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European security and defence identity

The military intervention of NATO in Bosnia highlighted an imbalance in terms of risk linked to the fact that, broadly speaking, the European forces were operating on the ground whereas the US forces intervened in the air, and were less at risk.

The Clinton administration recognised that there could be crises within Europe in which the United States would not wish to intervene. It was therefore in favour of the idea of creating a kind of European pillar within NATO -- in other words, a European security and defence identity.

Against this background, the NATO Council held in Brussels in January 1994 recognised the importance of defining a specifically European identity in relation to security and defence. The first steps towards this were taken at the NATO Council held in Berlin on 3 June 1996.

Since then, the European Union has set up its own permanent political and military structures for the political control and strategic management of crises. In December 2002, within the framework of the permanent arrangements for EU-NATO cooperation and consultation known as "Berlin Plus", the Union and NATO signed a strategic partnership agreement on crisis management. Through this agreement, the Union will have access with immediate effect to NATO's logistical and planning resources, including intelligence.

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