Documents considered by the Committee on 13 January 2016 - European Scrutiny Contents

10 Capacity Building for Security and Development

Committee's assessment Politically important
Committee's decisionNot cleared from scrutiny; further information requested; relevant to 1 February 2016 European Committee debate on CSDP/CFSP; drawn to the attention of the Foreign Affairs Committee and International Development Committee
Document detailsJoint Communication on Capacity Building in support of Security and Development
Legal base
DepartmentForeign and Commonwealth Office
Document Numbers(36825), 8504/15, JOIN(15) 17

Summary and Committee's conclusions

10.1 Recognition of the link between security and development dates back to the first, and thus far only, European Security Strategy of 2003. This so-called "security-development nexus" is a key underlying principle of the EU's "Comprehensive Approach" to external conflicts and crises, and complementary to EU internal security policies, maritime security and others. However, the collective EU assessment was that this "Comprehensive Approach" needs to be strengthened to cover gaps in the current EU response.

10.2 The starting point of this Commission/EEAS[37] Joint Communication is that violent conflict and poor governance — fuelled by new threats such as terrorism and organised crime — are continuing, crucial developmental challenges. Coordinated external action that makes use of the EU's diplomatic, security, development and humanitarian tools is thus essential to restore confidence and ensure that partner countries' institutions are equipped to meet the challenges. The objectives of EU capacity building in security and development (previously known as "Train and Equip") are two-fold:

—  to build the capacity of third countries to prevent crises starting; and

—  to develop their capability to manage crises once they have occurred (see "Background" for further details).

Our assessment

10.3 At its first meeting in this parliament, the Committee concluded that this initiative seemed to be well-conceived thus far. At first sight, the caveats outlined by the Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) — no new institutions, no net additional "head count", non-use of Common Funding, no support for lethal weapons, maximising efficiencies and taking full account of existing resources — seemed reasonable. But clearly much more work needed to be done. We looked forward to hearing more from the Minister after the June "Defence" European Council on the details of this further "tasking" (see "Background" and the first of our previous Reports for further details).[38] We also asked him to outline what he envisaged in the prospective EU-wide Strategic Framework for Security Sector Reform — especially given the interest that previous Committees had taken in the programmes/missions/operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan that were apparently to be used for "lessons learned" purposes — and to clarify whether or not this was to be in a form that would be subject to normal parliamentary scrutiny. In the meantime, we retained the Joint Communication under scrutiny.[39]

10.4 Subsequently, in early December 2013, the Minister for Europe and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Reserves at the MOD (Mr Julian Brazier) provided the Committee with a draft "implementation plan", in the form of an EEAS/Commission "Non-paper" on "Capacity Building In Support Of Security and Development" (CBSD).

10.5 The "Non-paper" noted that case studies confirmed the relevance of providing support to security actors, including armed forces, with a view to bringing these forces under civilian control, as well as preventing conflicts and stabilising post-conflict situations in the pursuit of development objectives. It also noted the place in Commission President Juncker's and First Vice-president Timmerman's joint Letter of lntent of 9 September 2015 to the European Parliament and the current EU Presidency (Luxembourg),[40] and thereby to the inclusion in the Commission Work Programme 2016, of a package on CBSD covering Security Sector Reform and a possible new dedicated CBSD financial instrument. The "Non-paper" explored three possible options — adapting the African Peace Facility (APF); adapting one of the other existing EU external action financial instruments; a new, dedicated financial instrument — but without making any firm recommendations (see our second previous Report for further details).[41]

10.6 This implementation plan was then discussed at the 17 November "Defence" Foreign Affairs Council, regarding which the Ministers said:

—  the Government welcomed the NATO Secretary General's call for greater EU-NATO co-operation on capacity building;

—  the HR and the Internal Market Commissioner accepted Member States' frustration at the slow progress but said that CBSD remained a Commission/ EEAS priority; and

—  Member States urged the Commission to accelerate work to identify potential financial mechanisms;

—  the Government:

·  expressed its continued support for CBSD and noted that it could make an important contribution to the EU's Comprehensive Approach, but;

·  stressed that Common Funding was not suitable and that further discussions should include consideration of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) rules,[42] and the possible impact on the EU's development spending; and that

·  this did "not constitute the handing over of more powers to the Commission";

·  also welcomed the implementation plan, "which brings all the issues around funding tools, processes, and implementation together in one report"; and

·  also "German and French calls for the Commission and EEAS to come up with concrete proposals to take this initiative forward within agreed UK red lines including no provision of lethal equipment and no use of Common Funding" (see our second previous Report for further details).

