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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07BRUSSELS2052
2007-06-22 11:42:00
CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
USEU Brussels
Cable title:  

EU FOREIGN POLICY UNDER THE PORTUGUESE PRESIDENCY:

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  EUN  MARR  MOPS  PO  XG 
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VZCZCXRO3106
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHBS #2052/01 1731142
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221142Z JUN 07
FM USEU BRUSSELS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 BRUSSELS 002052 

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/ERA, NSC FOR MCKIBBEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/20/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV EUN MARR MOPS PO XG
SUBJECT: EU FOREIGN POLICY UNDER THE PORTUGUESE PRESIDENCY:
THE VIEW FROM BRUSSELS

Classified By: Laurence Wohlers, Political Minister Counselor, for reas
ons 1.5(d) and (e).

------------------------
Summary and Introduction
------------------------
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 BRUSSELS 002052

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/ERA, NSC FOR MCKIBBEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/20/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV EUN MARR MOPS PO XG
SUBJECT: EU FOREIGN POLICY UNDER THE PORTUGUESE PRESIDENCY:
THE VIEW FROM BRUSSELS

Classified By: Laurence Wohlers, Political Minister Counselor, for reas
ons 1.5(d) and (e).

--------------
Summary and Introduction
--------------

1. (C) Big changes in style and management of the policy
process are expected when Germany hands off the six-month
rotating EU Presidency to Portugal on July 1. In the realm
of the EU,s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP),
Council decision by consensus remains the rule and the EU
Presidency has the power to convene the 27 EU member states
and steer them toward decisions. Conversations in Brussels
indicate that Portugal will be more traditional and certainly
less disciplined than the German presidency and does not
aspire to a strong leadership role on the CFSP. Indeed,
apart from its strong CFSP policy focus on Africa, the
Portuguese Permrep here has indicated that Lisbon's goal will
not be to drive the policy process as the Germans have done,
but rather to manage it in a way that is seen by the other 26
to be inclusive and even-handed. This will inevitably give
more margin for initiative to other member states and the
Council secretariat. It also will have implications for how
the United States can most effectively engage the EU on
CFSP/ESDP issues. This message outlines the major
characteristics of the incoming Portuguese Presidency,
dynamics at play on key issues in its foreign policy docket,
and ways in which we may need to adapt our diplomacy. (Note:
This message will not cover the economic agenda and does not
suggest that the issues discussed below are the only
priorities.) END SUMMARY

-------------- --------------
Can an "honest broker" presidency still manage the EU of 27?
-------------- --------------

2. (C/NF) The German presidency broke the traditional mold

of honest broker presidencies by successfully imposing
German-conceived policies and discipline on Council
deliberations. Though some in the EU chafed at the
centralization, most ultimately saluted the Germans'
accomplishments. The Portuguese have made clear that they
will return to the traditional, more neutral management
style. This by all accounts worked well for them in
Portugal's previous presidencies of 1992 and 2000. Will it
be able to do so again in today's EU, which is not only much
larger but more complex in the scope of its CFSP agenda? In
describing the Portuguese Presidency in waiting, our contacts
have praised its openness and flexibility, and the savvy of
its key leadership, but also expressed concern about the
impact of the country's small size, narrow foreign policy
agenda (it will have to devote substantial, senior-level
attention to the inter-governmental conference on the new
institutional treaty and other economic issues) , lack of
deep expertise on key strategic issues (except Africa), and
"seat of the pants" working style. In light of these
factors, how should the United States adjust its approach to
working with the EU on CFSP under the Portuguese Presidency?


3. (C/NF) As a smaller country Presidency, Portugal will rely
heavily on the EU institutions for policy as well as
administrative support. We expect that on CFSP issues the
Council Secretariat will frequently write the first drafts of
policy conclusions that shape internal discussions. Some EU
insiders think Portugal will look to CFSP High Rep Solana for
counsel and direction, giving him more room for maneuver than
he currently enjoys. This could irritate smaller states such
as Denmark and Greece, who complain privately that the High
Rep already operates according to his own agenda and lacks
transparency. Council contacts also expect European
Commission President Barroso to help lend a guiding hand to
his compatriots here and in Lisbon.

