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Procedure : 2006/2033(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0366/2006

Texts tabled :

A6-0366/2006

Debates :

PV 15/11/2006 - 16
CRE 15/11/2006 - 16

Votes :

PV 16/11/2006 - 6.5
CRE 16/11/2006 - 6.5
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2006)0495

Texts adopted
WORD 84k
Thursday, 16 November 2006 - Strasbourg Final edition
The implementation of the European Security Strategy in the context of the ESDP
P6_TA(2006)0495A6-0366/2006

European Parliament resolution on the implementation of the European Security Strategy in the context of the ESDP (2006/2033(INI))

The European Parliament ,

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

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

–   having regard to the Presidency conclusions of the European Councils of 16-17 June 2005 and 15-16 December 2005, and in particular to the Presidency reports on ESDP,

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 April 2005 on the European Security Strategy(1) ,

–   having regard to the EU Strategy against proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, endorsed by the Council on 9 December 2003,

–   having regard to the report entitled 'For a European civil protection force: europe aid' presented in May 2006 by former Commissioner Michel Barnier,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the meeting of the Steering Board of the European Defence Agency of September 2005,

–   having regard to its resolution of 2 February 2006 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 Communities - 2004(2) ,

–   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A6-0366/2006),

General considerations

A.   whereas the ESS is part of the overall Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), under which the full range of possible political action by the European Union – including diplomatic, economic and development policy measures – can be deployed,

B.   whereas opinion polls over the last 10 years have shown a consistently high level of approval as it has emerged that more than 60% of EU citizens are in favour of a common European Union foreign policy and more than 70% are in favour of a common European Union defence policy; whereas, moreover, other polls show that there is no support for increasing military expenditure,

C.   whereas security and combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), as well as international terrorism are considered as a priority for the EU; whereas a joint response and common strategy are needed in the ESDP,

D.   whereas controls over arms exports must be tightened up by the European Union and also internationally,

1.  Recognises that the ESS of December 2003, based on an initiative by the Greek presidency, contains an excellent analysis of the threats to the modern world and states the fundamental principles of the EU's foreign policy; emphasises, however, the need to monitor its implementation on a regular basis, in order to be able to react to geopolitical developments;

2.  Notes that, as stated in the ESS, international terrorism, the proliferation of WMD, regional conflicts, state failure and organised crime represent nowadays the main threats facing the European Union and its citizens; emphasises that the increasing worldwide competition for sources of water and energy, as well as natural disasters and the security of the Union's external borders, must be included as a strategic objective in the further development of the ESS; is concerned about the prospect of renewed arms races at global and regional levels and the ongoing proliferation of conventional arms;

3.  Recognises that the fight against international terrorism cannot, however, be pursued by military means alone, and that the prevention and repression of terrorism require a whole range of non-military measures such as intelligence-sharing and police and judicial cooperation, for which full interinstitutional and inter-pillar cooperation is needed, and that the building of democratic institutions, infrastructure and civil society in failed or failing states is required; stresses that one of the greatest contributions of the European Union to preventing international terrorism is its capacity to be effective in the building or rebuilding of democratic institutions, social and economic infrastructure, good governance and civil society and in successfully combating racism and xenophobia;

4.  Points out that the task of the CFSP is to protect the citizens of the EU from those threats, defend the justified interests of the EU and promote the objectives of the United Nations Charter by acting as a global responsible actor for worldwide peace and democracy; strongly supports the idea of the ESS that the best means of attaining these objectives is "effective multilateralism", meaning international institutions and international law;

5.  Reiterates its position that the EU, through the ESDP, must fulfil its tasks by civil and peaceful means in the first place and by military means only if all avenues for negotiation have been thoroughly explored and found to be a dead end; in carrying out these legitimate tasks, the primary consideration should be unequivocal respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of citizens within and outside the EU's borders;

6.  Considers that the geopolitical challenges have evolved considerably since the adoption of the ESS in 2003, making its revision necessary in 2008 at the latest; is of the opinion that the ESS should be revised every 5 years and that it should be debated in the European Parliament and the parliaments of the Member States;

