Documents considered by the Committee on 24 March 2015 - European Scrutiny Contents


19 European security and defence: preparing for the June 2015 European Defence Council

Committee's assessment Politically important
Committee's decisionCleared from scrutiny (by Resolution of the House of 12 March 2014); drawn to the attention of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Committees
Document detailsJoint Communication: The EU's comprehensive approach to external conflict and crises
Legal base
DepartmentForeign and Commonwealth Office
Council numbers(35696), 17859/13, JOIN(13) 30

Summary and Committee's conclusions

19.1 This Joint Communication — on how the EU could take a more "Comprehensive Approach" in its external relations policies and actions — the High Representative's review of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and a Commission Communication, Towards A More Competitive and Efficient Defence and Security Sector, were all prepared ahead of the December 2013 European Council — the first since 2007 to review that EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy and defence activities.[71]

19.2 The EEAS Report was subsequently debated in European Committee on 13 January 2014;[72] and the two Commission Communications were finally debated in European Committee on 12 March 2014 — the Government having rejected the Committee's recommendation that such an infrequent and important process warranted debating on the floor of the House.[73]

19.3 As our previous Reports relate in detail, we have been corresponding with the Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) about scrutinising a number of "follow-up" documents — the EU MSS (EU Maritime Security Strategy); the Defence Implementation Road Map; a proposed new EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework; and new EDA projects and work on developing a Policy Framework for Defence Cooperation. The Minister had undertaken to "submit these in line with the usual procedures or provide as much information as possible once those documents have been finalised".

19.4 We had also asked for, but not received, a report on the September 2014 "informal" Defence Ministers' meeting; and asked the Minister to confirm that these further "inputs" that we had not seen would also be deposited for scrutiny, and in good time for them, where appropriate, to be debated prior to the June 2015 European Council.

19.5 However, before any response was received, we noted that, in its Conclusions, the November 2014 "Defence" Foreign Affairs Council had adopted a new EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework, a Policy Framework for Systematic and Long-Term Defence Cooperation and a Progress Catalogue 2014 (assessing the critical military shortfalls resulting from the Headline Goal process and their impact on CSDP). Given that these Conclusions presumably reflected the September 2014 informal discussions by EU Defence Ministers, of which we had also heard nothing, we asked the Minister to explain why; and why, too, we were given no information prior to the event that such wide-ranging Council Conclusions were in prospect.

19.6 We also asked why the Minister had not either submitted the documents referred to above "in line with the usual procedures" or provided "as much information as possible once those documents have been finalised", and asked him now to do one or the other. In either event, we asked him to explain how they were on the right side of any UK "red lines" and how they protected and promoted UK interests (see our 26 November 2014 Report for the full detail[74]).

19.7 The Ministers' response to our further queries is set out below (see paragraph 19.34 and the Annex for details). The following are the main points:

DEFENCE INFORMAL: 18-19 FEBRUARY 2015

19.8 HR Mogherini saw five further potential areas of focus: higher levels of defence spending, improved co-operation in capability development, exploitation of "dual use" research, development of the "train and equip" concept, and improved EU-NATO co-operation.

19.9 The Minister (Mr Julian Brazier) welcomed her intention to produce a "stock take" on developments since "DEC13"; stressed the need for closer EU-NATO co-operation; and emphasised the importance of respecting divisions of competence between Commission and Member States in security and defence matters.

JUNE 2015 EUROPEAN COUNCIL

19.10 The Government's overall objective is "to continue to ensure that the EU's plays a useful role in defence and security that is complementary to NATO". It has been made clear to partners that "the timing of our General Election will make agreement to any new initiatives difficult in any case".

