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Procedure : 2006/2217(INI)
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Document selected : A6-0130/2007

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Debates :

PV 22/05/2007 - 19
CRE 22/05/2007 - 19

Votes :

PV 23/05/2007 - 5.10
CRE 23/05/2007 - 5.10
Explanations of votes

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Texts adopted
WORD 89k
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 - Strasbourg Final edition
Common Foreign and Security Policy 2005

European Parliament resolution of 23 May 2007 on the annual report from the Council to the European Parliament on the main aspects and basic choices of CFSP, including the financial implications for the general budget of the European Union – 2005 (2006/2217(INI))

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the annual report from the Council (10314/1/2006),

–   having regard to Article 21 of the EU Treaty,

–   having regard to the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (Constitutional Treaty), signed in Rome on 29 October 2004,

–   having regard to the European Security Strategy (ESS) adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003,

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure(1) , and in particular paragraph 40 thereof,

–   having regard to its decision of 17 May 2006 on the conclusion of an interinstitutional agreement on budgetary discipline and sound financial management(2) ,

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 16-17 June 2005 and in particular to its declaration on ratification of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, as well as to the Presidency Conclusions of the European Councils of 15-16 June and 14-15 December 2006,

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 15-16 December 2005 on the Financial Perspective 2007-2013,

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 January 2005 on the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe(3) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 2 February 2006 on the Common Foreign and Security Policy – 2004(4) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 November 2006 on the implementation of the European Security Strategy in the context of the ESDP(5) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 June 2006 on the next steps for the period of reflection and analysis on the Future of Europe(6) and to the results of the Joint Parliamentary Meeting on the Future of Europe: From Reflection to Action, held on 4-5 December 2006 in Brussels,

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2006 on new financial instruments for development in connection with the Millennium Goals(7) ,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 15 June 2006(8) and 13 December 2006(9) on the EU-Russia Summits,

–   having regard to its resolution of 1 June 2006 on improving EU-US relations in the framework of a Transatlantic Partnership Agreement(10) and on EU-US transatlantic economic relations(11) ,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 23 October 2003 on peace and dignity in the Middle East(12) and of 7 September 2006 on the situation in the Middle East(13) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 September 2006 on EU-China Relations(14) ,

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 15 and 16 December 2005 on "The EU and Africa: Towards a Strategic Partnership",

–   having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2005 on the review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty - Nuclear arms in North Korea and Iran(15) , advocating that 'No Say, No Pay' is a principle which the EU will follow in its dealings with the Korean peninsula,

–   having regard to its resolution of 23 March 2006 on security of energy supply in the European Union(16) ,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 18 May 2006 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2005 and the EU's policy on the matter(17) and of 14 February 2006 on the human rights and democracy clause in European Union agreements(18) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2006 on the institutional aspects of the European Union's capacity to integrate new Member States(19) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2006 on the Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2006-2007(20) ,

–   having regard to Rule 112(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A6-0130/2007),

A.   expecting that the Council's a posteriori approach of merely submitting a descriptive list of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) activities carried out in the previous year instead of consulting Parliament beforehand as provided for in Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union will henceforth be corrected by means of a constructive interpretation of Points 42 and 43 of the new Interinstitutional Agreement on budgetary discipline and sound financial management of 17 May 2006(21) ,

B.   whereas the Council should once and for all replace that practice with a genuine consultation of Parliament so as to ensure that Parliament's views have a real impact on the choices made for the following year,

C.   whereas, following the fifth enlargement of the EU, 18 Member States have ratified the Constitutional Treaty but the full ratification and entry into force of the Treaty needs to be pursued in order to ensure that the Union is ready to face up to the global responsibilities, threats and challenges of today's world,

D.   whereas the provisions of the Constitutional Treaty regarding external relations have gone unchallenged during the ratification process, as a result of which the CFSP could play an important role in enhancing confidence in the Union amongst the general public,

E.   whereas the external action of the Union as a whole and the CFSP in particular must take into account the interests of the Union, especially the closeness of each third country and region to the European model and values and the fact that the Union, as a major geopolitical actor on the world stage, behaves as a political, economic, social and environmental Union of states and peoples committed to peace which acts in accordance with the principles of democracy, the rule of law and social justice, and therefore needs strong and reliable political and economic partners,

