Select Committee on European Union Forty-Ninth Report


Letter from Denis MacShane, Minister for Europe, to the Chairman

  Thank you for your letter of 5 February in response to my letter of 22 January on the draft Joint Action on the planned EU-led military operation in Macedonia.

  As I explained in my letter, I was writing to send you the draft Joint Action in advance of the permanent arrangements for scrutiny of ESDP on which we were then still working. My letter of 5 February set out MoD and FCO proposals for those permanent arrangements and, following that, I sent on 6 February an EM on the Macedonia Joint Action.

  My letter of 22 January noted that the requirement for the EU to take forward preparation for a take-over of the stabilisation role from NATO in Macedonia this Spring, as foreseen by the Copenhagen European Council, required early GAERC decisions. I noted that this might involve the January GAERC endorsing the Joint Action to take this work forward. My letter of 5 February noted that, while we would always seek to ensure the Committees had the time and information needed to scrutinise ESDP decisions effectively, there would inevitably be occasions where the Government would need to take part in EU decisions before scrutiny was completed. This was such a case. The first draft of the Macedonia Joint Action emerged in the PSC only on 21 January 2003, as noted in my 5 February letter.

  Your letter asked about the arrangements for command and control of the EU-led operation in Macedonia (Article 10 of the Joint Action). These reflect the arrangements it is envisaged will apply to all EU-led operations with recourse to NATO assets and capabilities. They are essentially the same as in NATO, where political control and strategic direction is exercised by Member States, acting together, and the operational commander is responsible for the planning and execution of the operation. DSACEUR will act as the commander of the EU operation. He is in a dialogue with the EU Military Committee on the detailed command and control arrangements for this operation. Given NATO's interest as a provider to the EU of assets and capabilities, and its responsibility for other military operations in the region, the EU will keep the North Atlantic Council and the NATO Military Committee informed of developments throughout the operation. These NATO bodies are not, however, part of the chain of command for an EU operation. The MoD is content with these arrangements.

20 February 2003

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