Implication: The European Commission and the Council
Secretariat will wield more influence in framing CFSP policy

SIPDIS
decisions than they currently enjoy under the German
Presidency. The USG will need to intensify consultations
with these institutional actors to shape key policy decisions.

-------------- --------------
Accelerated competition for policy dominance among bigger
member states
-------------- --------------

4. (C/NF) Since the Portuguese only intend to focus on a
limited number of issues, they will leave the way open for
others (be it the EU institutions or big member states) to
either shape or fight over shaping policy decisions in other
areas important to us. France, Germany, the UK, and (on
certain issues) Spain, are expected to drive CFSP debates on

BRUSSELS 00002052 002 OF 004


the more contentious regional and thematic issues, including
Iran, Russia/frozen conflicts, Kosovo, and the Middle East.
For example, we are already seeing a coalition of resurgent
French diplomacy and French nationals in the Council
Secretariat seeking to dominate ESDP policy, particularly

SIPDIS
with regard to Chad/Sudan -- with the Germans pushing back.
At the same time, the Portuguese may lack the rigor shown by
the German working group chairs who forced member states to
reach consensus on core issues.

Implication: The Portuguese management style will create
openings that others will rush to fill, but that we too can
exploit. We will need to go directly to other Member States
(both in Brussels and in capitals) who are focused on issues
we care about. On the other hand, we must be on guard for
surprise policy initiatives or language coming up to senior
levels for decision that could have been weeded out at the
expert level.

--------------
Brussels-Centered Action
--------------

5. (C/NF) On CFSP issues (as opposed to JHA,
economic/competition issues, or constitutional issues) the
locus of action for the Portuguese Presidency will be
Brussels and not Lisbon. While Lisbon will look to guide
policy debate on Africa, the Middle East and the
Mediterranean, on other CFSP issues, they will be more a
coordinator than a driver, unlike the current German
presidency which took a controlling hand in all issues.

Implication: If the Portuguese strive to take everyone's
interests and desires into account, we will need to make
clear early what our needs are; and probably need to do as
much of this in Brussels as in Lisbon. A Presidency capital
focus will not work as well here as it did under the Germans.


--------------
Informal Working Methods
--------------

6. (C/NF) Operational effectiveness remains a big question
mark. On the positive side, Portugal has good relationships
at senior levels. EU President Barroso is on excellent
personal terms with PM Socrates as well as the Portuguese
Permanent Representative to the EU Alvaro Mendonca e Moura.
During his three-year tenure as Chef de Cabinet for
then-Foreign Minister Barroso, Moura told us that he lunched
one-on-one with Barroso twice a week to review all foreign
policy matters. Our overall impression of Moura is that he
is approachable, smart, and operationally effective. His PSC
Ambassador Carlos Pais is also responsive and capable.
However, at the working level, concerns have been expressed
both about the level of preparedness and the degree of
expertise that the Portuguese will bring to their role in the
day-to-day running of the hundreds of decision-making
groupings that the Presidency must chair. One German
Ambassador told us that he noticed that the Portuguese did
not seem to have many formal meetings among themselves to
prepare; they all seemed to know each other and simply
delegated issues in a very informal manner. This suggests
that working groups leads in Brussels will have a lot more
autonomy on various issues before they are taken to higher
levels for decision.

Implication: To achieve pro-U.S. outcomes, we will need to
not only work informal connections with influential players
in Brussels (Solana, Barroso, Mendonca) and Lisbon, but reach
out more earlier and more widely to those in the institutions
and other member states who will influence the early
direction of internal EU policy discussions. The way we
approach the new Presidency will differ by topic. Following
are critical issues on the EU CFSP agenda over the next six
months and proposals for U.S. approaches to them over the
next six months.