19.11 Specifically:

·  the Council meeting should be used to:

—  Improve EU/CSDP's contribution to "full spectrum" response to crisis and conflict management: better coordination between the EU's "unique range of civilian, military, economic, diplomatic and developmental tools" would improve its contribution to addressing security challenges that matter to the UK;

—  Support implementation of NATO Summit commitments: acknowledge the importance of European burden sharing on defence; reflect NATO Summit commitments where relevant to all EU partners; investigate opportunities for addressing defined EU capability targets which complement NATO shortfalls; encourage Member States to open up their defence markets further, pool procurement and support market-driven consolidation & specialisation;

—  Improve NATO-EU cooperation and coordination to strengthen Europe's full spectrum response and cost-effectiveness: particularly in response to the hybrid warfare threat, capitalising on the collective NATO and EU appetite for better coordination engendered by the Ukraine crisis to secure agreement on more regular informal strategic dialogue on a wider set of issues, including strategic communications;

·  there would be no agreement to any expansionist measures such as: increasing common funding for EU military missions; a network of EU Defence Attachés; a permanent operational headquarters; EU ownership of military assets or any measures that undermine an open, competitive defence industry;

·  HR Mogherini was developing a discussion document composed of three elements: (1) global trends; (2) the foreign policy implications of internal EU trends; (3) an evaluation of the EU's major foreign policy instruments.  This will include a "refresh" of the 2003 European Security Strategy (ESS). But it needs to be strategic, high level, and developed by the HR. The Ministers would block any moves to change the position that any EU foreign policy strategy remains non-binding upon Member States;

·  "Train and Equip": The Ministers support the overall concept. A Joint Communication designed to set out details on its implementation is expected before June. It will be submitted for scrutiny when it is published;

·  Defence Industry: a stock take of "DEC13" agreements; no major initiatives; Ministers will "continue to be supportive of a more competitive defence industry, whilst resisting any language or measures that could be seen as protectionist, lead to Commission ownership of military capabilities, or distort the market". 

19.12 Regarding the documents that we have been pressing to have deposited, the Ministers talk of "the difficulties that we face when negotiating EU policy" (document classification, the last minute release of EEAS documentation and, on some occasions, the speed of negotiations) but ask that the Committee "be reassured that, wherever possible, we will continue to be proactive in sharing information with the Committees" and hope the overview contained in the annex to their letter[75] will be helpful in this respect. In brief:

·  the Progress Catalogue 2014 is "EU Restricted"; they are therefore unable to provide more information than that in their 10 December 2014 joint letter;

·  the Policy Framework for Systematic and long-term Defence Cooperation; they will provide a more detailed commentary "in the coming weeks";

·  the EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework is not a legislative document and therefore non-binding on Member States; it does not cross any UK red lines; they therefore do not intend to provide an Explanatory Memorandum on this document;

·  "EU Comprehensive Approach" Action Plan: currently short on practical detail; it must add "real value by suggesting ideas and incentives to improve comprehensive working practises"; a copy will be provided when it is published.

·  EU Maritime Security Strategy Action Plan: adopted on 16 December 2014 without discussion and contrary to the original intention of including it in Council Conclusions; the final unclassified document has no amendments from the Limité version previously submitted. The five "work strands" correspond to the EU Maritime Security Strategy "action areas": external action; maritime awareness, surveillance and information sharing; capability development; risk management, protection of critical maritime infrastructure and crisis response; and maritime security research and innovation, education and training. Implementation will be reviewed by each Presidency (the first being due in March 2015); the Minister for Europe will write with further details of the actions, implementation progress and monitoring process.

19.13 The Committee still seems to be being subjected to the same erratic process as in 2013 (see the "Background" section below and the Ministers' December 2014 letters), when we were similarly endeavouring to ensure thorough prior scrutiny of the preparations for a "Defence" European Council (then "DEC13", now the June 2015 counterpart, "JEC 15").

19.14 The Ministers say that they share the Committee's concerns about the continuing scrutiny issues caused by EEAS timelines, and refer to the Minister for Europe's 9 December 2014 letter to the new High Representative. The Minister for Europe subsequently wrote on 4 March 2015, on "Engaging with EU institutions on UK Parliamentary Scrutiny". He professed himself encouraged that she has said that her services will work to provide legal acts at an earlier stage and, for annual renewal of sanctions measures, will begin the review and renewal process at an earlier stage to allow parliamentary scrutiny to take place. He reported that his officials had had a "productive meeting" with senior EEAS officials — as well as others in the Council Secretariat, Latvian Presidency Team and Luxembourg Presidency Team — to ensure the UK parliamentary scrutiny process was better understood, and would continue to work with EEAS Working Group Chairs and other with key EU officials on a regular basis to ensure broaden this understanding and ensure that scrutiny timetables were "taken into account wherever possible".