F.   whereas the effectiveness and credibility of the common foreign policy has been recently undermined by the veto exercised by certain Member States on bilateral issues in spite of efforts made by other Member States to find a compromise; whereas Member States should act even-handedly and should refrain from using the right of veto, limiting that procedure to highly sensitive issues of national concern,

G.   whereas developing and consolidating democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms remain key objectives of the CFSP and whereas the CFSP should concentrate principally on economic integration, diplomacy, civilian crisis prevention and conflict management,

H.   whereas, in order to be credible, the CFSP and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) must be allocated additional resources to match their ambitions,

I.   whereas the funding of military operations by the European Union in fact remains outside the scope of the democratic scrutiny of both national parliaments and the European Parliament,

The ratification of the Constitutional Treaty as a main aspect and basic choice of the CFSP for 2007

1.  Is of the view that, without the Constitutional Treaty, which has been ratified by 18 countries, the European Union cannot shape a foreign and security policy that can at least partially meet the most important challenges such as globalisation, failed and failing states, cross-border migration, international terrorism, energy dependency and climate change; considers that the effectiveness of the CFSP presupposes the development of the necessary assets and capabilities in order to safeguard the security, independence and integrity of the Union and its Member States; recalls in this regard the wide public support existing in all Member States for a bigger role for the Union in the world, since Member States individually can no longer perform that role for citizens; emphasises the need for finalisation of the Constitutional Treaty to be one of the main priorities for the present and coming EU Presidencies;

2.  Considers it necessary that the office of Minister for Foreign Affairs be established and regards it as essential that he or she simultaneously be a member of the Commission and chair the Foreign Affairs Council, so that the CFSP is given continuity and coherence and Europe can speak with one voice;

3.  Takes the view, in this regard, that the creation of the new post of EU Minister for Foreign Affairs should be accompanied by a genuine commitment from Member States to define and implement a real and effective common foreign policy reflecting the general concerns of the European Union;

4.  Notes that the mutual assistance clause, structural cooperation, the European External Action Service and the single legal personality are examples of the urgently needed progress provided by the Constitutional Treaty;

5.  Points out that a political and social consensus on greater foreign and security policy integration offers a sound basis for taking the constitutional process forward;

6.  Once again urges the Heads of State and Government to finalise the Constitutional Treaty by the end of 2008, not only as a prerequisite for further enlargements but also in order to enable the Union to work more effectively, more transparently and more democratically in the fields of both external action and the CFSP/ESDP;

Improving the efficiency, coherence and visibility of CFSP

7.  Welcomes the setting-up of the European Defence Agency, the development of the Battlegroups concept, the establishment of the European Neighbourhood Policy and the application of the solidarity clause to counter terrorist threats or attacks, and also the establishment of the Civilian Headlines Goals, the Civilian Crisis Response Teams and the Peace-Building Partnership under the Stability Instrument; urges the Commission to establish the Civil Peace Corps as requested by Parliament in several resolutions;

8.  Regards it as more appropriate for the Council and the Commission to make use of their procedural and organisational options, also strengthening the links between the first and third pillars in the process, through

   a) the submission of joint proposals from the High Representative for the CFSP and the Commission to the Council relating to both the CFSP and external action;
   b) regular joint meetings between the Group of External Relations Commissioners, the High Representative for the CFSP and delegations of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament in order to better assess and coordinate strategic priorities,
   c) regular joint meetings between the Council's Working Groups and COREPER, the Commission and Parliament's rapporteurs in order to better understand each other's positions,
   d) making frequent use of the "EU Core Groups" mechanism, first created for dealing with policy issues relating to Somalia in 2004, being a mechanism that reinforces institutional links and brings together the High Representative for the CFSP and the Council, the Commission, the Presidency and willing Member States; emphasises, however, that this mechanism is particularly appropriate for dealing with foreign policy matters that do not provoke major disagreements between the Member States while remaining important for a number of them;
   e) the unreserved sharing of information, reports and analyses compiled by the services, delegations, Special Representatives, embassies, etc. of the EU and its institutions and of the Member States,
   f) improving cooperation between the Directorates for External Actions of the three Community institutions by facilitating regular working meetings and exchanges at high and intermediate levels, including the rotation and exchange of European civil servants dealing with external affairs issues,
   g) encouraging a dialogue and launching procedures to set up an EU Diplomatic Academy;
   h) encouraging the Commission to develop the delegations that fall within its sphere of responsibility into "embassies" of the Union;
   i) automatically attributing the functions of the Union's Special Representative to a third country to the Head of the EU Delegation in that country, as in the case of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia;
   j) improving interaction between, on the one hand, the 127 EC delegations and representations and, on the other hand, other EU institutions and delegations, Member States' foreign ministries and embassies by organising regular contacts and meetings, providing practical assistance and arranging the exchange of Member States' diplomatic personnel and officials of the relevant institutions on a reciprocal basis;

