1 European Security and
Defence Policy: EULEX Kosovo|
|Council Decision amending Joint Action 2008/124/CFSP on the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, EULEX KOSOVO
|Legal base||Articles 28 and 43 (2) TEU; unanimity
|Department||Foreign and Commonwealth Office
|Basis of consideration||EM of 29 September 2010
|Previous Committee Report||None; but see HC 428-i (2010-11), chapter 4 (8 September 2010); also see (30652) HC19 xviii (2008-09), chapter 20 (3 June 2009); and (29379) and (29380) : HC 16-x (2007-08), chapter 10 (30 January 2008)
|To be discussed in Council||8 October 2010 Justice and Home Affairs Council
|Committee's assessment||Politically important
|Committee's decision||Not cleared; for debate in European Committee B alongside (31677), (decision reported 8 September 2010)
1.1 On 30 January 2008, the previous Committee cleared two Joint
a European Security and Defence Policy crisis management operation
in the field of rule of law in Kosovo; and
on the appointment and mandate of the
European Union's Special Representative in Kosovo.
1.2 The previous Committee's reports outline the
wider context via which Kosovo moved to independence in 2008,
and rehearse the history of the EU's role in post-conflict Kosovo:
as part of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, or
UNMIK (where the UN led on Police and Justice and Civil Administration,
the OSCE led on Democratization and Institution Building and the
EU led on Reconstruction and Economic Development); and
latterly, through the International Civilian
Representative (ICR)/EU Special Representative (EUSR) and this
civilian ESDP mission, EULEX Kosovo. There was also to be an OSCE
mission to support Kosovo's democratic transition. NATO's 16,000-strong
Kosovo Force (KFOR) would guarantee security.
1.3 The ICR/EUSR, Mr Peter Feith, had a long track
record of crisis management in both NATO and the EU and had been
closely involved with Kosovo for 10 years. He was to be "the
channel for the EU's advice and support to the political process,
promoting EU political coordination in Kosovo, ensuring a coherent
public message, and contributing to the consolidation of human
rights and fundamental freedoms in Kosovo." With 2,200 international
civilians, EULEX Kosovo was to be the largest civilian ESDP mission
to date. It would focus on local ownership and capacity building,
through mentoring, monitoring and advice, and aim to advance the
goal of a stable, viable, peaceful, democratic, multi-ethnic Kosovo,
contributing to regional cooperation and stability and committed
to the rule of law and to the protection of minorities.
1.4 The Joint Action
establishing the mission in 2008 provided funding until June 2009.
In June 2009, the previous Committee considered a further Joint
Action providing funding until the end of mandate in June 2010.
1.5 On 8 September, the Committee considered a Council
Decision extending EULEX
Kosovo's mandate for a further two years. In his covering Explanatory
Memorandum of 2 June 2010, the Minister for Europe (David Lidington)
also took the opportunity to outline, and comment upon, some recent
changes to EULEX Kosovo's Operational Plan.
1.6 The Minister said that since assuming the lead
on rule of law issues from the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and
becoming operational on 9 December 2008, EULEX had in his estimation
made significant progress. He supported the extension of the mandate
for two years and believed that EULEX has "an indispensable
role to play", describing it as "an important international
presence in enabling Kosovo to meet EU standards in rule of law
and key in tackling organised crime and corruption, which is exported
from Kosovo throughout the EU" and now being "the main
mechanism to help Kosovo achieve reform in these fields".
A two year mandate extension was "important in providing
continuity and increased stability in Kosovo, and the central
sign of EU commitment to improving the rule of law in Kosovo in
order to support its European perspective."
1.7 But the mission would need "to deliver the
more high profile results that international partners and Kosovans
would like to see [and] tackle more effectively the challenges
of organised crime and corruption." Delivering results in
the north, a Serb-majority area of Kosovo, would be very important
to EULEX's credibility with the people of Kosovo. To have greater
effect, it would be "essential that the mission develops
a sharper strategic focus centred on its long term goals, with
realistic interim benchmarks of what it will achieve [and] enhanced
awareness of the political ramifications of the mission's technical
decisions." The mission would also need to "ensure that
the different components are all pulling together in the same
strategic direction and working effectively with each other."
1.8 Finally, the Minister said:
"In order for the mission to make further progress
against its objectives in the next two years, support from Member
States and EU Institutions is key. Continued cooperation and coordination
with all other actors in theatre, in particular the double-hatted
EU Special Representative and International Civilian Representative,
is crucial to the mission delivering results."
1.9 With regard to the Financial Implications,
the Minister said that funding for the technical extension until
14 October 2010 would come from under-spends in the current mission
budget of 265 million; and that funding for the mission
thereafter would be agreed in the autumn. He also noted that the
UK currently provided funding for 31 personnel in the Mission.
