European Scrutiny Committee Contents


1 EU training of Somali security forces


(34518)

Draft Council Decision amending and extending Council Decision 2010/96/CFSP on a European Union military mission to contribute to the training of Somali security forces (EUTM Somalia)

Legal baseArticles 42 and 43 TEU; unanimity
DepartmentForeign and Commonwealth Office
Basis of considerationEM of 13 December 2012
Previous Committee ReportNone; but see (31426) — : HC 5-xv (2009-10), chapter 8 (24 March 2010) and (31259) — : HC 5-vii (2009-10), chapter 2 (20 January 2010)
Discussion in Council20 December 2012 Agriculture and Fisheries Council
Committee's assessmentPolitically important
Committee's decisionNot cleared; for debate in European Committee B

Background

1.1 On 15 February 2010 the Council decided[1] that the Union would conduct a military training mission, called EUTM Somalia, in order to contribute to strengthening the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) as a functioning government serving Somali citizens. The objective of the EU military mission was to contribute to a comprehensive and sustainable perspective for the development of the Somali security sector by strengthening the Somali security forces through the provision of specific military training, and support to the training provided by Uganda, of 2,000 Somali recruits up to and including platoon level, including appropriate modular and specialised training for officers and non-commissioned officers.

1.2 As our Report under reference explains in detail, the previous Committee raised a number of questions when this mission was being planned. Although a further Council Decision was required in order to launch the Mission following approval of the Mission plan, they recommended that the Council Decision (which was then under consideration) should be debated in European Committee, to give the House an opportunity to pursue them and other questions that interested Members might wish to raise, and the then Minister to respond to those of its earlier questions that remained unanswered.[2]

1.3 That debate took place on 8 March 2010, at the end of which the European Committee welcomed the Council Decision as a positive contribution to building peace and stability in Somalia.[3]

1.4 A further Council Decision authorised the mission plan that had been developed in the meantime.

1.5 In his accompanying Explanatory Memorandum of 22 March 2010, the then Minister for Europe (Chris Bryant) set out the legal basis for this EU action, explained why he felt that the previous Committee's concerns had been satisfactorily addressed, and why he regarded the mission — which had been renamed, from EUTRA Somalia, to EUTM Somalia — as a positive contribution to the Somali peace process.

1.6 His detailed analysis of the mission — its rationale, objectives, targets, and so on — is set out in our Report under reference. Full Operational Capability (FOC) would be reached by 1 May 2010, when training would begin. The then Minister said:

"The mission's end state will be after two 6-month training periods have been completed and EUTM Somalia personnel and equipment have been recovered. The final agreed text stated: 'The EU military mission shall terminate in 2011 after two consecutive six-month training periods'. This means that the mission's objectives are met whilst ensuring that it has a clear exit strategy.

"The mission is small, designed to support and enhance existing Ugandan-led training. Uganda is currently carrying out basic training of Somali Security Sector Forces. The Ugandans, veterans of Mogadishu, have a clear idea of what will work in Somali culture and are in an excellent position to work alongside EU trainers. The Ugandans have welcomed the CSDP mission. The Mission supports the African Union's peacekeeping mission to Somalia (AMISOM). By focusing on the need to 'train the trainer' the benefits of the training are extended beyond the Mission's timeframe as trainers are given the capability that will endure beyond the end of the mission. The training will take place outside Somalia, taking account of the security situation and its impact on the safety of EU instructors."

Financial Implications

1.7 The then Minister expected the final budget to be "in the vicinity of" €4.978 million; and the UK share to be around £700,000 for 2010/11.

Our predecessors' assessment

1.8 After thanking the then Minister for explaining the nature and purpose of this mission, and for endeavouring to address earlier concerns, so comprehensively, the previous Committee cleared the draft Council Decision.[4]

The Minister's Explanatory Memorandum of 6 July 2011

1.9 The Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) said that the Foreign Affairs Council was due to take a decision in mid-July on the future of EUTM Somalia after its current mandate expired. He explained that the European External Action Service (EEAS) had drafted a Crisis Management Concept, setting out a new mandate, alongside descriptions of the background, situation, requirements, assumptions, conditions of execution, co-ordination with others and way ahead. The necessary Council Decision, which had yet to be drafted, would be based on this Crisis Management Concept; he anticipated that this would take place in mid-July, after the House had risen for the summer recess.