--------------
Kosovo
--------------

7. (C/NF) Although the Portuguese are strongly supportive of
the Ahtisaari proposal and share our views of the perils of
further delay, they are not going to be among the primary
drivers within the EU on Kosovo. If there is a UNSCR on
Kosovo, ICR-designate Pieter Feith and the Council will set
the political tone, with the Commission planning the Donors'
Conference and planning for medium-term assistance. We are
told here that Portuguese Ambassador Tanger (who will remain
resident in Vilnius) will visit Pristina (where the

BRUSSELS 00002052 003 OF 004


Portuguese have no meaningful presence) and key EU capitals
on occasion to portray Portuguese activity. In the event of
a split in the EU on Kosovo, the way the Portuguese
Presidency manages Council deliberations may have a major
impact on which way the EU swings. This is an additional
reason for working closely with the Portuguese Mission here
in Brussels and in the Contact Group. While the Portuguese
Mission's COWEB expert is competent, we expect Ambassador
Tanger to be the key player on any decision falling below the
ministerial-level radar.

--------------
Enlargement
--------------

8. (C/NF) The Portuguese government and PM Socrates
personally are strongly in favor of Turkish accession.
However, enlargement remains a low priority for this
presidency. In any case, Commission contacts believe that
the Portuguese MFA, rather than their Brussels Permrep, will
take the lead within the Portuguese bureaucracy on this
issue. We do not expect significant problems on Croatian
accession negotiations, although Slovenia and Italy could
still raise objections to opening some chapters. Portugal
likely will follow the Commission's lead (and Solana's
advice) on SAA negotiations with Serbia. We would not expect
the Portuguese to champion Macedonia against a likely
Commission recommendation (and strong Greek antipathy) not to
offer Skopje the beginning of accession negotiations late
this year.

--------------
Africa
--------------

9. (C) The EU-Africa Summit in early December will be the
cornerstone of the Portuguese Presidency,s focus on Africa.
Portuguese Permrep Mendonca told the Ambassador that there
will be equal emphasis on development, security and migration
issues. The Portuguese are well aware of the depth of some
EU member states' and U.S. opposition to Mugabe's
participation in the summit. That said, they are determined
to hold a summit with Africa and fear that not inviting
Mugabe would derail the entire event. Mendonca made a
special plea to the Ambassador for understanding the
situation. He insisted that the Portuguese could not stop
Mugabe from coming, and were prepared to speak bluntly "to
his face" about human rights. However, Mendonca said it
would be very important that the U.S. not make negative
comments about Mugabe's attendance, as this would only divert
attention away from strong statements that the EU was
prepared to make. Since some EU Member States, including the
UK and the Netherlands, have threatened to boycott the summit
if Mugabe is there, just getting the summit successfully off
the ground will be a challenge. On Sudan, contacts in the
Council Secretariat expect Portugal to stick to the current
EU sanctions policy which supports sanctions only within a
UNSC framework. On other Africa-related matters, the
Portuguese Permrep here has floated a number of Africa-themed
high-level meetings but not yet revealed concrete outcomes
they might hope to achieve.

--------------
NATO-EU Relations
--------------

10. (C/NF) The Portuguese may find themselves stuck with
managing a drawn out dispute over how the NATO and EU
interact on ESDP missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo.. This
will defy easy resolution and we suspect the Portuguese will
be looking to others for support and guidance, namely, the
Council Secretariat and the larger Member States such as
France, Germany, and possibly the UK. Lisbon,s relationship
with Madrid on these issues also bears watching. We have
already seen instances in which Lisbon has followed Madrid,s
policy lead, even if their own inclinations might be
different. This was the case for the deployment of the
Eurogendarmerie Force to Kosovo, which Madrid opposed and
Portugal favored. When the UN pressed for a deployment,
Lisbon sided with Madrid.

