EUROPEAN UNION SATELLITE CENTRE
Draft Council Decision on a Joint Action on the establishment of a European Union Satellite Centre.
||Article 14 EU; unanimity
||Foreign and Commonwealth Office
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 27 April 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
|To be discussed in Council:
||No date set|
||Not cleared; further information requested
The Cologne European Council
10.1 The Presidency Report on Strengthening the
Common European Policy on Security and Defence (CESDP), adopted
at the Cologne European Council in June 1999,
dealt with arrangements which would be necessary for ensuring
political control and strategic direction of EU-led Petersberg
operations "so that the EU can decide and conduct such operations
10.2 The Council concluded that the EU would
need a capacity for analysis of situations and sources of intelligence,
and a capability for relevant strategic planning. Apart from the
three permanent bodies (the Political and Security Committee,
the EU Military Committee and the EU Military Staff) the report
suggests that other resources required would be, in particular,
a Satellite Centre and an Institute for Security Studies.
The Nice European Council
10.3 The Presidency Report on Strengthening the
Common European Policy on Security and Defence, adopted at the
Nice European Council in December 2000,
was debated on the Floor of the House on 19 March 2001.
In the report, the Council adopted decisions of principle on the
inclusion of the "appropriate functions" of the Western
European Union (WEU) in the field of Petersberg tasks.
These included the setting up in the form of agencies of a Satellite
Centre and an Institute for Security Studies which would incorporate
the relevant features of the existing parallel WEU structures.
The draft Decision
10.4 The Decision provides for the adoption of
a Joint Action on establishing a European Union Satellite Centre
(EUSC) to support the European Security and Defence Policy by
strengthening its early warning and crisis monitoring capabilities.
The Centre's mission will be to support the Council in its decision-making
by providing material resulting from analysis of national and
commercial satellite and aerial imagery, as directed by the Secretary-General/High
Representative (SGHR). Political control will be exercised by
the Political and Security Committee (PSC), which will make recommendations
on the Centre's priorities to the SG/HR, who will report, as appropriate,
to the PSC.
10.5 The products of the Centre will be distributed
to all Member States and to states which have concluded Association
Agreements with the Centre "in accordance with modalities
to be defined". Capacity permitting, the Centre may undertake
tasking from individual Member States, the Commission, and states
with Association Agreements, as well as from international organisations,
such as the UN, OSCE and NATO.
The Government's view
10.6 The Government supports the proposal. The
former Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
(Mr Keith Vaz) comments, in an Explanatory Memorandum dated 27
April, that the Centre will be one source of information to support
the European Union in both the civilian and military aspects of
pre-crisis and crisis-management. The total cost will be around
9 million euros, of which the UK share is likely to be around
£1 million per annum, which will be met by the Ministry of
Defence. Tasking requests from bodies other than the Council will
be subject to cost recovery charges, which will provide additional
revenue which can be used either to upgrade the Centre's equipment
or to reduce the Member States' contributions. In times of crisis,
the EU will have priority.
10.7 The Minister says that Association Agreements
will be drawn up between the Centre and non-European members of
NATO, as well as with EU accession candidates.
10.8 In response to a request for more information
before we cleared this document, the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office has written as follows at official level:
"You asked, in particular,
about the involvement of third countries in the Satellite Centre
and how decisions would be taken when material supplied by the
US Government to certain Member States and by the EU Satellite
Centre was interpreted differently.
"Third countries, in particular the non-EU European
Allies, will be able to conclude Association Agreements with the
Satellite Centre. These will allow countries who are already members
of the Satellite Centre under the Western European Union to continue
to participate in the activities of the Centre. Third countries
will have access to collective reports, access to tasking, ability
to second image analysts to the Centre and will be able to participate
in an expert level consultative committee. This would be similar
to the access they already enjoy in the Western European Union.
"The Satellite Centre will support the implementation
of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy. In this respect,
it will be one of the sources of information available to policy
makers in EU Member States. Policy decisions on any aspect of
the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy will be made on the
basis of information from a number of different sources. The US
Government has been content with the way in which the Satellite
Centre has functioned in the past and much of the imagery used
by the Satellite Centre was, and will continue to be, purchased
from US commercial imagery providers. The EU's Satellite Centre
will be, to a large extent, a continuum from the Western European
Union Satellite Centre. As was the case in the Western European
Union, NATO will be able to task the EU Satellite Centre to carry
out work on its behalf. The transfer of the functions of the Western
European Union Satellite Centre to the EU will have no impact
on bilateral UK-US defence or intelligence links."
10.9 This proposal raises several questions
which we ask the Government to clarify.
10.10 According to Annex VI of the Nice report,
which covers arrangements for the consultation and participation
of other potential partners, countries participating in an operation
will attend the Committee of Contributors with the same rights
and obligations as the other participating States as far as day-to-day
management of an operation is concerned.
Canada is recorded as having already expressed an interest.
10.11 Given the close involvement of United
States' commercial imagery providers in the past, how does
the Government expect the relationship with the United States
Government to work? Will it sign an Association Agreement or will
it rely on its membership of NATO for access? If the United States,
which may have access to superior imagery which it is not prepared
to share, interprets differently key images supplied by the EU
Satellite Centre, does the Government anticipate any difficulty
in such circumstances in resolving a possible conflict of analyses,
and therefore perhaps, for instance, of target selection?
10.12 In the period before an operation is
planned, but when a potential crisis is spotted, how will the
tasking of the Centre be conducted? Does the Government foresee
problems in the EU Member States deciding which areas should be
covered and will unanimity be required in the event of differing
views? Will decisions on tasking at this stage be taken only by
the EU Member States?
14 Cologne European Council Presidency Conclusions Annex
III, pages 35 and 36 of Press Release. Back
- ; see HC 23-xxxi (1999-2000), paragraph 3 (29 November 2000). Back
Report, 19 March 2001, cols.
include humanitarian and rescue tasks, peace-keeping tasks and
tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking. Back
VI, page 12 of 14056/3/00 REV3. Back