1.10 The Minister said that, thus far, EUTM Somalia had conducted the training of just under 2,000 troops in two tranches of roughly 1,000 troops each; in each training period, around 670 trainees were given basic training and about 330 NCO basic training, with a number of NCOs selected for further training as junior officers; training had been held in Bihanga Camp, Uganda; up to 150 staff from between 10 and 14 Member States had provide specialist training, supporting the Ugandan Army. The Mission had worked in close collaboration with the US. Troops were vetted by AMISOM, with support from the US, before training began, to ensure that they represented "Somalia" rather than a particular area or clan. The first trainees had returned to Mogadishu in February and had recently been deployed; the second tranche was still being trained in Uganda and likely to return to Mogadishu in August, marking the end of the current EUTM Somalia mandate. In order to avoid a gap in the training — should the Council decide that it should be continued — a decision was required in mid-July to allow for operational planning for the next stage.

1.11 The Minister included a copy of the Crisis Management Concept, and noted that the information in it was confidential. In his EM, the Minister said that the political objective of extending EUTM Somalia was to continue to contribute to strengthening the TFG as a functioning government serving Somali citizens; and the military objective, to contribute to strengthening the Somali National Security Forces through the provision of military training to commanders and specialists up to company level, and through training trainers, with a view to transferring basic and specialist training expertise up to platoon level under African ownership back to Somalia. The main training would focus on the development of Somali Command and Control capabilities up to company level, and of a self-training capacity; it was envisaged that it would take five to six months to complete this phase; a second training period, whose parameters would be further defined taking into account identified lessons, would then follow. EUTM Somalia would continue operating in close cooperation and coordination with other actors in the international community, in particular, the UN, AMISOM, Uganda and the US and in line with TFG requirements.

The Minister's letter of 6 July 2011

1.12 The Minister noted that the current mandate would formally end when the second tranche of troops trained under the Mission returns to Mogadishu, which he said was likely to be in late August. He said that the Mission had been successful in contributing to the development of the Somali security sector by strengthening the Somali security forces. It was an important part of the EU's comprehensive engagement in support of Somalia, with a view to responding to the priority needs of the Somali people and stabilizing Somalia to begin rebuilding security, and was consistent with the Union's external action as a whole, including the Union's development programmes.

1.13 He then said:

"My officials have raised the problem of national parliamentary scrutiny and asked if a decision might be postponed until after Recess. However, if a decision is delayed, there will not be sufficient time to carry out the necessary operational planning to avoid an operational gap should the Council decide that the Mission should be continued. This would result in unnecessary costs such as maintaining empty training facilities.

"If a decision is adopted by Council in mid July, this will unfortunately mean that there is not enough time for your Committee to scrutinise the Decision. In light of the need to begin operational planning, I hope the Committee will accept the Crisis Management Concept for the extension of the mandate as sufficient basis for scrutiny."

1.14 In its response of 13 July 2011, the Committee said that, while it appreciated the Minister's endeavours to keep it informed of issues that were likely to jeopardize the scrutiny reserve, it had already been pointed out to FCO officials that:

—  the first sentence of his EM said: "This information is provided to the Committee in confidence as the document is classified Limité";

—  this contravened the arrangement agreed in 2010 between the Committees of both Houses and the Government on the treatment of limité documents, which plainly says (in bold): "They cannot be deposited and subject to an Explanatory Memorandum as this makes their content public";

—  the Committee therefore could not deal with it;

—  there would be little point in a further letter, since no other prior information could be used as a substitute for scrutiny of a document that was not yet able to be scrutinised;

—  all the Committee can deal with is an EM covering a text, official or unofficial, that can be deposited without any caveat;

—  if that is then deposited at a time when a scrutiny breach is unavoidable, that is how it has to be;

—  if there were good reasons, as the FCO knew from experience, the Committee was always reasonable in its approach to such breaches;

—  the FCO had accordingly been advised to withdraw the EM and then arrange for the draft Council Decision to be deposited when it was ready, along with the usual EM. The Committee considered this the right course of action.

