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Procedure : 2012/2253(INI)
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Document selected : A7-0147/2013

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PV 12/06/2013 - 16
CRE 12/06/2013 - 16

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PV 13/06/2013 - 7.7
CRE 13/06/2013 - 7.7
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Texts adopted
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Thursday, 13 June 2013 - Strasbourg
2013 review of the organisation and functioning of the EEAS

European Parliament 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 of 13 June 2013 on the 2013 review of the organisation and the functioning of the EEAS (2012/2253(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 27(3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) which provides for the establishment of a European External Action Service (EEAS) whose task is to assist the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,

–  having regard to Article 21 (3) TEU which stipulates that the High Representative shall assist the Council and the Commission in ensuring the consistency between the different areas of the Union’s external action,

–  having regard to Article 26 (2) TEU which provides that the Council and the High Representative shall ensure the unity, consistency and effectiveness of action by the Union,

–  having regard to Article 35, third paragraph TEU which states that the diplomatic and consular missions of the Member States and the Union delegations shall contribute to the implementation of the right of citizens of the Union to protection in the territory of third countries,

–  having regard to Article 36 TEU which states that the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission (hereinafter HR/VP) shall regularly consult the European Parliament on the main aspects and the basic choices of the common foreign and security policy and the common security and defence policy, inform it of how those policies evolve, and ensure that the views of the European Parliament are duly taken into consideration,

–  having regard to Article 42 TEU which gives the HR/VP powers to make proposals in the field of common security and defence policy, including the initiation of missions, using both national and Union resources,

–  having regard to Article 13 (3) of the Council Decision of 26 July 2010 establishing the European External Action Service (hereinafter EEAS Decision), which lays down that the High Representative shall carry out, by mid-2013, a review of the organisation and functioning of the EEAS which will cover inter alia the implementation of Articles 6(6) and 6(8) on geographical balance, accompanied, if relevant, by a legislative proposal amending the Decision,

–  having regard to Articles 298 and 336 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) which provides for the legislative procedure that applies to staff matters,

–  having regard to the Declaration by the HR/VP of the Commission on Political Accountability (hereinafter HR/VP Declaration)(1),

–  having regard to the 2012 EEAS Staffing Report of 24 July 2012 presented in accordance with Article 6(9) of the EEAS Decision,

–  having regard to Rule 97 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Development, the Committee on Budget, the Committee on Budgetary Control and the Committee on Legal Affairs (A7-0147/2013),

A.  whereas the Lisbon Treaty introduced the objective of ensuring the unity, consistency and effectiveness of the European Union's external action;

B.  whereas the EEAS is a new body of hybrid nature, drawing upon community and intergovernmental sources, which has no precedent in the EU and which therefore cannot be expected to be fully functional within two years of its establishment; whereas, therefore, a review of its organisation and functioning should be based on fair and constructive criticism;

C.  whereas 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, and its capacity to achieve a more efficient use of scarce resources through greater cooperation and economies of scale at European Union and national levels;

D.  whereas the triple-hatted role of the HR/VP is the most tangible manifestation of this search for greater coherence in the EU’s external action;

E.  whereas the current structure within the Commission does not adequately reflect the specific role granted to the HR/VP in relation to the EU’s external action;

F.  whereas the multiple roles entrusted by the Lisbon Treaty to the HR/VP calls for the creation of (a) political deputy/ies in order to ensure that (s)he is assisted in the accomplishment of her/his tasks;

G.  whereas operational decision-making and implementation in the area of the Common Foreign and Security Policy / Common Security and Defence Policy (CFSP/CSDP) are too slow because of structural and procedural reasons; whereas this has become apparent once more with the crisis in Mali, in response of which decision-making procedures and funding decisions have not been swiftly adopted and implemented;

H.  whereas the EEAS should be a streamlined, results-orientated, efficient structure, capable of providing support for political leadership in external relations, particularly in the area of CFSP and facilitating decision-making in the Council; whereas, for this reason, the EEAS should be capable of providing, at short notice and in a coordinated fashion, expertise from different departments, including from the Commission; whereas the current structure of the EEAS is too top-heavy and marked by too many decision-making layers;

I.  whereas the opportunities for quick deployment offered by the EU battle groups are not yet used;

J.  whereas the experience of the past has clearly shown the need for establishing permanent operational Headquarters in Brussels for the conduct of CSDP missions;

K.  whereas, in the case of the Arab revolutions, it has become apparent that the EU is unable to ensure, in the short term, a reallocation of resources, including staff, to match new political priorities; whereas the size and staff profiles of EU delegations must reflect the Union’s strategic interests;