Our further assessment

10.7 The "security-development nexus" was seen as key to maximising the effectiveness of the EU's external action. What the draft CBSD implementation plan had to say about "Enhancing coordination" — better coordination on the ground and between the Commission and EEAS; developing mechanisms for risk assessment, and for monitoring, measuring and evaluating progress and outcomes (and not just activity) — was thus highly important (see our second previous Report for further details). After more than a decade of this sort of activity, and with 14 CSDP missions around the globe, all of which were in one way or another engaged in this sort of activity, it might seem extraordinary that this was not already "embedded"; but this was the reality.

10.8 In the meantime, we noted that the EEAS and Commission services had "continued work on coordination and cooperation among EU actors on the ground in relation to the follow-up of the Annual 2014 CSDP Lessons Report and will issue best practice guidelines in this regard". We had not heard of this Report, and asked to know more about it, since it was plainly of relevance to the long-running discussions that the Committee had had with the Minister about assessing the effectiveness of CSDP missions (c.f., most recently, the Committee's Report on the EU's long-running "security sector capacity-building" police mission, EUPOL Afghanistan).[43]

10.9 Though the draft CBSD "implementation plan" made no recommendation, it seemed clear that the Commission/EEAS preference was for a new financial instrument, dedicated to CBSD, as part of the anticipated Strategic Framework for Security Sector Reform (SSR) proposed in the Joint Communication and the 18 May 2015 Council Conclusions. That SSR Framework was to (in the words of the implementation plan):

"build on the security­development nexus, principles of human security, stress the need for local ownership and follow a holistic approach, implementation of the Comprehensive Approach, while promoting coordination of all EU instruments including bilateral efforts by EU Member States in order to avoid overlap, fill gaps in partner countries and ensure strategic consistency."

10.10 Before then, however, we asked the Minister for Europe:

—   to explain more clearly than hitherto why Common Funding would not be suitable; which ODA rules should be considered; what the possible impact on the EU's development spending might be; what saying that this did "not constitute the handing over of more powers to the Commission" meant; and what all "the UK's red lines" were; and

—  where in the gestation process this SSR Framework now was, and to confirm that he would deposit whatever document was proposed for adoption before it was adopted, so that any questions that might arise could be properly considered beforehand.

10.11 In the meantime, we continued to retain the Joint Communication under scrutiny.

10.12 We also considered this chapter of our Report relevant to the European Committee debate on the future direction of European Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP that was to be held on 14 January 2016 (and is now to be held on 1 February 2016).

10.13 Given the attention being given to the security-development nexus in the EU's future work, we also drew these developments to the attention of the Foreign Affairs and International Development Committees.[44]

10.14 The Minister's answers are detailed below (see paragraphs 10.24-10.30 for details). In sum, he says:

—  the EU Articles on Common funding were devised to support "one off" events only and not to facilitate more enduring funding commitments; CBSD is thus beyond the scope of Common Funding, and utilising existing EU controlled funds would be more appropriate;

—  CBSD activities should be fully compliant with OECD/ODA rules where possible, and any non-ODA eligible activities should complement UK development objectives (to promote the economic development and welfare improvement of developing countries); CBSD activities should be complemented by long term transformational interventions in line with OECD/DAC guidelines for Security Sector Reform including around democratic oversight and accountability and human rights;

—  he is open to exploring a new financial instrument or using an existing one; the latter would need to mitigate any adverse impact on other existing EU development spending (e.g., theAfrican Peace Facility, which is already struggling to meet existing funding commitments and delivers high priority UK activity);

—  other UK red lines are: no additional EEAS headcount; the EEAS/Commission need to assign appropriate existing resources to implement CBSD; the donation of lethal equipment and such equipment donations must remain a bilateral responsibility; the Political and Security Committee should have a key role to ensure Member State political oversight; and

—  the Committee is right to view proposed EU SSR Framework as an important document: SSR is a core CSDP and development activity and an EU-wide strategic framework could help establish early priorities and identify gaps between existing EU instruments; but "at this early stage" he does "not know whether the final document will require a Council Decision and therefore need parliamentary scrutiny" (see paragraphs … below for full details).

