Austria Participation in the NATO Partnership for peace (Pfp) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC)
Since 1995, Austria participates in PfP, which was founded in 1994:
The "PfP Framework Document" signed by Austria in February 1995, defines the following fundamental values of this partnership:
• Cooperation to strengthen peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic Area;
• Protecting and advancing Democracy and Human Rights;
• Upholding the principles of International Law;
• Fulfilling the obligations set out in the Charta of the United Nations and the Declaration of Human Rights.
On the basis of those values, the following goals are to be pursued: transparent national defence planning; democratic control over the armed forces, establishing cooperative military relations between NATO and PfP states in order to enhance capabilities for humanitarian and peace operations; improvement of the ability of partner states’ armed forces to cooperate with NATO forces.
According to the Austrian PfP Introductory Document of May 1995, Austria’s cooperation with NATO and the PfP participants aims, in particular, at cooperation regarding peacekeeping missions, humanitarian and disaster relief as well as search and rescue operations.
PfP is especially important for ensuring the interoperability of Austria’s armed forces with those of NATO and other PfP-states in order to permit an effective participation in multinational crisis management missions. Given that 21 NATO members are also EU member states, this aspect of Austria’s participation in PfP is also crucial for her full involvement in the military aspects of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP).
As a PfP participant, Austria has been taking part in the NATO-led multinational peace operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina (IFOR/SFOR) from 1995 to 2004, when this operation was handed over to the EU in the framework of ESDP. Since autumn 1999, Austria also participates in the NATO-led operation KFOR in Kosovo with a contingent of currently about 500 soldiers, representing the biggest KFOR contingent from a non-NATO state.
From the end of May 2008 until end of May 2009, Austria was the country in command of KFOR’s “Multinational Task Force South”, in which apart from Austrian troops also soldiers from Turkey, Germany, Switzerland and Bulgaria are deployed. (During this period the Austrian KFOR-contingent consisted of up to 700 persons). Furthermore, Austrian staff officers take part in the NATO-led stabilisation force ISAF in Afghanistan.
Austria is also a very active participant in "PfP Trust Fund Projects" which support states in the Euro Atlantic area in disarmament measures and armed forces reform. So far, Austria has contributed to the following projects:
- Destruction of 1,6 million landmines in Serbia and Montenegro (Austria’s contribution: EUR 285,000)
- Destruction of 1,380,000 landmines in Albania (Austria’s contribution: US $ 100,000)
- Destruction of 11.650 tons of small arms ammunition (Austria’s contribution: EUR 30,000)
- Destruction of ammunition and small arms in the Ukraine (Austria’s contribution: EUR 30,000)
- Destruction of small arms in Kazakhstan (Austria’s contribution: EUR 3,400)
- Financing of clearance and destruction of anti-personnel mines, respectively financing of destruction of surplus small arms ammunition in Jordan (Austria’s contribution: EUR 36.000)
- Financing of measures supporting reform of Serbia’s armed forces (especially retraining of redundant professional soldiers, Austria’s contribution: EUR 500.000)
- Financing of training programmes for combating corruption in the defence sector (Austria’s contribution: EUR 20.000)
- Related to Austria’s involvement in KFOR, it also contributed with EUR 200.000 to a NATO-led project, which aimed at facilitating the insertion of former members of the Kosovar civil protection organisation “Kosovo Protection Corps” (KPC) into the private sector. In the wake of the Kosovo’s declaration of independence, the KPC was stood down and replaced by the “Kosovo Security Forces” (KSF), a process in which not all KPC members were transferred to the new organisation.
Austria also participates actively in the work of the "Euro Atlantic Partnership Council" (EAPC) since its foundation in 1997. EAPC can be seen as a political superstructure for PfP and deals with a broad range of security policy issues, including in the economic, scientific and ecological sector. Over the last years, Austria has been especially active in the EACP framework on questions of gender mainstreaming in crisis management- especially in NATO/PfP peace operations- and organised a seminar on this issue in February 2008 in Vienna.