Select Committee on European Union Seventh Report

CHAPTER 5: conclusions

75.  Civilian ESDP is an important development for the EU. The continued instability across the world, including in the European near abroad, will require outside intervention to prevent or limit violent conflict. The EU has recognised, that often intervention is best carried out through civilian means. The EU, as a predominantly civilian actor, is well placed to develop civilian crisis management capability. Through its 15 Member States, soon to be 25, the Union has a wealth of experienced personnel to draw upon; for example police officers, prosecutors and administrators. The Committee has been impressed by the progress made in the four years since the initiative was taken to develop civilian ESDP, including in particular the preparation for the EUPM. Civil servants in both Member States and EU institutions have ensured progress, in spite of, or perhaps because of, the lack of media attention and political pressure unlike that which has accompanied the military side of ESDP.

76.  Nonetheless, while civilian ESDP seems to be one of the quiet successes of the EU's foreign policy, this area suffers from some of the problems familiar to many of the EU's foreign policy initiatives. The objectives of civilian ESDP are yet to be clearly defined. While the broad mandate of the ESDP is defined within the 'Petersberg tasks' these are not sufficiently precise to provide a framework for civilian ESDP. Clear objectives are needed to provide a basis for co-operation with other organisations. At present, the 'double-hatting' which occurs limits the number of personnel one Member State can contribute. Member States must ensure that capacities match staff availability, while the EU must ensure that duplication with other organisations is minimised. Strategic thinking is therefore required when considering institutional responsibility. The OSCE may be better placed to intervene in order to develop democratic institutions, whereas the EU should focus on short-term police missions.

77.  By engaging in strategic thinking about institutional burden-sharing the EU will be able to define more closely the function of the four headline goals. As they stand, the Committee found that three of the four categories are appropriate to civilian ESDP. Civil protection, however, is better handled by the Community; there is no need for two separate mechanisms within the EU. The Committee considers the current numerical targets set for the remaining three categories; police, rule of law, and civil administration to be appropriate. The Council Secretariat should be tasked to define these areas more precisely. Presently, the key question with regard to capabilities is whether the personnel promised by Member States matches in quality the quantities promised. Training is an area of concern; Member State personnel must be able to work together on the ground as 'Europeans'. The EUPM will be a useful indicator of the success of current training arrangements.

78.  Civilian ESDP highlights the problems the pillar structure creates for the effectiveness of the EU's foreign policy. Dividing the EU's conflict prevention and crisis management responses by the EU's institutional organisation is not always desirable. The Committee recognises that this inquiry is not an appropriate arena for a discussion on the reform of the EU. We suggest that the Convention on the Future of Europe take note of the current situation and make recommendations to the IGC in 2004 which should remedy this problem.

79.  The Committee recognises that civilian ESDP is still in its infancy and is only now, during the EUPM, to be tested in a live mission. The Committee have highlighted two particular shortcomings, evident from all the witnesses it consulted. The first is the issue of decision-making structures. Decision-making structures for civilian ESDP are over-complicated and unsuitable for use in a crisis situation. A streamlined solution is required within which clear lines of political control are easily identifiable. Appropriate command and control arrangements will allow the EU to react to a crisis in days rather than weeks. Financing is also a concern. The current financing arrangements are not sustainable. There is a need for efficient decision making rather than the tortuous negotiations which preceded agreement on financing arrangements for the EUPM.

80.  The Committee may wish to return to this issue once the EUPM mission can be evaluated.

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