9.  Calls on the EU Member States serving on the United Nations Security Council – after briefing the other Member States – to heed their suggestions and endeavour to pursue coordinated action within the Security Council reflecting the most widely held European views;

10.  Calls, moreover, on EU Member States which are also members of the UN Security Council to improve their coordination within that framework in order to enhance the effectiveness of the action of the EU on the world stage and decide in the near future on a common European seat;

11.  Takes the view that, without the introduction of qualified majority voting in CFSP matters, the coherence, effectiveness and visibility of the external action of the Union will be deeply undermined;

12.  Is of the view that more can be done to strengthen political dialogue with third countries and regions, in particular with major partners, as well as to become more proactive in relations with international organisations; considers that the Commission's delegation network could be more flexibly and dynamically utilised;

13.  Points out that political dialogue with third countries needs to be intensified, not least where human rights are concerned; also believes that the Community institutions and the Member States must ensure that the members of their delegations are aware of, build upon, and act in accordance with, the human rights guidelines approved by the Council;

14.  Recalls in this connection the meaningful role that parliamentary diplomacy can play as a complementary tool in the Union's relations with third countries and regions; calls upon the Council and the Commission to establish closer ties, based on cooperation, with the three major interparliamentary assemblies (the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly and the EU-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly), which play an important role and which bring together parliamentarians from around the world, thereby enhancing democratic legitimacy and providing valuable political forums for overall dialogue; charges Parliament's responsible organs to coordinate and strengthen administrative support to those interparliamentary assemblies accordingly;

15.  Is of the view that, in order to address the current lack of coherence and to fill the present "capability-expectations gap", the Union should exploit all available tools in the field of external action, such as policies covering trade, aid, foreign policy and the ESDP, as well as the external dimension of policies on the environment, research, transport, agriculture, fisheries and home affairs;

Recommendations on various thematic aspects for 2007

16.  Insists that, in order to guarantee prosperity and security, priority should be given to targeting a limited number of areas which better connect with the wishes and concerns of European citizens and their expectations of the role to be played by the Union in international affairs – such as the consolidation of democracy, human security and the fight against terrorist organisations, migration management, intercultural dialogue, energy security, climate change, arms control and disarmament, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the EU's contribution to poverty reduction and attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as social development;

17.  Stresses the need to implement the international nuclear non-proliferation system in all its aspects, to work actively for the retention of the existing arms control and disarmament system, in particular for the consistent implementation and comprehensive monitoring of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the universal application of the Convention banning landmines (the Ottawa Treaty) and the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and to start negotiations on new disarmament agreements concerning, inter alia, small arms and further reductions of conventional and nuclear weapons in Europe;

18.  Expresses its deep concern regarding the announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin of Russia's unwillingness to continue its participation in the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe; takes the view that this is an inadequate response to the anti-missile system plans; calls for the reopening of political dialogue within the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on security, arms control and disarmament issues;

19.  Calls upon the Commission to focus, within those priority areas, on the political, commercial, economic and financial instruments and policies under the first pillar of the existing treaties, in order to better serve the Union's objectives in world affairs; is of the view that the EU's external action could also benefit from more women occupying leading positions, including in the area of the CFSP;

20.  Reiterates that the ESS should be updated, maintaining its civil/military dual approach and its crucial concepts of conflict prevention and effective multilateralism, and incorporating energy security, climate change and prevention of the spread of poverty in the world as major challenges to the EU's security; considers that particular regard should be had to the link between security and development and the special importance of socio-economic issues;

21.  Maintains that terrorism constitutes one of the main threats to the EU's security but must be fought without offending against the universal values of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the protection thereof, in close cooperation with international partners and in keeping with the strategy laid down by the United Nations;