7.  Points out that it is of the utmost importance to effectively coordinate the civilian and military elements of the international community's response to a crisis;

8.  Urges the Member States to support the parliamentary dimension of the ESDP in which developments at the institutional and financial level go hand in hand with an extension of parliamentary rights of control; recalls that responsibility for parliamentary monitoring of the ESDP is shared between the parliaments of the Member States and the European Parliament on the basis of their respective rights and duties under relevant treaties and constitutions;

9.  Advocates initiatives for closer relations and an intensified exchange of information between the parliaments of the Member States and the European Parliament in relation to questions concerning the ESDP, in order to make more structured and regular dialogue between the parliaments possible;

10.  Stresses that the European Union must be in a position to make a major contribution, in order to:

   a) defend itself against any real and unequivocal threat to its security;
   b) secure peace and stability first and foremost in its geographical neighbourhood and in other parts of the world, in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter;
   c) carry out humanitarian interventions and rescue operations;
   d) prevent and manage conflicts and promote democracy and respect for human rights;
   e) promote regional and global disarmament;

11.  Emphasises that, in the event of an attack by the armed forces of a third country on the territory of the EU, NATO remains the guarantor of collective defence, but that the EU is expected to act in solidarity and to provide the Member State attacked with all necessary assistance in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter; welcomes NATO's increasing capability of playing a role in out-of-theatre operations; also regards NATO as the appropriate forum for transatlantic dialogue on security issues;

12.  Recognises that the capabilities of the Member States" armed forces and their availability to the EU are influenced by the fact that most Member States are members of both the EU and NATO and maintain one set of armed forces at the disposal of both organisations; demands, therefore, that the EU should continue to work intensively with NATO, especially in the area of capabilities development;

13.  Stresses the "strategic autonomy" inherent in the ESS, namely the ability to carry out operations within its scope independently of other actors, which requires interoperability and a more sustainable and reliable supply chain based on mutual support and assistance, avoiding duplication and suboptimal use of scarce resources at European level or between Member States; warns against unnecessary duplication of effort between NATO and the EU, and between the Member States of the EU;

14.  Considers that the ESDP currently has at its disposal limited resources for civilian and military operations; therefore demands that the EU - in order to develop its credibility as a global actor - concentrate its capabilities on its geographical neighbourhood, particularly the Balkans; envisages at the same time the development of further capabilities to enable the EU to make an active contribution to conflict resolution in other parts of the world as well, in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter;

Integrated civil-military cooperation

15.  Welcomes the EU's emphasis upon strengthening civil and military cooperation in crisis management and recognises that the development of civilian crisis management capabilities has been a distinct feature which provides added value in the development of the ESDP and across the spectrum of responses to conflict prevention, humanitarian intervention, post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building; underlines the need to involve specialised international and local NGOs and their networks; urges the EU to further strive for the implementation of a coherent policy concerning conflict prevention in the spirit of the conclusions of the Göteborg European Council held on 15 and 16 June 2001;

16.  Is encouraged by recent attempts under the Civilian Headline Goal 2008 to redress the previous lack of emphasis on developing civilian capacities and capabilities; is further encouraged by the potential for the Civilian and Military Cell and the Operations Centre to play an important role in developing the EU's approach to integrated civil-military cooperation and coordination; recommends, therefore, that the Civilian and Military Cell and the Operations Centre be upgraded to become a European Headquarters for carrying out civil-military missions;

17.  Recognises that the key enabling capabilities in the area of satellite-based and airborne intelligence systems, integrated telecommunications systems and strategic sea and airlift are essential to both civilian and military crisis management operations; calls for integrated research and development processes to be initiated by the European Defence Agency (EDA) together with the Commission in areas that reinforce integrated and coordinated civil-military approaches, and in particular in the areas of satellite-based and airborne intelligence systems and integrated telecommunications systems;

