The Irish Government can be expected to contribute actively to the pursuit of the
objectives contained in the strategy, which are fully consistent with Irelands policy
of military neutrality. It is, for instance, consistent with the role that Ireland would
wish to exercise to help to support conict prevention, promote justice, sustainable
development, and to help to secure and defend stability in our region and globally.

UN Dimension

From Irelands perspective, the focus in the security strategy on the importance of a
strong and effective United Nations is particularly welcome. As a result of the focus
on effective multilateralism, the Unions relationship with the United Nations has
been not just renewed but reinvigorated. In advocating effective multilateralism, the
European security strategy underlines that the multilateral approach is not just the
right way to conduct business but is indeed, and very clearly, the best way to do so.

Moreover, in prioritising cooperation in the crisis-management area, the Union has in

many ways been mirroring the priorities of the UN itself.

The Unions Secretary-General/High Representative for the Common Foreign and

Security Policy, Javier Solana, put this succinctly in an address in Dublin in January 2004
when he said, Ultimately, I believe that the best way Europe can contribute to building
a stronger UN is by building a strong and capable Europe; a Europe rmly committed
to effective multilateralism.3

Ireland has especially welcomed the growing UN policy of using regional organisations
to assist it in carrying out its peacekeeping and conict-resolution functions, as
particularly acknowledged by UN Secretary-General Ko Annan with reference to the
Unions developing capabilities for civil and military crisis management. In an address
in Dublin on 14 October 2004, on the occasion of his recent visit to Ireland, Annan
welcome[d] the development of European Union capabilities in the context of the
European Security and Defence Policy, and the progress that Member States are making
together in the eld of crisis management.4

EU-UN Cooperation in Crisis Management

During its recent EU Presidency, Ireland sought to harness synergies between the EU
and the UN by progressing the implementation of the Joint EU-UN Declaration on
Cooperation on Crisis Management.

Address by Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy
(CFSP), National Forum on Europe, Dublin Castle, 8 January 2004. S0005/04. Online:
Secretary-General, noting next years review of Millennium Development Goals, urges stronger
efforts to meet them, 14 October 2004, press release SG/SM/9542. Available online at http://www.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Ireland

Following the Joint EU-UN Declaration on Cooperation in Crisis Management, signed in

September 2003, a paper on the implementation of this Joint Declaration in the area of
military crisis management was developed and subsequently endorsed by the European
Council in June 2004. The paper examines practical ways that the EU could support the
UN in mounting military crisis-management (i.e., peacekeeping/peace enforcement)
operations, which, while mandated or authorised by the UN Security Council, would
actually be carried out by the regional organisations themselves.

Two main modalities of support for the UN in military crisis-management missions were
identied in the Irish Presidency paper.

First, the EU could establish a clearing-house process allowing Member States to

exchange information and co-ordinate their contributions to UN operations. This
would ensure better coherence in responding to calls by the UN for contributions to
peacekeeping missions.

The second option is for the EU to deploy an autonomous EU operation in support of

the UN, with the emphasis on rapid-response operations. An important element of this
option is the so-called battle-groups concept within the EU. The idea is that the Union
should have at its disposal a core of rapidly deployable groups that could respond to
a crisis situation within 10 days. They could be used as a bridging measure prior to the
deployment of a longer-term UN peacekeeping force.

At the national level, the Irish Government is currently considering its approach to the
battle-groups concept.

Options for closer EU-UN cooperation in civilian crisis management, particularly in

relation to police operations, are currently being developed.

European Constitution

The proposals in the security and defence area contained in the draft European
Constitution do not call into question Irelands traditional policy of military neutrality.
Throughout the negotiations, Ireland was open to the proposals to develop the EUs
role in crisis-management activity (the so-called Petersberg Tasks), which could create
additional opportunities for Ireland to play a constructive role in the peacekeeping and
crisis-management area.

Given their particular sensitivity, arrangements in the area of security and defence
policy were extensively debated, both in the Convention and at the intergovernmental
conference. Member States approached these questions from a variety of perspectives.
Some wished to see the Union take an ambitious approach in developing its own
structures. Others were keen to ensure that any new arrangements would not undermine
what they regard as the central importance of NATO for its members in European
security and defence. Other Member States, including Ireland, wished to ensure that
their policy of military neutrality or non-alignment would not be compromised by any
new arrangements under the Constitution. To this end, Ireland consulted with other
neutral and non-aligned Member States and succeeded in ensuring a satisfactory

Common Defence

The Constitution restates that the Common Security and Defence Policy shall include
the progressive framing of a common Union defence policy that will (changed from
the current might) lead to a common defence when the European Council, acting
unanimously, so decides. However, the existing reassurance that the Unions policy on a
common defence shall not prejudice the specic character of the security and defence
policy of certain Member States is retained.

Furthermore, any decision to create a common defence would, as now, have to be

ratied by Member States according to their individual constitutional requirements.
Irelands position on the question of an EU common defence is clear. While Ireland will

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Ireland

not stand in the way of others, Ireland cannot participate in an EU common defence
without the prior consent of the people in a referendum. The government has made it
clear that it will not seek to change this requirement.

The Constitution also states that if a Member State is the victim of armed aggression
on its territory, the other Member States shall have an obligation of aid and assistance
by all the means in their power, in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations
Charter. Nevertheless, it is made clear that this obligation shall not prejudice the
specic character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States. Irelands
traditional policy of military neutrality would thus not be affected.

Structured Cooperation

The Constitution puts in place a new arrangement known as permanent structured

cooperation to enable those Member States that wish to do so to commit to being
able to undertake the most demanding missions. Detailed arrangements are set
out in a Protocol. The Irish Government has indicated that it will further consider its
approach to possible Irish participation in structured cooperation in due course.


A variety of factors have meant that Ireland has traditionally viewed international
security issues through a somewhat different prism than most partners in the European
Union. History and geographic location made the Irish experience in the 20th century
very different from that of other European nations, large and small. However, Ireland
fully accepts that the EU as a global player has its own security interests and concerns, and
that as a member of the European Union these are equally Irish interests and concerns.
Nevertheless, there is no intention to abandon the traditional approach to foreign-
policy issues or the traditional policy of military neutrality that have served Ireland well.
Rather, Ireland is working to apply its values and make available its experience and
resources to meeting the challenges that face the European Union. It is believed that
this is the best way in which Ireland can contribute to the efforts of the European Union
to build a safer and more prosperous world based on effective multilateralism.

Irish Commentator Patrick Keatinge
Fellow Emeritus, Institute for European Affairs, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

The Irish Governments term of ofce in the rotating European Union (EU) Presidency
(January-June 2004) provides the focus of these remarks. The experience was, on the
whole, positive. The resuscitation of multilateralism after the invasion of Iraq and the
completion of negotiations on the European Unions Constitutional Treaty were tasks
that went with the grain of Irelands policy preferences, and this is reected in the
content and tone of Keith McBeans paper.

