European Scrutiny Committee Contents

58 Common Foreign and Security Policy



Annual Report from the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to the European Parliament on the main aspects and basic choices of the CFSP (point G, paragraph 43 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006) — 2009

Legal baseArticle 36 TEU; —
DepartmentForeign and Commonwealth Office
Document originated8 June 2010
Date deposited10 June 2010
Basis of considerationEM of 15 June 2010
Previous Committee ReportNone: but see (30691) 10665/09: HC 19-xxi (2008-09), chapter 7 (24 June 2009); 29672 —: HC 16-xxii (2007-08), chapter 12 (21 May 2008); HC 16-xxv (2007-08), chapter 11 (25 June 2008); and (30250) 16686/08 and (30355) 17104/08: HC 19-v (2008-09), chapter 2 (28 January 2009)
Discussed in Council14 June 2010 Foreign Affairs Council
Committee's assessmentPolitically important
Committee's decisionCleared


58.1 Under Article 36 TEU (previously Article 21 TEU), the European Parliament (EP) is to be consulted regularly by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR) on the main aspects and basic choices of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), kept informed of how these policies evolve and have its views "duly taken into account". In line with these requirements, the Council submits an annual report to the European Parliament.

58.2 This report is presented to the EP in conformity with point G, paragraph 43 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management. Its scope is limited to a description of CFSP activities. The General Secretariat of the Council (GSC) also says that, where appropriate and necessary in order to provide a comprehensive overview of activities, reference is made to actions falling outside the scope of Title V of the Treaty on European Union.

The 2009 Annual Report

58.3 The 80-page 2009 annual report covers the main aspects and basic choices of the CFSP under the Czech and Swedish Presidencies and looks ahead to the future challenges of 2010. In its preface, the GSC sums up developments thus:

"International affairs in 2009 were dominated by the international community's response to the economic and financial crisis. Energy security continued to underpin many of the geo-strategic challenges facing the European Union. Regional conflicts in the Middle East, Yemen, Afghanistan/Pakistan, Somalia and in the European neighbourhood were also high on the EU's foreign policy agenda. The EU continued to build on the European perspective as an anchor of stability through enhanced cooperation with neighbours in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy. This was given shape with the launch of the Eastern Partnership and further work on the Union for the Mediterranean. The year ended with a muted response to multilateral efforts on climate change.

"As regards Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)[246] activities, the EU continued to deploy three military operations and nine civilian missions across the globe, in the interest of the wider international community. EULEX Kosovo, the EU's largest rule of law mission to date, established by JA 2008/124/CFSP,[247] reached its full operational capability with some 1700 international police officers, judges, prosecutors and customs officials and approximately 1000 local staff deployed throughout Kosovo.

"With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1st December, the closing month of 2009 marked a new beginning for the way the EU conducts its foreign relations. By combining policy and delivery tools under the single authority of a High Representative, Europe has enhanced its capacity to work towards its foreign policy objectives."

58.4 The GSC says that throughout 2009 the EP was regularly consulted and informed on CFSP activities by the Presidency as well the High Representative, and at the working level by senior officials of the GSC. The report continues as follows:

"Under the new institutional arrangement, the EP will continue to play its full role in the external action of the Union. In line with the provisions of Article 36, the High Representative, who now replaces the Presidency as the lead actor on CFSP/CSDP, will consult regularly with the EP on the main aspects and the basic choices of the CFSP and the CSDP and inform it of how those policies evolve. Furthermore the High Representative will ensure that the views of the EP are duly taken into consideration. Twice a year the EP will hold a debate on progress in implementing the CFSP, including the CSDP.

"The EP will also continue to be regularly consulted on the budgetary implications of CFSP activities including on the financing of the common costs of civilian CSDP operations and EU Special Representatives."

58.5 The report complements the chapter on external relations of the annual report on the progress of the EU presented to the European Parliament in application of Article 4 of the Treaty on European Union, which includes the broad priorities of the EU's external relations. It reviews 2009 under seven headings:

  • Addressing Threats and Global Challenges;
  • Regional Conflicts and Situations of Fragility;
  • Building Stability in Europe and Beyond;
  • Contribution to a More Effective Multilateral Order;
  • Promotion of Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law;
  • Fostering Partnerships Across the World; and
  • More Effective, Capable and Coherent.

58.6 As well as a section looking ahead to 2010, there are also three annexes:

  • Annex I lists the legal acts in the CFSP area;
  • Annex II lists the appearances by representatives of the Council before the European Parliament; and
  • Annex III covers the CFSP budget for 2009 (commitment appropriations).

58.7 Annex I of the report lists 18 pages of legal acts carried out in the CFSP area, Annex II lists the appearances of representatives of the Council before the European Parliament and Annex III the commitment appropriations of the 2008 CFSP budget (which is reproduced at the Annex to this chapter of our Report).

58.8 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 15 June 2010, the Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) describes and analyses "the highlights" as follows:


"The EU continued its efforts on the dual track strategy of engagement and pressure, including support of the EU High Representative's calls for engagement with the E3+3. Iran's response to the call to engagement was inadequate, and further discussion of sanctions resumed. The Government welcomed the EU's support for the dual track strategy, and reiterates its shared objective of building a long-term relationship with Iran based on confidence and co-operation.