19.15 In our response, we noted that, while all of this was, welcome, we had been here before; c.f. his earlier, similar representations to Ms Mogherini's predecessor, Baroness Ashton, which, to the best of our knowledge, had produced a similar "encouraging" response but no demonstrable improvement in performance. With that in mind, we have therefore asked the Minister to write in six months' time with his assessment of how much the EEAS performance has improved.[76]

19.16 Within Whitehall, i.e., in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence, we are concerned that there is a continuing lack of consistency in this area of scrutiny.

19.17 As long ago as last October, the Defence Committee, at our request, produced its Opinion on a Commission Report: Defence Implementation Roadmap towards a more competitive and efficient defence and security sector. The Defence Committee said that this report outlined some areas for action that could deliver benefits to the European defence and security sector, but questioned what value the European Commission would add in a number of other areas outlined. Research and development into science and technologies applicable to defence in particular must remain free from unnecessary bureaucracy, especially where dual-use technologies were in development. Initiatives might arise from this roadmap that led to unnecessary legislation and duplication of effort with NATO; any Commission involvement in policy around country to country sales and third country exports could undermine European States' relations with the US and with other strategic partners worldwide. The Defence Committee therefore strongly endorsed the Committee's provisional view that this Report should be debated. The Committee accordingly recommended — on 5 November 2014 — a debate in European Committee.[77] The Committee deplores the fact that this debate has yet to take place, and clearly will not before parliament is dissolved.

19.18 The Minister for Reserves says that he will provide a more detailed commentary "in the coming weeks" on the Policy Framework for Systematic and long-term Defence Cooperation. The Committee cannot understand why he could not have done so now; instead, it will not be subject to any form of parliamentary scrutiny until the new Committee is in place. Moreover, that it is "a non-binding framework" is immaterial as to whether or not it should be deposited with an Explanatory Memorandum. We therefore again ask the Minister to deposit this public document in the normal way, summarising its contents and giving his views on them.

19.19 The Minister for Europe advances the same spurious argument with regard to the EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework, seemingly taking the view that because it "is not a legislative document and is therefore non-binding on Member States … is intended to increase resilience of EU networks/institutions and promote the development of Member States' cyber defence/resilience capabilities … describes the EU networks defences against unwanted intrusion rather than in a wider military sense" and "therefore does not cross any UK red lines", it is appropriate for him to declare: "We therefore do not intend to provide an Explanatory Memorandum on this document". The Committee does not accept this, and again asks him also to deposit this public document in the normal way, summarising its contents and giving his views on them.

19.20 The Minister for Europe notes that the final "EU Maritime Security Action Plan" is the Limité version previously submitted, and in fact does not attach it for the Committee's information. But that, too, is immaterial. As we noted on that previous occasion, we have been in longstanding discussion with him about the limitations placed by the Commission/EEAS on documents such as this: caveated limité though deemed "unclassified". That was one reason why the Committee therefore found it disappointing that he had nothing to say about its contents, e.g., what the "work strands" were, since it was not immediately apparent how this so-called Action Plan differed in terms of sensitivity from the Defence Implementation Road Map, which likewise emanated from an earlier and related Communication, and which we had recently recommended for debate in European Committee (see above). Once again, proper scrutiny was being circumscribed for no apparent good reason — the least bad being because of arrangements that reflected administrative convenience and custom, and that those in control of the information, in Brussels and in national capitals, either would not or could not take the trouble to review. Once adopted by the Council, we observed, any such justification fell away; that is why we put the Minister on notice (so that the necessary bureaucratic wheels could be put in motion) that we expected the limité caveat to be immediately lifted, and for any Presidency review of progress to be deposited with his views, in the normal way.[78] The Minister now offers half of this request. We would prefer the full version: that the Action Plan be now deposited, along with an EM summarising its contents and giving the Government's view on it. At the same time, he should also provide details of the first Presidency review (which he says is due this month).

