ESDP: EU PLANNING TEAM IN KOSOVO
Letter from Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP,
Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Chairman
The next meeting of the General Affairs and
External Relations Council (GAERC) is on 10 April 2006. At this
meeting Foreign Ministers are expected to agree a Council Decision
to establish an EU Planning Team (EUPT) in Kosovo in preparation
for a possible civilian ESDP mission there.
With the UN-led final status process underway,
there is broad agreement within the international community (eg
the Contact Group and the European Union) that the UN will no
longer take the lead in Kosovo once a settlement has been concluded.
We support a leading EU role and there is broad agreement among
Member States that the EU should lead the international civilian
presence in Kosovo post-Status, which, as the London Contact Group
Ministerial statement of 31 January stated, should be concluded
during the course of 2006.
The establishment of a Planning Team does not
prejudge the outcome of the Status Process, or any subsequent
decision by the EU to launch an ESDP mission in Kosovo. But it
is important that contingency planning keeps in step with the
Status Process already underway. Deploying a Planning Team now
will also ensure that appropriate advance contingency planning
is in place and that the EU decision making is based on sound
The Planning Team is expected to comprise around
30 personnel, including policing and justice experts where we
anticipate there will be a particular need for EU assistance.
We will be considering how the UK can best contribute to the Planning
Team in due course.
Unfortunately the nature of the status process
has meant no EU Joint Action was available before the Easter recess.
Since it is important that contingency planning keeps in step
with the status process, HMG will have to agree to this Council
Decision on 10 April before scrutiny can be completed. I hope
you will understand our reasons. When the Joint Action is available,
I will of course forward this under the cover of an Explanatory
As this Council Decision relates only to the
deployment of a Planning Team, a further Council Decision will
be required before any civilian ESDP mission is established. I
will ensure you are alerted to this at the earliest opportunity.
6 April 2006
Letter from the Chairman to Rt Hon Douglas
Thank you for your letter dated 6 April 2006
which Sub-Committee C considered by written procedure during the
week commencing 17 April.
We welcome the proposal to establish a planning
team for Kosovo. Your letter states that there is broad agreement
among Member States that the EU should lead the international
civilian presence following the determination of Kosovo's future
status and we strongly support this. However, it is not clear
why, given this broad agreement, the planning team could not have
been proposed earlier, thus avoiding the need for an override.
Furthermore, we would like to know why the ensuing
explanatory memorandum and document were not received until 19
April, nine days after the Council Decision had been agreed by
the 10 April GAERC. Your letter states that this was due to no
official text yet having been received. However, it is often the
case that you deposit explanatory memoranda in advance of an official
text having been received. The text which you deposited on 19
April is dated 5 April. Although we accept that it would not have
been possible to avoid an override in this instance, the explanatory
memorandum and document should have been deposited prior to the
agreement in Council on 10 April.
We look forward to receiving your Explanatory
Memorandum relating to any proposed Council Decision to establish
a civilian ESDP mission in Kosovo and hope that more time for
scrutiny of any such mission will be made available.
24 April 2006
Letter from the Chairman to Rt Hon Douglas
Thank you for your Explanatory Memorandum dated
18 April 2006 which Sub-Committee C considered at its meeting
on 27 April. The Sub-Committee agreed to clear the document from
We have written separately (letter dated 24
April) concerning your letter (dated 6 April) noting that there
would be an override on this Decision.
Given the potential significance of any eventual
ESDP mission in Kosovo we ask that you keep us briefed about the
outcome of the planning team's mission and any recommendations
that the planning team should make. Such briefs should include
an assessment, from your point of view, of the EU's capacity to
fulfil those recommendations.
28 April 2006
Letter from Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP, Minister
for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Chairman
Thank you for your reply of 24 April to Douglas
Alexander's letter of 6 April on the Council Decision to establish
an EU Planning Team in Kosovo.
The timing of the EU's work on Kosovo, including
the Planning Team proposal, reflects the pace of progress with
the wider Status Process. While the EU's work has been developed
rapidly to keep in step with the Process it is important that
its plans do not pre-judge or overtake the underlying political
In terms of the timing of the Explanatory Memorandum,
Mr Alexander had hoped to be able to provide you with an Explanatory
Memorandum on the final text, or on a more recent draft, before
the Committee reconvened after the Easter recess. When it was
clear a better text was not going to be available I understand
that he agreed we should provide an Explanatory Memorandum on
the available text. In submitting the Memorandum on 19 April he
hoped this would reach you in time to be considered for the Committee's
first meeting on 27 April. We will continue to submit Explanatory
Memorandum's on draft texts where these are available.
As Mr Alexander noted, the establishment of
a Planning Team does not prejudge the outcome of the Status Process,
or any subsequent decision by the EU to launch an ESDP mission.
I would also add that I do not expect any decision on a mission
to be taken before the end of the year, but I will ensure you
are alerted to any such decision at the earliest opportunity.
We will of course update you on progress more generally through
the Ministerial Statements we issue following General Affairs
and External Relations Council discussions.
Letter from Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP to the
I am writing to alert you to developments within
the EU relating to Kosovo, which may require the adoption during
the Summer Recess of a Joint Action to establish a preparation
team to contribute to preparations for the establishment of a
possible International Civilian Mission (ICM) in Kosovo, including
an EU Special Representative (EUSR).
On 12 July, the Presidency circulated a Council
Secretariat-Commission non-paper recommending that the Council
adopt a Joint Action to establish an EU planning team that could
contribute to preparations for any future International Civilian
Mission (ICM) for Kosovo, including an EU Special Representative
There is broad agreement amongst the international
community, including within the Contact Group and the European
Union, that the EU will play an important role both in the planning
and in the implementation phases of the international civilian
presence in Kosovo post settlement.
The objective of the proposed planning team
would be to contribute together with relevant international partners,
to preparations for the establishment of an International Civilian
Mission in Kosovo, including an EU Special Representative. A Joint
Action of the kind envisaged would not prejudge the final outcome
of the Status Process but it is essential that EU contingency
planning keeps in step with the Status Process now underway. As
it is hoped that the ICM/EUSR will be in place following the adoption
of the status settlement, it follows that planning for the ICM
needs to be close to completion at the time of the settlement.
As the London Contact Group Ministerial statement of 31 January
noted, the Contact Group is aiming for the process to be concluded
by the end of 2006.
The Presidency is therefore rightly keen to
secure adoption of the Joint Action as soon as possible and this
is likely to be during the summer recess, probably at the September
GAERC. Given the importance of early preparations for implementation
of a settlement, it is likely that the Government will need to
agree this Council decision before scrutiny can be completed.
I hope that you will understand the exceptional operational reasons
that make this necessary. As soon as the Joint Action is available,
I will naturally forward this under cover of an Explanatory Memorandum.
20 July 2006