Tuesday, 29 January 2008

EU Treaty of Lisbon: Civilian and military missions

In the Petersberg Declaration, the Western European Union (WEU) Council of Ministers decided to strengthen WEU’s operational role by taking on tasks in addition to the mutual defence obligations of the member states. These are known as the Petersberg tasks (Bonn, 19 June 1992; Declaration II.4):

“4. Apart from contributing to the common defence in accordance with Article 5 of the Washington Treaty and Article V of the modified Brussels Treaty respectively, military units of WEU member States, acting under the authority of WEU, could be employed for:
- humanitarian and rescue tasks;
- peacekeeping tasks;
- tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking.”

From a British point of view, the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) grew from a UK-French initiative at St Malo in 1998, where the Heads of State and Government of France and the United Kingdom are agreed i.a. that the European Union needs to be in a position to play its full role on the international stage, including the responsibility of the European Council to decide on the progressive framing of a common defence policy in the framework of CFSP. The Council must be able to take decisions on an intergovernmental basis, covering the whole range of activity set out in Title V of the Treaty of European Union.

To this end, the leaders concluded, the Union must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed up by credible military forces, the means to decide to use them, and a readiness to do so, in order to respond to international crises.

The St Malo agreement is still presented as one of the highlights of relations between the UK and France, as by the British Embassy in France:

“Current cooperation with France on European Security and Defence Policy evolved from the St Malo proposal to give the EU the capacity to respond to international crises through military and civilian, such as police, operations. In late 2003 this led to Trilateral proposals on the issue of the planning of EU operations, finally agreed in October 2004 at trilateral level, and on the defence aspects of the draft Constitutional Treaty.
The UK and France have recently developed a joint proposal to create EU rapid response forces for urgent crises where the UN needs assistance (battlegroups). The UK and French governments are both buying new aircraft carriers and are looking at the scope for co-operation on this, and on other major procurement projects such as air refuelling tankers.”

This view is attested by the UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, which notes that President Sarkozy of France has already made it clear that, ten years after St Malo, the development of EU defence will be a priority of France’s EU Presidency in the second half of 2008 (p. 71)


***

Since the following Articles on the common security and defence policy are new at the Treaty level, the intergovernmental conference (IGC 2007) had to render them in a readable way. Thus, the IGC 2007 version is the consolidated version (bar later renumbering; I follow the original Lisbon Treaty numbers). Unmutilated Article 28b TEU is next (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/34 and 35):

50) The following new Articles 28 B to 28 E shall be inserted:


Article 28b

1. The tasks referred to in Article 28 A(1), in the course of which the Union may use civilian and military means, shall include joint disarmament operations, humanitarian and rescue tasks, military advice and assistance tasks, conflict prevention and peace-keeping tasks, tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peace-making and post-conflict stabilisation. All these tasks may contribute to the fight against terrorism, including by supporting third countries in combating terrorism in their territories.

2. The Council shall adopt decisions relating to the tasks referred to in paragraph 1, defining their objectives and scope and the general conditions for their implementation. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, acting under the authority of the Council and in close and constant contact with the Political and Security Committee, shall ensure coordination of the civilian and military aspects of such tasks.

***

CSDP missions are not new as such. In CSDP Article 17 TEU different tasks are mentioned (latest consolidated version OJ 29.12.2006 C 321 E/17):

Article 17(2) TEU

2. Questions referred to in this Article shall include humanitarian and rescue tasks, peace-keeping tasks and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking.

***

In this, as in many instances, the Treaty of Lisbon is indebted to the Convention, which drafted Article III-210 of the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (OJ 18.7.2003 C 169/68 and 69):

SECTION 1
The common security and defence policy

Article III-210

1. The tasks referred to in Article I-40(1), in the course of which the Union may use civilian and military means, shall include joint disarmament operations, humanitarian and rescue tasks, military advice and assistance tasks, conflict prevention and peace-keeping tasks, tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking and post-conflict stabilisation. All these tasks may contribute to the fight against terrorism, including by supporting third countries in combating terrorism in their territories.

2. The Council of Ministers, acting unanimously, shall adopt European decisions relating to the tasks referred to in paragraph 1, defining their objectives and scope and the general conditions for their implementation. The Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, acting under the authority of the Council of Ministers and in close and constant contact with the Political and Security Committee, shall ensure coordination of the civilian and military aspects of such tasks.

***

In the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe the member states’ governments signed up to the proposal of the Convention in Article III-309 (OJ 16.12.2004 C 310/138 and 139):

SECTION 2
THE COMMON SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY

Article III-309

1. The tasks referred to in Article I-41(1), in the course of which the Union may use civilian and military means, shall include joint disarmament operations, humanitarian and rescue tasks, military advice and assistance tasks, conflict prevention and peace-keeping tasks, tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peace-making and post-conflict stabilisation. All these tasks may contribute to the fight against terrorism, including by supporting third countries in combating terrorism in their territories.

2. The Council shall adopt European decisions relating to the tasks referred to in paragraph 1, defining their objectives and scope and the general conditions for their implementation. The Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, acting under the authority of the Council and in close and constant contact with the Political and Security Committee, shall ensure coordination of the civilian and military aspects of such tasks.

***

We see that humanitarian and rescue tasks, peace-keeping tasks and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking, already have their basis in the existing TEU, exactly as presented in the Petersberg Declaration.

The Convention, the Constitutional Treaty and the Reform Treaty, almost ‘verbatim’, codify and exemplify existing and expanding practice, where not only military units, but civilian components can be deployed as well, and the fight against terrorism is mentioned explicitly. This is the expansion in the list of “Petersberg tasks” the UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee refers to in its report (p. 73).

The Swedish government refers to the framework for the European Union’s crisis management operations in the Reform Treaty Article 28a TEU and mentions the further development of the Petersberg tasks in Article 28b TEU to encompass missions before, during and after a conflict. The government offers some examples of civilian missions – police tasks, support for the rule of law and rescue services – as well as mentioning military tasks (p. 365-366).

While the Council adopts the necessary basic decisions, unanimously pursuant to Article 28a(4), we take note of the importance of the High Representative and the Political and Security Committee in the day to day coordination of the CSDP operations.


Ralf Grahn


Sources:

Western European Union Council of Ministers: Petersberg Declaration; Bonn, 19 June 1992

Joint declaration: British-French summit St Malo, 3-4 December 1998

British Embassy, France: The Franco-British relationship today

UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee: Foreign Policy Aspects of the Lisbon Treaty; Third Report of Session 2007-08; 20 January 2008

Government of Sweden: Lissabonfördraget; Statsrådsberedningen, Departementsserien (Ds) 2007:48; 20 december 2007