Select Committee on European Union Thirty-First Report

CHAPTER 6: Conclusions and Recommendations

Chapter 1: The Security Strategy

The 2003 Strategy

196.  The European Security Strategy represents the collective thinking of Member States on the challenges and security threats facing them at the beginning of the 21st century, as perceived in 2003. The ESS is not a strategy in the military sense of prescribing detailed actions and set timelines. However, it does helpfully define a common approach to the main security challenges and sets three important EU security objectives: addressing the threats, building security in the EU's neighbourhood and working with other states and organisations to achieve "effective multilateralism" (paragraph 11).

197.  The 2003 European Security Strategy is a clearly drafted and concise document. We attach importance to any revised Strategy not being significantly longer. In consultation with its EU partners, we believe that the Government should seek a limited number of changes to the 2003 European Security Strategy, in order to introduce or strengthen references to climate change, the links between security and development, energy security, human security and the "responsibility to protect", and multilateral nuclear disarmament. Other issues, including implementation and operational lessons, could be covered in a separate document to be appended to the revised Strategy (paragraph 18).

198.  Concepts of security range from the traditional defence against armed attack from a hostile power, to more recent concepts, such as human security, which focuses on the individual. Both types of concept are relevant to European security and should be taken into account in the review. The August 2008 conflict in Georgia has, for example, reminded Europeans of the continuing existence of military threats while events in Afghanistan have shown the importance of human security. But we would caution against an approach which extends the concept of human security to almost any form of human activity; and also against any attempt to establish a hierarchy between state security and human security (paragraph 31).

199.  We consider that developments in the past five years on the global scene and the events in Georgia in August 2008 make a review timely, while recognising that the December 2008 date for the presentation of the review is too early for the implications for transatlantic relations of the US election to have been absorbed and for the future of the Lisbon Treaty to have been resolved (paragraph 35).

200.  The ESS should in future be reviewed on a regular basis, normally every five years (paragraph 36).

Chapter 2: The Strategy's Profile and Influence

The Strategy's influence on policy-making

201.  The European Security Strategy is used extensively and influences policy-making in the EU institutions, especially in the parts of the Council and Commission dealing with security issues. To build on this achievement, we would encourage the Council and Commission services to take steps to heighten awareness of the Strategy among staff dealing primarily with other policy areas, especially trade and development, justice and home affairs, energy and the environment. We believe that in future the Commission should make more use of the Strategy as a point of reference in proposals it puts forward, including in its Annual Policy Strategy and, where appropriate, Country Strategy Papers which the Commission drafts as part of its development cooperation policy (paragraph 43).

202.  The European Security Strategy represents a common European analysis and Member States should therefore use it as a point of reference although we recognise that it is likely to continue to have a highly varying degree of influence on policy-making in the Member States. We support the Government's efforts to influence the outcome of the current review and encourage them to raise awareness of the Strategy within relevant Departments, including MOD, FCO, DFID and BERR, including through its incorporation into staff training modules (paragraph 44).

Is there a need to increase public awareness of the Strategy?

203.  Awareness of the ESS among the general publics in the EU is low and interest is likely to remain at that level unless a conscious effort is made to remedy this and to connect the Strategy to developments which affect citizens' everyday lives. We believe that, once the review has been completed, the European institutions and the governments of Member States should make explaining its relevance an important part of their public diplomacy; and that HMG should do this in the UK. We also recommend that any future review of the Strategy should be preceded by a more systematic consultation of civil society institutions than has been the case on this occasion (paragraph 49).

Chapter 3: Changes in the Security Environment Since 2003

The changing security environment since 2003

204.  The coherence between the EU's internal and external security activities needs strengthening as coordination between the EU's external policies and home affairs policies was identified as an area of weakness in evidence to the Committee. We believe this should be covered in the review of the Security Strategy (paragraph 57).

Climate change and its implications for international security

205.  The most important development since 2003 is that the EU has become more aware of the current and potential effects of climate change. This is a crucial concern because developing countries will be among those hit hardest by the consequences of climate change but have the least ability to cope and adapt, thereby potentially impacting on competition for natural resources, conflicts and international security. We believe that the review should recognise this (paragraph 69).

206.  These security implications strengthen the case for the UK and the EU to play a leading role in addressing climate change, which is a fundamental challenge of our times. Its relevance as a threat multiplier and an exacerbating factor of human insecurity and conflict means it is one of the main issues which should be given significant attention at the December European Council (paragraph 70).

