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Eekelen, W.F. van

Eekelen, W.F. van

Willem van Eekelen, born in Utrecht, the Netherlands, in 1931. Ph.D. from Utrecht University. Former diplomat and politician, member of parliament, Minister of Defence and Secretary General of the Western European Union. Currently member of the Advisory Commission on European Integration.

Guest of the Rector (1 September 2007 – 29 February 2008)


My original intention was to analyse the scope and potential of the “Permanent Structured Cooperation”, which figures in the Lisbon Treaty of the European Union as one of the possibilities to bring some flexibility into the domain of security, which otherwise is governed by unanimity in decision making. This has resulted in a short monograph which will be published by the Center of European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels. It did not become any longer because the debate on ratification of the treaty did not make it opportune to focus too much on military matters. Nevertheless I got as far as possible. I very much appreciated the assistance of the library service in obtaining the necessary research material and of Ms Anne Simpson in reviewing the English of this and other articles.

In addition I managed to write articles on Turkish accession to the European Union for the Center for European Security Studies in Groningen (an excerpt of which was published as a guest editorial on “Transitional Arrangements for Enlargement” in the Winter 2007 issue of the European Foreign Affairs Journal) and a chapter on Parliamentary Practice in their forthcoming book on Western practice in security and defence; a contribution on “The adaptation of NATO” to the NATO- DCAF Conference on optimising defence and security sector reform cooperation (Brussels 21 February 2008); and a contribution to the workshop on Transparency in Defence Management organised by the Geneva Center on Security Policy (May 5-7, 2008).

Finally, I updated my knowledge of Tibetan history, which figured prominently in my 1964 Ph.D. dissertation.

I particularly enjoyed the informal and friendly atmosphere at NIAS. The contacts, mainly at lunch, with scholars in many different fields were most stimulating. The presence, also as Guests of the Rector, of Professor Deirdre Curtin and Professor Jens Hesse led to frequent discussions in my particular field of interest, European integration.