Draft Atlantic Community
The following suggestions for an "Atlantic Community Treaty" are presented for consideration and comment. This brief discussion is designed to provoke thought about how the concept of an Atlantic Community could be translated into a new and stronger commitment by the democratic nations in the Euro-Atlantic area. The new Atlantic Community Treaty would not displace NATO, but would rather provide a broader framework for Euro-Atlantic cooperation within which NATO would continue to operate.
The proposed treaty would carry forward substantial portions of the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty, otherwise known as the Treaty of Washington, the text of which can be seen at: http://www.nato.int/docu/basictxt/treaty.htm.
Please send reactions and suggestions to: info@AtlanticCommunity.org
NATO: A Necessary but Insufficient Foundation It is increasingly clear that the challenges faced by the Euro-Atlantic allies cannot be managed effectively within the narrow confines of the alliance, or even in a treaty between the United States and members of the European Union, which would leave out Canada and important European allies like Norway and Turkey. Furthermore, the US-EU bilateral relationship has a distinctly functional nature – it is mainly about the important but mainly technical details of US-EU relations, and has very little political prominence or association with broader goals and values. The diverse nature of 21st century issues affecting allied interests suggests the need for a new initiative designed to broaden the context of the transatlantic relationship. The point of doing so would be to give form and substance to the apparent belief of all allied governments that, even in the absence of a Soviet threat, and in the face of new terrorist challenges, they continue to share – and need to defend – many values, goals, and interests. The means would be making a reinforced Atlantic Community the central organizing mechanism.
A New Atlantic Community Treaty A new Atlantic Community Treaty could draw on the expressions of common values and shared interests articulated in the 1949 Treaty of Washington that established NATO (full text in Appendix 1). It could reflect a contemporary appreciation of those values and interests, and should include all members of the European Union and NATO. A draft of an Atlantic Community Treaty could be based on the existing North Atlantic or “Washington Treaty.” The preamble would be slightly modified to reflect the broader goals of the Community (new language italicized):
The parties to this Treaty reaffirm their faith in the purposes and principles of the charter of the United Nations and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments.
They are determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.
They seek to promote stability and well-being in the Euro-Atlantic area as a foundation for conditions of peace, democracy, the rule of law and international cooperation among all member nations of the international community.
They are resolved to unite their efforts for the preservation of peace and security. They therefore agree to this Atlantic Community Treaty:
Articles 1 and 2 could remain exactly as they are written in the Washington Treaty. Article 1 includes a pledge by the Parties to settle international disputes by peaceful means and to refrain from the threat or use of force “in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.” In Article 2, the so-called Canadian article, the Parties pledge to strengthen their free institutions, promote international conditions of stability and well-being, and encourage economic cooperation among them – all objectives that remain relevant and important for a new Atlantic Community.
A new Article 3 in an Atlantic Community Treaty could spell out the main purpose of the new Atlantic Community, and could read as follows:
The Parties will promote mutually beneficial political, economic and security cooperation at all levels of intergovernmental and multinational interaction among them and will particularly ensure the effective collaboration between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) in areas of mutually reinforcing activity.
In the Washington Treaty’s Article 3, the Parties pledge they “...will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.” This article, whose pledge is a useful reminder that Community members need to keep up adequate defense efforts, could become Article 4 in the Atlantic Community Treaty. The Washington Treaty’s Article 4, which says “The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened”, could become Article 5 in the Atlantic Community Treaty. This would provide the mandate for members to initiate a broad range of cooperative measures (political, financial, economic, police, etc.) in response to threats.
The Washington Treaty’s collective defense provision, which is activated by an actual attack against a member, would remain at the core of the Washington Treaty but would not be included in the Atlantic Community Treaty. Article 6, which in the Washington Treaty qualified application of Article 5, would be replaced by a commitment to work together using all instruments available to promote peaceful resolution of disputes and to restore and keep international peace when it has been broken by conflict. It could read as follows:
The Parties, through processes of consultation, cooperation and action, will contribute to world peace, individually and collectively, by promoting peaceful resolution of disputes that affect peace and well-being in the Euro-Atlantic area, discouraging resort to force in international relations and providing civilian and military resources to help restore and keep international peace when it has been broken by conflict
The Washington Treaty’s Article 7 importantly reserves primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security to the United Nations Security Council. This could be preserved in the Atlantic Community Treaty and a sentence could be added to make it clear that the new Atlantic Community would be a cooperative structure, not one that gives orders to either the European Union or NATO.
In addition, Article 7 in the new treaty could give members of the European Union the option of being represented in Atlantic Community councils by the EU, when such representation was consistent with or required by their membership in the EU. For example, in areas where EU policy is conducted by the EU Commission, a Commission representative could speak for the EU. When matters relating to the EU’s Common European Security and Defense Policy were being discussed, the EU’s High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy could represent the EU along with an official representing the President of the EU Council of Ministers. The Atlantic Community members might also wish to agree that the Secretary General of NATO, the President of the EU Commission, and the EU’s High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy would become permanent observers in Atlantic Community councils. The new Article 7 could read as follows:
This Treaty does not affect, and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations under the Charter of the Parties which are members of the United Nations, or the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security. This treaty establishes no authority superior to the decisionmaking bodies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or the European Union. Parties that are members of the European Union may when appropriate choose to be represented in Atlantic Community bodies by relevant EU authorities.
Articles 8 in the Washington Treaty could transfer without change to the new Atlantic Community Treaty. In Article 8, Parties declare that there is no conflict between their existing international commitments and the provisions of the Treaty.