10.15 The Committee considers that whether or not the EU SSR Framework will be determined via a Council Decision is immaterial to the question of whether it should be subject to deposit. The Committee has been seeking, over several years, to have such policy-making documents scrutinised prior to their adoption, by legislation or otherwise — not on doctrinal grounds, but precisely because, as the document in question defines core activities, identifies gaps and establishes priorities, the questions that inevitably arise can be dealt with appropriately by the Committee, before the House is then presented with various faits accomplis via Council Decisions authorising and launching new activity.

10.16 The Minister undertakes to keep the Committee informed of developments, as proposals "for a more strategic and effective approach" are "tested with Member States during the next few months, with a draft framework anticipated by late May". In the meantime, we ask the Minister to think again about his seeming resistance to the proper, prior parliamentary scrutiny of what he acknowledges is "an important document" dealing with "core CSDP and development activity".

10.17 We also "tag" this chapter of our Report to the upcoming debate on CSDP/CFSP in European Committee on 1 February 2016.

10.18 We again draw these developments to the attention of the Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee.

10.19 The Joint Communication remains under scrutiny.

Full details of the documents: Joint Communication: Capacity building in support of security and development — Enabling partners to prevent and manage crises: (36825), 8504/15, JOIN(15) 17.


10.20 The Joint Communication reviews existing EU policies currently contributing to security and development work and the challenges, including in pilot test cases conducted in Africa; identifies shortcomings and remedies — improving information-sharing and other forms of cooperation between the relevant Commission and EEAS services, and with international partners; new mechanisms such as an EU-wide strategic framework for Security Sector Reform — and proposes a review of the effectiveness of current financial instruments and consideration of a new, dedicated financial instrument.

10.21 The initiative will create a formal mechanism for the EU to assess third country security and development needs, to provide necessary training, and donate appropriate (i.e., non-lethal) equipment to meet capability gaps.

10.22 The Joint Communication was not subject to formal adoption by the European Council. However, the 18 May 2015 Foreign Affairs Council agreed Conclusions that "invite the EEAS and the Commission services to carry out further work in view of the Foreign Affairs Council in October/November", and the 25-26 June 2015 "Defence" European Council was thus expected to task the EEAS, Commission and Member States to develop the initiative further.

10.23 The Minister for Europe said that he:

—  regarded this initiative as a tangible means for implementing the EU's "Comprehensive Approach" principles of early planning; efficiency through working with partners; and aspiring to ensure long-term sustainability following EU crisis intervention, and as meeting the capacity building objectives identified in HMG's Building Stability Overseas Strategy;[45]

—  had made clear that the Government would not accept any new permanent structures or "head count";

—  had successfully opposed any notion concerning the donation of lethal equipment under this new initiative; this must remain a bilateral responsibility;

—  had accepted exploration of adapting the African Peace Facility (APF)[46] in the short term but on the condition that this was without detriment to existing EU-supported peace-keeping operations; but

—  had also supported the "Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace" (IcSP[47]) being considered as part of the broader exploration of financing options; and, over the longer term, further work to explore the creation of a new dedicated instrument, whilst making clear that contributions from Member States should be on a voluntary basis;

—  had also made clear that the UK would not accept the expansion of Common Funding[48] to fund EU capacity building, and that the EEAS and Commission needed to assign appropriate existing resources to implement this initiative;

—  had supported a flexible geographical focus for EU capacity building but preferred it to focus on existing CSDP activity e.g. in Somalia, and UK priority areas going forward;

—  wanted this initiative, when fully implemented, to ensure that the skills and expertise transferred to third countries were not used in a way that adversely affected UK or EU human rights priorities;

—  wanted also to see the development and adoption of a tool for assessing the human rights risks of the EU overseas security and justice assistance work and identifying measures to mitigate such risks; and

—  would ensure that, in terms of long term sustainability:

·  the concept delivered genuine capacity development across different third state sectors, which went beyond training and equipping foreign security forces; and

·  any proposed actions following the June European Council related to implementation, maximising efficiencies and took full account of existing resources.[49]

The Minister's letter of 8 January 2016

10.24 The Minister begins by noting that ensuring long term sustainability of CBSD is "a priority for us and we need to get the financial arrangements right".

