Western European Union (WEU)

  • Barry Turner
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


In March 1948 the signing of the Brussels Treaty of Economic, Social and Cultural Collaboration and Collective Defence by Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK opened the way for the establishment of Western European Union. The Paris Agreements were signed in Oct. 1954, amending the Brussels Treaty and giving birth to WEU as a new international organization; they also provided for the Federal Republic of Germany and Italy to join. WEU came into being in 1955. Today, as an international defence and security organization, it brings together 28 nations encompassing four types of status: member state, associate member, observer and associate partner. Only the ten member states are signatories to the modified Brussels Treaty and have full decision making rights in WEU. The other 18 countries have been increasingly associated with WEU’s activities. WEU’s role and operational capabilities developed considerably after 1991. This development was based on close co-operation with the European Union and NATO. WEU acquired the necessary instruments to undertake any European-led crisis management operations and worked to develop them further as preparation for the establishment within the European Union of a crisis management capability in accordance with the decisions taken at the Cologne European Council in June 1999.

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2009

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  • Barry Turner

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