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Procedure : 2015/2275(INI)
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Document selected : A8-0158/2016

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PV 06/06/2016 - 16
CRE 06/06/2016 - 16

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PV 07/06/2016 - 5.12
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Tuesday, 7 June 2016 - Strasbourg
Peace Support Operations – EU engagement with the UN and the African Union

European Parliament resolution of 7 June 2016 on Peace Support Operations – EU engagement with the UN and the African Union (2015/2275(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Title V of the Treaty on European Union, and in particular to Articles 21, 41, 42, and 43 thereof,

–  having regard to Article 220 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular to Chapters VI, VII and VIII thereof,

–  having regard to the report of the UN Secretary-General of 1 April 2015, ‘Partnering for peace: moving towards partnership peacekeeping’(1),

–  having regard to the Joint Communication by the European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 28 April 2015 on ‘Capacity building in support of security and development – Enabling partners to prevent and manage crises’(2),

–  having regard to the report of 16 June 2015 of the UN High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations(3),

–  having regard to the declaration made at the 28 September 2015 Leader’s Summit on Peace-Keeping convened by President Barack Obama of the United States,

–  having regard to the documents of 14 June 2012 ‘Plan of Action to enhance EU CSDP support to UN peacekeeping’(4) and of 27 March 2015 ‘Strengthening the UN-EU Strategic Partnership on Peacekeeping and Crisis Management: Priorities 2015-2018’(5),

–  having regard to the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) agreed at the 2nd EU-Africa Summit held in Lisbon on 8-9 December 2007(6) and the JAES Roadmap 2014-2017 agreed at the 4th EU-Africa Summit held in Brussels on 2-3 April 2014(7),

–  having regard to the European Court of Auditors’ Special Report No 3 of 2011 on ‘The Efficiency and Effectiveness of EU Contributions channelled through United Nations organisations in Conflict-affected Countries’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 November 2015 on ‘The role of the EU within the UN – how to better achieve EU foreign policy goals’(8),

–  having regard to the resolution of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly of 9 December 2015 on ‘The evaluation of the African Peace Facility after ten years: effectiveness and prospects for the future’,

–  having regard to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

–  having regard to the ‘Oslo’ Guidelines on the Use of Foreign Military and Civil Defence Assets in Disaster Relief of November 2007,

–  having regard to Article 4h and 4j of the Constitutive Act of the African Union,

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325(2000) on Women, Peace and Security(9),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 15 October 2012 on the roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe’s engagement with civil society in external relations,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and to the opinion of the Committee on Development (A8-0158/2016),

A.  whereas Peace Support Operations (PSOs) are a form of crisis response, normally in support of an internationally recognised organisation such as the UN or the African Union (AU), with a UN mandate, and designed to prevent armed conflict, restore, maintain or build peace, enforce peace agreements and tackle the complex emergencies and challenges posed by failing or weak states; whereas the stability of the African and European neighbourhood would greatly benefit all our countries;

B.  whereas the aim of PSOs is to help create stable, secure and more prosperous environments for the longer term; whereas good governance, justice, greater respect for the rule of law, protection of civilians, respect for human rights and security are the essential preconditions for this, and successful reconciliation, reconstruction and economic development programmes will help deliver self-sustaining peace and prosperity;

C.  whereas the security landscape in Africa in particular has changed dramatically in the last decade, with the emergence of terrorist and insurgent groups in Somalia, Nigeria, and the Sahel-Sahara region, and with peace enforcement and counter-terrorism operations becoming the rule rather than the exception in many areas; whereas fragile states and ungoverned spaces are increasing in number, leaving so many people affected by poverty, lawlessness, corruption and violence; whereas the porous borders within the continent help fuel violence, reduce security and provide opportunities for criminal activity;

D.  whereas peace has been recognised as crucial for development in the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 on peace and justice has been introduced;

E.  whereas appropriately experienced and equipped organisations and nations, ideally with a clear and realistic UN mandate, should provide those resources necessary for a successful PSO, in order to help create secure environments for civil organisations to do their work;