207.  Further analysis and research is required to identify with a greater degree of precision the exact implications of climate change for international and human security, including for conflict and migration dynamics. These are likely to vary considerably in different regions of the world, and we therefore strongly support the work currently underway by Dr Solana and Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner on regional analysis which is the place for further development of these issues (paragraph 71).

208.  We are concerned that the EU has not yet paid enough attention to the importance of adaptation in developing countries. Without undermining the ambition of its mitigation objectives, the EU should place a greater emphasis on meeting this challenge, including by stepping up the budgetary resources available for this end. Technology transfer to these countries will also play an important role (paragraph 72).

Development and security

209.  The increasing importance of the links between security and development should be taken into account in the review of the European Security Strategy. Achieving human security and resolving conflicts in developing countries make a direct contribution to the security of the EU and to addressing global challenges ranging from pandemics to migration and environmental degradation (paragraph 83).

210.  An important part of this agenda is tackling the root causes of conflict and radicalisation, including poverty, inequality, the perception of injustice and marginalisation, poor governance and human rights abuses. The development assistance of the EU should be conflict-sensitive and contribute to peace-building and conflict prevention in fragile states (paragraph 84).

211.  It is in the EU's interests to help prevent violent conflict and security threats from developing. An emphasis on prevention can save lives and often only costs a fraction of the cost of international intervention once a crisis has developed. Greater attention and resources should be devoted to this objective (paragraph 85).

Energy Security

212.  Energy Security is an increasingly important challenge for the EU, and should be fully addressed in the review of the European Security Strategy. Concerns have been heightened by the EU's dependence on Russian oil and gas imports which we highlighted in our report in May 2008 on the EU and Russia. Greater diversification of energy sources and routes, as well as solidarity between the Member States in their external energy relationships, should be identified as key objectives of EU security policy (paragraph 92).

The "Responsibility to Protect"

213.  The "Responsibility to Protect", as agreed at the UN summit in 2005, reflects a major shift in the international community's thinking since the European Security Strategy was adopted in 2003 and it should be taken into account in the review of the European Security Strategy. We believe that the EU should be ready to play a leading role in attempts to put this concept into operation; and should endeavour to reduce the suspicion felt towards it by many developing countries. The review should also underline the fact that the concept refers to the use of force only as a last resort and should put more emphasis on its use as a preventive tool (paragraph 97).

Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament

214.  The fundamental interest that the EU has in the revival of negotiations on multilateral nuclear disarmament should figure prominently in the review of the European Security Strategy. We believe that the EU will need to discuss in depth the multilateral nuclear disarmament agenda ahead of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. We strongly encourage the Government to work towards a consensus on a common EU approach. We recommend that the EU maintain an intensive dialogue with the US administration and the new US president so as to capitalise on the recent initiatives on both sides of the Atlantic in favour of significant progress on this issue (paragraph 104).

Chapter 4: The Impact on the Strategic Objectives

EU Enlargement and the European Neighbourhood Policy

215.  The substantial enlargement of the EU in 2004 and 2007 came after the adoption of the 2003 Security Strategy which placed considerable emphasis on accession as an integral part of assuring the EU's security within the European region. This consideration remains as valid now as it was then (paragraph 113).

216.  The potential for membership of the EU acts as a strong incentive to candidate countries to strengthen their democracy and the market economy. The EU's enlargement process therefore contributes to European security by building areas of stability and good government on Europe's borders. The continued enlargement of the EU should not be dependent upon entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty (paragraph 114).

217.  We welcome the British Government's support for giving Ukraine an EU accession perspective (paragraph 115).

218.  Chapter 2 of the ESS recognises the European interest in countries on its borders being well-governed. We agree with this aim, a key tool in which is the European Neighbourhood Policy for nations who are not, or not yet, potential candidate members. The ENP plays an important role in constructing security and stability in the EU's wider neighbourhood and sufficient resources should be allocated to enable it to be implemented effectively. Key subjects for action, both political and economic, will be the internal stability and economic well-being of the individual countries, migration and cooperation to combat terrorism (paragraph 116).

Effective multilateralism

219.  Effective multilateralism is a key pillar of the EU's security strategy. In particular, the EU's commitment to international law and a rules-based international system contributes to global peace and stability, and gives it influence and credibility as a reliable partner. The challenge now is to continue to build stronger international institutions, including the United Nations and the world's financial and trade systems (paragraph 120).