19.21 We make these requests not only to sustain the scrutiny process, but because doing so now is all the more important in this context. As well as reviewing the ESS, the EU is also embarking on a major review of its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), against a background where much of that region is in politically unstable. The EU is also tackling Strategies for Central Asia and for Iraq/Syria/ISIL. At the same time, the US has been publicly questioning the commitment of its NATO allies, while the President of the EU Commission has called for the creation of an EU army. So, though it is unlikely that the new Committee will have been formed before the "JEC 15" takes place, we shall expect Ministers to deposit not only these and other preparatory documents — including the revised ESS and whatever document HR Mogherini prepares for the European Council — but also to provide the Committee with a copy of the "JEC 15" Council Conclusions and their analysis of how those Council Conclusions meet their objectives and safeguard and promote UK national interests in security and defence.

19.22 In the meantime, we draw these developments to the attention of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Committees.

Full details of the document: Joint Communication: The EU's comprehensive approach to external conflict and crises: (35696), 17859/13, JOIN(13) 30.

Background

19.23 In two separate letters, the Minister for Europe and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Reserve Forces at the Ministry of Defence (Mr Julian Brazier) said that:

—  the 18 November 2014 Foreign Affairs Council (Defence) conclusions were not received until 10 November, the day before the House rose for recess; they had not expected such a lengthy text, which largely repeated previous agreements from the December Council (DEC13), but other Member States wished to reaffirm the commitments therein; this was acceptable, provided the "carefully negotiated DEC13 language was adhered to without any unwelcome additions"; they had "negotiated hard to resist expansionist language (such as the EU as a "strategic global actor"), and also "ensured the language that mattered to us from DEC13" was inserted: overall, the Government was "content that the FAC (Defence) conclusions do not cross UK red lines and are largely a repeat of existing commitments from DEC13";

—  the 9-10 September 2014 EU Defence Ministers informal meeting discussed the EU Battlegroup; DEC13 follow up; the EDA and CSDP Operations; discussions were "wide ranging but … little progress was made"; where "decisions are made or issues are moved forward significantly", they "will ensure we keep Parliament updated";

—  Progress Catalogue 2014 represented "a comprehensive picture of the prioritised capability shortfalls in the short-term and the operational risks such shortfalls present": being "EU Restricted", it could not be shared with the Committee; however, they supported the assessment of the 42 identified capability shortfalls, and noted that 12 out of the 14 critical shortfalls (which had an adverse impact on the ability to deploy to theatres and could lead to delays in the initial phase of an operation) were also reflected in the NATO shortfall list; and emphasised that they would "continue to insist that any EU work to address these shortfalls must be complementary, not duplicative, of NATO's efforts";

—  Article 44 TEU theoretically allows a "coalition of the willing" from inside the EU to take on a crisis management task with EU political and logistical backing but without full participation of all Member States; however, it had never been used and negotiations to establish how it would work were currently in progress; whilst content in principle with the concept, they did not want common funding to automatically apply; and whilst the execution of a task could be delegated to a group of Member States, they could not agree to delegate responsibility for it when conducted in the EU's name, and therefore wanted the same standards of planning and organisation to apply as for any other mission;

—  they supported exploring the scope for more cooperation between CSDP missions and other EU activities, such as EUROPOL and FRONTEX — for example, in EU civilian border management missions — and agreed that examining the scope for better information sharing and working practices between related areas was beneficial and supported the Comprehensive Approach;

—  they supported the overall "Train and Equip" concept (which seeks to enable conflict affected states to manage crises and build capacity themselves through EU training and, where appropriate, the provision of equipment) but had some concerns about how it might be implemented; had "successfully lobbied to embed the UK vision to ensure that the 'EU' has no role in providing lethal equipment" but should "provide a useful coordination mechanism for Member States and third party equipment requests"; and had resisted calls for new structures to support it; the November FAC Conclusions agreement on a formal road map for implementation of train and equip, to be delivered by June 2015, "should be an important conclusion of the June European Council".

19.24 The Ministers concluded by saying that they would:

    "write again to update you on our thinking and objectives for the June European Council (JEC15) discussion on defence in the New Year. Leading up to JEC15 on 25/26 June, the main discussions will be a Defence Ministers informal meeting on 18/19 February and on 8 May FAC (Defence). Currently, our overall goal is for JEC15 to be a stock take of the progress made since the December European Council, as many of these existing commitments remain undelivered. We do not want to see a raft of new initiatives tabled that will distract from existing objectives and exceed the EU's capacity to deliver them."