F.  whereas the UN remains the main guarantor of international peace and security, and has the most comprehensive framework for multilateral cooperation in crisis management; whereas there are currently 16 UN peacekeeping operations with over 120 000 personnel deployed, more than ever before; whereas over 87 % of UN peacekeepers are deployed on eight missions in Africa; whereas the UN is constrained in the scope of its operations;

G.  whereas the AU operates under different constraints from the UN and can take sides, intervene without invitation, and intervene where no peace accord has been signed, while still respecting the UN Charter; whereas given the number of inter-state and intra-state conflicts in Africa this is an important difference;

H.  whereas NATO has provided support to the AU, including to AMIS in Darfur and AMISOM in Somalia, with planning and strategic air-and-sea lift assets, and capacity-building for the African Standby Force (ASF);

I.  whereas the crises in Africa call for a coherent global response which goes beyond the purely security aspects; whereas peace and security are necessary preconditions for development, and all local and international actors have highlighted the need for close coordination between security and development policy; whereas a long-term perspective is needed; whereas Security Sector Reform and disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants can be of importance in reaching stability and development goals; whereas the UN Liaison Office for Peace and Security and the Permanent Mission of the African Union in Brussels play key roles in developing relationships between their organisations and the EU, NATO and national embassies;

J.  whereas the primary mechanism for European cooperation with the AU is the African Peace Facility, originally established in 2004 and providing some EUR 1,9 billion through the Member State-funded EDF; whereas when the APF was established in 2003 its financing via EDF funds was meant to be provisional, but 12 years later the EDF remains the main source of funding for the APF; whereas in 2007 the scope of the Facility was broadened to encompass a wider range of conflict-prevention and post-conflict stabilisation activities; whereas the 2014-2016 action programme takes account of external evaluation and consultations with Member States and introduces new elements to improve its effectiveness; whereas Article 43 TEU refers to the so-called ‘Petersberg Plus’ tasks, which cover military advice and assistance tasks, conflict prevention and peace-keeping tasks, and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peace-making and post-conflict stabilisation; whereas in 2014 more than 90 % of the budget was earmarked for PSOs, of which 65 % was for AMISOM staff; whereas strengthening the institutional capacity of the African Union and the African regional economic communities is vital to the success of PSOs and the post-conflict reconciliation and rehabilitation processes;

K.  whereas the EU’s role needs to be seen in the context of the contributions made to PSOs by numerous countries and organisations; whereas, for example, the US is the world’s largest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping operations and provides direct support to the AU through its African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership, as well as approximately USD 5 billion in support of UN operations in the Central African Republic, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, South Sudan and Somalia; whereas these various sources of funding are coordinated by the African Union Partners Group on Peace and Security; whereas China has become an active participant in UN peacekeeping operations and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation includes the AU Commission; whereas, after Ethiopia, it is India, Pakistan and Bangladesh that are the largest providers of personnel for UN peacekeeping;

L.  whereas the European countries and the EU itself are major contributors to the UN system, notably in providing financial support for UN programmes and projects; whereas France, Germany and the UK are the largest European contributors to the budget for UN PKOs; whereas the EU Member States are collectively the largest contributor to the UN’s peacekeeping budget, with about 37 %, and are currently contributing troops to nine peacekeeping missions; whereas, in addition, in 2014 and 2015 EU financial commitments to the AU totalled EUR 717,9 million and AU contributions amounted to just EUR 25 million; whereas European countries contribute only about 5 % of UN Peacekeeping personnel, with 5 000 troops out of a total of some 92 000; whereas, however, France, for example, trains 25 000 African soldiers each year and separately deploys over 4 000 personnel in African PKOs;

M.  whereas anti-personnel landmines have been a major obstacle to post-conflict rehabilitation and development, not least in Africa, and the EU has spent some EUR 1,5 billion over the past 20 years on processes to support demining and assist mine victims, becoming the largest donor in this field;