At rst sight, the high degree of engagement in the EUs evolving security and defence
policy raised little controversy amongst the political parties and even the broader
public. Hosting the EU-US summit at the end of June was a likely occasion for public
protest, given the major demonstration against the Iraq war in 2003, but only a fraction
of those numbers were mobilised for the summit. Ireland, it seems, is amongst the least
anti-American states in the EU.1

Anti-war/pro-neutrality NGO activists sank without trace in the local elections earlier in
June, and the issue of the compatibility between the European Security and Defence
Policy (ESDP) and the governments policy of military neutrality did not feature
signicantly in the accompanying European Parliament elections. But, although one
prominent Green Party critic of the militarisation of the EU lost her seat in the
European Parliament, the victory of a Sinn Fein candidate in Dublin replaced one
champion of the culture of neutrality with another.

In the event of the completion of the Northern Ireland peace process in which Sinn Fein
would no longer be associated with the IRA, a private army, the party may exploit a
nely balanced political spectrum to inuence the formation of the next government.
Its emphasis on neutrality can be seen in the title of its policy document, Positive
Neutrality in Action: Towards the Achievement of Human Security.2 Does this suggest
something of the era of Kreisky and Palme? The party calls for neutrality to be
enshrined in the Irish Constitution, demands withdrawal from NATOs Partnership

See Richard Sinnots paper, The European and Irish Public-Opinion Environment, in Joe Carroll and
John Travers (eds.), An Indispensable Partnership: EU-US Relations from an Irish Perspective, Institute
of European Affairs, Dublin, 2004.
Sinn Feins 23-page document can be found at

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Ireland

for Peace, and urges a repudiation of ESDP commitments through an opt-out protocol
in any new EU treaty. Disengagement is not quite absolute, however, since the party
also calls for active promotion of demilitarisation of the EU.

Thus, the defence of an ideal type of neutrality (against the onslaught of an ideal type
of superstate) is guaranteed a prominent place in the forthcoming Irish referendum
on the Constitutional Treaty. Hence, the cautious note in ofcial statements on the
relevant sections of the document.3 Although the essence of the ESDP had already been
agreed in previous treaties and much is now operational, the Constitutional Treaty
presents the full range of commitments in a new context. Its supporters will therefore
have to justify the ESDP in a coherent and detailed way something of a novelty in
spite of numerous previous referenda.

The continuation of the terminology of the Maastricht Treaty (the specic character
of the security and defence policies of certain Member States) and the limited extent
of the solidarity clause are likely to be stressed, together with the so-called triple lock
on Irish participation in the Petersberg Tasks. Although the latter, with their insistence
on a UN Security Council mandate, have been criticised as unnecessarily constraining,4 it
remains a sine qua non for the main government party, Fianna Fail, which is Sinn Feins
closest electoral rival.

And what of the more innovative elements of the Constitutional Treaty? Though Ireland
has not traditionally been seen as a defence-industry country, the predisposition is to
participate in the already-established defence agency.5 The position on the battle-group/
bridging role is not so clear, though helped by the UN context. As with everything else
to do with the ESDP, Sinn Fein and the pro-neutrality lobby more generally will not want
for a malign interpretation, while the main opposition party, Fine Gael, which regards
Ireland as not neutral but merely unaligned, will urge the maximum involvement. A
successful referendum strategy, following the principle that form follows function, might
concentrate more on the purpose of the ESDP (as expressed in the security strategy) and
its experience so far, rather than on the detail of the treaty text.

For the opening shot in the campaign, see The European Constitution An Explanatory Guide,
Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin, 2004. Also see Europe Re-united: A Constitutional Treaty,
Institute of European Affairs, Dublin, 2004.
See the article by a former chief of staff, Lieut. General Gerry McMahon, in The Irish Times, 20
October 2004. The main opposition party, Fine Gael, has also criticised the triple lock.
The signicance of dual-use products in the Irish economy is now acknowledged. See Report on
Export Licensing of Military and Dual-Use Goods in Ireland, Department of Enterprise, Trade and
Employment, Dublin, 2004.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Sweden

Anders Bjurner
Ambassador, Head, Department for European Security Policy, Ministry for Foreign
Affairs, Sweden


Addressing a policy of neutrality and non-alignment towards European and transatlantic

security institutions offers the opportunity to look further at the various forms of
cooperation and activities that form an integral part of the architecture of international
security policy today.

Cooperation and solidarity are key words for the Swedish security policy of today. Sweden
combines its policy of military non-alignment with a rm and active commitment in
support of international peace and security.

In principle, Sweden does not formally exclude any security cooperation other than
binding agreements on mutual security guarantees. This is a policy of non-participation
in military alliances. The policy is meant to achieve three objectives in particular: to
preserve our countrys peace and independence, contribute to stability and security in
our vicinity, and strengthen international peace and security.

There have been considerable changes in our policy during the last ten years. The end of
the Cold War has provided Sweden with new opportunities and new means to contribute
to peace and security. Another reason is simply that Swedens security environment has
gone through dramatic improvements, in particular in our neighbourhood. We are today
strong supporters of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and maintain
broad and close cooperation with NATO within the framework of the Euro-Atlantic
Partnership Council/Partnership for Peace (EAPC/PfP). As stated in our recent Defence
Policy Bill, any singular act of armed aggression (by a state) against Sweden is considered
unlikely for the foreseeable future (i.e., at least for a 10-year period). However, other
threats and challenges have increased simultaneously, and these are more complex and

more difcult to predict. New instruments and new forms of cooperation are needed
to avert these threats. That is why the Swedish Government has repeatedly stated that
the present threats against international peace and security are best met in solidarity
and close cooperation with other states, with the policy of military non-alignment
as a basis. The government has also stated that it is difcult to imagine that Sweden
would remain neutral in the (improbable) case of armed aggression against another
European Union (EU) Member State. But the Swedish Government does not see any
external circumstances for requesting any joint defence guarantees either within the
EU or NATO. This policy is supported by a majority in parliament, and it also enjoys very
strong popular support. According to opinion polls, it has more or less remained the
same over the last ten years.

In other words, the policy of military non-alignment is not considered a restriction on

our participation in military crisis-management operations. However, our participation
in crisis-management operations has to be compatible with international law. But that
is what most states, aligned or non-aligned, would require.

I will now look closer at some of todays key security-policy challenges and Swedens
contribution to international efforts to meet them, in particular within the ESDP and
the PfP.

Swedens Contributions to International Crisis Management

It is important that the international community strengthen its capability for crisis
management if we are to meet the challenges of today. In this regard, military as well
as civilian tools for crisis management need to be enhanced and the necessary resources
made available.

Sweden is an active contributor to international crisis management through the United

Nations (UN), the EU, NATO/PfP, and the OSCE. Sweden attaches the highest priority
to participation in international crisis-management efforts. We want to contribute to
resolving the crises of greatest concern to the international community.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Sweden

Upholding respect for human rights and international law is fundamental to Swedish
foreign and security policy. This is reected in the vital importance we attach to the
role of the UN Security Council, not least its key role in mandating international peace-
support operations.