Crisis management

18.  Welcomes the setting-up of the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System, which has been funded by the Commission in close cooperation with the United Nations; points out that this system should considerably improve the EU's capacity to react;

19.  Notes the activities of the Health Emergency Operations Facility set up by the Commission; stresses the importance of this facility with regard to both its stock of information and data and its ability to provide warnings about pandemics and epidemics, and also biological and chemical threats; therefore calls on the Council and the Commission to make the requisite arrangements whereby the Commission will be involved in coordinating measures in the event of health emergencies and cross-border bio-terrorist attacks;

20.  Welcomes the Commission's efforts to set up a Community procedure for disaster protection, including in the case of a serious terrorist attack; notes that this procedure is based primarily on the information in a database which holds details about national resources available to provide help; notes that the time-saving effect of this database, which also promotes synergies, could be substantially improved if it took over the content of the database set up by the EU Military Staff, which contains details of all the resources available for crisis management; therefore calls on the Council and the Commission to hold the necessary talks and adopt the requisite measures to enable this take-over to take place;

21.  Welcomes the Council's efforts to ensure the speedy and effective deployment of the many ESDP resources available in the event of a disaster; in this connection, stresses how urgent it is to fill the gaps with regard to strategic transport coordination; therefore urges the Member States to make the funding needed to resolve this problem available as soon as possible; also calls on the Council to examine very seriously the proposals made in the above-mentioned report presented by Michel Barnier, including in particular the creation of an informal European Civilian Security Council, an integrated European approach to anticipate crises, the pooling of existing national resources and the setting-up of European consulates to assist EU citizens abroad; and asks the Council and the Commission to work together to gradually implement these proposals;

22.  Considers that the development of the ESDP has contributed to the emergence of 'grey areas' regarding the powers of the Council and the Commission relating to the performance of primarily civilian missions; expects that the adoption of the Stability Instrument will provide some clarification, without this having a negative effect on the flexibility in crisis management which has been demonstrated to date in practice;

23.  Welcomes the progress made in connection with the Civilian Headline Goal 2008 and, in particular, the development of the plans for the use of civilian response teams and integrated police groups; also notes the development of expertise relating to the fight against organised crime and human trafficking; likewise welcomes the setting-up of a crisis platform at the Commission, which has set itself the goal of speeding up the start-up phase of on-the-spot ESDP missions; calls on the Council and the Commission to coordinate their efforts and therefore proposes that a joint training programme be set up for all staff who work on planning missions;

Homeland security

24.  Points out that the first task of any security policy is to secure one's own territory; acknowledges that Europe's citizens expect from a European defence policy, first and foremost, a major contribution to the protection of their personal security, accompanied by respect for their fundamental human rights;

25.  Points out that the EU has to secure its external borders, protect its vital infrastructures, eliminate international terrorist funding networks and fight against organised crime; in this regard, calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop a system of integrated management of the EU's external borders, without limiting respect for human and fundamental rights, as well as humanitarian law, especially with regard to refugees and asylum seekers;

26.  Points out that the EU has to:

   - secure the free flow of supplies for industry and individual consumers, and of hydrocarbons in particular, which entails the security of shipping, flights and pipelines;
   - defend itself against a cyber attack which may disrupt vital communications, financial or energy systems;

Rapid action on the basis of the UN Charter

27.  Endorses the fact that the ESS, while assuming that the EU, in the light of new threats, must be ready to act before crises break out and take early preventive action to deal with conflicts and threats, bases itself in doing so unreservedly on the UN Charter, as the fundamental framework for international relations;

Rules of conduct/training

28.  Greatly welcomes the fact that the behaviour of personnel in all ESDP operations is governed by a range of guidelines and general rules of conduct which are set out in documents; welcomes the initial signs in these guidelines and rules of their observance of human rights standards and rules; insists that compliance with such rules should be totally mandatory and that field commanders should be made accountable for the discipline and conduct of their personnel, even under conditions of extreme stress in war situations; also takes favourable note of the efforts to ensure that the gender dimension will enjoy a higher profile in the various ESDP policies, programmes and initiatives in future;

