Documents considered by the Committee on 14th October 2015 - European Scrutiny Contents

25 Regional Maritime Capacity Building in the Horn of Africa (EUCAP NESTOR)

Committee's assessment Politically important
Committee's decisionCleared from scrutiny
Document detailsCouncil Decision amending Decision 2012/389/CFSP on Regional Maritime Capacity Building in the Horn of Africa (EUCAP NESTOR).
Legal baseArticles 28, 42(4) and 43(2) TEU; unanimity
DepartmentForeign and Commonwealth Office
Document Number(37084), —

Summary and Committee's conclusions

25.1 EUCAP NESTOR was launched in July 2012, with a two-year mandate, as part of the EU's Comprehensive Approach to tackling insecurity in the Horn of Africa. Its aim was to assist countries in the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean in strengthening their maritime security capacity in order to enable them to fight piracy more effectively. The mission had a primary focus on Somalia, and a secondary focus on Djibouti, the Seychelles and Tanzania.

25.2 In the face of the continued absence of substantive "buy-in" by local partners, the previous Committee engaged in correspondence with the Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) during 2013-14 about the justification for continuing to pursue this mission. It asked whether the most effective course of action was to cut one's losses, rather than spend a further two years throwing good money after bad. The Minister argued strongly in favour of continuation. Last autumn, it found itself presented with a fait accompli two-year extension, until December 2016 (see "Background" for details).

25.3 EUCAP NESTOR's budget, from October 2014-15, is €17.9 million (£13.1 million). The Minister for Europe now notes that this Council Decision seeks a no-cost extension of the budget until 15 December 2015. He says that:

—  following renewal of the mandate, an interim Strategic Review of EUCAP Nestor was carried out and agreed by the Political and Security Committee (PSC) on 26 March 2015;

—  this recommended phasing out of bilateral activities in Djibouti, the Seychelles and Tanzania, cancellation of extension to Yemen, and focusing mission efforts on Mogadishu, Puntland and Somaliland; and

—  this was reflected in the new Operational Plan (OPLAN), agreed by the Committee for the Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management (CIVCOM) on 13 July 2015.

25.4 Given that that the no cost extension would be used for implementation of the OPLAN "in line with UK interventions to improve the mission's focus, buy-in and operational activities", the Minister supports the proposed extension, which he says will be agreed in the Council on 1 October 2015.

25.5 It is plain from the story so far that EUCAP NESTOR's original mandate was over-ambitious. It accordingly now has a better chance of making some sort of positive impact. But it is far from clear what, precisely, it has achieved in the more than two years since it was set up.

25.6 Even now, having been allocated a budget of €17.9 million (£13.1 million) to cover operations between 16 October 2014 and 15 October 2015, the spending rate as of 15 August 2015 was only 48%. The Minister says that using the proposed no-cost extension to put the new OPLAN into action would increase the spending rate to at least 76%; the EU Foreign Relations Counsellors working group (Relex) should then receive a full budget proposal in December for the remaining duration of the mandate, to 12 December 2016.

25.7 All in all, this is still far from a satisfactory state of affairs. Our assumption is that there will be no question of moving to Phase Two between now and then (see paragraphs 25.16-25.19 below). When the 2016 budget proposal is available in December, we would like the Minister to provide a full analysis of (a) what has been achieved by that time and (b) what will be done during year four, and how this will deliver measurable outcomes in line with the revised OPLAN. More broadly, we would also like him to illustrate how EUCAP NESTOR has worked with Operation ATALANTA and EUTM Somalia, and to what effect. We would also like then to know if there is still any plan to carry out a comprehensive "three mission" Strategic Review (this being an option that he mentioned in earlier correspondence with the previous Committee).

25.8 In the meantime, we now clear the draft Council Decision. In the circumstances and on this occasion, we do not take issue with the override of scrutiny.