The Minister's letter of 7 December 2011

1.15 The Minister wrote to inform the Committee that the 25 July FAC had adopted a Council Decision to amend and extend Decision 2010/96/CFSP on EUTM Somalia.

1.16 He recalled his letter of 6 July 2011, and that the Committee had asked for an EM to be deposited when the Decision was ready, and continued as follows:

"However, as the Decision is classified Limité, this letter and update is being provided in place of an EM to inform the Committees of events relating to the EUTM. I apologise for the earlier confusion about the deposit of the document referred to in your 13 July letter. Although I provided information in confidence to the Committee in the form of an EM template, the document itself was not deposited. I'm sure you appreciate that the mistake sprung from officials' desire to keep the Committee informed about progress on this important mission.

"The first tranche of EUTM trainees returned to Mogadishu in February and was deployed during the summer. The second tranche has recently returned to Mogadishu and is undergoing reintegration training. Whilst it is too early to make a comprehensive assessment of the performance of the first tranche of troops, we have had positive feedback about the performance of the EUTM trained troops. The third tranche has recently arrived in Mogadishu and has begun its training.

"In spite of some recent improvements, the situation in Somalia has not stabilised since the launch of EUTM Somalia. The Somali NSF are not yet capable of fulfilling their mission without external support, and it was therefore agreed that EUTM Somalia will continue. The decision was required in mid July in order to avoid a gap in the training and to allow for operational planning for the next stage.

"This extension to EUTM Somalia's mandate will continue to be funded under the EU's ATHENA shared costs mechanism.[5] The budget for the extended and revised EUTM Somalia mandate has initially been set at €4.8 million. On this basis, and given the current agreed UK contribution of 14.36% toward shared costs, the new EUTM Somalia may incur an overall additional cost to UK of €689,280. The EU have so far issued two call-forward notices requesting member state fund €2.20 million of the proposed €4.8 million cost of the extended mission. The UK's share of this funding is €316,274. However, €206,815 of proposed UK funding has been covered by a surplus in the overall ATHENA budget for 2010. This leaves the UK with a payment of €109,458 to make at this stage. This payment will be made, in accordance with established procedures, by MOD. MOD will then be reimbursed from the Peacekeeping budget."

The Minister's letter of 3 December 2012

1.17 The Minister for Europe wrote to advise the Committee that a fresh Council Decision was likely to be adopted between 18-20 December 2012.

1.18 The Minister went on to say that: in late September, a review of EUTM Somalia was concluded, evaluating the effectiveness of the mission in achieving its stated aims and, given the changes in the political and security situation, identifying recommendations for any future of the mission; based on this, a fresh Crisis Management Concept was now being drafted, with costs, aims and structure over the next two years; and that all he could say at that point was that he expected the proposal to be for a two-year mandate extension; for the mission to relocate to Mogadishu;, and to build on previous junior officer training by shifting the focus to more senior levels of the Somali National Security Forces. This, the Minister for Europe said, "is consistent with the UK's Somalia policy to work with the new Somali government to strengthen their security forces in order to stabilise the security situation in the country". The Minister undertook to write again once the Council Decision became available for scrutiny.

1.19 The Minister then said that this new mandate would need to be proposed and agreed before the end of December; and that "due to the process by which the documents are agreed in advance of the drafting of the Council Decision", he does not expect to receive this before 13 December. Conscious no doubt that the Committee would meet on 19 December and then not until 9 January, he said that "this will provide a particularly short window for the Scrutiny Committee to consider these proposals".