22.  Reiterates that, while the fight against terrorism constitutes a key part of the EU's external action, respect for human rights and civil liberties must remain a priority for the EU; considers that much more should be done to strengthen international cooperation in the fight against terrorism on the basis of international law and the UN Charter;

23.  Emphasises the important foreign policy dimension of energy security issues, including the Union's dependence on energy and other strategic supplies from countries and regions that are increasingly unstable, as well as the question of access to and the development of alternative sources; rejects any restriction of energy supplies as a political instrument, and underlines the need for solidarity in energy policy among EU Member States; is of the view that every effort should be made to reduce such dependence; underlines the need for the Union's external action to be directed towards a common strategy and support for projects geared to the diversification of energy supplies;

24.  Stresses the vital interest of the European Union in strengthening global governance, international institutions and the value of international law; insists on the fundamental role of the United Nations in the development of global governance; reiterates the need to involve China and India, as emerging powers, as well as Russia, in taking responsibility for the state of global governance and for solutions to global challenges, together with the irreplaceable role which the transatlantic partners should jointly play in this context;

25.  Underlines the importance of further developing the dimension of regional cooperation in the EU's foreign policy, especially in its neighbourhood area, by strengthening relations with the Black Sea region and by promoting cooperation both among neighbours and between the EU and its neighbours in order to provide regional solutions promoting stability, development and prosperity;

26.  Reminds the EU to urge its partners to pursue the development and consolidation of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, as these criteria form the basis of a prosperous and secure world;

27.  Expresses its concern, in this respect, regarding the first test of an anti-satellite weapon carried out by China in January 2007; regards this as a sign of the escalation of weapons in space; calls on the Council to take the initiative at the United Nations level to start multilateral negotiations for an international ban on such weapons;

28.  Welcomes the new initiative taken by the United States for consultations and permanent provision of information about its anti-missile shield; expresses its concern about declarations made by President Putin in reaction to the United States' plans to deploy components of its anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic; calls on all parties involved to engage in dialogue; calls on the United States to redouble its efforts to improve consultation regarding, and explanation of, its plans for a missile defence system to counter threats from potential emerging nuclear powers, so that both NATO and the EU remain united; demands thorough discussion concerning these proposals, including the necessity, the threat assessment and the possibility of establishing different security areas within the framework of both the EU and NATO; stresses the importance of consultation within the NATO-Russia Council regarding the missile defence system;

29.  Is of the view that much more should be done from an external action perspective to halt the spread of poverty in the world, to fight against stigmatisation and discrimination and to combat major diseases; reiterates the importance of maintaining the EU's commitments to the achievement of the MDGs;

30.  Welcomes efforts by both the Commission and the Council to tackle the issue of illegal immigration and settlement as a prominent part of the EU's external action, in its relations both with countries of origin and with countries of transit; is of the view that development cooperation should also address the root causes of massive immigration and include stronger engagement by the EU in conflict resolution in order to achieve the MDGs, in particular in relation to African countries; underlines that the fight against illegal immigration should be within the confines of judicial and policing actions and that EU policies should also address the root causes of illegal immigration; points out that combating illegal immigration is a judicial and police task excluding the use of military means and ESDP capabilities;

31.  Reiterates Parliament's above-mentioned resolution of 14 February 2006 on the human rights and democracy clause in European Union agreements, and calls on the Commission and the Council to heed the recommendations set out in that resolution, in order to better govern agreements of all kinds between the EU and the numerous partner states, where democracy clauses consistently form an essential element; reiterates its commitment to combating impunity for those guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations, inter alia by strengthening the role of the International Criminal Court;

32.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to assume their responsibilities and, without delay, to implement the recommendations contained in Parliament's resolution of 14 February 2007 on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners(22) ;

33.  Stresses the need for the effective implementation of human rights, non-proliferation and counter-terrorism clauses in agreements of all kinds with third countries, avoiding ad hoc modifications in order to ensure coherence and effectiveness; calls on the Commission to present proposals within the framework of the new Stability Instrument, Instrument for Pre-Accession, European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument and Development Cooperation Instrument to provide, within the respective legal scope of those instruments, technical and financial assistance to third countries so as to help them meet their commitments resulting from the above-mentioned clauses; underlines the need for those new instruments to be applied in a manner consistent with, and complementary to, the new European Democracy and Human Rights Instrument;