Full details of the document: Council Decision amending Decision 2012/389/CFSP on the European Union Mission on Regional Maritime Capacity Building in the Horn of Africa (EUCAP NESTOR): (37084), —.


25.9 EUCAP NESTOR is a civilian-led Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) mission, launched in July 2012, as part of the EU's Comprehensive Approach to tackling insecurity in the Horn of Africa. It had a two-year mandate. Its aim is to enhance maritime and related rule of law capacity in the Horn of Africa and Western Indian Ocean States, and thus the capacity for action against piracy, with an initial geographical focus in Djibouti (HQ, country office, first permanent advisors, initial training), Kenya (country office), Tanzania (country office), the Seychelles (country office) and Somalia. The mission would be predominantly civilian with some military expertise, particularly on coast guarding. The mission was to address four key issues:

·  strengthening legal frameworks in each jurisdiction, to develop the rule of law and human rights standards in support of legal maritime capacity building;

·  creating a cadre of military and civilian personnel to provide training to regional authorities to achieve an efficient organisation of their maritime security agencies carrying out a coastguard function;

·  assisting the procurement of adequate hardware and equipment — patrol boats, communication equipment etc.; and

·  generating operational intelligence, enabling States affected by piracy to develop an operational picture of criminal activity and to share information.

25.10 As our predecessors' previous Reports reveal, EUCAP NESTOR failed to make any discernible impact, and suffered particularly from a lack of partner "buy-in".[ 147] In late 2013, when the Committee cleared a Council Decision regarding the budget, the Minister for Europe prayed in aid a forthcoming EEAS strategic review. In April 2014, the then Committee questioned whether a mission under ineffective leadership and lacking partner "buy in", and which had made no discernible impact, should be extended simply because there were "few credible alternatives". In the then Committee's estimation there was at least one: to recognise that, no matter how compelling the context, and no matter how frustrating the reality, those at the receiving end simply could not play their part; and that the most effective course of action was therefore to cut one's losses, rather than spend a further two years throwing good money after bad.

25.11 In his response, the Minister argued strongly in favour of continuation, and said that UK-led pressure to ensure Nestor increased operations inside Somalia and delivered against measurable and meaningful objectives, coupled with close oversight, had led him to judge that Nestor should be more effective in the future. The mission was now more tightly focussed on delivering in Somalia through a three phased approach: in the first phase, developing further security and risk mitigation options to allow deployment throughout key areas in Somalia; developing jointly with Somali authorities conceptual plans on law enforcement in coastal areas, including possible future police structures at federal level and developing options on how to reduce the operation of piracy networks in conjunction with other missions; in the second, support to entities in charge of law enforcement in coastal areas such as police services stationed along the coast, maritime or coastal police forces, coast guards or port police; in the third phase, evaluating, mentoring and monitoring the people who have been trained. A combination of the shift in focus to Somalia, an improved security platform, a better strategic vision supplied by the "three phase approach" and the increasing scrutiny of Member States, increased the likelihood that the mission would deliver as it shifted its focus to Somalia.[ 148]

25.12 The then Committee then heard nothing until October, when the Minister submitted a draft Council Decision on the mission budget for the next 12 months and revealed that the FCO had only recently noticed that an earlier Council Decision, which was adopted on 22 July 2014 and with regard to which the Committee clerks agreed to waive scrutiny — because it was a cost-free extension of the current budget, while negotiations continued on the future mission mandate — contained in its last sentence a proposal extending the mission mandate until December 2016. The Committee pursued this matter separately.[ 149]

25.13 In the meantime, the Minister submitted that 22 July Council Decision, to extend the mandate of EUCAP NESTOR until 12 December 2016 in accordance with the EEAS Strategic Review, for scrutiny.

