CRISIS MANAGEMENT OPERATIONS
Letter from the Chairman to the Rt Hon
Peter Hain MP, Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sub-Committee C considered this document at
their meeting on 20 June and agreed to clear it. We are, however,
very concerned about its contents and while we recognise that
much more needs to be done before any agreement on the financing
of ESDP operations can be made, we would like certain assurances
on the effect of the current document.
The overwhelming issue, it is felt, is the burden
that will be placed on the United Kingdom. It is generally considered
that in the event of the EU undertaking military missions, the
strongest military nations, Britain and France, will take up a
leading role and in doing so will commit a disproportionately
high level of manpower and hardware. The Sub-Committee are very
concerned that in doing so, these States do not end up out of
pocket and that they are fairly reimbursed by other member states.
I would therefore like your assurance that the systems of "common
costs" and "costs where they fall" outlined in
the document do not mean that the United Kingdom, or any other
country contributing more than its fair share to a mission, will
end up unfairly out of pocket.
Similarly, the Sub-Committee is concerned about
the implications of the document's paragraph 2.2, which states
"Common financing of incremental costs for
ESDP operations with military or defence implications does not
entail financing of military assets and capabilities offered by
participant States on a voluntary basis and compiled in the Helsinki
Force Catalogue (HFC), or of shortfalls in capabilities that occur
in the course of the Force Generation Process."
The Sub-Committee have been kept abreast of
recent developments on the shortfalls in capabilities, but would
like to know what progress is being made to persuade the EU member
states which do not commit 2 per cent or more of their DGP to
defence to increase their defence budgets.
Finally, the Sub-Committee feels that this letter
offers an opportunity to ask about another outstanding issue.
Much emphasis was made in our last ESDP report on the stand-off
between Greece and Turkey over the arrangements for ESDP use of
NATO assets. I would therefore be most grateful if you would let
me know how things now stand.
24 June 2002
Letter from The Rt Hon Peter Hain MP,
Minister for Europe
Thank you for your letter of 24 June about three
different aspects of European Security and Defence Policy: financing,
capabilities and member states' budgets and EU/NATO arrangements.
On financing, you express concern that under
the agreed system of "costs lie where they fall with a narrow
element of common costs" the UK could end up unfairly out
of pocket if we take a leading role in a military ESDP operation.
We cannot of course predict with total accuracy when, where and
on what scale an EU-led military crisis management operation might
occur. Nor can we predict at what scale the UK and others might
participate. This inevitably means that we cannot give a cast-iron
guarantee that the formula agreed on ESDP financing is best value
for the UKto do so would require prior knowledge of the
mix of EU-led operations over the coming years.
That said, the main reasons we have pushed for
the formula which was agreed at the General Affairs Council on
17 June are that:
(i) we believe that member states having
responsibility for paying for their own contributions nationally
(option Acosts lie where they fall, with an element of
common costs) is the best way of ensuring efficient crisis management.
Option B (all costs are common, on a GNP scale) would mean less
(ii) Option B would mean that the UK would
automatically have to pay 18 per cent (on the GNP key) of the
cost of any military ESDP operation, even if we did not participate
(unless we had abstained in a vote on that operation and made
a formal declaration to that effect). Whereas under option A,
the UK would only pay for the equipment/personnel we contributed
to an operation (apart from the UK share of the narrow common
costs element), meaning that our contribution, both militarily
and financially would remain in our own hands.
(iii) Under option A we would decide for
ourselves when and how to draw down UK forces and put an end to
our military and financial commitment. Under a GNP key regime
(option B) we would not have that control.
(iv) Option A is the method used in NATO,
and we judge it to have been the most cost effective for the UK.
Because of the difficulties of predicting with
total accuracy what kind of ESDP operations might take place and
on what timescale, the UK was one of the member states to insist
upon a review clause being built into the framework agreement.
The review will take place before June 2004, ie within 18 months
of the Headline Goal target for ESDP to be fully operational.
You asked what progress had been made on encouraging
EU member states who do not currently commit at least 2 per cent
of their GDP towards defence spending to increase their defence
budgets. It is not for the UK to impose budgetary targets on other
countries. But all EU Member States are working in improvements
in their military capabilities towards the Helsinki Headline Goal.
We are encouraging Member States by example. There have been defence
reviews similar to the UK's Strategic Defence Review, in Germany,
Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Finland. France and Spain will
be spending their defence budgets more effectively, aiming to
professionalise completely their armed forces by the end of this
You also asked where things now stood on negotiations
between the EU and NATO on EU access to NATO planning and assets.
Turkey agreed a paper in December 2001, which the Greek government
found unacceptable. Following discussion with the Spanish Presidency,
the Greek government made proposals just before the Seville European
Council, to which the Turks could not agree. But the gap between
the two sides has narrowed substantially. The European Council
requested the incoming Presidency (in practice the Greeks, because
of the Danish defence opt-out) to continue the work, with Javier
Solana. This is likely to mean bilateral discussion between the
Greeks and Turks. We hope to see a final agreement soon.
3 July 2002