EUROPEAN UNION SATELLITE CENTRE|
Draft Council Decision on a Joint Action on the establishment of a European Union Satellite Centre.
||Article 14 EU; unanimity
||Foreign and Commonwealth Office
|Basis of consideration:
||Minister's letter of 15 October 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
||HC 152-i (2001-02), paragraph 10 (18 July 2001)
|Adopted in Council:
||16 July 2001|
The Cologne European Council
10.1 The Cologne European Council in June 1999
dealt with arrangements for ensuring effective political control
and strategic direction of EU-led Petersberg
operations. It concluded that the EU would need sources of intelligence
and a capacity for analysing situations.
The Nice European Council
10.2 The Council adopted
decisions of principle on the inclusion of the "appropriate
functions" of the Western European Union (WEU) in the field
of Petersberg tasks.
These included the setting up in the form of agencies of a Satellite
Centre and an Institute for Security Studies which would incorporate
the relevant features of the existing parallel WEU structures.
The draft Decision
10.3 The Decision provides for the adoption of
a Joint Action on establishing a European Union Satellite Centre
(EUSC) to support the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP)
by strengthening its early warning and crisis monitoring capabilities.
The Centre's mission will be to support the Council in its decision-making
by providing material resulting from analysis of national and
commercial satellite and aerial imagery, as directed by the Secretary-General/High
Representative (SGHR). Political control will be exercised by
the Political and Security Committee (PSC), which will make recommendations
on the Centre's priorities to the SG/HR, who will report, as appropriate,
to the PSC.
10.4 The products of the Centre will be distributed
to all Member States and to states which have concluded Association
Agreements with the Centre "in accordance with modalities
to be defined". Capacity permitting, the Centre may undertake
tasks for individual Member States, the Commission, and states
with Association Agreements, as well as international organisations
such as the UN, OSCE and NATO.
10.5 We cleared an unofficial text of the draft
Council Conclusions on the incorporation into the EU of certain
functions of the Western European Union on 15 November 2000
but did not clear this draft Council Decision on a Joint Action
on 2 May 2001. We asked the Government for further information
and this was provided at official level on 11 May. We considered
it on18 July,
when we asked the Government to clarify some points of detail.
The Minister's letter
10.6 The Minister for Europe at the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office (Mr Peter Hain) recalls that we were broadly
content with the proposed Joint Action when we considered it on
2 May on the basis of the Explanatory Memorandum of 27 April from
his predecessor, but sought further assurance on the terms of
participation in the Centre by non-European allies. This request,
he believes, was met in the Department's letter of 11 May. Given
our general support for the proposal, and other considerations
which he sets out, he decided that the UK should join the consensus
in adopting the Joint Action at the General Affairs Council (GAC)
on 16 July.
10.7 The Minister comments that the Joint Action
adopted at the GAC represents the best possible deal the UK could
have secured, in particular on provisions for continued access
by non-EU European allies to the Centre. Delaying agreement until
then would have risked unravelling agreements which had taken
considerable effort to secure and would have sent a negative signal
about the UK's and the EU's commitment to establishing an EU Satellite
Centre. Moreover, putting off agreement would have created considerable
uncertainty amongst staff about their future at the Satellite
Centre after 31 December 2001. He comments that continuity of
staffing will be essential to ensure smooth transfer and efficient
operation of the Centre in its first months under EU management.
10.8 The Minister has explained why he decided
to lift the scrutiny reserve on this proposal at the General Affairs
Council on 16 July. We would have preferred him to have notified
us of his intention to do so in advance of our meeting on 18 July,
when we considered the Government's reply to our request for more
information. Although he does not provide us with all the detail
we sought on this proposal, given that it has now been adopted
by the Council and that the main question of the terms of participation
by non-EU allies has been covered, we do not intend to pursue
these points at this stage.
10.9 We now clear the document.
13 Cologne European Council Presidency Conclusions Annex
III, pages 35 and 36 of Press Release. Back
footnote 16 below. Back
Presidency Report on Strengthening the Common European Policy
on Security and Defence, adopted at the Nice European Council
in December 2000, and debated on the Floor of the House on 19
March 2001; (21826) - ; see HC 23-xxxi (1999-2000), paragraph
3 (29 November 2000). Back
include humanitarian and rescue tasks, peace-keeping tasks and
tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking. Back
- ; see HC 23-xxix (1999-2000), paragraph 42 (15 November 2000). Back
- ; see headnote to this paragraph. Back