L.  whereas the role of the EEAS in defining the strategic orientation, and in contributing to the implementation of the EU external financing instruments, should be strengthened in line with the key lines of EU foreign policy;

M.  whereas the importance of ensuring better coordination and good governance on development issues at the international level needs to be reaffirmed, in order to allow the EU to speak with one voice and gain visibility;

N.  whereas, particularly at times of budgetary restrictions, the EEAS should act as a catalyst for greater synergies, not only within the EU institutional framework but also between the EU and its Member States;

O.  whereas, at a time when Member States' governments are reducing their diplomatic and consular presence, the EEAS should be seen and further used as an opportunity to foster greater cooperation and synergies;

P.  whereas greater effort should be made to avoid duplication of efforts and structures between the EEAS, the Commission – in particular DG DEVCO and the European Community Humanitarian aid Office (ECHO) – and the Council Secretariat;

Q.  whereas the target of one third of staff originating from Member States has been reached, and whereas the staff originating from the three components (the Commission, the Council Secretariat and the national diplomatic services) should be appropriately distributed at all levels and between delegations and Headquarters;

R.  whereas women are under-represented in AD and senior positions, and over-represented in AST positions;

S.  whereas any modification regarding the rules on staff has to be adopted under the codecision procedure;

T.  whereas 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;

U.  whereas, two and a half years after the adoption of the HR/VP Declaration, there should be a thorough assessment of the political accountability of the EEAS towards Parliament, notably as regards the extent to which Parliament is consulted on strategic decisions and its views and inputs are taken into account;

V.  whereas this assessment should also address ways to improve appearances before Parliament and its bodies by the HR/VP and EEAS officials, including the Heads of Delegations and EUSRs, and how the EEAS follows up Parliament's resolutions;

W.  whereas Parliament's oversight over the EEAS is essential if European external action is to be better understood and supported by EU citizens; whereas parliamentary scrutiny enhances the legitimacy of the external action;

X.  whereas flexibility is lacking in the current financial circuits in delegations, with detrimental effect on the workload of the staff;

1.  Addresses the following recommendation to the High Representative/Vice President, the Council and the Commission, bearing in mind that there has been good progress in setting up the EEAS but that more can be achieved in terms of synergy and coordination between institutions, as well as political leadership and visibility, due to the opportunities created by the combination of the roles of High Representative, Vice-President of the Commission and Chair of the Foreign Affairs Council, and by strengthening the instrumental nature of the Service:

On leadership and a more rational and efficient structure for 21st century diplomacy

2.  to provide support to the HR/VP in the accomplishment of his/her multiple duties as entrusted by the TEU, by foreseeing the appointment of (a) political deputy/ies who would be accountable to Parliament and appear before its responsible committee prior to taking up duties, and empowered to act on behalf of the HR/VP; to ensure also that RELEX Commissioners can fully represent the HR/VP for parliamentary matters and internationally; furthermore, to consider involving Member States' foreign ministers for specific tasks and missions on behalf of the Union, as a way of reinforcing common EU positions;

3.  in light of the above, to simplify the command structure of the EEAS and enhance the role of its Executive Secretary General by establishing a clear chain of command to support effective decision-making as well as timely policy response, in this context, to rationalise the posts of Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director in charge of Administration, to reduce and simplify the hierarchical structure of the Managing Directorates, to clearly define the relevant competences within the management structure of the EEAS, and to review the current structure based on the Corporate Board, with a view to achieving efficiency, clarity and coherence in decision-making; in the same spirit, to ensure that the HR/VP receives political advice, for instance through a Political Council, from all the relevant institutional actors, thus allowing him/her to assess the impact of actions to be undertaken by the EEAS;

4.  to improve and strengthen the HR/VP's coordinating, initiating and political leadership roles, in particular as chair of the Foreign Affairs Council, by ensuring that, in the next Commission, (s)he realises his/her full potential as Vice-President of the Commission and is entrusted with the chairing of the group of RELEX Commissioners, enlarged to other Commissioners whose portfolios have an external dimension, in order to develop further the practice of joint proposals and joint decisions;

5.  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;

6.  to ensure that, in compliance with Article 9(3) of the EEAS Decision, the EEAS plays a leading role in the definition of the strategies of the relevant external financing instruments and that, for this purpose, the EEAS has the expertise to lead in these areas;

7.  to safeguard, at the same time, the 'community' character of the neighbourhood policy, bearing in mind that Parliament rejects any intergovernmentalisation of Union policies, and that the Treaty bestows upon the Commission the main responsibility for negotiating international agreements for and on behalf of the Union;

8.  to further improve the interface between the Directorate for Foreign Policy Instruments and the EEAS;