1.10 The Minister concluded by noting that this Council
Decision would be submitted for agreement to the ECOFIN Council
on 8 June 2010.
1.11 We said that it was hard to dispute the view
that improving the rule of law in Kosovo is central to stability
in the Western Balkans; and that, as the Minister noted, with
the ending of UNMIK, EULEX Kosovo was now the only show in town
when it comes to helping Kosovo achieve reform in this field.
However, though implicit, there were a number of disturbing features
in what the Minister said about the changes to EULEX Kosovo's
Operational Plan not in the sense that the proposals were
in any obvious sense misguided, but in the sense that only now
were they being brought into being.
1.12 We felt that, to say that the Mission now needed
a sharper strategic focus centred on its long term goals, with
realistic interim benchmarks of what it could achieve, coupled
with an enhanced awareness of the political ramifications of the
mission's technical decisions, strongly suggested that all of
this had been lacking over the past year or more. Likewise with
the establishment of a mechanism to inform the Head of Mission's
decision making via enhanced "situational awareness and analysis";
if the mission "must also ensure that the different components
are all pulling together in the same strategic direction and working
effectively with each other", we felt bound to wonder about
the effectiveness of its leadership thus far. And also to wonder
why, only now, were mechanisms being established "to enhance
cross-component cooperation and the strategic direction of EULEX,
particularly relating to organised crime."
1.13 We were also unclear as to precisely what the
Minister means when he referred to "support from Member States
and EU Institutions [as] key" the suggestion being
that this had been lacking. And when he talked of "continued
cooperation and coordination with all other actors in theatre,
in particular the double-hatted EU Special Representative and
International Civilian Representative as being "crucial to
the mission delivering results", we were again unclear as
to what cooperation had been lacking with whom, and why, and who
it was that was, presumably, failing to cooperate and coordinate
with the EUSR/ICR.
1.14 We felt that this ambiguity might, of course,
be hinting at a wider backdrop, namely the major countries and
five European Union members who still refuse to recognise Kosovo's
independence; the reference by Serbia of Kosovo's declaration
of independence to the International Court of Justice in The Hague,
leaving open the possibility of an advisory opinion whose ambiguity
might encourage Serbia to ask the United Nations General Assembly
to pass a resolution demanding new talks on Kosovo's status; and
well-informed media discussion of many Kosovars being "happy
to be shot of their indigestible north", with talk of trading
it for Albanian-inhabited parts of south Serbia, while many Serbs
believed that their country could give up its claim on Kosovo
south of the Ibar river.
Even if exaggerated, it seemed that the political undercurrents
in Kosovo were such that, regardless of the proposed internal
administrative changes, EULEX Kosovo would continue to have a
very hard row to hoe.
1.15 At a more practical level, we were also puzzled
as to how a budget that the then Minister for Europe told the
previous Committee in June 2009 would be a total of 145
million from then until the expiry of the mission's mandate on
14 June 2010 had now grown to 265 million.
1.16 Even though, by then, this Council Decision
had been adopted, we felt that the Council Decision should nonetheless
be debated in the European Committee, so that the new Minister
for Europe might have the opportunity to respond to our observations
and interested Members be given the opportunity of raising with
him any concerns of their own about Kosovo and the EU's role there.
The draft Council Decision
1.17 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 29 September
2010, the Minister for Europe (David Lidington) says that this
further Council Decision sets out funding of 165 Million
for EULEX Kosovo between 15 October 2010 and 14 October 2011.
1.18 He goes on to say that:
"The current total mission budget, set until
14 October 2010, is 265 million. This includes allocations
of 120 million to fund EULEX between June 2008 and November
2009, and 145 million until June 2010. Underspends from
the budget to June have been used to extend the funding period
until 14 October 2010. The mission's required budget has increased
since it achieved Full Operating Capability in March 2009 and
took up the full range of its mandate."
1.19 Further funding will, the Minister says, "be
allocated to the mission at a later date, for the period of its
mandate after 14 October 2011."
The Government's view
1.20 The Minister reiterates his support for EULEX
Kosovo and its "vital role in enabling the Kosovan rule of
law institutions to reach EU standards." As an example of
the "significant progress since it took over the rule of
law functions from UNMIK in December 2008" mentioned in his
earlier Explanatory Memorandum, the Minister says in his Explanatory
Memorandum of 29 September 2010:
"This includes responding calmly and effectively
to public order disturbances; taking forward a number of high
profile corruption cases and war crimes cases; and supporting
Kosovan police as they have taken over primary responsibility
for security in areas such as sections of the border and cultural
1.21 In the next period of its mandate, the Minister
"EULEX aims to increase its activity in the
north of Kosovo and continue to focus on making concrete progress
against organised crime and corruption. EULEX will also have an
important role in supporting the upcoming EU-facilitated dialogue
on issues of practical concern between Kosovo and Serbia. This
dialogue, which was welcomed by a 9 September UN General Assembly
resolution, will cover many rule of law issues, such as the restoration
of full customs controls."
