The European Union's headline goal : an operational assessment /
In December 1998, French and British leaders declared that the European Union (EU) must develop the capacity for autonomous military action to respond to international crises. In December 1999, EU leaders meeting in Helsinki established the Headline Goal-defined as the autonomous ability to deploy 60,000 troops in 60 days for an operation lasting as long as one year to conduct the "Petersberg Tasks" of humanitarian intervention, peacekeeping, and peacemaking. The deadline for the operational capability of the Headline Goal is December 2003. Although in December 2001 the EU declared that it had "some" operational capability, it remains unable to conduct certain Petersberg Tasks, especially "upper" level missions such as peacemaking on the model of NATO's Kosovo intervention. Despite the current military force structures of EU member states, significant capability shortfalls, and stagnant or declining defense budgets in most EU countries, it appears that the EU will be able to conduct lower-level Petersberg Tasks in permissive environments by December 2003. However, capabilities needed for upper level tasks, such as strategic airlift, will take several years to develop and acquire-far beyond the deadline of December 2003.