10.25 The Minister then explains why the use of Common Funding is, in his view, not suitable:

"Our long-standing principle for funding CSDP military operations is that 'costs should lie where they fall'. This ensures that Member States remain responsible for financing their own military contributions, such as deployed individuals and equipment, as well as the force generation for these operations, and helps prevent too much EU institutional interference. There are, however, some 'one off' costs that cannot be directly attributed to a Member State which are critical to achieving the objectives on the ground, such as construction of military bases. These are regarded as common costs and are divided amongst Member States based on GDP. This is managed through the EU Athena Mechanism, on which Member States, including the UK have a vote.[50] The Athena Mechanism, and the EU Articles on common funding, were devised to support common funding for 'one off' events only and not to facilitate the more enduring funding commitments which we judge would be required for CBSD. Our view therefore is that CBSD is beyond the scope of Common Funding, and that utilising existing EU controlled funds would be more appropriate. Furthermore an expansion of the Athena Mechanism would greatly reduce the onus on the EEAS and Commission to identify and agree a more appropriate, sustainable financial instrument for CBSD. Expansion of Common Funding responsibilities onto Member States has been a UK red line throughout CBSD negotiations."

10.26 The Minister then turns to Official Development Assistance (ODA) rules:

"Overall, we want to ensure CBSD activities are fully compliant with ODA rules where possible, and that any non-ODA eligible CBSD activities are still complementary to our development objectives. For the UK this means respecting the rules of what counts as aid under the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) internationally recognised definitions. We want to ensure that UK aid's primary objective always remains to promote the economic development and welfare improvement of developing countries. We will seek to ensure CBSD funding respects these internationally agreed ODA requirements and is reported accurately to the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Specifically we would like to see CBSD activities complemented by long term transformational interventions in line with DAC guidelines for Security Sector Reform including around democratic oversight and accountability.[51] We also want to ensure adherence to human rights guidelines including a mandatory risk assessment process as part of CBSD methodology."

10.27 With regard to other means of finance, the Minister says:

"we are open to exploring a new financial instrument or using an existing one. If we use an existing instrument, we will need to mitigate any adverse impact on other existing EU development spending. For example, we would not want to see a reduction of project funds for the 'African Peace Facility', which is already struggling to meet existing funding commitments and delivers high priority UK activity. Our priority for APF spend is in contributions to troop stipends for the African Union Peace Support Operation in Somalia (AMISOM) and capacity building support for the Multinational Joint Task Force in Nigeria. The Commission has submitted funding proposals covering the APF shortfall in 2016 and funding for 2017 to 2018 (which are currently under discussion in Brussels) and the UK will continue to work to ensure that UK priorities in Africa remain protected."

10.28 Concerning "other UK red lines and about whether CBSD, once developed, constitutes the handing of more powers to the Commission", the Minister says:

"the UK has made clear that we would not accept any additional EEAS headcount within the institutions to make this initiative work. The EEAS and Commission need to assign appropriate existing resources to implement CBSD. We do not support the donation of lethal equipment and such equipment donations must remain a bilateral responsibility. Furthermore, we have successfully argued that CBSD must involve political oversight from Member States, including through the Political and Security Committee which should have a key role.[52] This means that the EEAS and Commission would not have more powers or authority to sanction CBSD transactions without Member State oversight.

"We will actively participate in further working level discussions on CBSD which will be guided by the Implementation Plan. We support German and French calls for the Commission and EEAS to come up with concrete proposals to take this initiative forward. I will keep the Committee updated on further developments."

10.29 Concerning parliamentary scrutiny of the proposed EU Strategic Framework for Security Sector Reform (SSR), the Minister says:

"The Committee is right to view this as an important document. SSR is a core CSDP and development activity and the UK will participate in the development of this concept. An EU-wide strategic framework for SSR could help establish early priorities and identify gaps between existing EU instruments. Unfortunately, at this early stage we do not know whether the final document will require a Council Decision and therefore need parliamentary scrutiny. However, I will keep the Committees informed of developments. Progress on the framework has begun, with an informal consultation between Member States and the EU over the current obstacles to a strategic EU approach in countries with both CSDP missions and development programmes working on SSR. Proposals for a more strategic and effective approach will be tested with Member States during the next few months, with a draft framework anticipated by late May."

10.30 Finally, regarding the EEAS/Commission Annual 2014 CSDP Lessons Report, the Minister says:

"The EEAS' second report on the key lessons identified during the previous year on CSDP issues was released on 3 March 2015. The report was discussed in Council working groups prior to the Political and Security Committee giving its endorsement to the recommendations. The annual report distils the lessons learned from all active CSDP missions and operations, and staff within the Brussels institutions, picking out the key themes. A CSDP Lessons Management Group, chaired by EEAS Deputy Secretary General Serrano, monitors the implementation of these key lessons and recommendations. For 2014 these were:

·  "The Political Framework for Crisis Approach (PFCA)[53] showed its potential but could be further improved.