29.  Takes note of the Council's efforts to develop further the targeted ESDP training programmes – both strategic and operational – for diplomatic, military and civilian personnel; expects it to be made possible for European Parliament experts to participate in these programmes; endorses the approach of establishing minimum standards for the training of personnel on on-the-spot ESDP missions, and calls on the Council to work together with the Commission and the Member States towards standardising all training measures at all levels;

30.  Is of the opinion that soldiers will be exposed to unnecessary risks if their chain of command, equipment or armaments do not meet the requirements of the operation; considers it particularly important, therefore, to ensure that the units to be placed under EU command are adequately equipped;

31.  Is of the opinion that the effective use of military capabilities will not be possible without serious enhancement of European's power projection capacity, including air and sea lift; in this context, acknowledges the efforts of different countries to increase their air transport and amphibious capabilities as well as plans to acquire more aircraft carriers;

32.  Takes note that, in multinational operations, the use of different – and often incompatible – equipment and armaments by the participating units leads to extra costs and reduced efficiency; therefore considers that the EU should promote measures to harmonise equipment and armaments with a view to optimising resources and the effectiveness of multinational operations;

Intelligence

33.  Criticises the particularly serious fact that the battle groups currently under development do not all have the same access to airborne and space-based intelligence, and regrets that the output of the national satellite intelligence-gathering systems Helios, SAR–Lupe and Cosmo-Skymed are not available to all Member States on a common basis;

34.  In order to meet these shortfalls:

   a) strongly requests that the battle groups under development receive common or at least compatible equipment in the fields of intelligence and telecommunications;
   b) demands that the next generation of satellite intelligence-gathering systems be integrated into a European system whose output would be available for military, police and disaster management purposes using the satellite centre in Torrejón;

35.  Points out that NATO is currently developing the airborne intelligence-gathering system Airborne Ground Surveillance (AGS) in addition to the national systems that already exist or are under development; insists that this system be made available for all EU Member States, especially in the EU battle groups context;

36.  Considers that, in the telecommunications field, it is necessary to develop a joint system for the command of multinational units; therefore expresses the view that the equipment used by the military, police and emergency services should comply with the same technical standards, as is the case, for example, in Finland;

Border surveillance

37.  Stresses the importance of enhancing the EU's collective capacity to protect its external borders; remains particularly concerned about the incompatibility and quality of border surveillance equipment and underlines the need for new technology to remedy this situation;

Transportation

38.  Considers that, since transportation, in particular strategic lift, is an essential shortfall in any EU crisis management action, a European self-standing arrangement ensuring access to conventional civil multi-modal transport, building on an integrated civilian/military approach and ensuring economies of scale for all European actors in crisis management for both ESDP and disaster relief purposes, would be of great interest;

Weaknesses in the ESDP decision-making procedure

39.  Considers that the political decision-making procedure preceding the decision to carry out an ESDP mission displays a number of weaknesses, as was seen in the case of the mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo; therefore calls on the Council to review the various stages of that procedure and, if appropriate, to take steps to eliminate those weaknesses; in this connection, reminds the Council and, in particular, its Political and Security Committee, of its obligation to consult the Parliament;

40.  Reaffirms its demand for unrestricted involvement and also its right to be consulted annually, in advance, on forthcoming aspects of and options for the CFSP, as provided for in the existing Treaties; calls emphatically on the Council to pursue a much more open and transparent information policy, vis-à-vis Parliament, with regard to the CFSP and the ESDP; in this connection, criticises the current procedure for access by Parliament to the Council's "confidential documents", which in most cases contain only very general information;

41.  Reaffirms its position that no military mission in which the EU is involved should start before the European Parliament has been appropriately informed and consulted;

42.  Demands that expenditure on military equipment and armaments be adopted in budgets which are subject to parliamentary control; is therefore of the opinion that parallel budgets and mechanisms, which cannot be effectively supervised either by national parliaments or by the European Parliament, should be avoided;

