Disarmament Campaigns

By Disarmament Campaigns; Luc Deliens, Age Skolev | 1990-04-01 12:00:00

Europe Must Choose

THE AUSTRIAN APPLICATION to join the European Community (E.C.) is forcing Europe to chose between a political or a military security option.

At the end of July 1989, the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alois Mock, filed a formal application for Austria to join the E.C. The European Commission must now prepare a report about the political, economic, and legal consequences of Austrian membership. Then the E.C. countries must de-cide soon afterwards whether or not negotiations should take place and over what issues. Yet the then newly-installed Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mark Eyskens, quickly opposed the nomination. He was concerned that Austrian neutrality could stand in the way of a more integrated foreign policy (read: a more integrated military security policy).

The Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister is certainly not the only one who has objections. Especially in the conservative (ex) Atlantic circles, the request is received with skepticism.

Although Eyskens later admitted that his intervention was somewhat premature, this slip of the tongue can be considered a forerunner to a long, tiresome discussion over the core of the negotiation problem, namely the neutrality of Austria.

The Austrian constitution states that the country may not join an alliance and that no foreign military bases are to be allowed on Austrian soil. The question of neutrality has far-reaching consequences. It raises the issue of the conflict over the nature of a (future) European policy. Should the E.C. favor a "political option" aimed at bridging East and West, then the joining of a neutral Austria is essential for an expanding relationship with Eastern Europe and with the USSR. Should the E.C. favor a "military option" aimed at extending a European integrated military structure, then neutral Austria's membership would be an extra hindrance.

WITH THE 1987 EUROPEAN UNIFICATION ACT, certain aspects of the E.C. security policy were left out in order to compromise for the neutral status of Ireland. At the same time, however, the Unification Act provided a mandate that within five years so for 1993-the E.C.'s security policy could be revised. This revision, which the present European Parliament (EP) legislature must be internally prepared for, can then offer a choice between all or no integration of the military aspects of an E.C. security policy. There are important indications that the E.C. will head towards military integration. This plea can be heard from the European military establishment in particular.

Because the U.S. is gradually losing hold of Europe, they fear that NATO as a credible security system is losing its sig-nificance. And through this the NATO's 'raison d'etre' (the U.S. nuclear umbrella) is being threatened as the pillar of the West European security system. They see in a military integration of Western Europe a possible alternative to the NATO-concept of a military deterrence. There are of course disagreements concerning the shape this military integration should take, but there is no doubt among the European political-military establishment that the E.C., as a super-national institution, is the best re-placement for NATO.

WITH THE APPLICATION OF Austria, the E.C. is compelled to clarify its political-military plans for Europe. Is the in-tegration of (West) Europe going to contain military aspects of foreign and security policy or will the Community remain "restricted" to a social-economic integration? Is Europe in the process ofbecoming a third military superpower or is Europe going to play an historic, pacifist (neutral) role in between two superpowers?

The E.C.s openness towards neutral countries is directly indicative of the degree to which the E.C. wants to become a non-aligned or neutral power itself. In contrast to Austria, whose neutrality was forced on them, the E.C. canvoluntarily choose a neutral course between the U.S. and the USSR.

CHOOSING FOR A NEUTRAL EUROPE also means choosing for disarmament and demilitarisation in Europe. This also means choosing for de-militarising the solutions to political conflicts both inside and outside Europe. The creation of a credible, neutral Europe is the best guarantee ofsafe-guarding peace in Europe. Every military bloc formation in (West) Europe will always be a destabilising factor to the USSR's legitimate security needs. In order to also safeguard the legitimate security aspects of the U.S., the issue of neutrality should be given a greater Pan-European form. In this way the European Community can become a peaceful "European House" from Portugal to Poland.

by Luc Deliens, Secretary of the International Peace Communication and Coordination Center do JOT Van Elewijckstraat 35, 1050 Brussels, BELGIUM. TeL 02648 7583. Fax 02 640 0774.