Priorities in the geographical areas for 2007

34.  Recommends that steps be taken to maintain the enlargement of the EU as a key objective of the EU's political agenda in 2007, albeit one which must be consistent with the EU's capacity to integrate new Member States (taking account of the impact of enlargement on its institutions, its financial resources and its capacity to pursue its political objectives), to reinforce the European Neighbourhood Policy, including by means of initiatives to strengthen economic, political, security and energy relations between the EU and the countries in the Black Sea area, to pursue efforts to contribute to stabilisation of the Western Balkans including preparations for EU accession, in line with the "Thessaloniki Agenda", to resume negotiations with Serbia on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, to enhance EU-Mediterranean cooperation, to develop a balanced, wide-ranging partnership with Russia, encompassing international challenges, trade and energy, but above all human rights and democratisation issues, and to deepen relations with Central Asia through full cooperation with the relevant international bodies active in the region;

35.  Considers that promoting national solidarity, stability, peace and democratic and economic development must continue to be among the priorities of the EU's policy towards Afghanistan over the coming years; calls for these tasks to be allocated reliable funding which can be planned over the medium term; considers that there is a need for the EU to support, in particular, the development of strong national and state institutions, the economic and cultural development of the country, the disarming of private militias and the fight against the cultivation of, and trading in, drugs;

36.  Welcomes the new Central Asia Initiative presented by the German Presidency, which could result in a more effective and engaged approach in the EU's external policy towards the region; considers that the Initiative could develop a unique, wide-ranging cooperation between the EU and the countries of Central Asia; takes the view that the EU has a vital interest in seeing greater economic development stability and better governance and human right records in the region;

37.  Reiterates, in the light of effective multilateralism, the need to continue UN reform in its entirety, with a special focus on reforming the UN Security Council; welcomes in this respect the promising reform efforts initiated by the President of the UN General Assembly;

38.  Is of the view that every effort should be made to stabilise the situation in Lebanon, and that the Commission should monitor precisely and in depth the ways in which EU financial assistance is used; calls on the Council to intensify efforts, within the framework of the Middle East Quartet (the EU, the USA, the Russian Federation and the UN), to foster negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians for a comprehensive peace solution on the basis of two secure and viable States; recommends a more intensive commitment by the EU to the Quartet's position (commitment to non-violence, recognition of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations including the Road Map); considers that the new Palestinian Government of national unity and the recognition of the previous agreements with Israel should prompt the EU to intensify its involvement in Palestine; regardless of the preceding point, believes that the Israeli and Palestinian governments should, as a matter of principle, respect the 1967 borders as the dividing line between two mutually recognised independent states; is of the view that the direct involvement of Arab countries could also prove fruitful in this regard; supports the Quartet's call for continued international assistance to the Palestinian people;

39.  Also recommends that steps be taken to strengthen transatlantic relations with the United States, on the one hand, and with Latin America, boosting its integration processes, on the other, on an equal basis, including the fight against terrorism, while respecting human rights and international law, through a new Transatlantic Partnership Agreement replacing the currently existing New Transatlantic Agenda; suggests in this regard the establishment of a regular review mechanism for such Transatlantic Partnership Agreement similar to the ESS review mechanism, whereby experts from the EU and the United States strive constantly to improve the Transatlantic Partnership so as to exploit its full potential;

40.  Further recommends that negotiation of the Partnership Agreement with China be driven forward, subject to substantial progress in the field of democracy and human rights; that the strategic partnership with India be deepened and that political and economic cooperation with Japan and ASEAN be enhanced, while seeking an active role for the EU on outstanding issues in the Korean peninsular which is not merely confined to financing;

41.  Strongly recommends that steps be taken for decisive engagement when implementing the EU-Africa strategy beyond the traditional development and aid policies, in view of the forthcoming Portuguese Presidency which is due to host the next EU-Africa Summit, and to boost the Latin American regional integration processes by concluding the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement and commencing negotiations for similar agreements with the Central American countries and the Andean Community;

42.  Underlines the need to give the Barcelona Process new impetus with the aim of enhancing balanced economic, social and democratic development of the countries concerned;