N.  whereas, in addition to the role of individual European countries, the EU has a distinctive contribution to make in PSOs with multidimensional actions; whereas the EU is providing technical and financial support to the AU and the sub-regional organisations, in particular through the African Peace Facility, the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace and the European Development Fund; whereas the EU is conducting counselling and training actions in the framework of its CSDP missions, contributing to the reinforcement of African capacities in crisis management;

O.  whereas the five civilian EU missions and the four military EU operations ongoing in Africa frequently operate alongside or in sequence with UN, AU or national actions;

P.  whereas the EU is committed to helping strengthen the African Peace and Security Architecture, in particular by supporting the operationalisation of the African Standby Force (ASF);

Q.  whereas the European Council has requested that the EU and its Member States enhance their support to partner countries and organisations, through the provision of training, advice, equipment and resources, so that they can increasingly prevent or manage crises by themselves; whereas there is a clear need for mutually reinforcing interventions in the areas of security and development in order to achieve this goal;

R.  whereas the EU should support the actions of others who may be better able to fulfil particular roles, avoiding overlap and helping strengthen the work of those already present on the ground, in particular Member States;

S.  whereas Article 41(2) TEU prohibits expenditure from EU budgets on operations having military or defence implications, while not explicitly excluding EU financing of military tasks such as peacekeeping operations with development objectives; whereas the common costs are charged to the Member States under the Athena mechanism; whereas, while the primary objective of EU development policy is the reduction, and in the long term the eradication, of poverty, Articles 209 and 212 TFEU do not explicitly exclude the financing of capacity-building in the security sector; whereas the EDF and the APF, as instruments outside the EU budget, are relevant in addressing the security-development nexus; whereas the EDF requires that programming is designed to meet the criteria of Official Development Assistance (ODA), which mostly exclude security‑related expenses; whereas the EU is working on the possibility of additional dedicated instruments in the context of its initiative on Capacity Building in Support of Security and Development (CBSD);

T.  whereas the needs of the countries concerned and European security must be the guiding principles for EU involvement;

1.  Stresses the need for coordinated external actions that make use of diplomatic, security and development tools to restore confidence and tackle the challenges of wars, internal conflicts, insecurity, fragility and transition;

2.  Observes that the deployment of multiple UN-authorised missions in the same theatre of operations, with different actors and regional organisations, is increasingly the reality of modern peace operations; underlines that managing these complex partnerships, while not duplicating work or missions, is essential to successful operations; in this regard, calls for the evaluation and rationalisation of the existing structures;

3.  Stresses the importance of early communication and enhanced procedures for crisis consultation with the UN and the AU, as well as other organisations such as NATO and the OSCE; highlights the need to improve information sharing, including on the planning, conduct and analysis of missions; welcomes the finalisation and signing of the EU-UN administrative arrangement on exchanging classified information; recognises the importance of the Africa-EU Partnership and of EU-AU political dialogue on peace and security; suggests an agreement between the AU, the EU and other key actors and the UN on a set of shared aims for African security and development;

4.  Urges the EU, given the scale of the challenges and the complex involvement of other organisations and nations, to seek an appropriate division of labour and to focus on where it can best add value; notes that a number of Member States are already involved in operations in Africa and that the EU could generate real value-added by supporting these operations more;

5.  Notes that, in an increasingly complex security environment, UN and AU missions are in need of a comprehensive approach under which, in addition to deploying military, diplomatic and development instruments, other essential factors are a thorough knowledge of the security environment, exchanges of intelligence and information and modern technologies, knowledge of how to undertake counterterrorism and fight crime in conflict and post-conflict areas, the deployment of critical enablers, the provision of humanitarian aid, and restoration of political dialogue, all of which European countries can help to provide; notes the work already being done by specific Member States, as well as by other multinational organisations in this field;