"Afghanistan is a key foreign policy objective for the EU and its Member States. As noted in the report, at the October European Council in 2009 Member States agreed to enhance the EU's engagement in Afghanistan and Pakistan through the Plan for Strengthening EU Action in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This committed the EU to increase its engagement while focussing on areas where it can add value, including sub-national governance, rule of law and rural development, election reform and civilian capacity building. The EU Action Plan also agreed to increase the numbers of police trainers in the police training mission (EUPOL) from 270 to 400.

"The implementation of the EU Action Plan will be overseen by the newly appointed EU Special Representative (EUSR), Vygaudas Usackas. The Government welcomes this strengthened position, which has unified the Commission delegation with the EUSR Office in country. The EU also has an important role to play in ensuring credible and robust Afghan parliamentary elections in September. The Government supports the EU Special Representative's proposal for an EU Electoral Support Team.


"The Government agrees with the report's assessment that Croatia made substantial progress in 2009 in its accession negotiations. The signing of the Arbitration Agreement on the border issue with Slovenia was a welcome development, reducing the risk that differences over the border would impact on Croatian accession negotiations. Whilst accession negotiations are nearing the final phase, Croatia still has much to do, not least to demonstrate full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

"The report also restates EU demands for Turkey to step up its efforts to meet EU standards and requirements, including implementing the Ankara Agreement Protocol (i.e. opening its ports and airports to Cypriot vessels), continuing to support the Cyprus settlement talks, and committing to good neighbourly relations. The Government is a strong supporter of Turkey's accession process. Turkey is an important regional player, promoting security in the Middle East and the Southern Caucasus, and playing a key role in energy supply and the promotion of dialogue between civilisations.

"The report sets out the progress made by the countries of the Western Balkans towards further EU integration. It reports the Council's full support for the European perspective of the whole region, which remains essential for its future stability and prosperity. The Government supports this position. We attach great importance to promotion of stability in the Western Balkans and considers EU enlargement to the Western Balkans countries, on the basis of the accession criteria, to be a vital strategic goal. We believe that the European Union must sharpen its focus on the Western Balkans in order to ensure that all the countries of the region are irreversibly on the path to EU membership.

"In December 2009 the Council expressed its concerns regarding political developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and called on the country to urgently speed up key reforms. The Government shares this concern at the political situation and lack of progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which it considers requires sustained international attention. In Kosovo, the work of the EUSR (who is double-hatted as the head of the International Civilian Office) continues to be essential in providing focus and leadership for the EU's commitment to strengthening the country's stability and socio-economic development.


"During the reporting period the EU's largest rule of law mission to date — EULEX — reached full operational capability with 1700 international staff. The mission made significant progress in areas of its mandate, which has had a positive impact on the development of Kosovo's police, customs and judicial system. The report highlights the agreement of a protocol with Serbia on cooperation over police issues, and on investigating, prosecuting and trying war crimes. The Government continues to support the work of the mission and sees it as an important international presence in tackling organised crime and corruption, and enabling Kosovo to meet EU standards in rule of law.

"In 2009 EUPOL Afghanistan developed its support to the Afghan Ministry of Interior and the National Police in the fight against corruption. The Mission supported the Afghan authorities in the development of an Anti-corruption Implementation Programme, aimed at creating and maintaining an internal Afghan anti-corruption system. The Government continues to support the work of the mission in building the capacity of the Afghan police — a key part of the counter insurgency strategy in Afghanistan. EUPOL's provision of civilian policing advice and mentoring, and continued efforts to tackle police corruption, are necessary to develop a sustainable Afghan police force.

"In the Occupied Palestinian Territories the mandates of the EU Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) at Rafah and the EU Police Mission in the Palestinian Territories (EUPOL COPPS) were extended. EUPOL COPPS conducted a detailed survey of the Palestinian criminal justice sector and produced an action plan as a result. The Mission provides strategic advice and expertise to the entire criminal justice chain based on this plan. The UK continues to support the work of EUPOL COPPS in strengthening law and order in the Palestinian Territories. The mission is a vital presence in the creation of a viable Palestinian state. Despite the continued closure of the border crossing, EUBAM Rafah stands ready to deploy at short notice should the political and security situation allow.

"In 2009 the EU Army Reform Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (EUSEC CONGO) adopted a revised general concept, which refocused the mission's work on supporting the administrative and finance areas of the Congolese Armed Forces as well as giving the mission a stronger focus on tackling sexual violence. During the reporting period, steps were taking to improve civilian and military synergies. In November 2009 for example, a Council Decision created a pool of European experts in Security Sector Reform, who will provide a pool of SSR knowledge on which the EU can draw.


"The EU and Russia have continued to work towards a New EU-Russia Agreement which will provide a comprehensive framework for the EU-Russia relationship. Movement has been slow. The EU has engaged with Russia on foreign and security policy issues, including Iran and Afghanistan, while underlining to Russia the need to meet the commitments they made following the Georgia conflict in August 2008. The EU and Russia proposed an initiative to develop a Partnership for Modernisation at their Summit in Stockholm in November 2009.