1.20 In its response of 5 December 2012, the Committee said that it found it difficult to understand why this had arisen. It pointed out that, for several years now, both it and its predecessor had made it clear that it relied upon the FCO both to alert it at the earliest possible moment of this sort of development and to avoid wherever possible situations such as this where, in reality, proper prior scrutiny would now be impossible — even if he were able to provide an Explanatory Memorandum in time for the Committee's 19 December meeting, there would be no opportunity to pursue any questions that might arise prior to adoption by the Council.

1.21 The Committee went on to say that, so far it could see, it had not heard from the Minister on EUTM Somalia since December 2011. The Committee pointed out that it had acknowledged the difficulties inherent in prior scrutiny of sanctions regimes. On this mission, however, it could not see why it was not possible for the Committee to have been provided with an update on the review process and its outcome; and nor could it see why — his representations to the High Representative and the EEAS notwithstanding about the need for proper scrutiny to be built into EEAS timelines — the draft could not have been provided until a couple of weeks before the mandate was due to expire. It seemed to us that once again, professed commitments to scrutiny rang hollow.

1.22 The Committee asked for an explanation within the next ten working days.

The draft Council Decision

1.23 The draft Council Decision would further amend and extend Council Decision 2010/96/CFSP of 15 February 2010 on EUTM Somalia, from 1 January 2013 to 31 March 2015.

1.24 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 13 December 2012, the Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) notes that, after evaluation of progress made in July 2011, the Council decided to extend and refocus the EUTM Somalia. [6]

1.25 The Minister recalls his letter to the Committee on 7 December 2011 concerning the previous amendment and extension of the mandate, noting that this Council Decision could not be submitted for scrutiny "due to the classification of the documents."

1.26 The Minister continues as follows:

"It would now focus on command and control and specialised capabilities and on the self training capabilities of the Somali National Security Forces (SNSF), with the intention of transferring EU training expertise to local actors. This was to be achieved through the provision of military training to commanders and specialists up to company level, and through training trainers, with a view to transferring basic and specialist training expertise up to platoon level under African ownership back to Somalia.

"In terms of training delivered, in its two consecutive mandates, EUTM Somalia has trained or contributed to training four Captains, 76 Junior Officer, 576 NCOs (INF and specialised), 20 COY Staff NCOs, 60 trainers and 1643 soldiers). In addition, EUTM Somalia supported the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF)-led cohesion training in which coherent platoons and companies were formed.

"A final contingent of 550 individuals is currently undertaking training in Bihanga with the aim of returning to Somalia, before the end of the year, four newly formed companies with their own commanders and specialists, and 60 trainers.

"Beyond these direct results in terms of training delivered, EUTM Somalia has contributed to enhancing the infrastructure of the UPDF training school and the living conditions of Somali recruits in Uganda (upgrade of Bihanga Training Camp (BTC) accommodation capacity, improved training facilities, construction of a camp for EU trainers, an airstrip and a clinic). The mutual confidence built between EU and UPDF trainers continues to improve and provides good results.

"These results have contributed significantly to the security situation in Somalia which has changed dramatically in the last two years. AMISOM and Somali forces now control Mogadishu, Kismayo and most key towns in southern Somalia. They continue to push against an embattled Al Shabaab. Increasing the capability and capacity of the SNSF to provide security is essential and will allow for an exit strategy for AMISOM. The EU's strategic review of the Mission[7] conducted in September 2012 concluded that EUTM Somalia has significantly contributed to improving security and living conditions in Somalia and that the effects of the Mission go far beyond training, delivering a positive impact in setting the basis for the future SNSF the development of the security sector. The impact of EUTM Somalia's training has also been corroborated by General Dini, Chief of the Somali Defence Forces, who has said that they would never have recovered control of Mogadishu without the contribution of the forces trained by EUTM Somalia.

"Alongside this, significant political progress has been made. A new Council of Ministers was approved by the Somali Parliament on 13 November. This follows the election by Parliament of a new President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on 10 September, concluding the transitional period, and the appointment of a Prime Minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon, on 6 October. The new President has highlighted security as his top priority.