A UN mandate, or consent by the state concerned, is as a rule a prerequisite of Swedish

participation in international military crisis management in particular if it is a robust
peace operation. However, there might be cases where such a mandate is not possible
to obtain but where action by the international community is desirable nonetheless, for
example, in the case of a humanitarian emergency. A UN General Assembly mandate,
an invitation from the OSCE, or consent by the parties involved could in such cases
serve as a legal basis for a mission. Under any circumstances, a careful analysis of the
political and legal aspects will be made on a case-by-case basis to ensure compliance
with international law.

In this context, it is obvious that the notion of security has changed. It is no longer
possible to think only in terms of security of nations; we also need to acknowledge
the security of the individual. The Responsibility to Protect report made this clear and
provided valuable recommendations. This is a challenge for the international community
as a whole, with the ultimate responsibility resting with the UN Security Council. We
foresee that this will be reected in the types of crisis-management operations the
international community will carry out in the future.

Today, Sweden participates with troops as well as with civilian personnel (observers,
civilian police ofcers, and other experts) in several international peace-support
operations under the UN, EU, or NATO. Sweden aims to contribute across the full scale of
crisis-management operations, including peace enforcement and with specialised units.
The government recently presented a new Defence Policy Bill to parliament, covering
2005-07. A key element of the bill is the strong emphasis on increased capabilities for
international peace-support operations, including capabilities for rapid response. The
budget for international peace-support operations will gradually be increased from
todays 1.2 billion to 1.7 billion SEK in 2007 (approximately an increase from 130 million
to 185 million euros).

Sweden and the European Union

Membership of the EU constitutes an integral part of Swedish foreign and security

policy. We are actively involved in developing the EUs Common Security and Defence
Policy. Ahead of the Amsterdam negotiations in 1996, Sweden and Finland jointly
proposed to include the so-called Petersberg Tasks in the then-new treaty.

Over the last few years, the Union has created a capacity for international crisis
management. So far, the EU has launched two military crisis-management operations
(in Macedonia and the Democratic Republic of Congo), and the planning for Operation
Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina is well under way all of them with Swedish

Sweden welcomes the enhancements of the Common Foreign and Security Policy
(CFSP), including the ESDP, that were introduced with the new EU Constitutional Treaty.
A strengthened ESDP will mean a European Union better equipped for more-effective
contributions to global peace and stability. There is no contradiction; rather, we see
a concordance between active engagement for further development of the Unions
crisis-management capacity and a continued policy of non-alignment. The new treaty
will further emphasise the external and internal solidarity between the Member
States of the EU. Further enhancing the EUs capabilities is in Swedens interest. Such
a development provides the EU and thus also Sweden with greater possibilities to
support the UN in its peace-support activities. This is a cornerstone of Swedish foreign

Capabilities are a precondition for an effective ESDP. Sweden welcomes the work within
the EU on the development of new military Headline Goals for 2010. We also welcome
the development of EU battle groups. Sweden intends to assume responsibility for one
EU battle group together with Finland. We are discussing possible contributions by
other nations. Our ambition is to make a substantial contribution to that battle group,
with around 1,100 personnel. The force should be deployable by 1 January 2008, at the

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Sweden

The European Defence Agency (EDA) will have a vital role in the further development
of the ESDP, especially in the area of capability development. Sweden is pleased that the
EDA is now being established and will soon be functional. We foresee that the Agency,
by addressing the problem of fragmentation of the European defence industry, will
have the possibility to render more-effective support to the ESDP, that is, by promoting
cooperation in research and acquisition.

Sweden also believes that the civilian capabilities of the EU should be developed further.
We have in this context launched an initiative for the development of a civilian rapid-
reaction capability.

In todays world, global terrorism, with its links to proliferation of WMD and other
transnational threats such as failed states, has broadened the threats that the
international community is facing. As a political alliance, the EU has a unique ability
to meet the challenges these threats pose, as well as a unique ability to deal with
their root causes. The EUs security strategy provides us with an instrument that will
contribute to a common European strategic culture and thus strengthen the Unions
ability even further.

The EUs security strategy rightfully focuses on the new transnational threats and
challenges. Sweden was deeply involved in the development of the strategy. We believe
the strategy will be instrumental for focusing on how to achieve coherence by reforming
institutions, policies, and attitudes and most importantly improving the EUs ability to
act. The strategy also stresses multilateral cooperation and the primary responsibility of
the UN for international security.

The security strategy identies proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as one of

the main threats to international peace and security. The EU has for years been active
in the area of non-proliferation, and Sweden was the initiator and promoter in the EU
of the development of a strategy and action plan regarding non-proliferation. Sweden
will continue to be active in this area.

The new treaty reects a deepened solidarity between the EU member countries.
Sweden welcomes the solidarity clause. The solidarity clause codies the solidarity
that already exists between the Member States. This deepened solidarity is of central

importance to Sweden, and it will also be benecial for national security. For Sweden, it
would be natural, as an act of solidarity, to come to a fellow Member States assistance
in case of a terrorist attack or a natural disaster. We would contribute what is deemed
appropriate. Contributions will be decided nationally.

Sweden and NATO

Partnership with NATO through the EAPC/PfP continues to be an essential element of

Swedish security policy. The EAPC/PfP remains a valuable part of the European security
structure. This cooperation is also a concrete expression of the transatlantic link, which
is essential to Swedish security. The EAPC/PfP is the main tool for participation by non-
NATO member countries in NATO-led peace-support operations.

Participation in NATO-led crisis-management operations not only gives Sweden the

possibility to contribute to resolving specic regional conicts, but it is also important
for the continued development of the armed forces capabilities for crisis management
and thus also for national defence. Improved capabilities will also be benecial for UN-
or EU-led peace-support operations.

Sweden has participated in all NATO-led peace-support operations in the Balkans and
in Afghanistan. ISAF is NATOs rst operation out of area. Sweden has participated
in the operation since its outset. Discussion on possible implications for our policy of
non-alignment was not relevant in this respect. For Sweden, participation was rather a
natural consequence of support for the UN, the Afghan people, and for international
law but also for Swedens own security (risks of trafcking in arms and drugs,
international terrorism, and crime).


Contributing to the strengthening of international peace and stability is one of the

main goals of Swedens foreign and security policy. Sweden is able to, and will continue
to, participate actively, fully, and in solidarity in international peace-support activities.
Swedish membership of the UN, the EU, the EAPC/PfP, and the OSCE is an important
tool for the countrys international engagement.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Sweden

Swedish Commentator Bo Huldt

Professor, Head, Department of Security Policy, Swedish National Defence College

Like Austria and Finland, Sweden has been a member of the European Union (EU) since
1995 the result of a referendum at a fortunate conjuncture of political forces and a
passing popular enthusiasm in 1994. Sweden is not, however, a member of the European
Monetary Union, the unequivocal outcome of a referendum in an unfortunate moment
in September 2003.1

Despite this setback, and despite scepticism today towards the EU amongst large
segments of the Swedish population, there is no doubt that there has been a dramatic
shift in Swedish perspectives over the last ten to fteen years. There is, certainly, general
acceptance of a transition from a concept of European security dened in terms of fear
and lack of other options to a concept of cooperation and opportunity. During the
Cold War, Swedish peacekeeping operations were all UN-led and directed at far-away
shores. In the early 1990s, this changed with the war theatre located in the Balkans
and with Swedish troops being sent to Bosnia in 1993 in order to prove, as then-Prime
Minister Carl Bildt said, that Swedes are good Europeans.