Article 9 provides the mandate for establishing a “Council” as its decisionmaking forum. The language of the Washington Treaty Article 9 would provide a flexible starting point for governments to begin organizing the new Atlantic Community. However, the second clause of the last sentence calling for creation of a defense committee could be adapted to reflect the growing interaction between NATO and the European Union’s Common European Security and Defense Policy. That clause could direct an Atlantic Community defense committee to facilitate coordination of NATO and EU CESDP working relations. The Atlantic Community Treaty Article 9 could read as follows:
The Parties hereby establish a Council, on which each of them shall be represented, to consider matters concerning the implementation of this Treaty. The Council shall be so organized as to be able to meet promptly at any time. The Council shall set up such subsidiary bodies as may be necessary; in particular it shall establish immediately a defense committee composed of NATO and EU representatives to facilitate coordination of the defense responsibilities and activities of the two organizations.
Article 10, concerning membership, would have to be redrawn. The new language would make members of the European Union and NATO eligible to join the Atlantic Community. Thus the enlargement processes of the EU and NATO would serve as the entry points for joining the Atlantic Community. Article 10 could read as follows:
All State Parties to the North Atlantic Treaty and members of the European Union are eligible to become Parties to this Treaty. Any qualified State may accede to this Treaty by depositing its instrument of accession with the Government of [to be determined]. The Government of [to be determined] will inform each of the Parties of the deposit of each such instrument of accession.
Articles 11-14 could remain essentially as they appear in the Washington Treaty, with the provision that, as in Article 10, the depository government (presumably the government of the Member state in which the treaty was signed) would have to be specified appropriately. In addition, the reference in Article 12 to the “North Atlantic area” might appropriately be revised to read the “Euro-Atlantic area.” Article 11 specifies arrangements for ratification and entry into force of the Treaty, Article 12 provides for a review of the Treaty, if necessary, after 10 years, Article 13 specifies the right of any Party to leave the Treaty after 20 years, and Article 14 notes that English and French texts of the Treaty are authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of the depository government and transmitted by that government to the others.
A New Atlantic Community in Practice Such a treaty text would not answer all the questions in detail about how the Atlantic Community would do its work. That task is better left to governments to resolve in practice, just as they did with NATO based on the Washington Treaty. However, some basic propositions might be considered.
Operation of a new Atlantic Community could include the organization of twice-yearly summit meetings among all members of NATO and the European Union as well as all countries recognized as candidates for membership in those two bodies. The meetings could be scheduled in conjunction with the regular NATO and EU summits and would supplant the current US-EU summit meetings. The summit framework could be supported by a permanent council to discuss issues as they develop between summit sessions and working groups that meet as needed. To give the Community a representative dimension, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly could be transformed into the Atlantic Community Assembly, including representatives from all member states in the Community, with the mandate to study and debate the entire range of issues in the transatlantic relationship.
To help reduce institutional overlap and heavy meeting schedules for transatlantic officials, all items currently on the US-EU agenda could be transferred to the new forum, covering virtually all aspects of transatlantic relations and including all countries with interests in the relationship, unlike the more narrow US-EU consultations. When specific US-EU issues arise, they could be handled in bilateral US-EU negotiations. Atlantic Community institutions could be established in or near Brussels, Belgium to facilitate coordination with NATO and EU institutions.
It might be beneficial to address some other consolidation issues at the same time. The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) in NATO has never established itself as a uniquely useful forum for dialogue and cooperation. At the same time, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) could be strengthened as the body that would bring together the members of the new Atlantic Community and all the other states in Europe who do not qualify for or do not seek Atlantic Community membership, including most importantly Russia and Ukraine. Shifting all relevant EAPC functions to the OSCE framework would be a useful consolidation of European structures. The main responsibility of the OSCE would be to provide the “collective security” function for relations among states in Europe, helping build peace and cooperation across the continent through confidence building and arms control measures, early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation activities.
Approaching problems and issues from the broad perspective offered by an Atlantic Community framework would open up possibilities for discussions of issues that are discussed unofficially among allied representatives at NATO but are not within NATO’s formal mandate. In an Atlantic Community forum, there would be a better opportunity for a dynamic problem-solving synergy to develop when all aspects of issues can be put on the table.
The war against terrorism is a good example. If there had been an Atlantic Community Council on September 11, it could immediately have established working groups to address all aspects of the campaign against sources of international terror. The North Atlantic Council would not have been required to wait for the Atlantic Community Council to act and could have invoked Article 5 on September 12 just as it did. However, in the meanwhile, discussions in the Atlantic Community Council could have been coordinating the response of police authorities in Community countries, discussing actions to cut off sources of financial support to terrorists, developing public diplomacy themes to accompany military and diplomatic action, and beginning consideration of long term strategies designed to undermine support for terrorist activities.
A new Atlantic Community would embrace, not replace, NATO in the overall framework of transatlantic relations. Because it would be a consultative forum only, it would not threaten the “autonomy” of the EU or undermine NATO’s Article 5 collective defense commitment. In fact, it could help bridge the current artificial gap between NATO discussions of security policy and US-EU consultations on economic issues, which have important overlapping dimensions. Because an Atlantic Community would encourage members to address issues that NATO doesn’t tackle, the new structure would provide added value beyond those offered by the traditional alliance. It might also provide some additional options for shaping coalitions of the willing to deal with new security challenges in cases where using the NATO framework may not be acceptable to all allies, and where action could be blocked by a single dissenting member.