9.  to ensure that the European Union Special Representatives (EUSRs) are closely integrated into the work of the EEAS by anchoring them and their staff in the EEAS structure, and to consider, whenever possible, double-hatting them with EU Heads of Delegation;

10.  to carry out a systematic and in-depth audit in order to unify the external policy-related structures put in place by the Commission and the Council Secretariat, with a view to overcoming current duplications and promoting cost efficiency; to make this report available to Parliament;

11.  in the same vein, to further develop the practice of joint technical and logistical services between institutions, with a view to achieving economies of scale and improved efficiency; as a first step, to put under a ‘single joint structure’ the various logistical services of the Commission and EEAS for early warning, risk assessment and security tasks covering events outside of the Union, in which these services have to cooperate;

12.  in coordination with the Member States, to set out options over the medium to long-term for achieving economies of scale between Member States’ diplomatic services and the EEAS in third countries, including in relation to the provision of consular services;

13.  to adopt a coherent approach as regards the chairing of working groups of the Council and to end the rotating presidency of those groups;

14.  in line with Article 24 TEU, to ensure that Member States support the Union’s external and security policy actively and unreservedly, in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity, and that they comply with the Union’s actions and support the EEAS in carrying out its mandate;

15.  to this end, to promote deeper cooperation with Member States and to develop joint political reporting between delegations and embassies;

On the ‘appropriate structure’ for ensuring a comprehensive approach

16.  to implement the full potential of the Lisbon Treaty by pursuing a Comprehensive Approach that integrates diplomatic, economic, development, and – in the last resort and in full compliance with the UN Charter – military means behind common Union strategic policy guidelines in order to protect and promote the security and prosperity primarily of EU citizens and those in their neighbourhood, as well as further afield; in this context, to ensure coherence between short-term and longer-term measures; in addition, to ensure that the EEAS has the capacity for strategic thinking and to forward proposals for implementing important innovations offered by the Lisbon Treaty, like entrusting the implementation of certain tasks to groups of capable Member States, and the development of Permanent Structured Cooperation, including the use of battle groups;

17.  to that end, to develop further an ‘appropriate structure’ (for instance identified as a Crisis Board) that integrates conflict prevention, crisis response, peace building, the foreign policy instruments concerned, security policy and CSDP structures, and assures coordination with the geographical desks, delegations and other policy departments concerned in crisis management, building on the crisis platform concept; to ensure overall coherence and the avoidance of duplication within the EEAS; furthermore, to enhance inter-institutional coordination and clarity of roles;

18.  to ensure 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, to create 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;

On reforming financial procedures for effective external action

19.  to make full use of all possible flexibilities under the Financial Regulation relating to the financial management of administrative and operational expenditure so as to authorise Heads of Delegations, where circumstances so require, to sub-delegate further to their deputy and to Commission staff, thereby facilitating the management and smooth running of Delegations and allowing Heads of Delegations to focus on their political tasks;

20.  to speed up procedures in the Foreign Policy Instruments Service for administering CFSP finances against the objective of guaranteeing flexible and timely response to crisis situations and, in particular, to ensure that civilian CSDP operations are launched rapidly and with efficiency; in this regard, to examine whether changes to the Financial Regulation can be introduced without reducing oversight;

21.  to increase the flexibility and reactivity of EU external assistance by reviewing the rules for decisions on programming and spending for external financial instruments;

22.  to improve financial accountability by extending transparency to all CFSP budget lines including CSDP operations, EUSRs, non-proliferation and conflict prevention;

On the Delegations

23.  to grant the EEAS a greater say in the (re)allocation of Commission staff in EU delegations in order to ensure that the staff profiles and size of EU delegations reflects the Union’s strategic interests and its political priorities;

24.  to take the necessary steps to ensure that Heads of EU Delegations are appointed on the basis of merit and sound knowledge of the Union's interests, values and policies, in order to ensure motivation and the highest degree of quality and efficiency among those selected for such sensitive functions;

25.  to provide that, particularly in delegations where the number of EEAS staff is small, the Head of Delegation can, in compliance with Article 5(2) of the EEAS Decision, also task Commission staff to carry out political analysis and political reporting;

26.  in this context, to strengthen the authority of the Heads of Delegation over the whole staff, including Commission staff, and to ensure that the Head of Delegation is the addressee of all instructions issued by Headquarters;

27.  to seriously develop the opportunities opened up by the EEAS Decision and by the TEU, notably by enhancing the coordinating role of delegations, especially in crisis situations, and by enabling them to provide consular protection to EU citizens from Member States who are not represented in a given country; to ensure any additional tasks do not take resources away from existing policies, institutions and priorities at EU level;

