Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


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

  Thank you for your letter of 19 December 2005[64] informing me that the UK Presidency ESDP Report had been cleared from scrutiny. You raised questions about a number of issues in the Report.

  Firstly, the likelihood of an ESDP mission being established in Kosovo. There is a general understanding amongst EU Member States and the broader international community that the EU should engage more broadly in Kosovo once the status process has been concluded. Areas where the EU could contribute through ESDP include policing and rule of law. However the precise nature of any mission will depend on the outcome of the final status process. We expect NATO to keep a military presence in Kosovo after a final status settlement. We will update you on developments in Kosovo through written ministerial statements following meetings of the General Affairs and External Relations Council and will write to you as details of any likely ESDP involvement in Kosovo become clearer.

  Secondly, there are currently no plans to extend the EU Border Assistance Mission on the Moldova/Ukraine border, which was launched on 30 November 2005.

  Finally, there are no specific ESDP requirements for space-based capabilities under Headline Goal 2010. Nor are there any plans to build such capabilities. Acquiring capabilities remains a Member State responsibility and therefore the EU will not be acquiring any space-based military capabilities under ESDP. The Requirements Catalogue 05 listed the broad capabilities necessary to meet the EU's Headline Goal 2010 ambitions. Space-based assets were included as options to meet some of the requirements but are not the only possibilities. Other capabilities (eg unmanned aerial vehicles) may represent better value for money. The UK will continue to oppose the procurement of common funded military assets, including those that are space-based, by the EU. It is UK policy that any shortfalls in ESDP capabilities identified should be met in the most cost-effective manner while avoiding duplication of assets with existing NATO capabilities.

  As you say in your letter, you can explore these issues further with Lord Drayson on 19 January and with me on 26 January.

  You asked for a number of documents that are referred to in the Report to be deposited for scrutiny. As agreed with the Committee Clerk, I will forward the Civilian Capabilities Improvement Action Plan to you shortly. Also as agreed with the Committee Clerk I have passed your request for Battlegroups documents to the Ministry of Defence, which leads on the military capability aspects of ESDP, and they will be in touch separately about these.

12 January 2006

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

  The next meeting of the European Council is on 15-16 June 2006. At this meeting Foreign Ministers are expected to agree the Presidency's Report on the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and the ESDP mandate for the incoming Finnish Presidency. An Explanatory Memorandum is attached (not printed).

  We had hoped to deposit the ESDP report before now, given that the European Council is less than two weeks away. Regrettably this was not possible because a draft of the final text was only released on 1 June. We hope that there will be sufficient time for the report to clear scrutiny before it is adopted at the end of next week.

6 June 2006

64   Correspondence with Ministers, 45th Report of Session 2005-06, HL Paper 243, p 280. Back

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