"In September 2012 the EEAS again reviewed the progress of the EUTM Somalia and concluded that given the significant shift in the political and security situation in Somalia, the EU needed to consolidate EUTM Somalia's success by remaining engaged, but with a new approach focused on fostering Somali ownership and development of security sector capabilities. This is consistent with the Governments' policy towards Somalia.

"Based on this evaluation, the EU Political and Security Committee decided to ask the Crisis Management Planning Directorate (CMPD) to develop a draft crisis management concept on which to base a decision to amend and extend EUTM Somalia. The revised EUTM Somalia will have a two-year mandate. During this time, it will provide: strategic mentoring and advice to Somali authorities within the Security Institutions (Ministry of Defence and General Staff); support and advice on security sector development; mentoring and training support to consolidate the development of the Somali self-training capacity; and specialist and leadership training in accordance with the needs and priorities established by Somali authorities. EUTM Somalia will also provide support to other EU actors, outlined in more detail below, on the implementation of their respective mandates in security and defence in Somalia.

"The new mandate will launch activities in Mogadishu and intends to follow a phased approach, implementing activities in Mogadishu when the security conditions allow. The implementation of the new mandate will be synchronised with the evolution of political and security conditions.

"On 10 December 2012 the Council approved the revised crisis management concept for EUTM Somalia. The attached document is the Council Decision to extend EUTM Somalia's mandate as set out in the crisis management concept."

The Government's view

1.27 The Minister continues to rank Somalia as a top foreign policy priority for the Government, noting concerns about terrorism, piracy and migration and "a large Somali diaspora living in the UK." He also notes that the Government

"has taken a lead in coordinating efforts in the international community to support Somalia, including by holding the London Conference on Somalia on 23 February 2012 and is the lead country on drafting UN Security Council resolutions on Somalia."

1.28 The Minister continues as follows:

"Somalia has made significant political progress in the last few months with the political transition ending on 10 September. The Government has engaged closely with the new Somali authorities to ensure UK and international support reinforces Somali priorities.

"President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has made security his top priority, emphasising its importance to establishing greater stability and further development in Somalia. This is in line with the Government's policy; a stable and prosperous Somalia which is not a threat to the international community or UK interests. Developing the SNSF is the first step in enabling the Somali authorities to control the security situation independently and will ultimately provide an exit strategy for African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The security gains in Somalia to date have been largely due to AMISOM, which the EU contributes towards significantly. However, the SNSF is playing an increasingly important role working in support of AMISOM. For the SNSF to become an effective force able to operate without AMISOM support, continued investment and support from the international community will be required.

"Instability in Somalia is also a severe threat to regional and international peace, security and development. The EU is playing an increasing role in addressing these threats under a Comprehensive Approach that includes three Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions, enhanced political support, including appointment of an EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, and financial support through a number of Commission led programmes. In addition to EUTM Somalia, the CSDP activity includes EU NAVFOR Operation ATALANTA, the operation to tackle piracy off the coast of Somalia (of which the UK provides the Operational Headquarters and the Operation Commander), and EU CAP NESTOR aimed at increasing the capacity of the region to tackle piracy themselves (for which the UK provides a number of secondees). The renewed EUTM Somalia will complement the work of these other EU operations towards improving security in Somalia, with a particular focus on developing the security sector.

"During previous scrutiny by both Houses, pre-requisites for this mission were set out. A commitment was made to the House of Lords Scrutiny Committee to ensure that these were fully addressed before the final decision to launch:

  • "A force structure to incorporate newly trained Platoons, and a mentoring process to develop TFG security forces;
  • "A structure, process and funds to ensure regular payment to returning trainees for at least one year; and
  • "Logistical arrangements to house, feed and supply such forces.

