The High Representative for the CFSP and the
EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process
111. The role of the High Representative for
the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
has grown steadily since its creation in 1999. In the person of
Dr. Javier Solana, he now commands much trust and authority within
the European Union and is a respected figure in the international
community. Dr. Solana has become well known on the international
scene for his personal and intensive involvement in managing international
crises such as the Iranian nuclear dispute. According to Dr Kim
Howells, both Dr. Solana and the EU Special Representative for
the Middle East peace process, Marc Otte, are "real assets
for the EU", and he commended their level of active engagement,
both on the ground and in working closely with the other members
of the Quartet (Q 320). This is demonstrated by Dr Solana's
visits to the Middle East in February and March 2007, where he
was received by the King of Saudi Arabia and other senior leaders.
112. According to the Treaty on European Union,
the High Representative assists the Presidency, which "represents
the Union in matters coming within the Common Foreign and Security
he works closely with the Commission and individual Member States.
As the number of Member States has grown, the High Representative
has helped to ensure the continuity and consistency of EU foreign
policy given the six-month rotation of the Presidency.
113. The High Representative has been particularly
active in relation to the MEPP, and has made a significant contribution
to advancing the EU's objectives in the region. Our evidence session
with Dr. Solana gave us a very valuable insight into his level
of involvement and his deep knowledge of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Together with the Presidency and the Commissioner for External
Relations, the HR represents the EU at Principals' level within
the Quartet. This is a recognition of the HR's role and is a visible
illustration of the contacts that the EU maintains with the other
members of the Quartet at the highest level, including US Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice (Q 352).
114. The High Representative, assisted by his
Office, does not only operate in political circles. UNRWA
underlined how involved the Office of the HR is at the field level
in the Near East: "the first-hand involvement of the Office
of the EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security
Policy and its willingness to engage with humanitarian actors
on the ground is a very appreciated and important aspect of the
EU's involvement in the region." (p 161)
The EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process
The EU has long had a presence on the ground in relation to the Middle East Peace Process, with an EU Special Envoy first being mandated in 1996. Currently the EU Special Representative (EUSR) represents the EU in the region. Since 21 July 2003 this position has been held by Marc Otte, a former Belgian Ambassador to Israel. The EUSR supports the work of the HR and actively promotes EU policies in relation to the MEPP. The mandate of the Special Representative is based on the EU's policy objectives regarding the Middle East peace process, which include a two-State solution with Israel and a democratic, viable, peaceful and sovereign Palestinian state living side-by-side within secure and recognised borders enjoying normal relations with their neighbours in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, 1397 and 1402 and the principles of the Madrid conference.
115. In terms of the effectiveness of the EUSR,
Dr. Richard Youngs appeared to suggest that the EUSR is able to
achieve much by working at a low-profile level, but that he was
somewhat limited by the "need to take care to make sure that
nothing is done that contravenes the political will of any European
government" (Q 139).
116. We welcome the greater role attributed
to the High Representative's office in providing a focus for collective
EU efforts, but consider that a more structured approach is required
to coordinate and synchronise the diplomatic efforts of the High
Representative with the economic and other instruments deployed
by the Commission. The pro-active role of Dr Solana has gone
a long way towards improving the situation.
117. We consider that the High Representative,
Javier Solana, assisted by the EU Special Representative, Marc
Otte, has worked very actively and effectively towards achieving
the objectives of the EU in relation to the MEPP. The question
now arises as to whether the EU has the capacity in place to participate
in intensive negotiations on a comprehensive peace settlement.
We would encourage the Council to make the necessary preparations
so that the EU can quickly mobilise a full negotiating team to
assist the peace process.