--------------
Middle East
--------------

11. (C) There appears to be a gap between Lisbon,s obvious
interest and activity on Middle East issues and their
preparations in Brussels. Council Middle East Policy Unit
contacts tell us that the Portuguese have thus far been
reluctant to engage on Middle East policy or even schedule
bilateral EU-Israel meetings. Moreover, the Portuguese reps
have not made an effort to develop relationships with their

BRUSSELS 00002052 004 OF 004


counterparts in the Council an contrast to the German
Presidency). EU interlocutors are concerned that Portugal,s
lack of engagement will create a vacuum in leadership on the
Middle East that others could try to fill. At the same time,
Portugal,s PSC Ambassador indicated Lisbon,s intention to
focus more attention on the EU,s policies toward its
Southern neighbors than had been the case under the German
and Finnish Presidencies.

--------------
Iran
--------------

12. (C) Portugal has been a strong supporter of ramping up
the pressure on Iran. However, EU and local diplomatic
contacts believe that the Portuguese will generally defer to
High Rep Solana and the EU-3 (France, UK, Germany) on Iran.
Portuguese diplomats here have confirmed this impression. In
a recent meeting with Polmincouns, PSC Ambassador Carlos Pais
largely stuck to the EU party line emphasizing a "two track"
approach on the nuclear file (read: dialogue and sanctions)
as well as unanimity in the Security Council. Pais candidly
admitted that Portugal was not as informed as it could be on
the nuclear issue because it is not a member of the IAEA
Board of Governors (BOG). He specifically requested U.S.
back-briefings on IAEA developments, if possible. The good
news is that the Portuguese are inheriting a complete set of
Common Policy guidance and implementing regulations on Iran
from the German EU Presidency. This means that they will
have the tools and the authority to convene the Council to
consider further measures to bring Iran into compliance with
the will of the international community. Early and focused
encouragement from us could be helpful in this regard.

--------------
Russia and the Neighborhood
--------------

13. (C) We are hearing a growing chorus of concerns from our
EU contacts, both Council and Permreps, that the Portuguese
will want to "play nice" with Russia. PM Socrates recent
visit to Moscow appears to be the source of much of this
concern. Well-placed contacts tell us that senior Russian
officials may have indicated to the Portuguese that their
conduct of the Presidency will have an impact on the future
of their bilateral relationship. Furthermore, Council
Secretariat contacts have described the Portuguese Ambassador

SIPDIS
to Russia Manuel Marcelo Monteiro Curto as a one-man
juggernaut on Portugal,s Russia policy, friendly with Putin
and decidedly "pro-Russian.." Curto is also accredited to
all of the Southern Caucasus and some Central Asian countries
which may influence Portuguese positions on frozen conflicts.
This all may come to a head as the Portuguese prepare for
the EU-Russia summit on October 25-26 in Lisbon.

--------------
Central Asia
--------------

14. (C/NF) We expect Portugal to continue to let Germany
take the lead on Central Asia. Portugal lacks diplomatic
representation in any of the five Central Asian countries,
most of which are covered by its embassy in Moscow. The
French may represent the Portuguese in Kazakhstan and
Turkmenistan, with the Czechs representing them in Uzbekistan
and the Germans in Kyrgyzstan. The Germans have already
indicated they will work to ensure that the new EU Central
Asia strategy will be implemented over the next six months,
particularly in the areas of education and environment.
Action-forcing events in this regard could be the EU-Central
Asia ministerial dinner on the margins of UNGA in New York in
late September; a likely EU Central Asia Heads of Mission
meeting in Ashgabat in October; and a possible Solana visit
to Central Asia in the autumn.

--------------
Comment
--------------

15. (C/NF) Although the Portuguese have signaled their
desire to work closely with us during their Presidency, they
will be swept up quickly in the tide of EU business. This is
particularly true because their Presidency team in Brussels
is numerically small and overstretched. Consequently, we
will only a have a limited number of opportunities to reach
them with our key concerns and expertise. We will also need
to work with key member states and the Council who will drive
the EU-27 decisions. END COMMENT
.