NATOs Partnership for Peace concept was bought enthusiastically in 1994; like the term
peacekeeping, this justication opened up possibilities previously inconceivable for
Swedes. With the rapid development from Amsterdam onwards, the process of adopting
the Petersberg Tasks for Union peace operations, also inspired by Finnish and Swedish
initiatives in 1996, has been taken by the Swedes in stride. The Swedish battle-cry, crisis
management, is, of course, legitimate, as this is what we think we have been doing
since the rst United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) in 1956. The Swedes produced
registers of military capabilities for the Headline Goal process during the chairmanship
in 2001 and are now quickly digesting the implications of the battle-group concept. As
long as this refers to crisis management/peace(-keeping) operations, little controversy
is raised.

The murder of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, an event that provided a dramatic background but
probably still had little impact on the result of the referendum per se; still, Lindh both stood for
Swedish EU commitment and, an uncommon thing in Swedish politics, was a much beloved minister.

For the Swedes, this transition has involved a complex case of self-imagery. Reduced
to small-state status on the European periphery after the Napoleonic Wars (Swedens
most recent war experience dating back to 1814), Sweden found itself in a strategic
position during the Cold War, holding neutral territory separating East and West. This
necessitated a high military prole for a small state and resulted in a self-image of
substance; Sweden was referred to by strategists as a medium power. From the 1960s
onwards, this self-image was further improved through a policy of active neutrality,
peace- and bridge-building, thus marrying Mars with Pax.

With the end of the Cold War, bipolarity, and the Soviet Union, there was a brief period
of identity crisis that, however, was quickly overcome through the 1990s challenge
of actively transforming the Baltic Sea region from a Cold War zone into a security
community in the Karl Deutsch sense. In this effort, Sweden, under the liberal Bildt and
the socialist Persson administrations, did the region (and itself) considerable services
for the Europeanisation and stability of the North. Es ist erreicht but it remains for
the Swedes to cut out a role as a member of the European Union for a country that
is now (again) a normal small state, although it brings with it memories of both Mars
and Pax.

Mars, however, is fading with the 2004 Defence Plan dramatically downsizing the
armed forces, transforming a several-thousand-strong conscript army into a mixed
conscript and semi-professional division-size force supported by modest naval and air
components, about the size of those of our Nordic neighbours. The emphasis is now
on international operations, as already observed, and on high technology. Territorial
defence takes second place, if any, although a vague notion of a possible future
reconstruction of national self-defence is part of the project. The Defence Plan has been
carried out by the government against the protests of the parliamentary opposition, as
well as from professional military and strategic experts for cutting much too deep and
quickly and taking great risks while transiting uncharted waters.

In the present situation, solidarity and cooperation signal a positive and optimistic
note for a country that is co-operating loyally within a framework incorporated by the

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Sweden

UN but that is now also used by the European Union. The Union now also demands
solidarity, a concept that used to be central to Swedish policies as declared in the UN
General Assembly involving small states and the Third World but not Europe. Today,
the demands on us are more specic, but there is also acceptance of a new reality. The
Solana document, i.e., the European security strategy, does not replace the UN Charter
in Swedish esteem but has advantages in terms of brevity, clarity, and focus.

Solidarity is thus likely to become another justication with which even the most
neutralist of Swedes will nd it hard to argue. The basic Swedish position in terms
of national security is now dened as military nonalignment, which means no pre-
agreed military commitments on national defence or mutual defence guarantees given
or taken. Otherwise, the Swedes are open to all forms of international cooperation to
secure peace and stability. Swedish units and ofcers participate in NATO exercises and
training, units are certied in accordance with NATO standards, and the Royal Swedish
Air Force, of course, speaks in English. We are involved in NATO-led operations both
in Europe and Asia, the limits so far being set by our problems in elding enough
troops rather than any conicts with neutrality. A positive mindset prevails, identifying
opportunities rather than dangers.

Solidarity is now being practised, a joy to behold for old Cold Warriors, by Swedens
being a member of a political alliance, the European Union, though still holding back
from membership of the military alliance, NATO, and also from a European Union in
the future becoming a military puissance. Again, solidarity is not questioned, but the
interpretation thereof could be both narrow and wide. In the 2004 Swedish Defence
Bill, just referred to, the situation is stated as follows:

Sweden is militarily nonaligned and does not enter into agreements on defence
guarantees of a binding character. There is no contradiction between military
nonalignment, as stated here, and the strong solidarity that exists between the
members of the Union. It is hard to imagine that Sweden would remain neutral
in case of an armed attack against another Union country. It is just as difcult to
imagine that the other EU countries would not act in the same way.2

Sweden Government Bill, 2004/05: 4, p. 23 (authors translation).

We can always discuss what armed attack means the League of Nations as well as
the UN have had difculties interpreting aggression, and NATO has never really been
put to the test (if we exclude the 12 September 2001 demonstration of loyalty with a
United States under attack by terrorists) but it is difcult to interpret the juxtaposition
of the last two sentences as not implying that if Sweden were in dire need it would
expect some solidarity to be shown to it. While it is neither an alliance nor a guarantee,
there is still some reassurance. With this, I think the Swedes will nd themselves at ease
for the time being.

During the 1990s, scenarios discussed for the destabilisation of Europe and possible
armed conicts with the Balkans becoming at least temporarily pacied even if not
permanently peaceful, and European integration calling for time, but still seemingly
under control tended to focus on the Russian border areas, from the Baltic to the
Caspian. Assumptions were still being made that the only possibility for Russia to
present Europe with a real threat would require not only a change in government
and political orientation but also rebuilding its military capabilities, which could not be
done overnight. The idea then emerged that there was now a 10-year period of grace,
a NATO as well as a Swedish way of looking at possible future threats. This appears also
in the government bill (as well as in Ambassador Bjurners paper).

However, Swedens practical concerns towards Russia can be described as rather more
subtle, given Russias efforts to lose no more of its empire, to have access to the West, to
redraw, if possible, major organisations to better t Russian interests, and perhaps also
to permit membership or substantial inuence. The question is whether this process
can continue without real conict as a result. Of this, we know nothing, and should not
assume that disaster is inevitable, but we ought to think about it in order to be several
moves ahead of our needs and not to assume that all will be well.

