U.S. State Department Geographic Bureaus: Europe and Canada Bureau

95/05/18 Fact Sheet: European Security Initiative
Bureau of Public Affairs

Fact Sheet: European Security Initiative

A major challenge facing the United States and its transatlantic allies is the need to adapt Europe's security structures to post-Cold War realities. The U.S. and its allies are working to create a new European security architecture that will expand security and stability throughout Europe.

The new security structure will be cooperative and inclusive, and Russia will play an important role in it. The creative process will be multifaceted and will involve all of the countries of Europe and the U.S. and Canada. It will be based largely on two initiatives regarding NATO enlargement and an enhanced Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) role in European security. These initiatives were launched by the United States in December 1994 at ministerial meetings of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels and at the Budapest summit of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (now the OSCE). The initiatives represent mutually reinforcing efforts to establish a viable structure for broad European security cooperation.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

In Brussels, allied ministers agreed on a gradual, transparent process leading to NATO enlargement; to strengthen NATO's Partnership for Peace (PFP) program with non-member European countries; and to develop a stronger relationship between Russia and NATO within and outside the PFP framework. NATO ministers also agreed to initiate a process of examination inside the alliance to determine how NATO will enlarge, the principles to guide this process, and the implications of expanded membership.

Allies will review the status of work on this project at the spring 1995 NATO ministerial and will present the results of NATO's initial deliberations to interested states prior to the fall 1995 NATO ministerial. While many details about the process have yet to be decided, NATO has agreed on several guiding principles: The process will be gradual, deliberate, and transparent; the focus of discussion at this time is on the how and why of expansion, not yet who or when; and new members will assume all the rights and obligations of membership and conform to certain basic precepts, for example, democracy, free market economy, responsible security policies toward neighboring states.

Organization for Security And Cooperation in Europe

The United States does not believe that NATO alone should be the universal security structure in Europe. NATO and the European Union should gradually project their coverage eastward, while working with other organizations, such as the OSCE, to develop a broader, more inclusive forum for consultation and action on issues not within the purview of NATO and the EU. In Budapest, action was taken to strengthen the OSCE role in European security and conflict management in part by reinforcing the OSCE's ability to engage effectively in regional conflict prevention. For example, important progress was made toward creation of an OSCE peace-keeping force for Nagorno-Karabakh. The new OSCE also will give all states in the Euro-Atlantic community a forum in which they can expect their security concerns to be seriously addressed.

May 18, 1995


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