6.  Stresses the importance of the other instruments of the EU in the security field and, in particular, of the CSDP missions and operations; recalls that the EU is intervening in Africa to contribute to the stabilisation of countries facing crises, in particular through training missions; underlines the role of the CSDP missions, both civilian and military, in supporting reforms of the security sector and contributing to the international crisis management strategy;

7.  Notes that the perceived legitimacy of a PSO is key to its success; believes that the AU should therefore contribute with support and military forces wherever possible; notes that this is also important with regard to the long-term self-policing aims of the AU;

8.  Welcomes the fact that the new African Peace Facility action programme addresses shortcomings, and places stronger emphasis on exit strategies, greater burden-sharing with African countries, more targeted support and improved decision-making procedures;

9.  Welcomes the UN-EU Strategic Partnership on Peacekeeping and Crisis Management and its priorities for 2015-2018 as agreed in March 2015; notes the past and ongoing CSDP missions aimed at peace-keeping, conflict prevention and strengthening international security, and takes account of the key role of other organisations, including pan-African and regional organisations, and of countries in these areas; calls on the EU to make further efforts to facilitate Member State contributions; recalls that the EU has engaged in crisis-management activities in Africa, aimed at peacekeeping, conflict prevention and strengthening international security in line with the UN Charter; notes that only 11 of the 28 EU Member States made pledges at the 28 September 2015 Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping, while China pledged a standby force of 8 000 and Colombia 5 000 troops; calls on the EU Member States to significantly increase their military and police contributions to UN peacekeeping missions;

10.  Underlines the need for a rapid African response to crisis, and identifies the key role in this of the African Standby Force (ASF); underlines the major contribution of the EU, through the African Peace Facility and the funding of the AU, allowing the AU to strengthen its capacity to provide a collective response to crises on the continent; encourages regional organisations, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to increase their efforts in the area of rapid African responses to crises and to complement the efforts of the AU;

11.  Emphasises, nevertheless, the importance of investing more in conflict prevention, taking account of factors such as political and religious radicalisation, election-related violence, population displacements and climate change;

12.  Recognises the critical contribution of the African Peace Facility in developing the triangular partnership between the UN, the EU and the AU; believes that this Facility provides both an entry point and a potential lever for creating a stronger partnership between the EU and the AU and has proved indispensable in allowing the AU, and through it the eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs), to plan and manage their operations; considers it vital that the EU institutions and Member States remain closely engaged if the Facility is to be fully utilised and that the AU demonstrate higher levels of efficiency and transparency in using the funds; takes the view that the APF should focus on structural support rather than just bankrolling African forces’ pay; acknowledges that there are other funding mechanisms in use, but believes that given the Facility’s sole focus on Africa, as well as its clear goals, it is especially important with regard to PSOs in Africa; considers that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working on peace-building in Africa should be given the opportunity to contribute their views, as part of a more strategic engagement with CSOs on peace and security; remains concerned at the continuing problems of financing and political will on the part of African countries; notes the Council conclusions of 24 September 2012 which state that ‘funding, alternative to the funding from the EDF, will have to be considered’;

13.  Observes that stepping up European military cooperation would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of Europe’s contribution to UN peace missions;

14.  Welcomes, given the great importance of building African capabilities, the successful conduct of the Amani Africa II exercise in October 2015, involving more than 6 000 military, police and civilian participants, and looks forward to the operationalisation of the 25 000-strong African Standby Force (ASF) as soon as possible in 2016;

15.  Calls on the EU and its Member States, as well as on other members of the international community, to assist with training, including discipline, equipment, logistical support, financial assistance and development of rules of engagement (RoE), to encourage and assist African states in full and continuing commitment to the ASF; urges more active advocacy of the ASF in African capitals by Member State embassies and EU delegations; believes that the ODA needs to be redesigned under the OECD framework through peacebuilding lenses; considers that the EDF regulation should be reviewed in order to allow programming design that includes peace, security and justice expenditures that have development-related motivation;