43.  Takes the view that, in light of the forthcoming UN Security Council decision on a comprehensive proposal for a Kosovo status settlement, the EU must be fully prepared to carry out its new tasks and responsibilities in the region and therefore to declare a united and common position on the new Security Council resolution replacing Resolution 1244 (1999); furthermore, calls on the Council to take stronger and more effective action as regards the frozen conflicts in the South Caucasus and Transnistria;

44.  Refers to its extensive resolutions and reports concerning the different geographical areas of interest to the EU, since they contain valuable contributions to the debate on the way in which the EU's policy vis-à-vis those geographical areas should evolve;

Parliamentary scrutiny of the CFSP

45.  Takes note of the descriptive annual report on CFSP activities in 2005 submitted by the Council on 30 June 2006; reiterates the need for the Council not only to inform Parliament but above all to fully involve Parliament in the main aspects and basic choices of the CFSP for 2007; regrets that the Council has once more neglected the right of Parliament to be consulted annually ex ante on forthcoming aspects and choices for 2006 as provided for in Article 21 of the EU Treaty and in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999;

46.  Notes that, despite the Council's infringement of Article 21 of the EU Treaty, for procedural reasons it is not possible to refer the Council's practice to the Court of Justice, since Article 46 of the EU Treaty does not include Article 21 in the exhaustive list of cases where the EC Treaty provisions regarding actions before the Court of Justice also apply to the CFSP field;

47.  Reiterates its disappointment, however, that the Council has limited itself to merely informing Parliament and submitting a descriptive list of CFSP activities carried out in the previous year, which is stated even by the Council itself in the preambles to the annual reports, instead of really consulting Parliament at the beginning of each year on the main aspects and basic choices to be made for that year, including its financial implications, as provided for in Article 28 of the EU Treaty, and subsequently reporting to Parliament whether – and, if so, how – Parliament's contribution has been taken into account, and stresses that this practice constitutes a de facto infringement of the very substance of Article 21;

48.  Calls upon the Council to correct this situation by interpreting Points 42 and 43 of the new Interinstitutional Agreement on budgetary discipline and sound financial management of 17 May 2006, which came into force on 1 January 2007, in a wider, more flexible sense so as to ensure Parliament's right to be consulted annually ex ante on forthcoming aspects and choices of the CFSP; stresses that nothing in the existing Treaties suggests that the term "consultation" has any different meaning in the above-mentioned Article 21 from its usual meaning in EU law;

49.  Takes note, in particular, of Points 42 and 43 of the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement, which concern the financing of the CFSP and provide for a structured dialogue between the Council and Parliament, and which could contribute to a genuine consultation with the Committee responsible if interpreted in a constructive and flexible way; to that end, regards the explanatory exchange of letters between the Finnish Presidency and the Chairmen of the two Committees involved as partially fulfilling the requirement that Parliament be consulted;

50.  Cautions against any restrictive interpretation of Point 43 of the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement which could lead to a situation whereby Parliament's right to genuine consultation, at the beginning of each year, on the main aspects and basic choices to be made for that year in accordance with Article 21 of the EU Treaty is circumvented;

51.  Highlights its readiness, at the beginning of every year, to hold a debate with the Council and the High Representative/Secretary-General of the Council on the main aspects and basic choices of the CFSP for that coming year, since this offers an ideal opportunity to consult Parliament; considers, moreover, that it would be particularly useful for candidates for the post of High Representative/Secretary-General to present their programmes before the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs;

52.  Encourages both the Council and the Member States to further strengthen parliamentary scrutiny of the ESDP, by ensuring that the European Parliament plays a major role by using the structured dialogue mechanism provided for in the new Interinstitutional Agreement and by closer cooperation between the European Parliament and national parliaments;

53.  Underlines the importance of substantively involving Parliament in discussions about, and the procedure for concluding, international treaties and agreements between the EU and third countries;