"Our assessment of the pre-requisites is as follows:

"Force structure and mentoring process — The Command and Control structure of the SNSF is not well developed, but progress is being made. The President has now appointed a Minister of Defence and we expect junior Ministers to be appointed soon. Over the last six months, EUTM Somalia has focussed on the training of junior officers and non-commissioned ranks, which we expect to have a positive impact (although it is too early to make an assessment of the impact of this). The proposals for this mandate shift the emphasis of the Mission to focus on the provision of support in developing institutional level capacity and the Somali training capacity.

"Other partners are also providing support in developing a clear force structure and the SNSF are implementing a concept for the integration of all Somali forces under national command. We will continue to emphasise the importance of effective coordination in this area.

"The Government views the refocusing of the Mission as necessary to making further progress in strengthening Command and Control. The planned addition to the mandate of political and strategic level mentoring and advice to the Somali security institutions will allow a transition towards increased Somali ownership of the development of their security forces. Ultimately this will support moves towards an exit strategy for EUTM Somalia and wider international security sector support. However we judge it will take time for the Command and Control and top level governance structures to fully develop. In the meantime, we are encouraging AMISOM to continue to play a role. EUTM Somalia trainees currently undergo AMISOM reintegration training on return to Mogadishu. After reintegration, and in accordance with its mandate, AMISOM continue to exercise a monitoring role in order to ensure that these forces are properly commanded and supported. We are satisfied that this provides appropriate Command and Control structures and mentoring and believe that the extension of EUTM Somalia is essential to further developing these structures.

"Payment of trainees — A proper mechanism to conduct and control the payments is in place using a biometric database, and is working well. $600 is paid at the end of the training period and a monthly salary of $100 is paid once they are back in Somalia. This has been judged to be a successful mechanism and an important factor in the retention of SNSF troops. The first tranche of EUTM Somalia trainees continue to be paid regularly as part of the SNSF force with payments done regularly by Somali paymasters under the supervision of IGAD and AMISOM. Whilst the funding for the payment of stipends (funded by the US and Italy) is, we believe, sufficient for 2013, an enduring solution has yet to be identified.

"In the long-term, international efforts to build Somali institutional capacity aim to ensure that the Somali Government is able sustain its instruments of state, including the security forces. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has emphasised his Government's desire to pay for the Somali security forces. However, they do not currently have sufficient resources to assume these payments, so in the short to medium term they will continue to need international support. Under the new mandate, the current funding and payment mechanisms will remain in place. In recent discussion with the EEAS, US Officials have confirmed that they will continue payments to EUTM Somalia trained until February 2014. Italy have confirmed that they will continue until the end of 2013.

"Logistical arrangements -Al Jazeera Camp in Mogadishu is now complete and has been housing EUTM Somalia trained troops successfully over the course of the last mandate. AMISOM retain overarching control of the camp and in the last year, the AU has extended the camp to provide a further 1,000 bed spaces and associated training facilities, using EU funds. This is sufficient for the troops that have been trained to date.

"The proposals for the new mandate will be training fewer troops in total, but propose moving activity to Mogadishu, conditions permitting. This will allow the training to be delivered directly, eliminating the need for troops to be sent to Uganda for training and therefore reducing reintegration problems. However this poses different questions related to the logistical arrangements. We have sought to ensure that activities will only move to Somalia when certain security criteria have been met, under the political guidance of the PSC. This has been included in the political and military advice and subsequent planning will have to provide clear conditions based criteria for the phased deployment of mission personnel in Mogadishu, to be used by the Mission Commander.

"The crisis management concept states that EUTM Somalia will be implementing its new mandate within Mogadishu International Airport. This is secured by AMISOM troops, is where all international missions are deployed, and provides security to government facilities. The Special Representative of the African Union Commission for Somalia and AMISOM Force Commander confirmed that AMISOM support will be made available to EUTM Somalia in Mogadishu. We are satisfied that the conditions based approach to moving to Mogadishu and the reassurances that the AU and AMISOM have provided , provide sufficient reassurances on the security arrangements for the mandate's proposals.

"EUTM Somalia has been effective and well received. This has, in part, been because it has been able to respond to the changing needs of the SNSF. On 27 November 2012 the Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia wrote to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, welcoming the Union's ongoing support to the training of the SNSF.