If we leave these problems aside, it seems clearer each day that the demands made on
our European peacekeeping, crisis-management, and intervention forces are already
growing at a speed greater than the building of new capabilities. The Greater Middle
East and Africa are adding new complications, some less demanding, while others
present overwhelming challenges.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Sweden

Against this background, there has to be a realistic assessment of what can be done by
the Europeans, who must also assume that the Balkans will remain their charge for a
long time to come, with the United States disengaging. The Swedish statement observes
that the budget for international peace-support operations is now rising from 1.2 billion
to 1.7 billion crowns (1 euro equals about 10 crowns). While this is to be welcomed, one
has to keep in mind that one battalion in the eld costs roughly 1 billion crowns per
year and that the new Defence Bill thus still offers limited international capabilities.
The bill is not quite up to the original 1999 commitments (two battalions or/and other
assets in air, land, and naval forces the costs of which today would have been 3 billion
rather than 2 billion), while at the same time it continues sharp reductions of territorial
forces for national defence. Defence, even in the shape of crisis management, has not
come cheap since the end of the Cold War. The Swedish-led battle group now under
consideration (and for professional reasons also highly welcome) will make a very
substantial claim on the resources set aside for international operations. By 2007, our
peacekeeping budget is thus likely to require 4.5 billion rather than the 1.7 billion now
provided. Funding is already today a major problem and looking into the future one
can only see growing difculties.

A major problem concerning peace operations has to do with the mandate namely the
question of who provides it. The traditional Swedish view has been that the UN Security
Council (UNSC) provides the mandate for these operations. The Balkans tangle the UN
Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) undone in Macedonia and the Kosovo crisis
in 1999 has tended to underline the relevance of regional security concerns overruling
global restrictions. There have also been Swedish references to the Organization for
Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which, however, has even less decision-
making capability than the UNSC, when in a real crisis. The Swedish statement recognises
these problems; in the end, we may nd ourselves in situations where vetoes are used
(or threatened) but regional security concerns will still force action.

The great power struggle over Iraq in the Security Council at the turn of 2003-04 and
its outcome, with the war now still being fought, must also be seen as an indicator of
continuing quarrels over what should be done and what will, for various reasons of

national interest (spurious or not), be considered possible. The world order designed
in 1945 did not work under Cold War circumstances. Agreement amongst the major
actors today is certainly not as harmonious as to be able to assume that the present
world order, still based on the 1945 inheritance, can be relied on always to work as
intended. We have no counterpart to the Holy Alliance today, for which we should no
doubt be grateful, but nor do we have enough of a consensus within the international
community for more-limited action.

Still, with all this being said, there is reason to look with some condence on the
European efforts, as mirrored in the European security strategy, to face security in a
comprehensive way. This is an opportunity that we should not lose by being backward-
looking or by denigrating what has been achieved within the Union framework. The
Swedish statement underlines deepened solidarity, participation, and being there
with real assets rather than worrying over the limitations set by neutrality or other
formulas, self-imposed or prescribed by others. With this, we leave the Cold War frame
of mind behind, and with that quite a big chunk of our historical deadweight. This
would appear to be a great step for the Swedes, even though they may not all be aware
of it.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Switzerland

Paul Seger
Ambassador, Head, Directorate of International Law, Federal Department of Foreign
Affairs, Switzerland

The Swiss Denition of Neutrality

Switzerland denes neutrality primarily as a legal concept to oblige the neutral country
to refrain from military participation in armed conicts between other states. In
exchange, the neutral country receives from the warring parties respect for its own
territorial integrity.

Although neutrality is mentioned in the Swiss Federal Constitution (Articles 173 and
185), it should be noted that it has never been regarded as a constitutional principle
or as an aim in itself but rather as a means to protect Swiss independence in peace and
security. Switzerland chose its status of permanent neutrality freely and independently.
Neutrality was not imposed upon the Swiss Government; it was given recognition by
the European powers at the Congresses of Vienna and Paris in 1815. For this reason, the
Swiss Confederation has reserved the right to alter its status if circumstances call for it.
Neither the 1874 constitution nor the new constitution that entered into force in 2000
makes any modication to this concept of neutrality. Thus, neutrality does not in any
way constitute one of the Confederations aims; rather, it is a foreign-policy instrument
designed to guarantee the countrys independence. Its objective is to enhance national
security. It does not prevent Switzerland from taking the necessary steps to protect
itself from new threats on the international scene.

Therefore, as a foreign-policy tool, neutrality is far from static and offers considerable
room for manoeuvre. It can keep pace with global political developments and is able to
evolve in such a way as to allow it to take better account of such developments. Indeed,
Switzerland has always been adept at modifying its policy of neutrality in line with
international exigencies, as well as with its own interests. Recent years have seen the

emergence of new kinds of threats, e.g., organised crime and international terrorism,
and Switzerland has responded by strengthening its international cooperation in
matters of security without casting doubt on its determination to remain neutral, e.g.,
its participation in the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme and international peace
missions, or its recent accession to the United Nations (UN).

Switzerland adapts its policy of neutrality in order to enhance its security through
cooperation on the basis of the twin principles of respect for international law and
the prohibition of the use of force in international relations. The main aim is to ensure
that its military neutrality is clearly established and implemented while respecting the
precepts of international law and civilian cooperation. A policy of neutrality based on
respect for international law remains the best way for Switzerland to avoid involvement
in international conicts.

After the end of the Cold War, and thus even before becoming a member of the
UN, Switzerland autonomously applied the Security Councils resolutions regarding
economic sanctions. According to the doctrine and practice established by the Swiss
Government in its foreign-policy report of 1993, neutrality does not apply as a matter
of principle to sanctions imposed by the Security Council since, from the perspective of
the laws of neutrality, such measures are not considered to be acts of war but means
to restore peace, security, and international order. Thus, Switzerland may participate
in UN sanctions without violating its neutrality. Likewise, Switzerland is free to apply
non-military sanctions decreed by the European Union (EU) or any other group of states
and to do so autonomously. When it became a member of the UN in 2002, Switzerland
recognised its obligation under the UN Charter to apply Security Council resolutions
imposing sanctions. While it did indeed reafrm its neutrality on this occasion, its
declaration did not at all modify the position it had maintained prior to UN accession.
Up to then, Switzerlands position had been that its neutrality did not apply in cases of
decisions made by the Security Council in accordance with Chapter VII of the Charter
of the United Nations (on action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of
the peace, and acts of aggression) since such decisions were made on behalf of the
international community in the interest of restoring international peace and security.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Switzerland

Switzerland and the EU

The development of relations between Switzerland and the EU, which has involved
a series of bilateral agreements, has had no effect on our countrys neutrality either.
The second round of agreements (Bilateral Agreements II) strengthens cooperation
between police forces and also enhances legal collaboration without jeopardising Swiss

As for EU enlargement, Switzerland has extended the achievements made in the rst
and second rounds of the bilateral agreements with the EU to the 10 new states. Again,
this implies no change to Swiss neutrality.