Norway Fights Naval Buildup

"NO TO NUCLEAR WEAPONS" (Nei Til Atomven-NTA) is still the largest peace group in Norway, with its 225 local groups and 20,000-30,000 members. Like peace move-ments elsewhere NTA has declined during the last years. This may be due to a popular belief that nuclear disarmament is underway and so action is no longer necessary.

Although there are positive trends in East-West relations, with several disarmament negotiations underway, the nuclear arms race at sea is es-calating. Throughout the '80s both superpowers built up their navies with conventional and nuclear arms. Both sides deployed new types of sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs), which can play the same role as the medium-range missiles being removed ftom Central Europe under the INF Treaty. Apart from submarine- based strategic missiles, naval nuclear weapons are not included in any arms control or disarmament negotiations now in prog-ress: the naval arms race has continued and is now even more important after the INF Treaty. The development of new types of weapons (like SLCMs) is another dangerous aspect of the naval nuclear arms race.

Because it is next to the Soviet military complex on the Kola peninsula, Norway is strongly affected by the naval nuclear build-up. We have experienced a continuous build-up of the Kola base and the Soviet Northern Fleet. Although some of the Fleet's older ships have been phased out over the past few years, it is still the largest and most modern of the four Soviet fleets. New types of warships, like aircraft carri-ers, are always deployed to the Northern Fleet first. The Northern Fleet, which includes a large number of Soviet strategic submarines, is the only Soviet fleet with free access to the high seas.

The Fleet's exercise pattern has expanded and conducted offensive manoeuvres along Norway's coast. Although the main purpose of the Northern Fleet is believed to be the protection of Soviet strategic submarines, it does possess a regional offensive capability. The last two years, however, we have seen a distinct change in the Soviet naval exercise pattern. The Northern Fleet's exercises now take place in Soviet home waters, close to their home ports on the Kola peninsula. This may be due to a transition into a more defensive Soviet naval strategy, but the Northern Fleet's modernisation still continues. For Norway, even a defensive Soviet naval strategy can be interpreted as offensive, due to the closeness of the Kola base. Norway also has many installations that support U.S. nuclear strategy, which in-creases the danger of getting involved in a superpower war.

Parallel to the Soviet global naval build-up, we saw the launch of the U.S. Maritime Strategy, with its emphasis on advanced offensive operations in an early stage of a conflict. NATO's naval exercises have also grown in size during the '80s. As a part of these manoeuvres, we have seen an ever-increasing number of nuclear capable ships in Norwegian wa-ters and ports. NATO has adopted the U.S. naval strategies, and Norway contributes communication and monitoring support, as well as land-based installations such as airports and pre-positioning of weapons.

Local NTA groups often ar-range protest actions against port calls from nuclear capable ships. These protests have been directed both at visiting navies and at Nor-wegian authorities who accept the "neither confirm nor deny" policy of Western nuclear powers. The protest actions have not been able to stop any of the port calls, but they have often been covered by the mass media and led to some public debate.

PROTESTS AGAINST PORT CALLS and exercises involving nuclear capable ships have been given high priority by NTA for several years. Since the summer of 1987, however, our main activity has been campaigning against plans for a Norwegian-U.S. agreement on support installations for the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Talks have been going on for more than two years between the two countries' military officials about the need for such installations. The talks are now completed and the governrnent (and perhaps Parliament) is expected to discuss the agreement this year. The agreement's content is still unclear, but it will probably include pre-positioning weapons and fuel, as well as repair capacities and per ha ps some communication facilities.

by Age Skoelv of Nei Til Atomvapen, Youngsgt. 7, 0181 Oslo 1, NORWAY. TeL 02 205 848 or 02 205 810.

DISARMAMENT CAMPAIGNS is published at Anna Paulownaplein 3, Mailbox: 070-345-3566. The Hague, Netherlands. Tel.70 345 35 66 Fax 70 364 40 69 Editor Shelley Anderson. Staff: Janet Larmore, Jeremias Tucker.

Peace Magazine Apr-May 1990

Peace Magazine Apr-May 1990, page 26. Some rights reserved.

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