1.22 The Minister also draws attention to some important
"the EULEX management team will change in October
2010. The French Lieutenant General, Xavier de Marnhac, is taking
over from Yves de Kermabon as Head of the Mission, and Her Majesty's
Ambassador in Pristina, Andy Sparkes, will leave his current role
to replace Roy Reeve as Deputy Head of Mission".
1.23 With regard to the Financial Implications, the
Minister says that this funding supports a mission with 1,950
international staff, and continues as follows:
"Funding for the common costs of the mission
is met from the Common Foreign and Security Policy budget. The
UK contributes 13.8% to the overall EU budget in 2010.
"The funding of 165 million covers the
common costs of the mission. This covers mainly HQ, in-country
transport, office equipment and personnel costs. The UK has actively
pressed the European Commission to reduce the proposed increase
in next year's budget (which was originally set at 168 million)
and has actively questioned and challenged much of the proposed
budget spend. Despite very limited support from other Member States,
during negotiations the UK has secured 3 million of savings
and agreement that the average spend over the two years from November
2009 to October 2011 will not exceed 290 million. This means
that the average spend in each of the years will not exceed last
year's agreed annual budget of 145 million.
"The UK also secured agreement that the operational
need for some of the mission's larger proposed capital spending
will be reviewed again at the relevant policy committee before
final commitments are made in these areas, providing an opportunity
to further review costs. This is a departure from previous financial
processes, but something the UK has been insistent on to ensure
that financial decisions are scrutinised more thoroughly, in line
with policy requirements.
"The UK continues to argue strongly that the
mission must deliver value for money, particularly as the largest
civilian CSDP mission. Further, the UK has stressed the importance
of effective budget management and accurate forecasting to mitigate
the risk of another underspend."
1.24 We commend the Minister for his endeavours
in what would appear to have been an uphill struggle in persuading
the majority of other Member States of the need to include economy
and financial discipline in the EULEX remit. We agree that, particularly
as the largest civilian CSDP mission, and notwithstanding the
importance of its task, EULEX must also deliver value for money,
effective budget management and accurate forecasting.
1.25 Since our previous meeting, as the Minister
mentions, on 9 September the UN General Assembly adopted by acclamation
a non-binding resolution sponsored by Serbia and all 27 EU Member
States, acknowledging the advisory opinion of the International
Court of Justice that Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence
did not violate international law, and calling for EU-backed dialogue
aimed at promoting co-operation between Belgrade and Pristina,
as a factor for peace, security and stability in the region, and
"to promote co-operation, achieve progress on the path to
the European Union and improve the lives of the people."
There have been associated discussions involving both the High
Representative and the US Secretary of State, who is said to be
planning to visit both capitals imminently. There is thus all
the more reason for the House to be given an opportunity to hear
from the Minster and discuss with him the next phase of EULEX,
which will begin at what would appear to be a particularly promising,
and thus in many ways even more challenging moment.
1.26 The Council Decision on the mandate extension
having been recommended for debate, we accordingly recommend that
this associated Council Decision be debated with it.
1.27 However, we now understand that, subsequent
to his Explanatory Memorandum, the Minister has been able to have
adoption of the Decision delayed until 14 October (i.e., the date
upon which the current budget is due to end and the new mandate
is due to begin) in order to facilitate scrutiny. In these circumstances,
we are willing to exercise the discretion given to us by paragraph
3(b) of the House's Scrutiny Reserve Resolution, which will allow
the Minister to give agreement to the proposal notwithstanding
that it will still be awaiting consideration by the House.
1 See headnote. Back
The pre-Lisbon Treaty term of art. Back
The post-Lisbon Treaty equivalent. Back
See "Serbia and Kosovo: the border question" in the
5-11 June 2010 edition of The Economist. Back
See headnote: HC 428-i (2010-11), chapter 4 (8 September 2010). Back
A member from 1968, Mr. Reeve was Ambassador to Ukraine on his
retirement from HM Diplomatic Service in 1999. He then headed
the OSCE Office in Yerevan, Armenia, from September 1999 to July
2003. On 1 August 2003 he was appointed as the Head of the OSCE
Mission to Georgia, a position he held until 2007. From December
2007 until June 2009, Mr Reeve was the Head of the European Union
Planning Team for Kosovo and subsequently the Deputy Head of Mission
EULEX Kosovo. See http://www.eulex-kosovo.eu/en/info/Biography--RoyReeve.php
for further information.