Select Committee on European Scrutiny First Report



Presidency report to the Göteborg European Council on European Security and Defence Policy.

Legal base:
Department: Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Basis of consideration: Minister's letter of 22 June and EM of 25 June 2001
Previous Committee Report: None
Discussed in Council: Göteborg European Council, June 2001
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: Cleared


43.1  One of the objectives of the European Council's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) is to equip the EU to undertake the 'Petersberg Tasks' for conflict prevention and crisis management referred to in Article 17 of the Treaty on European Union. The Swedish Presidency introduces this report to the Göteborg European Council by noting that the EU is giving priority to developing its military and civilian capabilities, following the Nice European Council in December 2000 which agreed that the EU should become operational very quickly.

The Presidency report

43.2  In accordance with the mandate it was given in Nice, the Swedish Presidency reports on the steps taken since Nice, under various headings:

— Developing the capacity to act:

    military capabilities

    Building on the results of the Capabilities Commitment Conference in November, shortfalls have been identified, using NATO expertise. Member States will be asked to review their contributions and indicate how they plan to meet these. Work has been done to "develop and refine" the requirements for such capabilities as

    "interoperability, rotation and readiness as well as those concerning key enabling capabilities such as C3I (command, control and communications and information); ISTAR (intelligence surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance); strategic mobility and logistics".

    A list of forces and capabilities available before the end of 2001 has been drawn up.

    A Capability Improvement Conference will be held under the Belgian Presidency in November 2001, at which Member States will be asked to commit themselves to specific additional measures to address the shortfalls. Meanwhile work is going ahead on evaluating the military capabilities of the non-EU European NATO members and other EU candidate countries. The aims of the Headline Goal will be reviewed "in the light of changed circumstances and also to contribute to ensuring the compatibility of the commitments made in the EU framework with, for the countries concerned, the pledges undertaken in the framework of NATO planning or the Planning and Review Process of the Partnership for Peace."

    civilian capabilities

    The report says that Member States have given strong support to the call for voluntary contributions for police and major progress has been made. The Presidency believe that commitments will be made at a ministerial conference later this year, confirming that the targets will be met.

    A Conference of National Police Commissioners on EU Member States' Police Capabilities for International Crisis Management was held on 10 May. The work of the Conference and contributions by Member States form the basis of the Police Action Plan in Annex I to the report. More detail on the information in the annexes is given below.

    Guiding principles for contributions by non-EU states are set out in Annex II.

    The Council has identified new targets to be met by 2003 for the rule of law, civilian administration and civil protection and these are set out in Annex III.

— Structures, procedures and exercises.

The report records progress made on the mandates given to the Presidency at the Nice European Council. It notes the establishment of the permanent Political and Security Committee, Military Committee and Military Staff and progress on internal structures and policies. These include the strengthening of the Council Secretariat, in particular its politico-military establishment, to enable it to give additional support to work on the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). The Police Unit, for instance, will enable the EU to plan and it will be rapidly reinforced by Member States in times of crisis.

The Swedish Presidency has also, according to the report, initiated work on identifying the principles which will apply to the financing of operations with military or defence implications. There is also a need to address the financial aspects of police operations and of other civilian operations, in particular those for civil protection.

Annex IV covers the EU Exercise Policy and sets out in detail the requirement for exercises and the types of exercises which will be held.

— co-operation with NATO

    The report introduces this section as follows:

    "Development of a permanent and effective relationship with NATO, based on the principles agreed at Feira and Nice, is a crucial element of the ESDP. This development will lead to a genuine strategic partnership with NATO in the management of crises with due respect for the two organisations' decision-making autonomy. Consequently, consultation and co-operation are being developed between the EU and NATO on questions of common interest relating to security and defence and crisis management, so that crises can be met with the most appropriate military response and effective crisis management ensured".

    An exchange of letters between the Swedish Presidency and the NATO Secretary General confirms permanent arrangements for consultation and co-operation between the EU and NATO. The report describes some of the meetings which have taken place and comments that the support of NATO experts on the development of the Headline Goal and the EU Exercise Programme has been valuable. The EU and NATO have co-operated closely on crisis management in the Western Balkans. On EU access to NATO assets, the report says:

    "Rapid agreement is called for on arrangements permitting EU access to NATO assets and capabilities (ie guaranteed permanent access to NATO's planning capabilities, presumption of availability of pre-identified assets and capabilities and identification of a series of command options) on the basis of the arrangements approved by the Nice European Council".

    An account is given of the development of relationships with potential partner countries and, in Annex V, of co-operation with international organisations on civilian aspects of crisis management.