54.  Proposes that measures be taken to strengthen, in particular, the scrutiny by Parliament of intelligence and security services regarding:

  a) relations between EU institutions and agencies:
   by conferring on Parliament the authority to appoint, and dismiss, the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator and the Directors of SitCen, the EU Satellite Centre (EUSC) and Eurojust;
   by ensuring that the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator and the Directors of SitCen, the EUSC and Eurojust submit an annual report to Parliament on their activities and budget and by ensuring that any subsequent recommendations and remarks from Parliament are duly taken into account;
  b) relations between Member States and EU institutions and agencies:
   by developing cooperation between the European Parliament and national parliaments so as to provide democratic scrutiny of EU intelligence agencies and organs as well as transparency and reassurance for the citizens of the EU concerning the activities of both EU and national security and intelligence services;
   by updating the Interinstitutional Agreement of 7 November 2002 on the financing of the European Union Solidarity Fund(23) in order to include sensitive information in all CFSP activities and to guarantee that Parliament is fully informed of any information available regarding the entire area;
   by enhancing in particular the role of the existing Special Committee of the European Parliament, as referred to in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 20 November 2002 concerning access by the European Parliament to sensitive information of the Council in the sphere of security and defence policy(24) , so as to enable it to scrutinise the new intelligence organs at EU level (EUSC, SitCen, the office of the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Eurojust and the EU Military Staff);
   by conferring real powers on the office of the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator by strengthening the Coordinator's remit and mandate;
  c) relations between the EU and third countries:
   by engaging in an exchange of information and best practices between Parliament's Special Committee and the US Congress Committees on Intelligence,
   by requesting third countries, and in particular acceding or associated countries, to share available sensitive information or intelligence material regarding the CFSP with their EU counterparts via their respective parliaments or governments;

The financing of the CFSP/ESDP

55.  Regards the total amount of EUR 1 740 million allocated to the CFSP for the period from 2007 to 2013 as insufficient to achieve the ambitions of the EU as a global actor, while recognising that the CFSP funding agreed for 2007, amounting to EUR 159,2 million, represents an important step forward in comparison with previous allocations of funds;

56.  Welcomes the reinforcement of the CFSP chapter finally negotiated between Parliament and the Council, agreeing that at least EUR 1 740 million will be available for the CFSP over the period 2007-2013; recalls that this level will in fact more than triple the funding level of the old financial perspective and, precisely for that reason, will need to be accompanied by strengthened measures for parliamentary control and improved cooperation on the part of the Council;

57.  Welcomes the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement, which increases in particular Parliament's participation in the CFSP decision-making process, allows for greater democratic scrutiny of the external actions of the EU and of the financing of CSFP actions, and consolidates and enhances the previous CFSP provisions on regular political consultation with Parliament;

58.  Believes that a genuine assessment of the financial implications for the EU budget has hitherto been hampered by a lack of proactive information on the part of the Council, even though joint meetings on this issue have been held for the past few years; considers that, with the signing of the new Interinstitutional Agreement, the time has now come to implement both the letter and the spirit of these provisions, which have now been clearly formalised;

59.  Regrets the Council's previous attitude of only providing substantial financial information once the final decisions have already been taken, thus defeating the very purpose of the exercise; welcomes, however, the fact that there has been some improvement in this regard, notably in connection with the new Kosovo mission, and expects this to continue on a regular basis;

60.  Underlines in this respect Points 42 and 43 of the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement; specifically emphasises the need for the Council to consult Parliament on a forward-looking document setting out the main aspects and basic choices of the CFSP, including their financial implications, by 15 June each year in full accordance with the new Interinstitutional Agreement; underlines that an evaluation of the measures launched in the previous year is to be included and believes that, taken together, this could provide the basis for genuinely improved democratic scrutiny;

61.  Regrets – given the already insufficient amount allocated to the CFSP for the period 2007-2013 – that the specific article within the CFSP budget chapter devoted to EU Special Representatives does not avoid the proliferation of envoys of that kind, who by definition should be nominated only in respect of special cases and should not weaken the role of the Commission's delegations on the ground;

62.  Recalls that EU Special Representatives fall under the CFSP budget and that all the relevant provisions of Point 42 of the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement also apply as regards the financial consequences of the extension of their mandates; is of the opinion that there is a need to establish criteria for the appointment and evaluation of EU Special Representatives, including the definition and purpose of their tasks, length of mandate, coordination and complementarity with the EC delegations under the first pillar and an assessment of their potential "added value"; calls on the Council and the Commission to cooperate in this respect, inter alia by providing timely access to the evaluation reports, which should include substantial, thorough and objective information and be drawn up under the responsibility of the High Representative for CFSP;

