12 EU Special Representative for
Council Decision extending the mandate of the European Union Special Representative for Kosovo
|Legal base||Articles 28, 31 (2 ) and 33 TEU; QMV
|Department||Foreign and Commonwealth Office
|Basis of consideration||EM of 11 February 2011 and Minister's letter of 15 February 2011
|Previous Committee Report||None; but see (31844) , (31857-66) and (31884) : HC 428-i (2010-11), chapter 66 (8 September 2010); and (31677): HC 428-i (2010-11), chapter 4 (8 September 2010)
|To be discussed in Council||21 February 2011 Foreign Affairs Council
|Committee's assessment||Politically important
12.1 EU Special Representatives (EUSRs) are appointed to represent
Common Foreign and Security Policy where the Council agrees that
an additional EU presence on the ground is needed to deliver the
political objectives of the Union. They were established under
the 1997 Amsterdam Treaty and are appointed by the Council. The
aim of the EUSRs is to represent the EU in troubled regions and
countries and to play an active part in promoting the interests
and the policies of the EU.
12.2 An EUSR is appointed by Council through
the legal act of a Council Decision (formerly a Joint Action).
The substance of his or her mandate depends on the political context
of the deployment. Some provide, inter alia, a political
backing to an ESDP operation; others focus on carrying out or
contribute to developing an EU policy. Some EUSRs are resident
in their country or region of activity; others work on a travelling
basis from Brussels.
12.3 All EUSRs carry out their duties under the
authority and operational direction of the High Representative
(HR; Baroness Catherine Ashton); and, where "double hatted"
(i.e., also in charge of, originally a Commission, now an EU,
delegation), under her authority as a Vice President of the Commission.
EUSR activity is financed out of the EU budget. Member States
can and do also contribute directly e.g. through seconding some
of the EUSR's staff members.
12.4 The European Union currently has 11 EUSRs
dealing with 12 areas (one EUSR carries out two functions): Afghanistan,
the African Great Lakes Region, the African Union, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Central Asia, Georgia, the former Yugoslav Republic
of Macedonia, Kosovo, the Middle East, Moldova, the South Caucasus
12.5 Mandates are normally for 12 months, February
to February. But the previous ones were shorter, until 31 August
2010, to take account of the planned establishment by then of
the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the possibility
that the tasks of at least some of them would be absorbed into
it. Some of the mandates cleared by the Committee on 8 September
2010 were for a further six-month period, reflecting a combination
of delay in establishing the EEAS and that continuing prospect.
12.6 The Council Decision concerning the present
mandates and some of the history and activities of each EUSR was
helpfully summarised and commented upon by the Minister for Europe
(Mr David Lidington) in his Explanatory Memorandum of 2 August
12.7 In the case of the EUSR Kosovo, the appointment
of Pieter Feith was extended until 28 February 2011 or until the
Council decides, on a proposal by the HR, that appropriate corresponding
structures to those under the current decision have been established
in the EEAS.
12.8 His mandate stems from the 14 December 2007
European Council having underlined the EU's readiness to play
a leading role in strengthening stability in the Western Balkans,
including by contributing to a European Security and Defence Policy
mission and to an International Civilian Office as part of the
international presences in Kosovo. Joint Action 2008/123/CFSP
adopted on 4 February 2008 established an EU Special Representative
for Kosovo. Kosovo declared independence on 17 February 2008.
12.9 The mandate of the EUSR is based on the
objective of securing a stable, viable, peaceful and multi-ethnic
Kosovo, which will contribute to regional stability. His tasks
include being the channel for the EU's advice and support to the
political process, promoting political coordination in Kosovo
through the EU missions, ensuring a coherent public message, and
contributing to the consolidation of human rights and fundamental
freedoms in Kosovo.
12.10 The EUSR role is currently combined with
that of the International Civilian Representative (ICR) who is
appointed by an International Steering Group (ISG, of which the
UK is a member) and is the ultimate supervisory authority over
the implementation of the UN Special Envoy's Comprehensive Settlement
Proposal (Kosovo committed itself to that proposal as part of
its declaration of independence). The ICR does not have a direct
role in the administration of Kosovo, but retains strong corrective
powers to ensure the successful implementation of the Settlement.
The ICR's mandate will continue until the ISG determines that
Kosovo has implemented the terms of the settlement.
