Select Committee on European Union Seventh Report

CHAPTER 4: the structure in place to formulate and implement civilian esdp


36.  The EU is yet to define in concrete terms the objectives of civilian ESDP. As a consequence, it is impossible effectively to evaluate whether the structures currently in place are appropriate. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) told the Committee that they consider the EU to have adequate capabilities to provide 'basic civilian crisis management'. For example, only 480 out of the 5000 police officers originally pledged by Member States have been required for the EUPM in Bosnia. Nevertheless, the EU does not appear to be in a position to mount additional police operations elsewhere. On the contrary, witnesses agreed that, alone the EU can only hope to manage the EUPM; this is due to the EU's limited planning capacity and the question of financing.[60]

37.  Whilst quantitative targets have been met the EU civilian crisis management capability may be impaired by an inability to recruit appropriately qualified personnel.[61] The Rule of Law headline goal has been singled out as an area where the recruitment of experts has proved problematical.[62] Experience shows that greater investment will also be needed in retaining experts. According to a recent International Crisis Group (ICG) report, lawyers who have entered Bosnia and Herzegovina to help reform the judicial system, often stay for only a few months, partly perhaps because Member States pay secondees very little over and above the per diem they receive or perhaps because they are also working for other similar organisations elsewhere.[63]

38.  The Committee was advised that establishing clear objectives for civilian ESDP is crucial for creating appropriate capabilities. One objective may be to fill existing gaps in international capacity provided by other organisations.

39.  Currently, a clear gap exists in the area of policing. In a post-conflict situation, international peacekeepers are employed to do tasks which would be more appropriate for a police force. BASIC recommends that the EU might do well to focus its efforts on establishing a mobile police force that could enter crisis situations on short notice, leaving the training and monitoring of local police forces to the OSCE.[64]

40.  The EU is particularly well equipped to develop a flexible, mobile police force given the diversity of police forces within the Member States ranging from gendarmerie to unarmed police. The International Crisis Group stressed the importance of the principle of 'horses for courses' in planning police missions.[65] Different crises will require different sorts of police force; the Union already holds a welcome degree of flexibility in the kinds of police mission it could undertake.

41.  The Committee received less evidence concerning the areas of Rule of Law and Civil Administration, reflecting the fact that these two areas of capabilities are at present, less developed. Dr MacShane, Minister for Europe, did however, place emphasis on the Rule of Law as a key priority for the civilian ESDP.[66] Again, the EU should work to define these categories to fill existing gaps and in particular, avoid overlap with the OSCE.

42.  The Pillar I civil protection mechanism seems a better co-ordinated and better funded version of the ESDP civil protection mechanism. As this mechanism is intended to work in third countries in close co-operation with the UN it is hard to see why a separate ESDP mechanism which can draw on the Community would be required. This duplication could be solved by placing it under Pillar One and therefore the Commission's co-ordination.

43.  The Committee also considered whether the headline goal should be expanded to include capabilities categories for other types of experts. Witnesses did not agree on this issue. Election monitoring; is carried out effectively by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OdiHR), which employs a large cadre of monitors from EU Member States. The Commission, moreover, already funds much of this activity. Similarly, the OSCE's Rapid Expert Assistance Co-operation Teams (REACT) are designed to deploy quickly professionals with skills in media development, human rights monitoring and democratisation, amongst other things.[67]


44.  Civilians who volunteer to serve on ESDP missions are assumed to have the appropriate qualifications in their field of expertise.[68] Two further issues merit attention in this regard. The first is whether civilians are sufficiently prepared for international missions. The second is the issue of interoperability. How can interoperability be best achieved? As things stand, 'the principle is that training is a national responsibility'.[69]

45.  There is no specific co-ordination between Member States on police training. Nevertheless, most Member States use the United Nations Police Peacekeeping course as a basis of international police training; as a result there are significant similarities between national courses. These courses include training in mission safety, human rights and the principles of democratic policing.[70]

46.  The Commission is currently running a pilot scheme for rule of law and civil administration. The British Government has expressed support for this undertaking. Within the framework of the pilot scheme common courses will be organised by training institutes in individual Member States, based on models developed by a core group of Member State training institutes. The Greek Presidency is expected to launch further initiatives on civilian training in the first half of 2003[71] while the Commission training project will be evaluated during the Italian presidency (second half of 2003).[72]