28.  given that the vast majority of EU Delegations now have human rights focal points, to ensure that human rights and women’s rights in particular are mainstreamed within every Delegation and Office of the EU; furthermore, to give visibility to European culture based on its diversity; to ensure, where appropriate, that EU delegations have among their existing staff a liaison officer for the European Parliament charged with providing adequate assistance to Parliament's delegations in third countries and enquiries, based on the principle that EU delegations represent all EU institutions in the same manner;

29.  to ensure, furthermore, that delegations have expertise in those policy areas (e.g. climate change, energy security, social and labour policy, culture, etc.) which are relevant for the EU’s relations with the country in question;

30.  to ensure that, wherever applicable, every delegation has a security and defence attaché, in particular where delegations operate in situations of political instability or fragility or where a recent CSDP operation or mission has been terminated, in order to ensure operational continuity and adequate monitoring of the political environment;

31.  Calls on the HR/VP to order a review of the security arrangements and requirements at EU delegations abroad, so as to ascertain that security decisions are made by the EEAS and not by outside security contractors;

On implementing the Declaration on Political Accountability

32.  in line with the quadripartite agreement reached in Madrid in June 2010, to ensure full and effective implementation of the obligation in Article 36 TEU to have the Parliament’s views duly taken into consideration, for example by a proactive and systematic consultation with the appropriate committee of Parliament before the adoption of strategies and mandates in the area of CFSP/CSDP;

33.  to ensure full political reporting from Union delegations to key office holders of Parliament under regulated access;

34.  to ensure, in line with Article 218(10) TEU, that Parliament is immediately and fully informed at all stages of the procedure for negotiations on international agreements, including agreements concluded in the area of CFSP;

35.  in line with the positive experience of newly appointed Heads of Delegations and EUSRs appearing before AFET before taking up their posts, to extend this practice to newly appointed CSDP Heads of Missions and Operations;

36.  to ensure that, once appointed by the HR/VP, the new Heads of Delegations are officially confirmed by the relevant committee of Parliament before taking up their posts;

37.  to have a systematic exchange with the appropriate committee of Parliament ahead of each Foreign Affairs Council and to debrief this committee after each Council meeting;

On training and consolidating a European diplomatic esprit de corps

38.  to promote common training and other concrete measures for the consolidation of an esprit de corps among EEAS staff with various diplomatic, cultural and institutional backgrounds, and to consider joint training initiatives for EEAS staff and national diplomats, as part of their continuous professional development;

39.  in this spirit, to review the relevant existing training and educational programmes at EU and national levels, with a view to consolidating them alongside the existing European Security and Defence College;

On the recruitment base

40.  to further pursue and intensify efforts to achieve better gender balance, with due regard to merit and competences; to emphasise the importance of achieving balance at the level of Heads of Delegations and other managerial levels; to introduce transitional measures, whilst developing an action plan, that would include mentoring programmes, special training and a family-friendly working environment in order to promote the representation of women and to address the structural obstacles to their diplomatic careers;

41.  to take all necessary measures to redress geographical representativity at senior levels and at all other grades and positions in order to foster and encourage political ownership of the EEAS by officials and Member States alike, and as required by Article 6(6) and 6(8) of the EEAS Decision;

42.  given that the target of one third of staff recruited from Member States has been reached, to ensure that staff from national ministries are not concentrated at managerial levels, thereby enabling career opportunities for all, and to focus now on the recruitment of new EU staff on a permanent basis; also to explore, in that regard, the options for national diplomats working at the EEAS to apply for permanent posts within the Service;

43.  in order to develop a truly European esprit de corps and to ensure that the Service only serves common European interests, to oppose all attempts by the Member States to interfere with the recruitment process of EEAS staff; now that the transition period is over, to ensure that the EEAS can develop its own and independent recruitment procedure, open also to officials from all EU institutions and to candidates from the outside through open competitions;

44.  to consider in particular, in view of the European Parliament's special role with regard to the definition of objectives and basic choices of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Parliament's competences as a budgetary authority, its role in democratic scrutiny of foreign policy as well as its practice of parliamentary foreign relations, the possibility for officials from the European Parliament to be able to apply for posts in the EEAS on an equal footing with those from the Council and the Commission from 1 July 2013;

45.  to ensure that the EEAS has the appropriate mix of skills for responding to conflict, in particular by developing skills in the area of mediation and dialogue.

The longer term

46.  Calls, in the context of 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;

o   o

47.  Instructs its President to forward this recommendation to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ C 210, 3.8.2010, p. 1.

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