Our assessment

19.25 We expressed concern about indications that the Minister for Europe's letter of 8 December seemed to have taken no account of our most recent Report on these matters [79] and that the joint letter of 10 December 2014 from him and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Reserve Forces was not received by the Committee until 6 January 2015.

19.26 Moreover, we were also concerned that:

·   our letter of 8 January 2014 (annexed to our previous Report[80]) had made it clear that the Committee expected him to do much more than "share" the Cyber Defence Policy Framework document — this being a document that was originally conceived as a Commission Communication and had been taken off the scrutiny radar screen without anyone letting us know, despite the Committee's clear expectations;

·  we had still received no update on the EU Maritime Security Strategy in response to our most recent Report on that matter[81]; and

·  ditto, the Policy Framework for Defence Cooperation, which we had been seeking to scrutinise prior to adoption, and had not seen, but which was adopted by the 19 November 2014 "Defence" FAC.

19.27 We again asked that the Policy Framework for Defence Cooperation and document 15585/14, the EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework, be deposited forthwith in the normal way: i.e., with a full Explanatory Memorandum, properly summarising the document in question and setting out the Government's views in detail, explaining how they meet UK objectives and safeguard any relevant "red lines". We regarded this as particularly important given the clear evidence (see our previous Report) that the UK continued to have to be a restraining force against those among the Member States and in the institutions who maintained their long-standing ambition to develop a full-blown, self-standing EU defence capability.

19.28 Looking ahead, and bearing in mind that Parliament would be dissolved at the end of March, prior to the 7 May General Election, that the main discussions are to take place at the 8 May 2015 Foreign Affairs (Defence) Council, and that the Committee might not have been established prior to the June 2015 European "Defence" Council, we asked the Ministers to provide their next update no later than 21 February, i.e., immediately after the 18-19 February 2015 Defence Ministers' "informal meeting" to which they referred. This update should include information on how, in all the circumstances, UK interests were to be safeguarded.

19.29 We had already noted that an Action Plan on the EU Comprehensive Approach was to be developed before the end of the first quarter of 2015, and made it clear that we expected the Minister for Europe to provide information between now and then on what was being considered, and to deposit the final version for scrutiny.

19.30 The Ministers also mentioned the development of a formal road map for implementation of "Train and Equip". Given the timing considerations referred to above, we asked for that update also to include a situation report on the development of these proposals, and how they envisaged their being scrutinised prior to adoption.

19.31 We also noted that, in future, when we asked for a "read-out" of "informal" Defence or Foreign Affairs Councils, we expected it to be provided in a timely fashion: it was for the Committee, not the Government, to decide whether "decisions" had been made or issues "moved forward significantly".

19.32 We again drew the situation to the attention both of the House and of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Committees.[82]

The Ministers' letter of 4 March 2015

19.33 As well as their promised further update on objectives for the June European "defence" Council, following the 18-19 February "informal Defence Ministers' meeting, the Ministers (Mr David Lidington and Mr Julian Brazier) respond to the requests for additional information contained not only in the Committee's report of 15 January 2015 but also in its 10 December 2014 on the European Defence Agency (EDA).[83]

19.34 They do so as follows:

DEFENCE INFORMAL - 18-19 FEBRUARY 2015

    "EU Defence Ministers met in Riga on the 18th and 19th of February for an informal discussion on Defence, Minister for Reserves Mr Brazier represented the UK. The meeting began with a discussion on the June 2015 European Council on Defence. High Representative Mogherini said that she would report in April against the taskings from the December 2013 European Council and saw five further potential areas of focus, higher levels of defence spending, improved co-operation in capability development, exploitation of 'dual use' research, development of the 'train and equip' concept, and improved EU-NATO co-operation. The Minister welcomed the intention to take stock of progress on the decisions made at the December 2013 European Council and, along with others, stressed the need for closer EU-NATO co-operation. He also emphasised the importance of respecting divisions of competence between Commission and Member States in security and defence matters.