47.  The Committee notes that civil protection is not covered by the pilot scheme. DfID has been closely involved with running a further pilot scheme based on Red Cross and OCHA experience in the humanitarian field.[73]

48.  The United Kingdom Government has not as yet taken a definitive decision on how its training should be organised.[74] As things stand, however, HMG envisages leaving Member States to carry out the training based on common modules. According to the Government this will strike the right balance between 'developing member state capacities to train various types of civilian experts, and on the other, establishing a coherent EU approach to crisis management operations'.[75] The ICG supports the idea of common modules taught nationally to ensure that all experts share common ideas as to how to operate in the field. [76] [77]

49.  The Committee is not fully convinced of the continuing viability of purely national training schemes. Such schemes, based on years of experience from UN missions, are sufficient for preparing civilians for international missions, but may not provide enough interoperability on the ground. Not least, this is because experts on civilian ESDP mission will be required to intervene as 'Europeans'[78] rather than national experts, as is the case for those seconded to an OSCE or UN mission.

50.  A Europe-wide centre to provide training and enhance interoperability was suggested as a mechanism to encourage interoperability.[79] BASIC also stressed the importance of including other interested parties in such schemes, including important civilian crisis management actors such as Norway, Canada and Switzerland. The Committee do not believe that a European training centre would be necessary to enable interoperability.

Institutional Structure:


51.  EU external policy has to be formulated and implemented within the pillar structure, as embodied in the Treaties.[80] We wished to explore the implications of the pillar structure for civilian crisis management, as this area is unusual in that it requires quick decision-making and flexible implementation.

52.  The FCO told the Committee that effective crisis management is possible within the current pillar structure.[81] The Commission was similarly keen to stress that the pillar structure is a workable framework for EU crisis management; any problems are no more than examples of the type of 'bureaucratic in-fighting' which would be expected in any political system.[82]

53.  Nonetheless, the Commission conceded that there is room for improvement in the effectiveness of cross-pillar co-ordination and coherence.[83] Some of the new structures in the Council Secretariat overlap with the tasks of the Civil Protection and Crisis Management Unit in the Commission. Moreover, under the relevant Council decisions and within the financial envelopes allocated by the budgetary authority (Council and EP) the Commission can mobilise considerable financial resources and expertise in these areas from the EC budget as well as expertise which the Council Secretariat might struggle to match, making duplication even less rational.[84]

54.  Specific processes have been put into place to facilitate co-ordination between the EU institutions (Council and Commission) and between them and the Member States: the 'Procedures for Coherent Comprehensive EU Crisis Management' is, according to the FCO, a 'living document'. A 'Crisis Response Co-ordinating Team' has been set up to co-ordinate the activities of Commission and Council officials in the time of a crisis.[85] According to the FCO such co-operation works well.[86] The Committee notes that the EU is only just beginning to experience this reality during a 'live' mission.

55.  Whilst the overwhelming view of EU 'insiders' was that the pillar structure can be made to operate effectively for civilian ESDP 'outsiders' who presented their opinions to the Committee were unanimous in their scepticism.[87] Many of these observers point out that the division of labour between pillars one and two seems almost arbitrary. Moreover, whilst they agreed with the FCO that co-ordination processes are adequate at senior administrative levels, many desk officers are less aware of what their counterparts in the other institution are doing, or even of who these counterparts are.[88]

56.  Numerous solutions have been proposed to the problem of inter-pillar co-ordination. Witnesses[89] expressed a preference for the merging of the roles of the High Representative and the Commissioner for External Relations. The British Government, for its part, suggested the degree of urgency in each case should be the criteria for deciding whether the Commission or Council should take the lead in any putative operation. Thus, if an urgent crisis occurs in an area of key EU interest, then the Union should intervene through second pillar. Less pressing issues should be left to the Commission.[90] These matters are currently under discussion in the Convention on the Future of Europe.

57.  Perhaps the most serious consequence of the division of the EU's response capacity between Pillar II and Pillar I is to raise the possibility that the Union's reaction to any crisis will be driven by institutional considerations rather than by a problem-solving approach. This message was delivered unequivocally to the Committee by both Saferworld[91] and the Commission itself: 'We would like to convince Member States of a broader approach, which is to say that crisis management does not start when there is a crisis'.[92] The Swedish Presidency championed the EU Programme for the Prevention of Violent Conflicts[93] which highlighted the need to make crisis management capabilities available to conflict prevention operations.