Working with partners: the US

220.  The EU's most important bilateral relationship is that with the USA. The inauguration of the new president in the US presents the EU with an opportunity to intensify the transatlantic dialogue on security strategy (paragraph 127).

221.  In the area of traditional defence, the ESS recognises that the United States has played a critical role in European security, in particular through NATO. We welcome the expressed willingness of the French President to work more closely with the NATO structures. The objectives of the EU and NATO are different but we commend efforts by both organisations to align their strategic concepts as far as possible. Consideration should now be given to developing areas of cooperation with NATO, particularly as the majority of EU states belong to NATO (paragraph 128).

Working with new partners: Russia and China

222.  Recent events in Georgia have underlined the importance of Russia for European security. We believe that the document to be adopted by the December European Council should refer to the challenge that Russia presents both as a partner and a source of risk and instability (paragraph 133).

223.  Russia's future actions will depend partly on the response of the EU and its partners, and the rest of the world. The actions of the EU in sending an observer mission to Georgia and appointing a Special Representative over the summer of 2008 showed that the EU can act quickly when the political will to act is there. A continuing firm stance on the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity will be needed, together with dialogue and sensitivity to Russia's genuine concerns. The review of the European Security Strategy should address these issues (paragraph 134).

Working with other: international and regional organisations

224.  Regional institutions are also essential in helping to maintain peace and stability, and the EU should continue to work closely with organisations where Member States have membership, such as NATO, the OSCE and the Council of Europe. In addition, the EU should continue to build the relationship with the African Union, ASEAN and others, helping to build up the capacity of African peace and security institutions, including the early warning, dispute resolution and peacekeeping capacities of African regional and sub-regional organisations (paragraph 140).

Chapter 5: Implementation: Is the EU More Active, Capable and Coherent?


225.  Implementation of the Security Strategy is a key area on which the EU should focus its efforts. This could be achieved through the adoption of action plans or sub-strategies to take implementation forward. These action plans or sub-strategies should be linked to the overall approach to security set out in the Strategy, rather than incorporated into the existing document (paragraph 146).

More Capable

226.  We are concerned that the EU still suffers from major shortfalls of key military and civilian capabilities, made available by the Member States, although there has been an improvement since the first mission was launched in 2003. The EU's capacity to take on new crisis management operations on missions abroad will soon reach its limit if more resources are not allocated. Concerns focus mainly on the lack of civilian and military personnel and assets, with a particular gap being the shortage of helicopters. Work should continue in the European Defence Agency on the development of European capabilities, in full coordination with NATO (paragraph 168).

227.  EU civilian crisis management capacity, comprising, for example, rule-of-law experts, judges or policemen, can make an essential contribution to preventing and resolving conflicts and strengthening democracy and respect for human rights. Member States, whose responsibility it is to provide personnel for missions, should consider developing or strengthening their national programmes for deploying civilians abroad particularly in the areas of policing and justice. These should be high quality serving or recently retired personnel, rather than be those who are simply available. For serving personnel this should considered being a career enhancing, developmental period of service (paragraph 169).

228.  The establishment of the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability in 2007 has helped to improve coherence in the planning and conduct of missions. Work on improving civilian crisis management should be continued as part of the implementation of the ESS (paragraph 170).

229.  Member States should consider how to make the pay received by seconded personnel more equitable in comparison with the pay of UN and NATO personnel operating in the same theatre. We welcome the existence of the system of sharing common costs of EU missions with defence implications (Athena mechanism) (paragraph 171).

230.  Member States should be encouraged to address the capability shortfalls which have been identified by the EU. Member States should also be urged not to impose national caveats, or conditions, on the deployment of troops to ensure that they can fulfil their commitment to the EU and operate under agreed rules of engagement (paragraph 172).

231.  The world-wide search for helicopters which are suitable for use during EU missions, for example for lift, should continue and contributions from non-EU countries should be welcomed, on a no-cost to the EU basis if possible. The contribution of Russian helicopters for Chad is welcome (paragraph 173).

232.  We welcome the fact that the EU has a "lessons learned" process to take stock of the outcome of EU missions but believe that it can be improved. There would be merit in compiling an overarching document with lessons for the future based on the EU's past experience of missions. Member States should be encouraged to be as frank as possible about mistakes and failures as well as successes for improvements to be made (paragraph 174).

More coherent

233.  The question of coherence will need to be addressed seriously with or without the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty if the effectiveness of the EU's actions in the security field is not to fall far short of its aspirations (paragraph 195).

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