Documents considered by the Committee on 6 December 2017 Contents

13Stability and Peace Instrument

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Cleared from scrutiny

Document details

Proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation (EU) No. 230/2014 of 11 March 2014 establishing an instrument contributing to stability and peace

Legal base

Articles 209(1) and 212(2) TFEU; ordinary legislative procedure; QMV


Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Document Number

(37930), 11037/1/16, REV 1 + ADDs 1–2, COM(16) 447

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

13.1The EU’s Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) is a €2.3 billion (£2 billion)132 programme which funds the EU’s rapid response to political instability in the developing world, as well as its longer-term conflict prevention, peace-building and crisis preparedness initiatives globally.133

13.2In July 2016, the European Commission sent a legislative proposal to the European Parliament and the Council, with the aim of allowing €100 million (£82.65 million) of the Instrument’s funds to be spent on “capacity building in support of security and development” (CBSD), essentially improving developing countries’ military capacity to ensure they can adequately protect their civilian population. Rather than reducing the budget for the existing elements of the Instrument, the Commission proposed that the €100 million would be diverted from other parts of the EU budget for external affairs.134

13.3The details of the Commission proposal, and the background to its consideration by the Council and Parliament, are set out in more detail in our Report of 13 November 2017.135

13.4The Member States’ representatives in COREPER agreed the Council’s negotiating mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on the legislative proposal in December 2016, but the Government did not alert us to this fact until May 2017. In October, trilogues led to an agreement on the final legislative text of the amendment which preserved the substance of the Commission proposal.

13.5When we considered the state of play on the proposal following the trilogue agreement, we asked the Minister for Europe (Sir Alan Duncan) to explain the lengthy delay in informing the Committee of the existence of the negotiating mandate adopted by COREPER. We also asked him to clarify which existing EU budget lines would be reduced to fund the €100 million endowment for CBSD activities under the amended Regulation, and provide more information about UK-EU cooperation on foreign policy and international development more generally after Brexit.136

13.6The Minister replied to our questions on 22 November.137 He apologises for the administrative error which had led to the delay in informing the Committee of the adoption of the Council’s negotiating mandate. He also explains that the funding for the new CBSD was likely to come from “redeployment of unspent funds among the instruments and budgets” under the EU budget’s external affairs heading, but that the Parliament had secured a guarantee that no funding would be diverted from the EU’s Development Cooperation Instrument for this purpose.138

13.7With respect to the budgetary implications of the proposal in the context of the UK’s withdrawal, and possible contributions to the EU budget in 2019, 2020 and beyond, the Minister states only that these “are being considered and will be resolved as part of the exit negotiations, where necessary” and that the Government “will seek a fair financial settlement in accordance with the law and in the spirit of our continued partnership with the EU”. More generally, the UK’s post-Brexit participation in external financing instruments—including the IcSP—“will be a topic for the negotiations”. He addes that future UK-EU collaboration should be a “dynamic arrangement” which is “subject to UK standards on transparency, accountability and value for money”.

13.8The European Parliament adopted the Regulation on 30 November, and formal approval by the Council is expected to follow before the end of 2017.

13.9We thank the Minister for his swift response to our Report of 13 November, and accept his apology for the delay in informing the Committee of the COREPER negotiating mandate. We now clear the Regulation from scrutiny.

13.10With respect to the implications of Brexit for UK cooperation with the EU on matters of foreign policy, it is clear the Government is considering whether, and if so how, the UK might continue to participate in the EU’s external financing programmes, including the IcSP, after Brexit. The Minister has reiterated that it remains a matter for negotiations.

13.11As the European Scrutiny Committee, we take a particular interest in the Government’s approach to continued alignment with EU policy after Brexit, including potential financial contributions to specific EU programmes. We have yet to receive any substantive information from the Government about how its “deep and special partnership” would operate in practice, and what legal or institutional framework might be necessary to replace the structures in which the UK will cease to be represented in March 2019. Until we receive confirmation from the Government to the contrary, we will also presume that the “implementation period” sought by the Prime Minister would, in effect, maintain the UK’s participation in, and contribution to, EU foreign policy instruments for its duration.

13.12We will continue to press the Government for more specific proposals about post-Brexit cooperation with the EU on matters of foreign policy and international development. If the Article 50 negotiations move to the framework for future UK-EU relations following the European Council in December 2017, we expect the Government to be more forthcoming about the details of its proposals, including the implications of the “implementation period” for the representation of the UK’s interests in the EU’s decision-making structures and the institutional mechanisms for UK participation in EU foreign policy programmes after the end of the transitional period. This will allow us to consider the appropriate methods for parliamentary scrutiny of such participation once the UK is no longer represented on the Foreign Affairs Council or its preparatory bodies.

Full details of the documents

Proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation (EU) No. 230/2014 of 11 March 2014 establishing an instrument contributing to stability and peace: (37930), 11037/1/16 REV 1, + ADDs 1–2, COM(16) 447.

Previous Committee Reports

11037/16: Tenth Report HC 71–viii (2016–17), chapter 3 (7 September 2016) and First Report HC 301–i (2017–19), chapter 16 (13 November 2017).

132 €1 = £0.91973 or £1 = €1.08728 as at 1 September 2017.

133 The IcSP was established by Regulation 230/2014. It was cleared from scrutiny on 12 February 2014.

134 The details of the Commission proposal, and the background to its consideration by the Council and Parliament, are set out in more detail in our Report of 13 November 2017.

136 Idem.

137 Letter from Sir Alan Duncan to Sir William Cash (22 November 2017).

138 The Development Cooperation Instrument was established by Regulation 233/2014, which was cleared from scrutiny by the previous Committee on 12 February 2014.

11 December 2017