As we have seen, Switzerlands status as a permanently neutral country forbids it

from taking part in an armed conict between states or from becoming involved in
a situation that might lead it to do so. Membership of the EU, which is an economic
and political union, would therefore be compatible with Swiss neutrality insofar as
no European military alliance currently exists, nor is there a common and binding
European defence policy in effect for all of the Unions members. There is only the
European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), which has existed since 1999 and which
is limited to the management of conicts without applying to the territorial defence
of the EU. At present, therefore, neutrality is compatible with membership of the EU
in that there is no contradiction between possible future Swiss membership of the EU
and the fact that the Swiss Federal Council applies Swiss neutrality as an instrument of
its foreign and security policies.

However, if the EU were to evolve into a collective-defence system that required all of
its members to participate militarily, permanent neutrality would prevent Switzerland
from taking part in such a system. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to focus the discussion
on the connection between membership of the EU and our neutrality exclusively on the
nature of future EU defence structures, which remain hypothetical. Rather, one should
concentrate on the features that Switzerland and the EU have in common with respect
to security policy, in particular the fact that both parties would continue to pursue

the same ideal or goal of peace and security. Thus, it should be possible to develop
creative solutions with a view to adapting Swiss neutrality to European security policy.
Furthermore, one could ask whether Swiss neutrality as currently applied at the United
Nations might be transposed to decisions made by the Council of the European Union.
Such a hypothesis would mean that Switzerland would not apply its neutrality when
the European Union intervenes in conformity with the UN Charter in the interest of
international peace and security. At the same time, if it were unable to come to an
agreement on a common course of action, Switzerland would remain entirely free to
revert to its policy of neutrality.

Switzerland, NATO, and the Fight Against Terrorism

The current international situation, which is characterised by a change in the nature of

conict and an increase in the number of new and unexpected dangers often outside
the national framework, calls for international security to be guaranteed by means of
enhanced international cooperation.

As we have seen, as a neutral country, Switzerland enjoys substantial legal room for
manoeuvre. Both peace-building measures and military collaboration with foreign
powers are possible, especially within the framework of the UN. On the other hand,
an obligation to provide military assistance to another state in the event of war
would constitute a violation of its neutrality. Thus, it would be incompatible with its
neutrality if Switzerland were to become a member of NATO, even for the purpose of
contributing to the ght against international terrorism, since membership of NATO
entails an obligation to provide assistance in the event of war. It should be stressed,
however, that the question of neutrality only becomes relevant in the context of
terrorism if the ght against it amounts to a military operation by one state against
the territory of another state without a mandate, authorisation, or approval of the UN
Security Council. From the Swiss perspective, terrorism is not a form of warfare but a
crime, albeit a particularly atrocious and heinous one. Terrorism should therefore be
countered by the conventional methods used to ght serious forms of transnational
crime, such as international cooperation through mutual assistance in criminal matters,

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Switzerland

international sanctions, and the like. Switzerland has never considered neutrality as
an obstacle to cooperation along these lines with other states or with international
organisations with the aim of combating terrorism.

While Switzerland applied the non-military international sanctions imposed by the

UN on former Yugoslavia, it rejected NATOs request in the Kosovo war of 1999 to
authorise the transit of military equipment through its territory, arguing that this would
constitute a violation of its neutrality on the grounds that NATO had not obtained
prior authorisation for its actions from the UN Security Council. From the perspective
of the laws of neutrality, Switzerland regards the use of armed force by one state or
a group of states against the territory of another state as an act of war if such action
is undertaken without approval by the UN Security Council. However, as explained
above, military sanctions imposed by the UN are not held to constitute an armed
conict between states. In addition, neutrality is not an obstacle to taking part in peace
operations mandated either by the UN Security Council or the OSCE. Accordingly, since
1999 the Swiss Army has participated with a company (Swisscoy) of 220 troops in the
KFOR operation established by Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999). An amendment
to the Federal Law on the Swiss Army accepted by the voters in a referendum in 2001
created the legal basis for sending armed Swiss troops on peace-promoting operations.
Such missions must be approved by parliament if the contingent exceeds 100 persons
or the engagement lasts for more than three weeks. The armaments provided for these
peace contingents are of a defensive nature only and participation in combat missions
for peace enforcement is prohibited by law.

We should also note that, as Swiss participation in the Partnership for Peace programme
implies neither membership of NATO nor the obligation to provide assistance, it is
compatible with neutrality. However, if at some time in the future the PfP becomes
a binding alliance, Switzerland reserves the right to limit its participation in order to
preserve its neutrality. Thus, with the exception of membership of NATO, neutrality is
compatible with most forms of international military cooperation.

The Swiss Policy of Neutrality and Emergency Situations

Armed conicts affecting Swiss security either directly or indirectly are for the most
part civil wars and not international conicts. Neutrality, of course, is not designed to
respond to this type of conict, being applicable exclusively to armed conicts between
states. The risk of international war, which occurred twice in Europe during the last
century, is currently greatly reduced thanks to the system of collective security ensured
by the United Nations. Nevertheless, civil wars have been on the increase in the early
21st century and contribute greatly to regional instability and emergency situations.
In line with its principle of respect for the Geneva Conventions and humanitarian law,
Switzerland responds to the challenges posed by emergency situations, as is currently the
case in the Darfur region of Sudan. This does not affect its neutrality by any means.

As for the second US war in Iraq, we have been confronted with an international conict
to which the laws of neutrality are applicable. Switzerland has nevertheless been
able to provide humanitarian aid on the ground in Iraq in accordance with the legal
constraints of its status as a neutral country. It should be noted that Swiss humanitarian
aid has been stepped up since the declaration of the cessation of hostilities, which
legally brought an end to the international conict and thus rendered Swiss activities
in Iraq compatible with its neutrality.

Finally, the Swiss policy regarding so-called robust peace operations has already been
outlined above: Articles 66 and 66a of the Federal Law on the Army and Military
Administration make clear that Swiss troops may be committed to peace-building
missions on the basis of a UN or OSCE mandate and that such deployments must be
in conformity with Swiss policy on external affairs and security, which rules out any
participation in combat missions for the purpose of imposing peace.

Swiss Public Opinion

Neutrality is an important element of Swiss national unity, and as such remains

a central rallying point for the great majority of the Swiss public. Indeed, the Swiss
peoples attachment to neutrality goes beyond their linguistic or regional afliations.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Switzerland

Surveys carried out over the years have shown that the overwhelming majority of
the population (89%) supports the continuance of a policy of neutrality, support that
has not diminished over the last ve years. Indeed, the war against Iraq has had the
effect of strengthening Swiss public sentiment in favour of neutrality. Abandoning the
principle is thus politically unthinkable, particularly as it would require a constitutional
referendum. The Swiss Government must therefore afrm its commitment to neutrality
while deploying it in the service of a foreign policy characterised by participation and
solidarity, and with the aim of working for international peace and security based on
international law and multilateralism.

