EUROPEAN INSTRUMENT FOR DEMOCRACY AND
Letter from the Chairman to Gareth Thomas
MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International
Thank you for your Explanatory Memorandum dated
13 July 2006 which Sub-Committee C considered at its meeting on
20 July. The Sub-Committee agreed to hold the document under scrutiny
awaiting the outcome of further negotiations.
We share many of your concerns with the draft
proposal, in particular that the instrument should be "flexible,
responsive and creative" in order that it can be implemented
quickly and efficiently. We agree that there should be a fast-track
procedure to deal with emergency situations and believe that the
idea of a contingency reserve should be further considered.
However, we would appreciate your detailed views
on the extent to which the use of this instrument, for example
through the funding of election monitoring missions, might overlap
with the work of other multilateral organisations, in particular
the Council of Europe and the OSCE. It is essential that the potential
duplication of resources in promoting democracy and human rights
is avoided and that efforts are coordinated in order to ensure
the widest possible coverage. EU initiatives under this instrument
should be global and not simply targeted on the EU's eastern neighbours
where the Council of Europe already plays a prominent role.
25 July 2006
Letter from Gareth Thomas MP to the Chairman
Thank you for your reply dated 25 July 2006
to my Explanatory Memorandum of 13 July. Your letter sought my
views regarding two aspects of the proposed instrument: the potential
overlap between work under the new instrument and that of other
multilateral organisations; and the instrument's geographical
The draft regulation includes provisions at
the planning, approval and evaluation stages which should prevent
potential overlaps and duplication of effort. These include Article
3 (Complementarity and Coherence of Community Assistance),
which proposes that the Commission "shall promote close
co-ordination between its own activities and those of the Member
States, both at decision-making level and on the ground. Coordination
shall involve regular consultations and frequent exchanges of
relevant information during the different phases of the assistance
cycle, in particular at field level and shall constitute a key
step in the programming processes of the Community and Member
States". The UK will press for full consideration of
the activities of other multilateral organisations, such as the
Council of Europe and OSCE, during these consultations.
In addition, paragraph 12 of the Commission's
Explanatory Memorandum notes that: "The strategy papers
are adopted by the Commission in the form of a Commission decision
after obtaining a favourable opinion by a management committee
made up of representatives of the Member States and chaired by
a Commission representative (Article 16). To ensure adequate complementarity
of Community assistance with Member States' assistance and that
of other donors and actors, consultations including with representatives
of civil society, shall take place during the programming process."
If at the committee stage it is clear that the Commission has
not taken the work of other multilateral organisations into account
during the programming process, then we will have the opportunity
to raise this with the Commission and seek changes or try to block
Article 15 of the draft Regulation requires
the Commission to "monitor and review, and regularly to
evaluate the effectiveness of its programming under this Regulation.
Member States and the European Parliament shall receive the respective
reports for their information and discussion". The same Article
also provides for "international organisations or other bodies"
to participate in joint evaluations with Member States. The management
committee will review the evaluation reports. This will be a further
opportunity to assess any potential overlaps and advocate remedial
action as necessary.
These provisions should avoid unnecessary duplication.
Similar provisions under the existing Regulation have not led
to any duplication. The EIDHR has not funded any election observation
missions to OSCE countries, although it has very occasionally
provided some extra support to OSCE observation missions in particularly
difficult situations, like the Ukrainian elections. Work with
the Council of Europe is undertaken on the basis of a joint programme
in which the costs are shared equally between the two organisations.
However, when the Council Working Group discusses the proposal
again in September we will seek reassurances from the Commission
on the point you raised, and if necessary press for a strengthening
of the text.
Your letter also expressed the view that EU
initiatives under the new instruments should be global and not
simply targeted on the EU's eastern neighbours. I fully agree.
I hope that like me you will be reassured by Article 2 "The
assistance measures may be implemented on a global or regional
basis, or in the territories of third countries" and
the fact that there is no regional earmarking of the budget.
10 August 2006