25.14 The information in the Minister's Explanatory Memorandum was very much in line with the discussion outlined above. The UK had ensured that the Strategic Review recommended a tighter focus on Somalia, thereby concentrating EU resources where piracy posed the greatest threat to UK trade and security, and increased cooperation with regional organisations, such as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and INTERPOL, which had good reach and security provisions within Somalia, from which EUCAP NESTOR would benefit. He noted that the Strategic Review also:

—  recommended that the question of deployment in Yemen should await a report from a locally-deployed liaison officer;

—  endorsed the three-phased approach;

—  recommended improved mission effectiveness through more engagement with the Federal Government of Somalia, ensuring coherence of activities and political buy-in; and

—  recommended working with Operation ATALANTA and the EEAS to analyse piracy networks and their enabling environment and develop options to address piracy operations, so that the EU made complete and coordinated use of its resources to tackle piracy in a comprehensive manner.

25.15 On future means for assessing the Mission's effectiveness, the Minister said that mission monthly and six-monthly reports and ad hoc reports would be submitted to the Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management; and that, following the Committee's suggestion, working for the assessment of the key decision to move from Phase One to Phase Two would be overseen by the Political and Security Committee.[ 150]

The previous Committee's assessment

25.16 There was no doubt that the Minister and his officials had worked hard to do what they could at this stage to ensure that EUCAP NESTOR's second two-year mandate was more effective than its first. As a result, the mission was now focussed more firmly on Somalia, on getting out into the field and on cooperating effectively with other related EU and UN regional operations.

25.17 The arrangements for regular monitoring of effectiveness would also appear to be much improved: but the proof of the pudding would, as always, be in the eating.

25.18 But the mission nonetheless remained hugely dependent on effective local political buy-in, which had not been available hitherto, and effective security protection, which was untested thus far. All the questions that were open remained so, and the answers thus far were largely aspirational. The process appeared still to be driven essentially by a lack of any alternative and the hope that, over the next two years, the mission could be made more effective than the first two. Phase 2 in particular was posited on a number of key institutions that presently did not exist being in place by then, e.g. law enforcement bodies in the coastal areas of Somalia and judicial authorities willing and able to prosecute pirates. Above all, much hope was being placed in the untried "Key Leadership Engagements" process to (as the Minister puts it) "cement buy in". It was therefore vital that any decision to move to from Phase One to Phase Two be taken at PSC level (and not by the CIVCOM). The previous Committee reminded the Minister of his prior undertaking to provide the Committee with his views on any such decision prior to its being taken.[ 151]

25.19 The previous Committee presumed that his assessment would in any event provide an update on the Mission's performance thus far and on the extent of the buy-in by the Somali authorities. The previous Committee also asked the Minister to update them on the extent to which the Mission had been able to deploy in the field and whether increased cooperation with regional organisations and Operation ATALANTA[ 152] had taken place, and to what effect.[ 153]

25.20 In the meantime, the previous Committee cleared this Council Decision from scrutiny.[ 154]

The Council Decision

25.21 EUCAP NESTOR's budget, from October 2014-15, is €17.9 million. The Council Decision seeks a no-cost extension until 15 December 2015. Council Decision 2014/485/CFSP of 22 July 2014 extended the mission mandate from 16 July 2014 to 12 December 2016 (see above).

The Government's view

25.22 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 14 September 2015, the Minister for Europe recalls that the two year extension of EUCAP NESTOR's mandate until 12 December 2016 was proposed to allow the mission to "progress maritime security capacity building efforts inside partner countries, especially Somalia", and "to allow the mission to mentor more advanced partner countries, such as Seychelles, to take progressive ownership of the fight against piracy and related maritime crime in the region and support increased efforts in less advanced countries"; and also to align the mission's mandate with that proposed and subsequently agreed for EUNAVFOR Operation ATALANTA.