As for the Swiss people, to some degree they remain proud of the contribution
their country has made on the international stage. Swiss neutrality acts as a peace
ambassador, for example through the Geneva Initiative for peace in the Middle East,
signed in 2003 with the good ofces of the Swiss Federal Government, or the Sudan
ceasere accord of January 2002, for which Switzerland conducted the negotiations
on allowing the ow of humanitarian aid and guaranteeing a degree of security
and refurbishment of infrastructure. Swiss public opinion thus views neutrality as
tantamount to solidarity.

Swiss Commentator Fred Tanner
Deputy Director, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Switzerland

Since the end of the Cold War, neutrality has lost much of its credibility in international
affairs. There are two basic explanations for this. First, with the changing international
landscape threats and vulnerabilities have also changed. The notion of security has
widened to include non-military challenges and deepened to cover societal and human
security. Moreover, in this increasingly globalised and interdependent world, the
distinction between internal and external security has become increasingly blurred.

The second explanation lies in the emergence of a European-wide zone of peace and
stability based on the ideas of liberalism, democratic governance, and tolerance for
cultural diversity. This zone is expanding by the double enlargement of the European
Union (EU) and NATO. As a consequence, a pluralistic security community is emerging
that is not necessarily a function of the degree of integration or commitments towards
defence cooperation. Neutrality as an expression of distinctness in security issues is
losing currency in this integration context.

One of the main challenges to neutrality today is the domestic-international nexus

of international terrorism. From a Swiss perspective, counter-terrorism requires close
cooperation in the eld of law enforcement at the international, national, and cantonal
levels. The use of the neutrality argument as a shield against terrorist attacks is based
on the questionable assumption that international terrorism would go easy on states
that do not actively support the US-led coalition in Iraq or that maintain a policy of
equidistance between Israel and the Palestinians. For instance, the largely isolationist
Swiss Peoples Party claimed in an October 2004 policy paper that a strict policy of
neutrality is the best remedy against terrorist attacks on Swiss targets. However, this
argument ignores the reality that terrorists may operate in Switzerland because it
has many soft targets and because Switzerland may be suitable as a logistical and
nancial base.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Switzerland

There is still a widespread view within the Swiss political establishment that EU
membership is incompatible with Swiss neutrality, particularly with regard to the
European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and its increasing involvement in defence
cooperation.1 It is at this point important to distinguish between security cooperation
and defence cooperation.2 Within the EU, national defence remains a competence of
the Member States, whereas security policy will increasingly be subsumed by the EU.
Curiously, in both elds Switzerland has much closer relations with NATO than with the
EU. Neutrality concerns are less of an obstacle to cooperation with NATO because of
Switzerlands formal proviso not to join the Alliance. As a Partnership for Peace (PfP)
member, Switzerland co-operates with NATO on interoperability and defence reform
(Partnership for Peace Planning and Review Process). Moreover, Switzerland contributes
to anti-terrorism measures, security-sector reform, and other activities in the context of
the Istanbul summit initiatives. In contrast, the Swiss Government has been reluctant to
establish formal ties with the ESDP; Switzerland has no liaison ofcers at the European
Union Military Staff, nor is it considered a potential contributor to EU Headline Forces,
in contrast to other non-EU and non-NATO countries (such as Ukraine or Russia).

Switzerlands involvement in complex emergencies and conict areas has ipso facto
consequences for its policy of neutrality. Swiss ofcials argue that Switzerlands
neutrality helps the eld work and mission performance of Swiss-based NGOs and relief
agencies, and that peacekeeping contingents from neutral states are the most suitable
in protecting humanitarian and relief agencies in war-torn environments.3 The problem
with this argument, however, is that neutral actors in peace missions will not be able
to operate in a political environment that allows them to distinguish themselves from
non-neutral forces. In many cases today, there is no longer a clear dividing line between
consensual and interventionist peace missions.

This fact also has consequences for Swiss advocacy of human rights and humanitarian
assistance. Such advocacy may compromise Swiss neutrality, because it may, as in the
case of Darfur, be considered by the state at risk as illegitimate interference. On
the other hand, a narrow policy of neutrality would make it impossible to distinguish

Christophe Blocher, Ein EU-Beitritt aus Schwche?, Neue Zrcher Zeitung, 21 August 2003.
Defence cooperation involves cooperation in the eld of armament, modernisation of armed forces,
and operational training. Cooperation in security policy means cooperation in the areas of counter-
terrorism, training, crisis management, and peace missions.
Zivilgesellschaft in Friedensprozessen strken, Neue Zrcher Zeitung, 3 November 2004, p. 16, and
Peter Arbenz and Andreas Kohlschtter, Militrischer Schutz fr humanitre Hilfe, Neue Zrcher
Zeitung, 14 September 2004, p. 15.

between the perpetrator and the victim of human-rights abuse. Also, Switzerland
should not be gesinnungsneutral, i.e., neutral with regard to developments outside
its borders that touch upon core values shared by Switzerland. In order to maintain its
international credibility, the Swiss Government should take sides and condemn actions
of those states that excessively violate the human rights of their own citizens.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Concluding Remarks

Concluding Remarks
Erik Windmar
Faculty Member (seconded by the Swedish Government), Geneva Centre for Security
Policy, Switzerland

The EU and the Four

The developments amongst the four neutral/non-aligned European Union (EU)

members have been quite remarkable since the European Security and Defence Policy
(ESDP) was introduced. From being perceived sometimes as the difcult group in the
class, there is now a feeling that the four countries in general have not only accepted
but even endorse the overall work. A good example of this is the commitments made
to the EU battle groups. Hardly anyone today questions that neutrality/non-alignment
and participation in crisis management go well together. This said, there might be a
few challenges ahead.

Challenges Ahead

The rst that comes to mind is the question of the scope of tasks the EU will have to
be prepared to take on in the future and what is to be seen as crisis management and
what is not. With the new threat perception, this might be more difcult than before.
The answer will be important in many respects, one of which is what the focus of the
European Defence Agency should be. For the time being, the mandate of the Agency
is within the scope of crisis management but could easily go beyond if the Member
States so decide. The reason for this is that cooperation in the eld of armament is
not normally limited to crisis management. One example would be if the EU or some
countries within the Agency decide to build ghter planes. Although they could be
used in crisis management, that would, of course, not be the main aim. A more realistic
example of a potential challenge for a non-aligned country could be cooperation in a
joint Strategic Transport Command. This is a shortfall for most countries and could be a
relatively cheap way of solving the problem. But is it possible for a neutral/non-aligned

country to take part in cooperation where the EU collectively owns the planes? It would
also mean that the countries could not entirely control when they want to use the
assets for national purposes.