58.  The Government favours using more EU Special Representatives alongside rapidly deployable headquarters as a way of ensuring effective co-ordination. [94] Currently experience with these appointments, in particular with Lord Ashdown, has been generally positive. However the effectiveness of Special Representatives is contingent upon their authority and personality, which means that it is not hard to imagine far less effective appointments. Moreover, as the EU becomes more involved in crisis management, as it has repeatedly expressed the ambition to do, a proliferation of Special Representatives might not always be an ideal way to ensure overall institutional and policy coherence.

Institutional Structure: Planning and Formulating Policy in the Council

59.  One key reason why the EU is not yet able to mount more than one civilian ESDP operation at one time is that mission planning and support capacity is not yet fully in place. In the words of the Commission 'We [the EU] cannot quite yet mobilise 300 prosecutors…at the press of a button'.[95]

60.  The Minister for Europe was impressed by the speed of the EU's reaction to the crisis in Macedonia and to events in Montenegro.[96] The Council Secretariat also emphasised the speed at which the EU was able to respond to the crisis in July 2002 when the US threatened to withdraw from the International Police Task Force (IPTF);[97] it is clear that the current committee structure does not lend itself to fast decision-making.

61.  The number of Council committees that have been set up to deal with ESDP reflect normal EU procedures for developing policies but these will not be an effective way of taking decisions in an acute crisis.[98] The FCO conceded that during the planning for the EUPM there have been departures from the 'rather lengthy process set out in the EU's Crisis Management Procedures'.[99] One witness from the Council Secretariat said 'I think we could do with less of the procedures and committee involvement'.[100]

62.  An initial effort to streamline the EU's Crisis Management Procedures is underway as a result of the first crisis management exercise held in May 2002[101] (See Box below).

63.  An additional factor related to decision-making effectiveness concerns staffing. The ICG pointed out that EU operational structures cannot be staffed by diplomats alone. Planning and mission support should be carried out by experienced field operatives, perhaps from NGOs, contracted out by the Union not diplomats based in the Council.[102]
Box 3 Lessons learned from the CME02:

The EU carried out its first exercise 'CME 02'[103] between 22 and 28 May 2002 to test the Union's decision-making mechanisms in a crisis situation. The scenario involved a fictitious Atlantic island. Participants included the Member States, the Council Secretariat, including the Joint Situation Centre, the Secretary-General of the Council, and the Commission.

According to the Foreign Office the exercise underlined three key problems in the way the EU deals with crisis management:

(i) Further work is required on achieving civil-military co-ordination throughout the planning and operational phases of an operation. The Danish Presidency has reacted to this short-coming by producing an Action Plan, which the Greek Presidency hopes to complete.[104]

(ii) CME02 demonstrated very clearly that more efficient Crisis Management Procedures will be required. The role of CIVCOM for example was not reflected in the Crisis Management Procedures—yet during the exercise it was tasked to evaluate and advise on strategic options for a police component.[105]

(iii) CME02 also demonstrated the need to further define the role of the Crisis Response Co-ordinating Team (CRCT), to serve as co-ordinating body between Council Secretariat and Commission officials during a crisis. Little use was made of the CRCT during the exercise.[106]

The CME02 exercise was designed to test decision-making mechanisms, and as a result ignored many critical aspects of any possible mission; the most important of these, according to the Foreign Office, was the humanitarian situation on the ground.[107] In any actual crisis interaction with the key humanitarian agencies on the ground will be of utmost importance.

64.  The co-ordination of EU humanitarian aid, channelled through ECHO[108] in the Commission and civilian ESDP is more than an institutional problem. 'Given limited financial resources, linking the provisions of humanitarian assistance to geo-political priorities would risk ignoring areas of real need'.[109] Certainly, ECHO should not be tied to EU crisis management, but its input in some of these operations is crucial.

65.  The Committee was advised that Member States should engage more directly with the European Parliament. The latter can play a constructive role; during the in Budget Council of November 2002 the European Parliament agreed to raise the CFSP budget from €40 million to €47.5 million[110] in exchange for some extra influence on Council decision-making in CFSP.