    "A discussion on Hybrid Warfare was opened by the NATO Secretary General, whose presence was welcomed by several Member States including the Minister, who said that the EU had a constructive role to play, using its political, diplomatic and economic instruments to complement the military response that could be offered by NATO. On CSDP Operations, the Minister emphasised UK support for EUFOR ALTHEA in Bosnia-Herzegovina and for EUNAVFOR ATALANTA, the counter-piracy mission off Somalia. The next meeting of Defence Ministers will be alongside their Foreign Minister counterparts in the Foreign Affairs Council on 18 May."

JUNE 2015 EUROPEAN COUNCIL

"Our overall objective for the June European Council is to continue to ensure that the EU's plays a useful role in defence and security that is complementary to NATO. The June Council is also an opportunity to boost delivery of the areas where the EU can make a difference within the parameters agreed by the Prime Minister at the December 2013 European Council. Specifically, we want to use the June Council to:

·  "Improve EU/CSDP's contribution to 'full spectrum' response to crisis and conflict management: the EU should focus on implementing the Comprehensive Approach to ensure better coordination between its unique range of civilian, military, economic, diplomatic and developmental tools. The economic lever in particular is likely to remain one of our most powerful responses, as exemplified by the current Russia/Ukraine situation. This would improve the EU's contribution to addressing security challenges that matter to the UK. We also want more progress on civilian CSDP delivery and smarter missions, including establishing the Shared Service Centre to deliver more value for money and operational impact.

·  "Support implementation of NATO Summit commitments: As host of the Wales' NATO Summit, we have a strong locus to encourage use of the June Council to support Summit legacy follow up. We want the European Council to again acknowledge the importance of European burden sharing on defence as it did at the last defence discussion in December 2013. We also want the Council to reflect NATO Summit commitments where relevant to all EU partners; and investigate opportunities for addressing defined EU capability targets which complement NATO shortfalls.

"The Council should also encourage Member States to open up their defence markets further, pool procurement to build economies of scale and support market-driven consolidation & specialisation. It should progress complementary Commission and EDA actions endorsed in December 2013, which promote a level playing field in the internal market, support SMEs, and support the private sector development of dual use technologies with market potential.

·  "Improve NATO-EU cooperation and coordination to strengthen Europe's full spectrum response and cost-effectiveness: The EU has a useful role to play in complementing the military response capacity offered by NATO and we should strengthen co-operation between the two in response to the hybrid warfare threat. As we saw at the Euro-Atlantic security event at the Wales Summit, Ukraine has increased the collective NATO and EU appetite for better coordination. We want to capitalise on this momentum and will advocate more regular informal strategic dialogue on a wider set of issues, including strategic communications.

    "As ever, we will not agree any expansionist measures such as: increasing common funding for EU military missions; a network of EU Defence Attachés; a permanent operational headquarters; EU ownership of military assets or any measures that undermine an open, competitive defence industry.

    "So far, we believe there is some degree of support from Member States on the need to focus efforts on delivering December 2013 agreements, but preparations are still at an early stage and others may suggest new initiatives over the coming months. We have already begun to make clear to partners that the timing of our General Election will make agreement to any new initiatives difficult in any case. Whilst detailed agendas have not yet been set, there are already a number of emerging themes:

·    "Tasking the High Representative with a refresh of the European Security Strategy: Mogherini is developing a document designed to form the basis of a discussion in June. It will be composed of three elements: (1) global trends; (2) the foreign policy implications of internal EU trends; (3) an evaluation of the EU's major foreign policy instruments.  We agree that the strategic environment has changed sufficiently to warrant an update, particularly given events in Ukraine. The ESS has not been refreshed since it was written in 2003 (although it was reviewed in 2008). However, we are concerned that any refresh could quickly become bogged down in detail and expose Member States' divisions, leading to protracted negotiations which distract from frontline delivery. We will push for any review to be strategic, high level, and developed by the High Representative. We expect any EU foreign policy strategy to remain non-binding upon Member States and we would block any moves to change that position.