Moreover, there are plans to develop structured cooperation. The idea is to create a
group of countries that are in favour of taking military cooperation further than is
done today. This could be shaped in many ways, but the common denominator is more
integrated structures. For the EU to become an effective actor, cooperation needs to
be enhanced, and this might be a necessary way. But the question is to what extent the
neutral/non-aligned countries can take part in cooperation of this kind. Furthermore,
even though no one argues against the need for closer cooperation, structured
cooperation could at the same time be seen as a way of preparing for a common

The EU security strategy has contributed to explaining what threats the Member States
are facing and why broad cooperation is so important. The fact that the EU needs to
deal with terrorism is an important part of the security strategy. In relation to this,
the solidarity clause in which the Member States say that they shall act in a spirit of
solidarity if another Member State is the victim of a terrorist attack can be seen as
a deepening sign of commitments among the Member States.1 This might, however,
complicate the discussion that the ESDP is only for external use, and this concerns both
military and civilian capabilities. One could argue that the solidarity clause is a new step
for the neutral/non-aligned countries. Even though they had previously said something
in this direction, the solidarity clause reinforces the commitment. However, the question
remains: is there a difference between how the aligned and non-aligned countries
interpret the solidarity clause? It might pose a greater challenge for the non-aligned
countries since they do not participate in cooperation on mutual defence. Moreover,
one cannot rule out that the EU one day will have to use military components to handle
terrorism, and if the terrorist attack is sponsored by a state, then the solidarity clause
comes close to a mutual-defence clause.

Text from the solidarity clause in the Constitutional Treaty (Art. I-43), yet to be adopted. In a
declaration from the European Council, March 2004, the part in the clause covering terrorism was
agreed to be implemented by the Member States.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Concluding Remarks

The last point on the EU is the discussion on a collective defence, which will probably
become the major issue in the near future. The obvious question is how the neutral/
non-aligned countries will react to that. While this ought to be amongst the biggest
challenges to the neutral/non-aligned countries, they seem to be more relaxed than
one could expect. One reason for Austria and Ireland to have this attitude might be,
as they mention, the possibility for a country to keep its neutrality while at the same
time supporting a collective defence. The Irish, however, would need to go through a
referendum before joining, but arguing that collective defence and non-alignment are
compatible would be a huge challenge to explain to the people. On the question of
who would actually take part in a collective defence, there might be a split between
the four EU countries. While all four neutral/non-aligned countries are in favour of
enhanced cooperation within crisis management, some might be more interested than
others to take part in a collective defence. The impression is that Austria is likely to
join, Finland would probably join, and Sweden would maybe join, while it is likely that
Ireland would opt out. This is, of course, speculative and also depends on when the
issue is put on the negotiating table.

New Challenges for Switzerland

Having discussed exclusively the consequences of EU developments and their impact on

neutrality and non-alignment, this marks a dividing line between the four neutral/non-
aligned EU countries and Switzerland. Being outside the EU, Switzerland has chosen
a different way. It means that the country will have to rely more on itself when it
comes to the new threats, such as terrorism. However, there seems to be a tendency
that Switzerland is gradually becoming more and more integrated into international
cooperation. Membership of the United Nations and Partnership for Peace (PfP)
reinforce this tendency. The Swiss contribution to KFOR could also be seen as a step
in this direction and used as an example of how the Swiss, in line with their neutrality,
can contribute to peace missions. While these are good signs, one cannot neglect the
fact that Switzerland is, in many ways, still quite isolated. Everyone agrees that the
best way to ght terrorism is through wide cooperation, but to do this one needs to be
integrated into European structures, and this poses a problem for Switzerland.

Another challenge for Switzerland is how it handles humanitarian assistance in
complex emergencies. According to the ofcial Swiss position, this is doable, without
questioning a policy of neutrality, if it concerns a civil war. But one could argue that,
even if there is a civil war, being involved means taking sides. Furthermore, while a
complex emergency may occur in one country, it can seldom be conned to that one
country, and instead the roots of the problem are often found outside the borders,
making the problem no longer a national one. This could put Switzerland in a situation
where it might have to choose between its policy of neutrality and its commitments to
the ght against human-rights abuse and genocide.

Common Concerns

A topic that is very important for all ve neutral/non-aligned countries is whether a

mandate is needed for peace missions and, if it is needed, who will provide it. This is
also an issue where there might be different nuances between these countries. It is for
instance not certain that the other countries agree with the point made by Finland that
the EU may need to retain a possibility for mandating its own operations. This would
denitively not be an option for Switzerland, which still struggles with UN mandates
and whether they could participate in a peace-making mission with a UN mandate.

Another general question is if neutrality/non-alignment affects relationships with the

United States. The view often expressed by the US is that no one can be neutral in the
ght against terrorism and even more strongly that you are either with us or against
us. While on the one hand it is easy to say that it is what you do that determines your
relationship with the US, it is at the same time, sometimes, due to different reasons,
more difcult for these neutral/non-aligned countries to support US actions. This is
obviously not only the case for these ve countries, but when they decline to co-operate
or support the US, it might be easier for the Americans to use the populist rhetoric that
these countries belong not only to the old Europe but to the very old Europe. The
neutrals/non-aligned are nevertheless very keen on having good relations with the US.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned Countries in Europe and Beyond Concluding Remarks

The Future

So what has been the strategy in the ve countries to make the population supportive
of enhanced international cooperation? One reason seems to be that these countries,
some more than others, have found conditions acceptable for participation. For Sweden,
it is mainly the UN and peacekeeping but also to some extent civilian crisis management
and conict prevention. For Ireland, it seems to be the UN and peacekeeping. For both
Sweden and Ireland, their EU presidencies really did manage to put emphasis on the
relationship between the EU and the UN. In Austria, the need for justication seems
maybe less important, but the phrase solidarity in Europe and neutrality in the world
has been used with some success. In the case of Finland, it was more difcult to nd such
justications, but the closest is maybe to say that as long as a territorial defence remains
it is easier to support the EUs work. For Switzerland, work within PfP has opened many
doors. Furthermore, by using the expression preventive action the Swiss population
seems to be less negative to international commitments.

Finally, one cannot help wondering why, despite all the international cooperation that
has been developed during the last decade, the gures for support of neutrality in all
ve countries are still so high. When the day comes, and that might not be too far away
at least for the four EU countries, to choose between neutrality/non-alignment and
being part of a collective defence, this could be seen as a real test of how much support
the developments within the EU have amongst the population. But who knows: since
politics is the art of possibilities, there might be a way around this issue too.

Challenges to Neutral & Non-Aligned
Countries in Europe and Beyond

This book brings together papers presented at a round-table held in November 2004 at
the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, with the support of the Swiss Federal Department
of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport. At this round-table, a government ofcial and a
researcher from each of the neutral and non-aligned countries in Europe were asked: How is
a policy of neutrality and non-alignment made compatible with active engagement with the
EU and NATO, with special reference to robust peace operations and the global ght against

Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, and Switzerland are unique in Europe with respect to the
challenge they face of reconciling an active policy of neutrality and non-alignment with active
European and international engagement. This policy is continually tested by membership of,
or partnership with, the EU and NATO. Historical differences in the generation of a policy of
neutrality and non-alignment, the legal basis of the policy, and domestic public opinion all
play an important role in this subject.

This book claries the positions and perspectives of Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, and
Switzerland as neutral and non-aligned countries in Europe and the world.

ISBN 2-8399-0092-0