12.11 The Minister fully supported maintaining
the office of the EUSR in Kosovo and welcomed the continued appointment
of Pieter Feith in this post. He noted Mr Feith's long track record
of crisis management in both NATO and the European Union and close
involvement with Kosovo since his time as a senior policy official
in the NATO International Secretariat in the late 90s; his successful
leadership of the EU-led Aceh Monitoring Mission in 2005 and 2006;
and his appointment in 2007 as Director of the EU's Civilian Planning
and Conduct Capability and as the Civilian Operation Commander
for civilian ESDP missions. He said that Mr Feith had proved highly
capable in his role in Kosovo, supporting development of a stable,
viable and prosperous Kosovo as it worked towards its European
perspective. In particular he had contributed to efforts to hold
free and fair elections in line with international standards,
reached out to the non-majority community and supported dialogue
in the field of religious and cultural heritage. He was, the Minister
judged, very well placed to continue to provide strategic policy
leadership to the international community effort in Kosovo and
to work closely with the NATO and EU missions there. His double-hatting
as the ICR had proved highly effective, adding authority and political
influence to enable the EUSR to achieve the EU's objectives.
12.12 With regard to the financial aspects, the
Minister said that a total allocation of 1,230,000 had been
proposed for the period of the mandate (1 September 2010 until
28 February 2011); this was, he noted, 430,000 less than
the budget for the current 6 month period, predominantly due to
reduced requirement for capital expenditure and for the contingency
reserve, and despite a proposed increase in staff of five.
12.13 In a separate letter, the Minister noted
that the Council Decision (and the others) would be agreed by
written procedure on 8 August 2010 so that the further mandates
would be in place before the current ones expired on 31 August
2010. He explained that the first, early, draft documents had
not received until 13 July, which had prevented him from submitting
them for scrutiny before the summer recess. He would, he said,
continue to press strongly in Brussels, including with the High
Representative, for a more timely issue of documents in the future,
in line with his being "fully committed to the rigorous parliamentary
oversight of the Government's policy in the EU."
12.14 We had no questions concerning the extension
of Mr Feith's mandate, which we cleared.
12.15 However, we noted, the Committee had once
again left reporting a fait accompli to the House. We noted
that, with the timeline known long ago, these mandate renewals
must have been in discussion for some months. Since no major changes
were involved, we saw no good reason why the draft texts could
not have been produced much sooner. The next time any mandates
came up for renewal, we said that we would expect both full and
timely informationi.e., in time to scrutinise any proposal
and raise any relevant questions before it was adopted. This should,
we said, apply particularly to any Council Decision to end an
EUSR's mandate and incorporate it into the activity of the EEAS.
12.16 Against this background, we drew attention
to press reports that, at the July Foreign Affairs Council, it
was decided to end four mandates from February 2011, including
those of the EUSRs to the South Caucasus and to the MEPP (the
others being those to Macedonia and Moldova); and that the Council
had been unable to reach any agreement on the position of the
ICR/EUSR to Kosovo. We therefore asked the Minister to explain:
his concerns about the need for conflict resolution and prevention
in the south Caucasus to be undertaken by someone based outside
the region had been resolved and, now a decision had been taken
to end the mandate in February 2011, how he would be able to ensure
that this role would be adequately covered and that the person
selected to perform it would have (as the Minister had put it)
"sufficient seniority and experience to establish the level
of access and influence necessary to have an impact on key players";
if the EUSR and High Representative were
key to driving EU policy on resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict,
the rationale behind abolishing this EUSR post;
given his strong endorsement of both
the role of the ICR/EUSR Kosovo and the present incumbent, what
had held up agreement in the Council regarding his mandate.
The draft Council Decision
12.17 The present Council Decision would extend
the mandate of Mr Peter Feith for a further two months, until
30 April 2011.
The Government's view
12.18 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 11 February
2011, the Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) describes the
proposed extension as "a pragmatic way of ensuring political
continuity of EU expertise and visibility in Kosovo as the EEAS
seeks to finalise its plans for an enhanced EU presence in Kosovo
within the framework provided by the Lisbon Treaty." He says
that the EEAS is confident that it can deliver a revised mandate
and structure before the new expiry date of 30 April, and that
he continues "to urge the EEAS to give Member States sufficient
notice of the proposed changes to enable us to consult domestic
12.19 He then continues as follows:
"The presence of an EUSR is essential for the
international community's efforts to build stability and prosperity
in Kosovo and HMG will seek to ensure that the role is continued
as part of the revised EEAS structure. The EUSR plays a key role
in advising and encouraging the Kosovo government to drive forward
the reforms necessary for Kosovo's continued progress along its
European path, and in providing strategic policy leadership to
the international community effort in Kosovo, in particular by
giving political direction to the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo
"In recent months, the EUSR has made a key contribution
to efforts to hold Kosovo's first general elections since independence,
including coordination of a strong international election monitoring
mission. These elections were widely recognised to have been conducted
in a peaceful and stable manner, and broadly in line with international
standards. There were a number of irregularities and allegations
of fraud, but the efficient and responsible manner with which
the Central Election Commission and Constitutional Court addressed
these is a further sign of Kosovo's maturing democracy and integration
into the international community.