16.  Notes the importance of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions for Africa’s security, in particular training and support missions for African forces, and especially EUTM Mali, EUCAP Sahel Mali and EUCAP Sahel Niger, EUTM Somalia, and EUCAP Nestor; notes the additional support provided by those missions for the efforts of other, UN-run missions; calls on the EU to step up the capabilities of those training missions, in particular by allowing African soldiers who have been trained to be monitored on and after their return from theatres of operations;

17.  Insists that neither the EU nor the Member States, in supporting PSOs, should act in isolation but that they should, rather, take full account of the contributions of other international actors, improve coordination with them and rapidity of response, and focus their efforts on certain priority countries using the most appropriate and experienced Member and African States as lead nations; underlines the importance of the regional economic communities in the architecture of African security; notes the role EU delegations could play as facilitators of coordination among international actors;

18.  Supports a holistic EU approach, which is the main instrument for mobilising the full potential of EU action in the context of peacekeeping operations and the stabilisation process, as well as for mobilising various ways to support the development of AU countries;

19.  Stresses that border management assistance should be a priority for EU engagement in Africa; notes that porous borders are one of the main factors behind the increase in terrorism in Africa;

20.  Welcomes the Joint Communication on capacity-building and joins the Council in calling for its urgent implementation; points to the EU’s potential, particularly through its comprehensive approach covering civilian and military means, to help strengthen security in fragile and conflict-affected countries and to address the needs of our partners, in particular for military recipients, while reiterating that security is a precondition for development and democracy; regrets that neither the European Commission nor the Council shared with the European Parliament their assessment of the legal options in support of capacity building; calls on both institutions to inform the European Parliament on this in due time; calls on the European Commission to suggest a legal base in line with the original European objectives of 2013 outlined in the initiative on ‘Enable and Enhance’;

21.  Points out that the Council Legal Service’s contribution of 7 December 2015, entitled ‘Capacity building in support of security and development – legal questions’, gives thought to ways and means of financing matériel for African countries’ militaries; calls on the Council to continue this discussion;

22.  Welcomes the positive responses received by France after activation of Article 42(7); very much welcomes the re-engagement of European armed forces in Africa;

23.  Recognises that the problem is often not the lack of funding but, rather, how funds are spent and what other resources are utilised; notes that the Court of Auditors’ recommendations concerning EU funds have not been fully implemented; calls for regular reviews of how funding from national governments through the EU and the UN is spent; believes it is vital to utilise funds effectively, given their finite nature and the scale of the problems being faced; believes accountability is an essential part of this process, as well as helping to tackle endemic corruption in Africa; insists on a more thorough and transparent evaluation of PSOs supported by the EU; backs initiatives such as the Békou trust fund operating in the Central African Republic, which seeks to pool European development-related resources, expertise and capacities in order to overcome the fragmentation and ineffectiveness of international action in the context of reconstruction of a country; calls for more systematic joint programming among the various EU instruments;

24.  Notes the 15 May 2015 UN Evaluation Report on Enforcement and Remedial Assistance Efforts for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by the United Nations and Related Personnel in Peacekeeping Operations; considers that the AU, the UN, the EU and Member States should exercise strong vigilance concerning such criminal matters and urges the most rigorous disciplinary and judicial procedures and the utmost effort to prevent such crimes; recommends, furthermore, appropriate training and education of PKO staff and believes the appointment of female staff and gender advisors would help overcome cultural misconceptions and reduce the occurrence of sexual violence;

25.  Calls for a concerted effort towards capacity-building by the EU and the UN; believes the current funding programme is unsustainable, and that conditions should be attached to the African Peace Facility in order to encourage the AU to increase its own contributions to PSOs;

26.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the President of the European Council, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the UN, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, the President of the Pan-African Parliament, the Secretary-General of NATO and the President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

(1) S/2015/229.
(2) JOIN(2015)0017.
(3) A/70/95–S/2015/446.
(4) Council document 11216/12.
(5) EEAS(2015)458, Council document 7632/15.
(6) Council document 7204/08.
(7) Council document 8370/14.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0403.
(9) OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 56.

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