Select Committee on European Union Fourth Report


Letter from the Chairman to Rt Hon Denis MacShane MP, Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

  Thank you for the Explanatory Memorandum dated 16 November 2004 which Sub-Committee C considered at its meeting on 17 November.

  The Sub-Committee cleared the document but would like to emphasise the importance of the issue of small arms and light weapons control in the Western African states. It is right that the EU should put more effort, and financing, into arms control in this region.

  However, the Sub-Committee is aware of the problems the international community has experienced hitherto in trying to translate the 1999 moratorium into action. We are concerned that the EU should not release funding for a number of disparate initiatives without proper co-ordination. Why, for example, is this Council Decision's €500,000 going to be used for the ECOWAS secretariat in Nigeria rather than the new ECOSAP unit in Mali? The Sub-Committee thus strongly supports the government in urging for a review of this decision in 6 months time to judge whether the right funding has been put into the right project at the right time". The Sub-Committee looks forward to seeing the results of that review.

  Furthermore, the Sub-Committee is aware that ECOWAS maybe be requesting more substantial financing for capacity building as a result of the donor conference on 22-23 November. We hope the EU will consider the merits of financing SALW control through the EDF, as per Article 11 of the Cotonou agreement, should it receive a request for further help.

26 November 2004

Letter from Rt Hon Denis MacShane MP to the Chairman

  Thank you for your letter of 26 November that sought assurances that the EU's contribution to the ECOWAS SALW Moratorium included the need to co-ordinate its contribution with other initiatives in the region. You further hoped that the EU would consider further SALW funding through the-European Development Fund (EDF).

  I agree with you on the vital need for close co-operation on SALW projects within the region to avoid duplication of effort and we are keen for some EU funding to be allocated to the ECOWAS Small Arms Project (ECOSAP) Unit in Mali. We are also asking for a feedback report on the CFSP funded project once it has been set up and running for several months. We will of course write further when this is produced.

  We have been in consultation with the Commission about this project and in addition to the recently approved EUR 515,000 we understand that the EDF is also providing a component of EUR 1,450,000 for the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Project. The Commission are consulting with ECOWAS Member States and UNDP/ECOSAP in order to agree how this money can be best used taking into account what the Commission and Member States have already decided. Co-ordination is of vital importance and the Commission are aware that the system of co-ordination needs to be re-evaluated. These consultations are ongoing and we are liaising with the Commission and the UNDP to keep abreast of developments.

13 January 2005

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