— mandate for the Belgian Presidency

The priorities will be:

  • progress towards the objective of making the EU operational for ESDP. A decision to that end should be taken no later than at the European Council in Laeken in December;

  • continuing discussion on EU/NATO arrangements; and

  • the organisation of a Capabilities Improvement Conference to contribute to the achievement of the Headline Goal.

— the five annexes

    In his Explanatory Memorandum of 25 June, the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr Peter Hain) summarises the content of the annexes as follows:

    Annex I: Police Action Plan

    "This recalls the concrete target set by the Feira European Council for Member States to be able to contribute up to 5,000 police officers to the crisis management operations of international organisations, and notes discussion at the Conference of National Police Commissioners held on 10 May 2001. The Plan makes suggestions of areas for further study and work if the EU is itself to develop the necessary infrastructure to deploy police officers internationally on crisis management work. The Plan notes that these suggestions will be subject to further work and consideration.

    Annex II: Contributions of Non-EU states to EU police missions in civilian crisis management

    "This paper sets out the principle that, should the EU deploy police on autonomous crisis management operations, third countries outside the EU should be able to take part in those operations. The paper suggests this opportunity should be open to the fifteen non-EU European members of NATO and other candidates for EU accession, as well as to those other interested states, such as Canada, within the framework for their involvement in ESDP. It also notes areas for further study.

    Annex III: New concrete targets for civilian crisis management

    "This annex established new concrete targets for Member States' collective crisis management capacities in three further areas:

    • the rule of law; cooperating on a voluntary basis, Member States collectively are to aim to make up to two hundred experts in rule of law issues potentially available for deployment on international crisis management activities;

    • civilian administration; Member States are to aim to establish a pool of experts with varied skills in civil administration to be available for deployment at times of international crisis;

    • civil protection; cooperating together voluntarily, Member States are to aim to make teams of experts in civil protection issues available for deployment internationally in the event of an emergency within 3-7 hours, and to make up to two thousand persons available at short notice, and further experts as necessary.

    Annex IV: Exercise policy of the European Union

    "This policy sets out in detail the requirement for EU exercises and the types of exercises which the EU will hold. The policy emphasises the need for the EU to carry out joint exercises with NATO as well as to test the EU's own internal arrangements for decision-making. The policy makes clear that the EU only intends to carry out exercises of its procedures for coordinating an operation. It does not intend to carry out live military exercises involving the deployment of forces. These will remain the responsibility of individual Member States. Non-EU European NATO Allies and other candidates for EU accession, as well as other prospective partners, will be invited to participate in the conduct of relevant exercises in line with the provisions for their participation in EU-led operations.

    Annex V: EU cooperation with international organisations in civilian aspects of crisis management

    "This annex outlines how the European Union will cooperate with other international organisations with relevant capacities and expertise in civilian areas of crisis management, notably the United Nations and the Organisations for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The paper sets out a number of principles for the way in which the EU will interact with those organisations: added value; interoperability; visibility; and decision-making autonomy. It also proposes a number of ways in which the European Union might cooperate with the operations of those other organisations".

The Government's view

43.3  The Minister says that:

    "The Government endorses this report, which represents another significant step in the development of the European Security and Defence Policy, and the achievement of the policy first put forward by the Prime Minister at the Portschach informal summit in October 1998. The subsequent endorsement of that policy at the Vienna European Council, and the proposals accepted by the Helsinki and Nice European Councils, laid out the framework for the ESDP."

43.4  The Government, the Minister says, welcomes the progress made on establishing the permanent structures and the development of the relationship with NATO into "an open and substantive relationship".

43.5  The annexes show that substantial progress has been made in a number of areas, most notably in civilian aspects of crisis management. The Police Action Plan is the outcome of a successful conference of police officers, while the new targets should:

    "help [to] ensure that we act on lessons learned in Kosovo and elsewhere, and remedy weaknesses in the international community's ability which were exposed there. The Government fully endorses this work."

43.6  On the EU Exercise Policy, the Minister comments that it:

    "makes sensible provision for the exercising and validation of EU procedures, while at the same time ensuring no costly exercises of operational forces, which will remain the responsibility of Member States. The Government supports this annex too".

43.7  Whilst the report does not contain any financial commitments, the Minister comments that it is possible that there will be future Council Decisions implementing recommendations in the report which will have financial consequences for the Community budget and for individual Member States.

43.8  In a separate letter, the Minister explains why the Government supported endorsing the report, before it had cleared scrutiny. It would not have been reasonable or possible to delay its endorsement as it was a Presidency report to the Council.


43.9  We note that the Minister makes no reference to any dissent from the contents of this report, which provides a useful account of progress. We look forward to being brought up to date by the Government in the autumn on further developments in this area.

43.10  We now clear this document.

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Prepared 30 July 2001