43.  Notes that the European Union budget contains various headings with security aspects such as appropriations for crisis management, the security of external borders and vital infrastructures, security research and implementation of the Galileo and Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programmes;

44.  Urges, in particular, that the budget available for crisis management missions, external border security, security research and Galileo be further increased; in the long term, the area of security research should be geared to the funding requirements determined by the High-Level Group on Security Research;

45.  Demands also that military crisis-management operations be financed from the EU budget and that, for that purpose, additional EU resources be made available by the Member States;

46.  Criticises the fact that, due to the ATHENA mechanism and other ad hoc mechanisms financed by the Member States or even the European Development Fund, the European Parliament is not in a position to exercise any budgetary scrutiny over ESDP military operations; points out that there is also a need for transparency in civil-military operations (such as police missions) which fall within a grey area between ad hoc arrangements and CFSP budget financing;

47.  Consequently, calls 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:

   a) in an initial phase, which should start in 2007 and not exceed two years in duration, the Council should draw 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 and based on the existing catalogues (requirements catalogue, force catalogue and progress catalogue);
   b) in a second phase, the Member States should commit themselves to the ESDP through a virtual 'budget' in which they would commit funds on a multi-annual basis to finance the equipment and personnel needed for ESDP operations. This document, whilst not legally binding, would nevertheless become an important political document next to the EU budget, and would indicate what the Member States are prepared to spend on the ESDP. It should facilitate "burden sharing" between the Member States by securing greater transparency as regards military spending, and should be jointly debated by the European Parliament and the parliaments of Member States on an annual basis;
   c) final decisions about 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, should form a part of the revised financial system of the Union envisaged for 2008-09;

European defence equipment market and cooperative research

48.  Emphasises that the ESS presupposes a strong and independent European defence industry and autonomous technology research and development capacities that are capable of adequately protecting the essential security interests of the EU and the Member States; concludes from the public debate that in order to foster the competitiveness of the European defence industry and develop an autonomous industrial base providing the necessary defence capabilities it is necessary to adopt internal market rules for defence-related products which are adapted to the specificities of this sector; underlines that such rules must facilitate industrial cooperation and trade within the Community; recalls that the derogation provided for in Article 296 of the EC Treaty leaves intact the duty of the Community institutions to legislate on the development of the internal market for defence-related equipment and services, provided such legislation protects the essential security interests of the Member States and of the EU; claims that a high level of protection needs to be achieved;

49.  Looks forward therefore to the Commission's interpretative communication on the application of Article 296, to the Commission proposal for a specific directive on defence procurement, and to the creation of a binding legal instrument on the facilitation of intra-Community transfers of defence-related products that will substitute a simplified common system in place of the existing national export licences; holds that this system should protect the essential security interests of the EU and of the Member States by defining principles of a European export policy on the basis of the European Union Code of Conduct on Arms Exports;

50.  Recalls that rules such as Article XXIII of the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement recognise the possibility of protecting essential security interests related to defence procurement; emphasises that, in order to ensure the protection of those interests of the EU and of the Member States, the common rules to be adopted should grant preference to defence-related products of European origin over those originating from third countries, give full effect to the principle of reciprocity in trade relations, and favour the use of technology protected by European industrial property rights;

51.  Welcomes the EDA's Code of Conduct on defence procurement and calls on all Member States to subscribe to it; insists that the practice of offsets and 'juste retour' should be abolished; considers it necessary that the work of the EDA be stepped up in the context of the ESDP;

52.  Recognises the importance of cooperative research for the competitiveness of the European industry; demands, therefore, greater complementarities between the work of the Commission and the EDA, through more effective dialogue on civilian, security and defence-related research in Europe; emphasises that the provision of dual-use technologies and multifunctional capacities, and also overcoming the division separating research for civilian and defence purposes, should be aims and objectives of the EU; considers it necessary, given the diversity of company structures in this sector by comparison with other areas of research, to adjust the definition of small and medium-sized businesses in the area of European security research;

