Committee adoption of BROK/GUALTIERI Recommendation to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security
Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, to the Council and to the Commission on the 2013 review of the organisation and the functioning of the EEAS (2012/2253(INI))
On 23 April, the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) adopted a Recommendation for the 2013 review of the organisation and the functioning of the European External Action Service (EEAS), drafted by AFET Committee chair Elmar Brok (EPP, DE) and Roberto Gualtieri (S&D, IT). The Recommendation calls for a better coordination and synergy between the EEAS, the Commission and the Council. It criticises that operational decision-making and implementation in the area of the CFSP and the CSDP are too slow and points to a lack of strategic planning. The Parliament sees a clear need to develop the EEAS' capacity to identify and learn lessons from previous operational experiences, particularly in the area of conflict prevention, conflict mediation, crisis management, reconciliation and peace-building. The Parliament calls for the creation of a permanent conduct structure by establishing a permanent military Operational Headquarter, co-located with a Civilian Conduct Capability, in order to allow the effective implementation of military and civilian operations whilst safeguarding their respective chains of command.
The European External Action service started its work in January 2011 with the objective of ensuring the unity, consistency and effectiveness of the European Union’s external action, as it is set out in the Lisbon Treaty. Intense negotiations between the Council, the High Representative/Vice President of the Commission (HR/VP), the European Commission and the European Parliament were conducted before a quadripartite agreement has been reached in June 2010 in Madrid on the establishment of the European Diplomatic Service. The Recommendation of the European Parliament will serve as an input to the Review of the organisation and functioning of the EEAS to be published by the HR/VP in the mid-2013.
The Recommendation of the European Parliament states that the EEAS cannot be expected to be fully functional within two years of its establishment and that the review of its organisation and functioning should be based on fair and constructive criticism. The success of the EEAS should be measured against its ability to pursue a comprehensive approach by the EU to today's external challenges and responsibilities.
Political leadership and visibility
The Parliament underlines that political leadership and visibility of the EEAS could be improved if there were more coordination and synergy between the Service, the Commission and the Council - this was the intention when the functions of High Representative, Commission Vice-President and Foreign Affairs Council chair were merged. Until now, operational decision-making and implementation in the area of the CFSP and the CSDP are too slow, as states the Recommendation that is evoking the crisis in Mali, in response of which decision-making procedures and funding decisions have not been swiftly adopted and implemented. In order of streamlining the EEAS and to avoid duplication of services in the Commission and the Council Secretariat, the Parliament suggest that the EU foreign policy chief should chair the group of external relations commissioners and be supported by a political deputy or deputies, answerable to Parliament. This would allow for effective decision making and timely policy responses.
The Parliament points out a lack of strategic planning and recommends more consistency between short and longer-term measures. The Parliament proposes the set up of a structure similar to a crisis board, bringing together members of different departments in charge of crisis management and response. The Recommendation states that there is a clear need to develop the EEAS' capacity to identify and learn lessons from previous operational experiences, particularly in the area of conflict prevention, conflict mediation, crisis management, reconciliation and peace-building. The Parliament regrets that the opportunities for quick deployment offered by the EU battle groups are not yet used.
It recommends ensuring effective and integrated planning and faster decision-making for CSDP operations by combining the relevant planning capacities from the Crisis Management and Planning Directorate (CMPD) and the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC). In addition, the Parliament calls for the creation of a permanent conduct structure by establishing a permanent military Operational Headquarter, co-located with a Civilian Conduct Capability, in order to allow
the effective implementation of military and civilian operations whilst safeguarding their respective chains of command.
The Parliament adopted a new paragraph underlining its special role with regard to the definition of objectives and basic choices of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, its competences as a budgetary authority, its role in democratic scrutiny of foreign policy as well as its practice of parliamentary foreign relations. In addition, another new paragraph was adopted saying that Parliament's oversight over the EEAS is essential if European external action is to be better understood and supported by EU citizens. The Parliament recommends to make full use of the synergy effect of the EEAS and in this context to envisage the possibility of qualified majority voting on CFSP matters, as laid down in Article 31(2) TEU, and to formally explore the broadening of qualified majority voting on CFSP matters by means of the respective passerelle clause. The parliament calls for a future Convention for the further development of CFSP/CSDP and of the role of the EEAS, including a change of name, to be put on the agenda
The Parliament recommends that delegations should have a security and defence attaché to guarantee adequate monitoring of political developments, especially in fragile countries. The Parliament also sees a need to do more to incorporate human rights in their work, with particular attention to women's rights. The delegations should be also enabled to provide consular protection to EU citizens from those member states not represented in that country, says the Parliament, underlining that any additional tasks must be matched with fresh resources.
Reform of financial procedures
The Parliament recommends speeding up procedures in the Foreign Policy Instruments Service for administering CFSP finances with the aim of guaranteeing flexible and timely response to crisis situations. This should ensure that civilian CSDP operations are launched rapidly and with efficiency.
In this regard, the Parliament recommends to examine whether changes to the Financial Regulation can be introduced without reducing oversight and to increase the flexibility and reactivity of EU external assistance by reviewing the rules for decisions on programming and spending for external financial instruments.
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The Recommendation will be voted in Plenary Session on 12 June 2013. It may be discussed again in the AFET Committee before the plenary vote. The High Representative’s Review on the organisation and functioning of the EEAS is awaited before the summer break.
The consolidated version of the BROK/GUALTIERI Recommendation is not yet available online. A provisional version is attached to this summary.
* The BROK/GUALTIERI Draft Report is available at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&reference=PE-504.043&format=PDF&language=EN&secondRef=03
* COUNCIL DECISION of 26 July 2010 establishing the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service: http://www.eeas.europa.eu/background/docs/eeas_decision_en.pdf
* Annual Activity Report 2011: http://www.eeas.europa.eu/background/docs/20121017_eeas_aar_2011_en.pdf