66.  Financing is the weakest part of civilian ESDP; the divisions between the two pillars; (Intergovernmental and Community) are at their most pronounced when deciding who holds the purse strings for civilian ESDP. Whilst the EU budgetary authority (Council and EP) allocates substantial amounts of money to first pillar programmes in the area of crisis management, mostly managed by the Commission, it only granted €47.5 million to the CFSP budget line. The present arrangement is not a long-term option. During our visit to Brussels the Committee were told that Civilian ESDP financing is 'a very shaky aspect of ESDP and EU peacekeeping'.[111] The procedures developed to finance the EUPM were created on an ad hoc basis and are, according to the Commission 'clearly not a sustainable situation'.[112]

67.  Financing for the EUPM will be secured out of the Community budget; €47.5 million this year. 'The balance will be paid by Member States on the basis of costs lying where they fall'.[113] The proposals on financing the common costs for future missions were agreed at the General Affairs Council on 27 January 2003. The two options are; Post Operational Settlement of Costs or the Mechanism Option. Neither option appears to be a long-term option for financing major civilian crisis management operations.

68.  The Committee recommends that three of the four headline goal capabilities be developed further with the aim of filling gaps in international capacity. Civil Protection need not be handled under Pillar II. Nevertheless, the Committee is not convinced that further categories of experts are required to make civilian ESDP effective.

69.  The Committee recommend that a training team is founded following an examination of its functions and responsibilities. This international nucleus of training experts would be more flexible than a permanent organisation and could call upon existing Member State assets; for example national police colleges, as required.

70.  The Committee recognises that this inquiry is not an appropriate arena to discuss the reform of the pillar structure. We suggest that the Convention for the Future of Europe take note of the current situation and make recommendations to the IGC in 2004 which should act to remedy the problem.

71.  The CME02 exercise has highlighted several issues: there is an urgent need for streamlining decision-making structures for crisis policy planning and implementation.

72.  There needs to be enhanced co-ordination in civil-military relations. This co-ordination needs to occur at the level of the Council. The Government assured the Committee that the Greek Presidency will treat civil-military co-ordination as a priority.

73.  The Committee was advised that Member States should engage more directly with the European Parliament. We agree.

74.  The Committee consider the two recently agreed financing options for 'common costs' nothing more than a stop gap. The EU must determine long-term methods of financing all ESDP mission costs.

60   Q120, Q166. Back

61   Q179. Back

62   Q23. Back

63   International Crisis Group, "Courting Disaster: The Misrule of Law in Bosnia and Herzegovina" Balkans Report No. 127, 25 March 2002. Back

64   p50-51. Back

65   Q12. Back

66   Q146, Q147. Back

67   p51. Back

68   Recruiting appropriately qualified personnel is a separate issue, see para 36 on capabilities. Back

69   Q112. Back

70   p38. Back

71   Q113. Back

72   p38. Back

73   p38. Back

74   p38. Back

75   p39. Back

76   Q32. Back

77   Q34. Back

78   Q6. Back

79   Q119. Back

80   All three pillars of the EU potentially have a role to play in civilian ESDP. The roles of the first and second pillars have already been referred to: Pillar 3 (Justice and Home Affairs) may also be involved, for example, in efforts to combat international crime or the smuggling of small arms and light weapons81. Lord Ashdown's initiative to target organised crime in Bosnia as Chapter of the EUPM illustrates how civilian ESDP can involve Justice and Home Affairs. Back

81   p36. Back

82   Q52. Back

83   Q52. Back

84   Q59. Back

85   See Box 3 for detail. Back

86   p36. Back

87   Q181. Back

88   Q6. Back

89   p57. Back

90   p36. Back

91   p57. Back

92   Q51. Back

93   The EU Programme for the Prevention of Violent Conflicts, signed at the Gothenburg European Council, June 2001. Back

94   p41. Back

95   Q54. Back

96   Q165. Back

97   Q117. Back

98   See Appendix 6 "Sharing the Decision Making Structures" (3 charts). Back

99   p36. Back

100   Q112. Back

101   p36-p37. Back

102   Q36, Q37. Back

103   Crisis Management Exercise 2002. Back

104   p37. Back

105   p37. Back

106   p37. Back

107   p37. Back

108   European Community Humanitarian Office. Back

109   p40-p41. Back

110   Q83. Back

111   Q109. Back

112   Q66. Back

113   Q84-Q108. Back

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