"The stated aims of this EUTM Somalia mandate are that a Somali-owned military training system will be designed and initially established, basic and specialised training for troops will be conducted inside Somalia, and basic structures of the Ministry of Defence and General Staff will have an initial capacity to command and run the organization still counting on external support and financial assistance. The UK Government agrees that these are important areas to develop an effective SNSF."

1.29 Then, under the heading of Subsidiarity, the Minister says:

"The EU, working with the wider international community, is seeking to contribute to the strengthening of the Somali authorities as a functioning government able to deliver basic services to the population. The EU provides support to Somalia — through AMISOM, humanitarian aid, and its three CSDP Missions — and continues to discuss further ways to promote peace and stability in Somalia. EU Member States, particularly those with a significant Somali Diaspora, are increasingly interested in Somalia and are looking for ways in which to positively engage with the peace process.

"EUTM Somalia provides EU Member States with the opportunity to share costs and to work together to create a mission which provides better results than if each country were working towards the same goal individually.

"For the UK, the ability to leverage international resources for an area we are interested in has benefits for our foreign and security policy. Within the EU, we are seen as a leading voice for focussing attentions and resources on Somalia. We have worked with the international community and regional partners to influence and shape this mission, ensuring that it is a well organised initiative delivering positive results.

"This approach is fully in line with the intentions behind the European External Action Service to have a foreign policy structure which is more coherent and able to develop policy on a more consistent basis — getting the collective voice of the EU heard throughout the world."

1.30 With regard to the Financial Implications, the Minister says:

"The budget for this Mission from its launch until August 2011 was €4.8 million, and for the period from 9 August 2011 until 31 December 2012, the budget was also €4.8 million. For the next 27-month period for 2013-15, the reference amount is €11.6million. This was agreed in the RELEX committee on Monday 10 December and therefore does not yet appear in the draft Council Decision document. This figure represents a maximum amount and will be subject to further detailed budget negotiations. The increase in cost is predominantly as a result of the proposed move to Mogadishu in order to cover the more complex nature of the activities and set up costs, including force protection costs, investment costs and running costs (including medical costs). The proposal represents a significant broadening of the Mission, for which the UK only pays 14% of the common costs. The maximum overall UK contribution for this period would therefore be €1.75million or c.£700,000 per year compared to the £259,808 in 2012."

1.31 Finally, the Minister says that he expects the draft Council Decision to be agreed at the 20 December 2012 Agriculture and Fisheries Council; this being the final Council meeting before the mission mandate expires.

The Minister's letter of 13 December 2012

1.32 The Minister begins his response to the Committee' s representations by saying that:

"The FCO recognises that scrutiny is an important part of open and transparent government and realises that it is the way of connecting British voters to EU decision-making."

1.33 He once again insists that: "As the Committee knows, I am committed to an effective scrutiny process".

1.34 He continues as follows:

"The FCO has made a genuine and concerted effort to bring this matter to the committee's attention at the earliest opportunity. There are a number of factors which have unfortunately resulted in the short timeline available for Scrutiny.

"The situation in Somalia has been in flux, with a new President elected in September and a Cabinet appointed in November. The European External Action Service have told us this has made their planning difficult. Throughout the autumn, there have been continued and detailed negotiations amongst Member States on the proposed changes to the Mission's mandate. This included the Government seeking further detail from the EU on issues such as the cost implications of the mandate changes (detail essential for Parliamentary Scrutiny and UK agreement). Only in the last week or so have we received sufficient detail from the EU and reached provisional agreement on the way ahead for the mission. The Council Decision could not have been drafted until this point.

"Furthermore, the Committee will remember our correspondence of July 2011 and December 2011 regarding this Mission and the difficulties in providing classified documents to Parliament for scrutiny. The September review of EUTM and the subsequent Crisis Management Concept were once again classified documents, so as per scrutiny procedures, they could not be submitted to Parliament. We have therefore been unable to share a document with the committee until we received the draft Council Decision itself.

