Select Committee on European Scrutiny Sixth Report


EU MONITORING MISSION TO THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA


(22107)


Agreement between the European Union and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on the activities of the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.


Legal base: Article 24 EU; unanimity
Department: Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Basis of consideration: EM and Minister's letter of 13 February 2001
Previous Committee Report: None
To be discussed in Council: 26 February 2001
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: Cleared

Background

  15.1  A Joint Action converting the existing European Community Monitoring Mission (ECMM) into a streamlined and restructured European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) was adopted by the Council on 22 December 2000.[32] We cleared the proposal on 10 January 2001.[33]

The draft Agreement

  15.2  The Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (Mr. Keith Vaz) says, in an EM of 13 February that:

"Following the return of Monitors to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in late 2000, an urgent need has arisen to provide a substantial number of monitors for the Presevo Valley in Southern Serbia, where ethnic Albanian insurgents are threatening the new FRY government's attempts to bring peace and stability to the area.

"EUMM activities in the FRY thus far have depended on a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding signed with the then Federal authorities in July 1991, at the very start of the Yugoslav conflicts. (Separate MOUs were subsequently signed with the newly independent former Yugoslav Republics.) The Swedish Presidency has argued that a new, more formal arrangement is necessary to cover the new activities, especially given the new CFSP context of the EUMM. They have therefore negotiated the text of a draft Agreement with the Belgrade authorities, and intend to forward it to the General Affairs Council for approval on 26 February."

  15.3  The headquarters of the EUMM is in Sarajevo. The Agreement will mandate the establishment of a Mission Office in Belgrade and

"such other Offices in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as may be decided by the Head of Mission, in consultation and agreement with the Host Party, in order to contribute to the effective formulation of the European Union's policy towards the Western Balkans."

  15.4  In addition, the EUMM shall:

" — monitor political and security developments;

"—   monitor the ground safety zone established by the Military Technical Agreement and the United Nations Security Council resolution 1244;

"—  give attention to border monitoring, inter-ethnic issues and refugee returns; and

"—  contribute to early warning and confidence building in the context of the policy of stabilisation conducted by the Union in the region".

Other provisions

  15.5  Other provisions include:

—  the FRY authorities shall provide all information and co-operation necessary for the EUMM to meet its objectives. They may appoint a liaison officer to the EUMM. They are also required to "take all necessary measures for the protection, safety and security of the EUMM";

—  Article II.2 states: "For the purpose of conducting its activities, the EUMM and its personnel shall enjoy, together with its means of transport and equipment, freedom of movement, necessary for carrying out the mandate of the Mission";

—  Norway and Slovakia, participants in the EUMM at the time of the agreement, may appoint personnel to the Mission and thereby will be regarded as Sending Parties;

—  the Monitors shall wear civilian dress, with distinctive EUMM identification, and shall not carry arms. The Mission will have diplomatic status;

—  the Head of Mission shall report through the Secretary General/High Representative to the Council; and

—   the Mission's tasks "shall be defined by the Secretary General/ High Representative in close co-operation with the Presidency, in accordance with the policy adopted by the Council regarding the Western Balkans and the Head of Mission shall inform the Host Party regularly on the activities of the EUMM".

The Government's view

  15.6  The Minister says that:

"The Government recognises an urgent need to establish a substantial EUMM presence in the Presevo Valley, to help prevent possible ignition of a new conflagration. While temporary cover is still provided by the 1991 MOU, a new document is clearly desirable."

  15.7  He adds:

 "This will be the first use of Article 24 of the Treaty of the European Union, which provides a power for the Union to conclude agreements with third countries in CFSP. This is the first expansion of EUMM activity since it became a CFSP instrument on 1 January. It therefore makes sense to conclude a legally binding agreement with the FRY rather than the non-binding MOU governing its predecessor, the ECMM which was outside Pillar 2".

Conclusion

  15.8  We recognise the need for this legally-binding agreement, and the need for speed in concluding it. A minor point is that we suggest that it might be prudent to seek a form of words which would allow other European Economic Area, European Free Trade Area or applicant States to participate as Sending Parties under Article III.2.

  15.9  We now clear the document.


32  JA 2000/811/CFSP.  Back

33  (21884) - ; see HC 28-ii (2000-01), paragraph 10 (10 January 2001). Back


 
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