"The EU continued to play a significant role in the international community's work to resolve the conflict between Georgia and Russia. Russia's veto of the continuation of the OSCE and UN missions in Georgia, as noted by the report, has left the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) as the only international monitoring presence on the ground. EUMM's patrols, investigations into incidents, and mediation between the parties continue to play a key role in reducing the risk of renewed conflict. The EU Special Representative for Georgia has been instrumental in maintaining momentum in the Geneva talks. The EU has continued to make its support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity clear.


"The report identifies the role of EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta in leading international counter-piracy activity operations. This operation, for which the UK provides the Commander and Headquarters, contributed to a significant reduction in successful pirate hijackings in the Gulf of Aden as well as protecting all World Food Programme humanitarian deliveries to Somalia.

"The report also highlights the role of the EU in supporting the efforts of the 4 Working Groups of The Contact Group on Piracy off the coast of Somalia (CGPCS). The UK chairs the working group on operational coordination and regional capability development. In September 2009 the UK led a regional needs assessment mission to East Africa and the Gulf of Aden, which has been endorsed by the wider Contact Group as the basis for international engagement to develop regional capability.


"In 2009 the EU continued to remain engaged on Sudan through Council and the Special Representative for Sudan. The EU focus on pursuing resolution of the conflict in Darfur and full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement remains in line with UK objectives. This included for preparations for the nationwide 2010 elections and work to address the continuing widespread insecurity in Darfur.


"The EU strengthened restrictive measures against Burma in August 2009 in response to the sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi to a further 18 months under house arrest. In March 2010, the regime published election laws which excluded many of the opposition groups from participation in the electoral process, and it became clear that elections would not be inclusive, free or fair. In light of these developments, EU Foreign Ministers agreed in April 2010 to renew the restrictive measures for a further 12 months. The UK will only support the lifting of sanctions in response to positive progress. The EU also continues to urge the regime to begin the process of national reconciliation, establishing a dialogue between all political and opposition groups and to release all political prisoners to allow them to participate in an inclusive electoral process.

"The EU is pursuing a policy of sanctions while seeking to intensify dialogue with the regime. The UK supports engagement with Burma provided that the full range of stakeholders is involved in discussions concerning its political future. The EU provides substantial humanitarian assistance to the people of Burma, as do a number of individual Member States. The UK remains one of the largest donors."

58.9 Then, turning to the financial aspects, the Minister:

—  recalls that the current EU Financial Perspective allocates €1.74 billion from the EC budget to the CFSP Budget from 2007 to 2013, as agreed at the European Council in December 2005, and notes that, with the UK contributing 13.59% of the total EU Budget, on a pro-rata basis, this equates to approximately €236 million over the seven year period; and

—  notes that, for 2009 the outturn for the CFSP budget was €242.75 million in commitments and €315.97 million in payments.

58.10 Finally, the Minister says that the report is due to be adopted at Foreign Affairs Council on 14 June 2010 and then transmitted to the European Parliament in line with the inter-institutional agreement.


58.11 As with earlier such Reports, the previous Committee, and thus the House, is familiar with much of the content of this latest Report via the legislative actions and accompanying Explanatory Memoranda submitted to it by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Nonetheless, we consider that they continue to warrant reporting to the House.

58.12 In so doing, we recall the previous Committee's description of its discussion in 2009 with the then Foreign Secretary and the then Ministers of Europe about the "upstream" scrutiny of CFSP and CSDP — i.e., the points at which policy decisions are taken that then result in the legislative actions that are submitted for scrutiny — and the assurance given to it in May 2008 by the previous Foreign Secretary, that the Government was "committed to the principle of upstream scrutiny" and recognised "that, for scrutiny to be effective, your Committee needs to be able to examine the EU policy-making process at the earliest possible stage", and that he supported "being as open as possible regarding the context of the Conclusions and the general position that the UK will be taking in Council." That discussion is set out fully in the previous Committee's Report on the 2008 CFSP Report.[248] In sum, the previous Committee said that:

—  what it needed above all was not to be taken by surprise when it was presented with a draft Council Decision, or a declaration or statement of some sort that will then determine future Council Decisions;

—  the initiative must lie with the FCO, since by definition the Committee cannot know what is under discussion, particularly with regard to such declarations or statements; and

—  it was here that, in line with the previous Foreign Secretary's and Minister for Europe's own assurances, the possibilities lay for more constructive and imaginative thinking, and where the Committee looked to the FCO to be as forthcoming as possible when future Council Decisions, declarations, statements and the like were in gestation.

58.13 We share our predecessor's views and look forward to continuing to discuss with the new Government how to give expression most effectively to what we hope will be a shared aspiration.

58.14 In the meantime, we draw these exchanges to the attention of the House not only so that it, but also the Minister for Europe, may be aware of them.

58.15 We now clear the document.

246   The European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) prior to the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. Back

247   OJ No. L 42, 16.2.08, p.92 Back

248   See headnote: (30691) 10665/09: HC 19-xxi (2008-09), chapter 7 (24 June 2009). Back

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