"The EUSR continues to be very active in the
field of religious and cultural affairs. The Greek Ambassador
Dimitris Moschopoulos has been appointed as EU facilitator and
the past 6 months has seen real signs of progress. The Enthronement
of the new Serbian Orthodox Church patriarch passed peacefully.
The transfer of historic religious sites from KFOR protection
to the Kosovo Police is proceeding steadily and successfully.
"Looking ahead, it will be important for the
EUSR and the Kosovo Government to focus their attention on taking
forward the much needed reforms highlighted in the 2010 Commission
Progress Report on Kosovo, and in particular in relation to improving
governance, fighting corruption and strengthening the rule of
"The EUSR will also have an important role to
play in supporting the upcoming EU-facilitated dialogue between
Belgrade and Pristina on how to improve practical cooperation
between Serbia and Kosovo and make progress towards both countries'
European perspective. Recent political events in Kosovo
early general elections and subsequent re-runs have prevented
a start to the EU-facilitated dialogue. But all parties are committed
to commencing as soon as possible."
12.20 The Minister concludes by noting that the
extension will be funded from the budget agreed for the 1 September
2010 until 28 February 2011 mandate; and that the draft decision
will be considered at the 21 February 2011 Foreign Affairs Council.
The Minister's letter of 15 February 2011
12.21 In his letter, the Minister responds to
the Committee's question last September relating to Kosovo, namely:
"given [the Minister's] strong endorsement of
both the role of the ICR/EUSR Kosovo and the present incumbent,
what has held up agreement in the Council regarding his mandate."
12.22 He does so as follows:
"The delays have been the result of EEAS efforts
to enhance the EU presence in Kosovo within the framework provided
by the Lisbon Treaty. As the Comprehensive Settlement Proposal
gets closer to full implementation and the EU seeks to develop
its relationship with Kosovo, some rebalancing of the EUSR and
ICR responsibilities is inevitable, resulting in a greater, not
lesser role for the EU. That is why the EEAS is looking to increase
the focus and breadth of the EU's role in Kosovo.
"In practice, this requires consideration of
how the EU can strengthen the current EUSR's mandate, including
its relationship with the other EU presences in Kosovothe
European Commission Liaison Office and the EU's Rule of Law Mission.
I should underline here that there is currently no suggestion
in Brussels that the mandate be allowed to expire or to be subsumed
into the EEAS structures in Brussels.
"There are two factors that complicate this
process. Firstly, the current double hatting of the EUSR mandate
with that of the International Civilian Representative makes it
important for the EEAS to consider the views of the International
Steering Group members, and in particular those who are not EU
Member States (Croatia, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and the US).
Secondly, the EEAS also needs to reconcile the views of the 22
EU Member States who recognise Kosovo with the five that currently
do not. This impacts for instance on the question of whether the
EU can have a full "delegation" or just a "liaison
office" in Pristina."
12.23 The Minister concludes his letter by apologising
for not having responded earlier to the Committee's questions
and by reiterating his:
for the proposed extension as a pragmatic way of ensuring political
continuity of EU expertise and visibility in Kosovo as the EEAS
seeks to finalise its plans;
confidence in the EEAS's capacity to
deliver a revised mandate and structure before the proposed new
expiry date of 30 April;
view that the presence of a EUSR is essential
for the international community's efforts to build stability and
prosperity in Kosovo, and for the EU's efforts to assist Kosovo
in its efforts to further integrate itself with the EU;
commitment to ensuring proper Parliamentary
scrutiny of decisions regarding EUSR mandates; and
assurance that the FCO continues to underline
with the EEAS the need to ensure timely EUSR mandate documentation
12.24 We thank the Minister for this further
information, and now look to him to ensure that the EEAS responds
appropriately to his representations.
12.25 In the meantime, we are reporting this
matter to the House because of the degree of interest in developments
12.26 We now clear the Council Decision.
49 See headnote: (31844) -, (31857-66) - and (31884)
-: HC 428-i (2010-11), chapter 66 (8 September 2010). Back
For the Committee's most recent consideration of the EULEX Kosovo
mandate, see (31677)-: HC 428-i (2010-11), chapter 4 (8 September
2010). The record of the subsequent European Committee is available