Brexit: Common Security and Defence Policy missions and operations Contents

Summary of conclusions and recommendations

CSDP missions and operations

1.CSDP missions and operations are relatively limited in scale, compared to those of the UN or NATO. CSDP missions tend to focus on lower-intensity crisis management, such as capacity building, reform and training. (Paragraph 90)

2.CSDP missions and operations have often been slow to produce results. This has, in part, been a consequence of the challenging and often unstable environments in which they operate—such as Kosovo and Somalia. (Paragraph 91)

3.Nonetheless, since the first deployment in 2003, CSDP missions and operations have made a meaningful contribution to EU foreign policy priorities, including the strengthening of the rule of law, security sector reform, conflict prevention, and the tackling of piracy. (Paragraph 92)

4.Participation in military CSDP missions and operations has also contributed to operational collaboration between the Member States. (Paragraph 93)

5.The key competitive advantage of CSDP missions and operations, when compared to those conducted by NATO or the UN, is the EU’s ability to draw together military, political, diplomatic, economic and legal lines of operation in a comprehensive approach. EULEX Kosovo and Operation Atalanta are striking examples of this. Effective co-ordination both among the EU institutions and among the Member States is, however, sometimes problematic. (Paragraph 94)

6.One CSDP operation has been a particular success: Operation Atalanta has contributed to the dramatic fall in piracy in the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden. (Paragraph 95)

7.Although established by unanimity, CSDP missions and operations do not always enjoy strong support from the Member States, which have differing priorities and often look for short-term results to complex challenges. Securing the requisite number of assets and appropriately skilled personnel for missions and operations is a longstanding problem (Paragraph 96)

The UK and CSDP missions and operations to date

8.CSDP missions and operations have made a significant contribution to a number of the UK’s foreign policy priorities—including tackling piracy, promoting the rule of law, and peacebuilding in post-conflict states—and have been an important channel of UK influence. (Paragraph 139)

9.One of the UK’s primary objectives for the CSDP has been to encourage other EU countries to develop their defence capabilities and increase their willingness to participate in crisis management and defence operations. (Paragraph 140)

10.CSDP missions and operations are agreed between 28 countries by consensus. They correspond in varying degrees to UK foreign policy priorities—the EU’s maritime operations are particularly closely aligned to UK interests, as are Operation Althea and EULEX Kosovo. (Paragraph 141)

11.The UK’s personnel contribution to CSDP missions and operations to date account for just 2.3% of total Member State contributions. This has, in part, been a result of UK defence commitments across the globe. The UK has also provided assets—including naval vessels and aircraft—and troop reinforcements on standby for CSDP operations. (Paragraph 142)

12.The UK’s financial contribution to civilian missions is 15%. As 85–90% of the costs of military missions and operations are financed by the participating countries, the UK’s 17% contribution to the common costs of military missions and operations is relatively lower. (Paragraph 143)

13.The UK’s principal contribution to CSDP missions and operations has been strategic guidance and advice. It has filled a small number of influential roles, and leveraged its role as a permanent member of the UN Security Council to secure authorisation for EU missions and operations. (Paragraph 144)

Third country participation in CSDP missions and operations

14.There is an established precedent for third country participation in CSDP missions and operations through the negotiation of bilateral agreements with the EU. Third countries are well integrated into the CSDP missions and operations in which they participate, and have some influence at an operational level. (Paragraph 173)

15.Third countries have no formal role in decision-making or planning, and the Committee of the Contributors model—designed to facilitate consultations between the EU and contributing third countries—does not work well. (Paragraph 174)

Future UK-EU co-operation

16.The UK’s foreign policy priorities are unlikely to change significantly upon leaving the EU, in which case the UK will continue to derive value from participation in current CSDP missions and operations. In particular, the UK will continue to have interests in the Western Balkans (Operation Althea and EULEX Kosovo), and in the Horn of Africa (particularly Operation Atalanta). (Paragraph 251)

17.The UK will require a higher level of political control to participate in military operations—such as Operation Atalanta—where service personnel undertake executive operations than to participate in civilian or military missions, where tasks relate to training and capacity building. (Paragraph 252)

18.The UK’s role in CSDP missions and operations has been more a ‘manager’ than a ‘player’. It is unlikely that the EU27 will be willing to allow the UK—as a non-Member State—a decision-making role on CSDP missions and operations. (Paragraph 253)

19.The existing model for third country involvement in CSDP missions and operations would not give the UK the input and influence that it currently enjoys as a Member State. (Paragraph 254)

20.The negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU have not yet focused on foreign policy and defence. This area of EU co-operation is largely intergovernmental, which makes it different to areas embedded within the acquis. (Paragraph 255)

21.It is also not yet clear how negotiations on foreign policy and defence co-operation will be structured, by whom they will be conducted, or how far they will be separated from the negotiations on future trade and other issues. (Paragraph 256)

22.In its future partnership paper on foreign policy, defence and development the Government set out broad, high-level aspirations for co-operation with the EU on CSDP missions and operations. These included a role in “mandate development” and “detailed operational planning”. This goes well beyond the existing third country model offered by the EU. The prospects for changes to this model are uncertain. (Paragraph 257)

23.We are concerned that the Government has yet to explain how its high-level aspirations could be put into practice. We strongly urge that the FCO develop and transmit to the EU detailed proposals for future co-operation in the area of foreign policy and defence. It should do this before the June 2018 European Council meeting, to give the EU an opportunity to respond before any political declaration on future UK-EU relations is finalised. (Paragraph 258)

24.The UK’s defence capabilities are significant, and well-respected by the EU27. These capabilities do not, however, necessarily translate into leverage for the UK, given that most CSDP missions and operations are at the lower end of the crisis management spectrum, with a focus on training and capacity building. (Paragraph 259)

25.The fallback position in the Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community suggests a much more limited role for the UK than that envisaged by the Government. It excludes the possibility of the UK maintaining the Operational Headquarters of Operation Atalanta, or Operation Command of Operation Althea via the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe. We note that these issues are subject to negotiation. (Paragraph 260)

26.The UK must decide whether to use the leverage afforded by its significant military capabilities to negotiate modifications to the model under which it can contribute to CSDP missions and operations after Brexit. (Paragraph 261)

27.CSDP missions and operations are a subset of wider foreign policy and engagement on security and defence with the EU. The UK should seek to negotiate observer status in the EU’s planning and decision-making bodies, such as the Political and Security Committee, after Brexit. (Paragraph 262)

28.It is possible to influence the EU from the outside, as shown by the example of the United States. To do so, the UK will have to invest significant resources in Brussels and in Member States’ capitals, to maintain influence from outside the structures of the EU. (Paragraph 263)

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