·  "The revised Crisis Management Procedures (CMP)[54] proved their worth but need further analysis to avoid delays in mission launch.

·  "Staff in Brussels and in EU Delegations would benefit from more systematic CSDP training.

·  "There is insufficient secure communication capability.

·  "Coordination and cooperation between EU Delegations and CSDP missions can be enhanced.

"Progress on the implementation of these lessons will be included in the 2015 report."

10.31 The Minister concludes with the hope that the Committee finds his update helpful and by undertaking to "be in touch in due course with the updates indicated above".

Previous Committee Reports

Fifteenth Report HC 342-xiv (2015-16), chapter 5 (16 December 2015) and First Report HC 342-i (2015-16), chapter 26 (21 July 2015).

37   European External Action Service. Back

38   First Report HC 342-i (2015-16), chapter 26 (21 July 2015). Back

39   IbidBack

40   The Letter of Intent includes: Priority 9: A Stronger Global Actor

¾ "Review of the European Security Strategy to establish a broad external strategy for the EU, to give a better sense of direction and a greater ability to set priorities and to make choices.

¾ "Further steps towards the Post-Cotonou framework aiming at building on strong existing partnerships while taking into account the specific realities in different countries and regions.

¾ "Develop EU's ability to build up the security capacity of partner countries and international organisations, helping them to prevent and manage crises themselves, possibly through a dedicated instrument to this effect." See Letter of Intent for full details. Back

41   Fifteenth Report HC 342-xiv (2015-16), chapter 5 (16 December 2015). Back

42   The OECD's (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) has measured resource flows to developing countries since 1961. Special attention has been given to the official and concessional part of this flow, defined as "official development assistance" (ODA). ODA is the key measure used in practically all aid targets and assessments of aid performance. See Official development assistance - definition and coverage for full information. Back

43   See (37322), -: Thirteenth Report HC 342-xiii, chapter 11 (9 December 2015). Back

44   Fifteenth Report HC 342-xiv (2015-16), chapter 5 (16 December 2015). Back

45   Published in 2011. See Building stability overseas strategy. Back

46   The APF was created to strengthen the financial capacity of the African institutions to foster peace and security on the continent in response to a request made by the African Union Summit in Maputo in July 2003. Back

47   The IcSP provides for:

o urgent short-term actions in response to situations of crisis or emerging crisis, often complementing EU humanitarian assistance; and

o longer-term capacity building of organisations engaged in crisis response and peace-building.

On the ground, the implementation of IcSP actions is typically devolved to EU Delegations located in the third countries concerned. Back

48   The guiding principle of funding for CSDP operations is that "costs lie where they fall". Member States pay for the majority of costs they incur. However some costs that cannot be directly attributed to a Member State are regarded as "common costs" and shared out amongst Member States. The ATHENA mechanism manages the administration of common costs and is established through a Council Decision that is reviewed every three years, the last concluding in April 2015. Back

49   See the Minister's Explanatory Memorandum of 5 June 2015 for full details. Back

50   See Athena - financing security and defence military operations for full information. Back

51   The OECD DAC guidelines for Security Sector Reform and Governance were agreed in 2004. They define SSR as seeking "to increase partner countries' ability to meet the range of security needs within their societies in a manner consistent with democratic norms and sound governance principles, including transparency and the rule of law". To work effectively on SSR, "whole-of-government frameworks and mechanisms are needed - both in donor and developing countries - in order to harness the range of policy and funding instruments available into a common effort". Back

52   See The Political and Security Committee (PSC) and European Union Military Committee (EUMC). Back

53   An EU-wide document, articulating what the crisis is, and what could be the potential EU levers of power to address its root causes (as opposed to its symptoms), namely the Political Framework for Crisis Approach (PFCA). This PFCA would enact the Comprehensive Approach of the EU, as all EU stakeholders are entitled to contribute to it under the coordinating role of the EEAS. Presented to the Political and Security Committee for information purposes, this PFCA would support an orientation debate on the political willingness to utilize the CSDP lever of power, across the wider range of EU levers of power. This political willingness would be materialised by the Crisis Management Concept (CMC), which would depict a CSDP political-strategic option, in concrete terms an ad-hoc combination - or recipe, as opposed to a simple juxtaposition - of the CSDP military and the CSDP civilian instruments. See Turning Political Words into Military Deeds. Back

54   For a graphic representation, see The crisis management procedures. Back

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