53.  Calls for the 1998 Code of Conduct on Arms Exports to be given the force of law and to be correctly applied and implemented in all Member States; is of the opinion that the decision as to which countries of destination meet the criteria of the Code of Conduct should be taken on a common basis;

WMD/Iran

54.  Realises that there can be no guarantee of success with the attempts to stop Iran producing weapons-grade enriched uranium; considers, however, that the joint negotiating offer made by the EU Three, the United States, Russia and China represents the most promising course; welcomes the multilateral approach underpinning this offer; is pleased to note Europe's part in bringing it into being; welcomes the willingness of the United States to take part in the same negotiations with Iran; regrets that the talks between the EU High Representative and the EU Three on the one side and Iran on the other have so far not achieved satisfying results; therefore accepts as a consequence that the matter be dealt with at the level of the UN Security Council; underlines that negotiations can be resumed at any time provided that there are indications from the Iranian side that they can be successful; would welcome the willingness of the United States to join in such negotiations with Iran;

Towards a Security and Defence Union

55.  Points out that the EU is on the way to developing into a Security and Defence Union as well, covering external security as well as various aspects of internal security, combating terrorism in all its forms and natural disaster management with the following elements:

  a) the commitment of the Member States to be able to:
   - deploy 60 000 soldiers within 60 days and sustain them for one year for peacekeeping and peacemaking operations as decided at the Helsinki European Council, and to build up 13 battle groups deployable at short notice, with two permanently on standby from 2007;
   - develop capabilities for civilian crisis management in the area of police operations, the rule of law, civilian administration and civil protection, as decided at the Santa Maria da Feira European Council on 19-20 June 2000;
   b) a European structure of command consisting of a Political and Security Committee, a Military Committee, a Military Staff (all of which have been operational since 2001) and a Civilian and Military Cell with a nascent Operations Centre;
   c) the European Gendarmerie Force with its Headquarters in Vicenza, which should be used for the future police mission in Kosovo;
   d) the EDA proposed by the European Council, which has been operational since 2004;
   (e) Europol and the European arrest warrant;
   f) common rules for arms procurement and arms exports;
   (g) European security research as a free-standing thematic priority under the 7th Framework Research Programme;

56.  Is of the opinion that this process should be strengthened by means of the following elements:

   a) the establishment of a common market in the field of defence, as a means of creating a truly integrated European defence technological base in accordance with the principles of interdependence and specialisation among EU Member States;
   b) a common system of satellite and airborne intelligence and common telecommunications standards, to be at the disposal of the military, the police and the disaster management services;
   c) the setting up of a European standing naval force including a coastguard service, active in the Mediterranean sea in order to demonstrate a European presence and enhance the EU's crisis management potential in this region of utmost importance for its security interests;
   d) a European budget covering not only the civil but also the military aspects of security;
   e) a European deputy foreign minister in charge of security and defence policy;
   f) more frequent meetings of the EU's Defence Ministers;
   g) a European civil protection force as proposed in the above-mentioned report of Michel Barnier, as well as a European Civil Peace Corps and the Peace Building Partnership;
   h) an available European capability for air and sea transport in cases of disaster relief, rescue operations and defence operations (multimodal transport combining the most appropriate assets);
   i) adequate parliamentary scrutiny by the parliaments of the Member States and the European Parliament;

57.  Stresses the importance of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, which will bring about major progress towards a Security and Defence Union, in particular through:

   a) the office of a European Foreign Minister who is at the same time Vice-President of the Commission;
   b) the solidarity clause, for cases in which a Member State is affected by a terrorist attack, a natural disaster or a man-made disaster;
   c) a clause on mutual assistance between Member States in the event of armed aggression against a Member State's territory;

o
o   o

58.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Governments and Parliaments of the Member States and the Secretaries-General of the United Nations, NATO, the OSCE and the Council of Europe.

(1) OJ C 33 E, 9.2.2006, p. 580.
(2) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2006)0037.

Last updated: 15 May 2007Legal notice