·     "'Train and Equip': As outlined in previous updates, most recently 10th December, we support the overall concept behind the train and equip initiative. The EEAS and Commission are working on a Joint Communication designed to set out details on its implementation. We expect to see this before June. Details on the content are limited at this stage including on financial implications and methodology. Pilot studies have just been conducted in Mali and Somalia designed to explore the opportunities and challenges for implementation. The results of these pilots are yet to be shared with Member States. We will provide the Committee with a copy of the final Joint Communication with accompanying Explanatory Memorandum when it is published.

·    "Defence Industry: We do not expect any major new initiatives on the defence industry in June. We expect it to be largely a stock take of agreements from the December Council in 2013. We will continue to be supportive of a more competitive defence industry, whilst resisting any language or measures that could be seen as protectionist, lead to Commission ownership of military capabilities, or distort the market.

ESC REPORTS

"On a separate note, we are also grateful for your reports entitled European security and defence: following up the December 2013 European Defence Council of 15 January 2015 (35696) and European Defence Agency of 10 December 2014 (36526, 36527). The reports make a number of points and contain a number of requests for further information, which we have sought to provide in the attached annex.[84]

    "You are already aware of the difficulties that we face when negotiating EU policy. Issues such as document classification, the last minute release of EEAS documentation and, on some occasions, the speed of negotiations, can all make it difficult to submit documents in good time or before the documents are agreed. However, please be reassured that, wherever possible, we will continue to be proactive in sharing information with the Committees and we hope the overview contained in the annex will be helpful in this respect."

Previous Committee Reports

Twenty-ninth Report HC 219-xxviii (2014-15), chapter 12 (14 January 2015); Twenty-second Report HC 219-xxi (2014-15), chapter 17 (26 November 2014), Thirteenth Report HC 219-xiii (2014-15), chapter 33 (15 October 2014), Fifth Report HC 219-v (2014-15), chapter 13 (2 July 2014) and Twenty-ninth Report HC 83-xxvi (2013-14), chapter 9 (8 January 2014); also see (36526), — and (36527), —: Twenty-fifth Report HC 219-xxiv (2014-15), chapter 20 (10 December 2014); (36180), 11358/14: Ninth Report HC 219-ix (2014-15), chapter 19 (3 September 2014); and (35857), 7537/14: Second Report HC 219-ii (2014-15), chapter 4 (11 June 2014).


71   European "Defence" Council Conclusions, pp.1-11. Back

72   Gen Co Deb, European Committee B, 13 January 2014, cols. 3-24. Back

73   Gen Co Deb, European Committee B, 12 March 2014, cols. 3-24. Back

74   Twenty-second Report HC 219-xxi (2014-15), chapter 17 (26 November 2014). Back

75   Reproduced at the annex to this chapter of our Report. Back

76   See (36684), -: Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/143 of 29 January 2015 amending Decision 2014/119/CFSP concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Ukraine and (36685), -: Council Regulation (EU) 2015/138 of 29 January 2015 amending Regulation (EU) No. 208/2014 concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Ukraine: Thirty-seventh Report HC 219-xxxvi (2014-15), chapter 31 (18 March 2015). Back

77   Commission Report: A New Deal for European Defence Implementation Roadmap for Communication COM(13) 542; Towards a more competitive and efficient defence and security sector: (36180), 11358/14: Eighteenth Report HC 219-xvii (2014-15), chapter 1 (5 November 2014). Back

78   See (35857), 7537/14: Joint Communication: For an open and secure global maritime domain - Elements for a European Union maritime security strategy: Twenty-second Report HC 219-xxi (2014-15), chapter 18 (26 November 2014). Back

79   DittoBack

80   Twenty-ninth Report HC 219-xxviii (2014-15), chapter 12 (14 January 2015). Back

81   See (35857), 7537/14: Twenty-second Report HC 219-xxi (2014-15), chapter 18 (26 November 2014). Back

82   See Twenty-ninth Report HC 219-xxviii (2014-15), chapter 12 (14 January 2015). Back

83   See (36526), - and (36527), -: Twenty-fifth Report HC 219-xxiv (2014-15), chapter 20 (10 December 2014). Back

84   Which is reproduced at the annex to this chapter of our Report. Back


 
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