"FCO officials in Brussels have made representations at all levels since September to push for an earlier receipt of appropriate documentation as we were conscious of the timelines for Parliamentary Scrutiny.

"Unfortunately we were still provided with the documents at short notice, but we have nevertheless endeavoured to provide the Committee with as much detail as we are able in order for the scrutiny process to take place.

"It is regrettable that the Committee feels that they may now not be able to satisfactorily scrutinise this document. However, I would like to assure the Committee that in this case the FCO did everything within our power to ensure that these documents were provided to you with sufficient time to allow the Committee to represent its views. We will again make strong representations on this point to the European External Action Service.

"Given the importance the Government attaches to ensuring the continued success of this mission, which plays a critical role in supporting the fragile security situation in Somalia, I hope the Committee will give this matter its full and urgent consideration. Whilst the outcome is far from ideal, we have ensured that at a minimum, the Committee has sight of this Decision in advance of agreement."

Conclusion

1.35 We find the Minister's response disappointing. Nor do we need to be reminded of our responsibilities. The matter is urgent only because the process hitherto has made it so; and that process also limits the effectiveness of any consideration that could be given to it. This is more than academic: a mission that began with a short life in mind has now morphed into one that will be, at least, nearly five years long, and which — as it branches into security sector reform, and political and strategic level mentoring that "ultimately" may "support moves towards an exit strategy" — already has at least some of the hallmarks of other such missions that have expanded their original, limited role and proved costly (this one will now cost at least €20 million), lengthy and (c.f. those in the Democratic Republic of Congo) of doubtful effectiveness (here, the Minister asserts that EUTM Somalia has been effective, but provides no evidence). There may well be a compelling case for this expansion, but the House is not being given the opportunity to examine it properly.

1.36 The Minister still does not explain why we have not heard from him for over a year. We have never asked for confidential documents to be deposited: on the contrary (c.f. paragraph 0.14 above). What we have requested, for several years now, is to be kept in the picture: to be alerted when such a mandate extension is in prospect, and to be given a broad outline of what its future shape is likely to be. We cannot see why the Minister could not have provided this in September, nor how whatever the confidential aspects of the review are, would have been thus compromised. We do not regard "sight of this Decision in advance of agreement" as something for which, as the Minister implies, the Committee should be grateful.

1.37 It is too late to ask the Minister further questions before this Council Decision is to be adopted. Nevertheless, we think that the House should be given the opportunity to hear more from him, as to why he was able to provide no information prior to his letter of 3 December; what he expects the mission to have achieved in 27 months' time (there should be benchmarks and review points); if he believes that it will then be wound up; and, if not, what he then expects to happen.

1.38 We accordingly recommend that the draft Council Decision be debated in European Committee B.





1   Council Decision 2010/96/CFSP of 15 February 2010 on a European Union military mission to contribute to the training of Somali security forces. Back

2   See headnote: (31259) - : HC 5-vii (2009-10), chapter 2 (20 January 2010). Back

3   The record of the debate is available at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmgeneral/euro/100308/100308s01.htm ((Gen Co Deb, European Committee B, 8 March 2010, cols. 3-20). Back

4   See headnote: (31426) - : HC 5xv (2009-10), chapter 8 (24 March 2010). Back

5   Council Decision 2004/197/CFSP established a mechanism, called Athena, to administer the financing of the common costs of European Union operations having military or defence implications. Participating Member States' contributions to ATHENA are based on the size of their economy. See http://www.consilium.europa.eu/eeas/security-defence/csdp-structures-and-instruments/financing-of-csdp-military-operations?lang=en for full information. Back

6   Council Decision 2011/483/CFSP of 28 July 2011 amending and extending Decision 2010/96 CFSP for another period of one year. Back

7   EU Training Mission Somalia Strategic Review - 10 October 2012 - Limite. Back


 
previous page contents next page


© Parliamentary copyright 2012
Prepared 2 January 2013