The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), was set up in 1997 to succeed the North Atlantic Cooperation Council. It brings together the 19 Allies and 27 Partners 1 in a forum providing for regular consultation and cooperation. It meets periodically at the level of Ambassadors and Foreign and Defence Ministers.
Heads of State and Government of the 46 members can also meet, when appropriate, as they did in Washington in April 1999. The EAPC Summit in Washington was an opportunity for open discussions on security-related cooperation within the EAPC in the 21st century. The Praque Summit will give a new opportunity for EAPC Heads of States and Governments to meet and discuss further adaptation of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership.
Heads of State and Government endorsed two documents relating to further development of the Partnership for Peace. The first of these, the “Political-Military Framework for NATO-led PfP Operations”, addressed the involvement of Partner countries in political consultations and decision-making, in operational planning and in command arrangements for future NATO-led operations in which they participate. The second document entitled “Towards a Partnership for the 21st Century – the Enhanced and More Operational Partnership” outlines the main elements designed to make the Partnership for Peace (PfP) more operational.
The EAPC played a valuable role as a forum for consultation on the crisis in Kosovo. A series of extraordinary meetings was held to keep Partners informed of the status of NATO planning and preparations for possible military options in Kosovo and to exchange views with Partners on developments. Such meetings continue to take place when the situation warrants.
EAPC Ambassadors met on 12 September 2001 following the terrorist attacks against the United States. The EAPC issued a statement expressing solidarity with the people of the United States of America, condemning unconditionally the barbaric terrorist attacks and pledging to undertake all efforts to combat the scourge of terrorism.
EAPC activities complement Partnership for Peace (PfP) Programs. They are based on a two-year action plan which focuses on consultation and cooperation on a range of political and security-related matters, including regional issues, arms control, international terrorism, peacekeeping, defence economic issues, civil emergency planning, and scientific and environmental issues.
Almost all of non-NATO EAPC members have established diplomatic missions accredited to NATO, expanding contacts between NATO and Partners and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of cooperation.
An important achievement of the EAPC has been the establishment of the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) at NATO headquarters, following a proposal by the Russian Federation. The Centre was inaugurated in June 1998 and was called upon immediately to support the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in relief efforts in Albania for refugees fleeing from Kosovo. Coordinated humanitarian assistance from NATO and Partner countries was stepped up in response to the escalating refugee crisis in the region since the end of March 1999. The EADRCC also played a significant role in coordinating humanitarian relief for flood-hit parts of western Ukraine.
The EAPC also helps to foster practical regional security cooperation through topical seminars which form part of the EAPC action plan. The first such regional cooperation seminar was hosted by Georgia in October 1998. Since then similar events have been held in Lithuania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Uzbekistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.
Areas for further practical initiatives are being added, notably with respect to global humanitarian action against mines, action to reduce accumulations of small arms and light weapons, and the international fight against terrorism.
1. Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, the Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan