Documents considered by the Committee on 21 July 2015 - European Scrutiny Contents


63 Citizen Security Strategy for Central America and the Caribbean

Committee's assessment Politically important
Committee's decisionCleared from scrutiny
Document detailsJoint Staff Working Document: Action Plan
Legal base
DepartmentForeign and Commonwealth Office
Document numbers(36830), 8521/15, SWD(15) 102

Summary and Committee's conclusions

63.1 In June 2014, the Council adopted an EU Strategy on Citizen Security in Central America and the Caribbean (see "Background" for details).

63.2 This further Joint Staff Working Document sets out an EU Action Plan for the Strategy. The Action Plan is structured around three main objectives:

—  developing a shared citizen security agenda with the region;

—  strengthening the ability of governments in the region to deliver quality public services; and

—  fostering greater regional and international operational cooperation in the fight against insecurity.

63.3 The Action Plan is intended to deliver a comprehensive and coordinated EU contribution towards tackling the serious security challenges facing the region. It aims to make use of the full array of EU tools, including political dialogue, conflict prevention development cooperation, humanitarian aid and trade policy, as well as complement Member States' policies and activities. Action is designed to focus on crime prevention and root causes, including socio-economic development, education, issues arising from urbanisation and human rights.

63.4 The intention is that this EU Action Plan would will form part of a wider Action Plan that will be agreed at the EU-CELAC Summit on 10-11 June in Brussels.[ 462]

63.5 The Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) says that: the high level aims of the Action Plan are in line with the UK's objectives; bringing the full range of EU tools and to addressing these issues therefore has the potential to support and complement UK work in the region; but careful co-ordination will be needed between the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the existing activities of Member States, so as to ensure maximum impact.

63.6 Like the precursor Joint Communication, this Action Plain raises no issues in and of itself, but warrants reporting to the House nonetheless because of the degree of interest in the region and the threats to its security, which the UK has for many years been seeking to help its governments and regional organisations confront and overcome. Otherwise, we, too, are content to leave it to interested Members who may wish to do so, to pursue the matter further via the many means at their disposal.

63.7 We now clear the Joint Staff Working Document.

Full details of the documents: (36830), 8521/15, SWD(15) 102: Joint Staff Working Document on Citizen Security Strategy for Central America and the Caribbean Action Plan.

Background

63.8 The EU's "comprehensive approach" to external conflict and crises is set out in the Joint Communication on "The EU's Comprehensive Approach to External Conflict and Crises" of December 2013. That Joint Communication was one of several documents prepared ahead of the December 2013 European Council, which was the first since 2007 to review that EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy and defence activities. In December 2013, the European Council called for further steps to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the EU's comprehensive approach.

63.9 The subsequent May 2014 Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions welcomed the Joint Communication as an important step in this process. The "comprehensive approach" is predicated upon the notion that European Union and its Member States:

"can bring to the international stage the unique ability to combine, in a coherent and consistent manner, policies and tools ranging from diplomacy, security and defence to finance, trade, development and human rights, as well as justice and migration. This contributes greatly to the Union's ability to play a positive and transformative role in its external relations and as a global actor."

63.10 The Council defines the "comprehensive approach" as:

"both a general working method and a set of concrete measures and processes to improve how the EU, based on a common strategic vision and drawing on its wide array of existing tools and instruments, collectively can develop, embed and deliver more coherent and more effective policies, working practices, actions and results."

63.11 The Council said that:

"Its fundamental principles are relevant for the broad spectrum of EU external action" and that "[t]he need for such a comprehensive approach is most acute in crisis and conflict situations and in fragile states, enabling a rapid and effective EU response, including through conflict prevention."[ 463]

63.12 The European Union considers itself a long-term strategic partner of Latin America and the Caribbean. Overall relations are governed by a strategic partnership that was last renewed at the Summit of the EU and the Community of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC) in January 2013.

63.13 The 2014 Joint Communication, Elements for an EU strategy on public security in Central America and the Caribbean, set out elements for an EU strategy on public security in Central America and the Caribbean. The strategy aims to adopt a "comprehensive approach" to the challenges facing the region, placing citizens' security at the heart, and is accordingly intended to promote greater efficiency and improved co-ordination in delivering EU support to the region. In so doing, it aims to enhance relations on a sub-regional basis, so as to develop a shared public security agenda with the region as part of an overall political and development partnership with the EU. The strategy is intended to strengthen the capacity of governments in the region to help tackle insecurity, while upholding human rights and boosting prevention policies. It is also aimed at fostering regional and international cooperation, so as to deal with the transnational dimension of public security threats.

63.14 The previous Committee concluded that, although the proposed EU Strategy — plainly a "good fit" with both ongoing regional initiatives and bilateral programmes — raised no issues in and of itself, a report to the House was nonetheless warranted because of the degree of interest in the region and the threats to its security, which — as the Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) noted — the UK has for many years been seeking to help its governments and regional organisations confront and overcome.[ 464]

Previous Committee Reports

None, but see Joint Communication: Elements for an EU strategy on public security in Central America and the Caribbean: (36061), 10108/14: JOIN(14) 21: Sixth Report HC 219-vi (2014-15), chapter 9 (9 July 2014).


462   CELAC = Community of Latin America and the Caribbean. EU-CELAC summits bring together European, Latin American and Caribbean leaders to strengthen relations between both regions, and are the main fora for dialogue and cooperation between Europe, and Latin American and Caribbean states. The second EU-CELAC / 8th EU-LAC summit was be held in Brussels on 10-11 June 2015 under the theme: "Shaping our common future: working for prosperous, cohesive and sustainable societies for our citizens". See Political declaration, Brussels declaration and action plan of the 2nd EU-CELAC summit for the outcome. Back

463   Council Conclusions on the Comprehensive Approach, see pp.17-21. Back

464   See Sixth Report HC 219-vi (2014-15), chapter 9 (9 July 2014). Back


 
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Prepared 30 July 2015