25.23 The Minister reiterates the basic rationale, as outlined above. He says that the mission has:

—  continued its engagement in Somalia through the "three phased approach";

—  established a permanent Field Office in Mogadishu and has reinforced the Field Office in Hargeisa (Somaliland), allowing increased engagement with Somali interlocutors; and

—  strengthened cooperation with the other EU operations. i.e., EUNAVFOR Atalanta and EUTM Somalia.[ 155]

25.24 The Minister explains that the proposed no-cost extension until 15 December 2015 would:

"enable the mission to utilise the available resources for implementation of the new OPLAN, namely (i) the closure of the bilateral programmes in Djibouti and Tanzania 'as soon as possible' and in the Seychelles by the end of 2015; (ii) the move of the mission HQ to Mogadishu; and (iii) the streamlining of the mission structure via a new deployment plan jointly with the launch and processing of the call for contributions in order to deploy as quickly as possible the right profiles able to deliver in Somalia more effectively."

25.25 The Minister also explains that, if agreed, the proposed no-cost extension would then be followed by submission of a new one year budget to cover the remaining part of the current mandate (expiring on 12 December 2016), which reflects the new operational design of the mission, and says:

"Considering that the resources would be used for implementation of the OPLAN in line with UK interventions to improve the mission's focus, buy-in and operational activities, I support the proposed no-cost budget extension."

25.26 Regarding the Timetable, the Minister says that an Official text without a Limité marking has not yet been received, and that the final Council Decision is expected to be adopted at the Competitiveness Council on 1 October 2015.

Previous Committee Reports

None, but see (36438), —: Twentieth Report HC 219-xix (2014-15), chapter 17 (19 November 2014).

147   See (35429), -: First Report HC 219-i (2014-15), chapter 26 (4 June 2014); Forty-sixth Report HC 83-xli (2013-14), chapter 14 (9 April 2014) and Twenty-second Report HC 83-xx (2012-13), chapter 23 (6 November 2013); also see (33835), -: Sixty-fourth Report HC 428 lviii (2010-12), chapter 11 (25 April 2012) and (35109), -: Eighth Report HC 83-viii (2013-14), chapter 22 (3 July 2013); and (33741), -: Fifty-ninth Report HC 428-liv (2010-12), chapter 13 (14 March 2012) and (33759), -: Sixtieth Report HC 428-lv (2010-12), chapter 8 (21 March 2012). Back

148   See (36438), -: Twentieth Report HC 219-xix (2014-15), chapter 17 (19 November 2014) for details. Back

149   See (36372), -: Eighteenth Report HC 219-xviii (2014-15), chapter 10 (5 November 2014) and Thirteenth Report HC 219-xiii (2014-15), chapter 39 (15 October 2014). These Reports relate to the Minister's Explanatory Memorandum of 3 October 2014 on EUCAP NESTOR's budget from 15 October 2014 to 14 October 2015 of €17.9 million. Back

150   See (36372), -: Thirteenth Report HC 219-xiii (2014-15), chapter 39 (15 October 2014). Back

151   See (36372), -: Eighteenth Report HC 219-xvii (2014-15), chapter 10 (5 November 2014) Back

152   As a result of Somali-based piracy and armed robbery at sea off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean. criminals taking control of vessels transiting the region and extorting ransom money for the crew, the vessel and cargo, and as part of its Comprehensive Approach to Somalia, the EU launched the European Union Naval Force ATALANTA (a.k.a. Operation ATALANTA) in December 2008 within the framework of the European Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCR) and International Law. For further information, see EUNAVOR EU.  Back

153   See (36501), - Twentieth Report HC 219-xix (2014-15), chapter 19 (19 November 2014). Back

154   See (36438) -: Twentieth Report HC 219-xix (2014-15), chapter 17 (19 November 2014). Back

155   On 10 April 2010, the European Union launched a military training mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia) in order to contribute to strengthening the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the institutions of Somalia. Since 2010 the mission has been providing basic, leadership and specialised military training and advice on a Somali-owned military training system; and strategic advice to the Somali Ministry of Defence and National Armed Forces on security sector development, including on personnel management, strategic planning and defence-related laws. Its current mandate runs until 31 December 2016. See EUTM SOMALIA for further information. Back

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Prepared 14 October 2015