63.  Expresses particular concern that mixed CFSP actions, entailing expenditure resulting from both civilian actions and actions with military or defence implications, have hitherto been almost impossible for any parliament to assess; points out that this results from the fragmented situation in which, on the one hand, national parliaments have insight into the military/defence part of the financing and, on the other, the European Parliament has insight into solely the civilian aspects; underlines that these combined civilian and military actions should be susceptible to scrutiny as to their full scope, and therefore calls on the Council and the Commission to cooperate fully in finding ways to obtain an overall picture of these missions and their multiple financing structure;

64.  Regrets that the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement does not explicitly provide for the joint costs of military operations within the framework of the ESDP to be financed from the Community budget, thereby discontinuing the existing practice of having recourse to Member States' subsidiary budgets or start-up funds;

65.  Regrets, therefore, that the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement does not change the existing rules on ESDP operations, such as the principle that "costs lie where they fall" or any other ad hoc arrangements such as the so-called "ATHENA mechanism"; recalls that such arrangements perpetuate the financial burden on those Member States which make the biggest contribution on the ground, thus jeopardising future participation in ESDP operations and creating a situation which could easily be avoided by financing such operations from the EU's budget;

66.  Regrets that, in at least one case, the Council has financed certain costs through the inter-governmental "ATHENA mechanism", even though the Commission clearly considered that the expenditure in question should have been financed from the EU budget; considers that the Council and the Commission have an obligation to inform and consult with Parliament in areas of doubt, and cannot accept unilateral decisions by the Council;

67.  Asks the Council to update Parliament on the new provisions concerning the "ATHENA mechanism" adopted in December 2006; is surprised that the Council did not see fit to inform Parliament on this matter in the course of the two joint meetings held in the autumn of 2006, given the fact that this item had been discussed earlier that year;

68.  Reiterates in this regard its proposal for a new budgetary methodology to enhance transparency in ESDP spending and to support the development of the military and civilian capabilities needed to fulfil the aims of the ESS by:

   a) in an initial phase, the Council drawing up a budgetary document reflecting the commitments made by the Member States to fulfil the Civilian Headline Goal 2008 and the Military Headline Goal 2010;
   b) in a second phase, the Member States committing themselves to the ESDP through an indicative "budget", to be jointly debated by the European Parliament and the parliaments of Member States on an annual basis, in which they would commit funds on a multi-annual basis to finance the equipment and personnel needed for ESDP operations, thus indicating the Member States' readiness to spend on the ESDP and ensuring greater transparency as regards military spending;
   c) finally, by reaching joint decisions on the rationalisation of the budget for the CFSP and the ESDP, including the accounting of national expenditure at EU level in the security and defence dimension, within the framework of the revised financial system of the EU envisaged for 2008-2009;

69.  Notes that any underspending, notably recoveries, in the CFSP chapter is subsequently treated by the Commission as "assigned revenue" under the terms of the Financial Regulation and is thus put back on the lines the following year; is not convinced that this is consistent with the provisions of the Financial Regulation, and asks the Court of Auditors to examine this matter;

o   o

70.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Secretary General of NATO and the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

(1) OJ C 172, 18.6.1999, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 297 E, 7.12.2006, p. 182.
(3) OJ C 247 E, 6.10.2005, p. 88.
(4) OJ C 288 E, 25.11.2006, p. 59.
(5) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2006)0495.
(6) OJ C 300 E, 9.12.2006, p. 267.
(7) OJ C 290 E, 29.11.2006, p. 396.
(8) OJ C 300 E, 9.12.2006, p. 482.
(9) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2006)0566.
(10) OJ C 298 E, 8.12.2006, p. 226.
(11) OJ C 298 E, 8.12.2006, 235.
(12) OJ C 82 E, 1.4.2004, p. 610.
(13) OJ C 305 E, 14.12.2006, p. 240.
(14) OJ C 305 E, 14.12.2006, p. 233.
(15) OJ C 320 E, 15.12.2005, p. 253.
(16) OJ C 292 E, 1.12.2006, p. 112.
(17) OJ C 297 E, 7.12.2006, p. 341.
(18) OJ C 290 E, 29.11.2006, p. 107.
(19) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2006)0569.
(20) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2006)0568.
(21) OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.
(22) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2007)0032.
(23) OJ C 283, 20.11.2002, p. 1.
(24) OJ C 298, 30.11.2002, p. 1.

Last updated: 28 January 2008Legal notice