Thursday, 24 January 2008

EU Treaty of Lisbon: Political and Security Committee

Foreign policy coordination between the member states of the European Economic Community (EEC), known as European Political Cooperation, started in 1970. Informal meetings of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, known as Gymnich meetings, have been held since 1974. Gradually, the contacts between the European capitals and their representatives in Brussels have evolved, leading to the intergovernmental common foreign and security policy (CFSP), including the common security and defence policy (CSDP).

The Lisbon Treaty merges the European Community (EC) into the European Union (EU), abolishes the pillar structure and aims to strengthen CFSP coordination, i.a. by the enhanced role of the High Representative/Vice-President , but the basic intergovernmental character of the CFSP remains.

Preparations for the meetings of ministers have developed as well, from meetings of the political directors of the Foreign Ministries into the present structures with a Political and Security Committee preparing the work of the Permanent Representatives and the Council. Since the Treaty of Nice, the Committee may be entrusted by the Council to manage crisis operations.

The relevant Article on the Political and Security Committee is adapted to these general changes.


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The Treaty of Lisbon amends the Treaty on European Union (TEU) Article 25 (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/31) according to the intergovernmental conference (IGC 2007).

44) Article 25 shall be amended as follows:

(a) in the first paragraph, first sentence, the reference to the Treaty establishing the European Community shall be replaced by a reference to the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union and the words "or of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy" shall be inserted after "at the request of the Council"; in the second sentence, the words "without prejudice to the responsibility of the Presidency and the Commission" shall be replaced by "without prejudice to the powers of the High Representative";

(b) the text of the second paragraph shall be replaced by the following: "Within the scope of this Chapter, the Political and Security Committee shall exercise, under the responsibility of the Council and of the High Representative, the political control and strategic direction of the crisis management operations referred to in Article 28 B.";

(c) in the third paragraph, the words ", without prejudice to Article 47" shall be deleted.

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The existing Treaty on European Union (TEU) Article 25 has the following wording (latest consolidated version OJ 29.12.2006 C 321 E/21):

Article 25

Without prejudice to Article 207 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, a Political
and Security Committee shall monitor the international situation in the areas covered by the
common foreign and security policy and contribute to the definition of policies by delivering
opinions to the Council at the request of the Council or on its own initiative. It shall also monitor
the implementation of agreed policies, without prejudice to the responsibility of the Presidency and the Commission.

Within the scope of this title, this Committee shall exercise, under the responsibility of the Council, political control and strategic direction of crisis management operations.

The Council may authorise the Committee, for the purpose and for the duration of a crisis
management operation, as determined by the Council, to take the relevant decisions concerning the political control and strategic direction of the operation, without prejudice to Article 47.

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The new consolidated version of Article 25 TEU should read like this:

Article 25

Without prejudice to Article 207 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union, a Political and Security Committee shall monitor the international situation in the areas covered by the common foreign and security policy and contribute to the definition of policies by delivering opinions to the Council at the request of the Council or of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy or on its own initiative. It shall also monitor the implementation of agreed policies, without prejudice to the powers of the High Representative.

Within the scope of this Chapter, the Political and Security Committee shall exercise, under the responsibility of the Council and of the High Representative, the political control and strategic direction of crisis management operations referred to in Article 28 B.

The Council may authorise the Committee, for the purpose and for the duration of a crisis
management operation, as determined by the Council, to take the relevant decisions concerning the political control and strategic direction of the operation.

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The reference to the existing Article 207 TEC, Article III-247 in the draft Constitutional Treaty and Article III-344 in the Constitutional Treaty leads to Article 207 in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) points out the responsibilities of the Committee of the permanent representatives of the governments of the member states, known by the French acronym Coreper. In the Lisbon Treaty it has the following wording:

Article 207

1. A committee consisting of the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the
Member States shall be responsible for preparing the work of the Council and for carrying out
the tasks assigned to it by the latter. The Committee may adopt procedural decisions in cases
provided for in the Council's Rules of Procedure.

2. The Council shall be assisted by a General Secretariat, under the responsibility of a
Secretary-General appointed by the Council.

The Council shall decide on the organisation of the General Secretariat by a simple majority.

3. The Council shall act by a simple majority regarding procedural matters and for the
adoption of its Rules of Procedure.

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The Convention proposed the following Article III-208 in the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (OJ 18.7.2003 C 169/68):

Article III-208

Without prejudice to Article III-247, a Political and Security Committee shall monitor the international situation in the areas covered by the common foreign and security policy and contribute to the definition of policies by delivering opinions to the Council of Ministers at the request of the latter, or of the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, or on its own initiative. It shall also monitor the implementation of agreed policies, without prejudice to the responsibility of the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Within the scope of this Chapter, this Committee shall exercise, under the responsibility of the Council of Ministers and of the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, political control and strategic
direction of crisis management operations, as defined in Article III-210.

The Council of Ministers may authorise the Committee, for the purpose and for the duration of a crisis management operation, as determined by the Council of Ministers, to take the relevant
measures concerning the political control and strategic direction of the operation.

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The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (OJ 16.12.2004 C 310/138) Article III-307 looked like this:

Article III-307

1. Without prejudice to Article III-344, a Political and Security Committee shall monitor the
international situation in the areas covered by the common foreign and security policy and
contribute to the definition of policies by delivering opinions to the Council at the request of the
latter, or of the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, or on its own initiative. It shall also monitor the implementation of agreed policies, without prejudice to the powers of the Union Minister for
Foreign Affairs.

2. Within the scope of this Chapter, the Political and Security Committee shall exercise, under the responsibility of the Council and of the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, the political control and strategic direction of the crisis management operations referred to in Article III-309.

The Council may authorise the Committee, for the purpose and for the duration of a crisis
management operation, as determined by the Council, to take the relevant measures concerning the political control and strategic direction of the operation.

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The amended Article 25 is one of many examples where the existing Treaties are adapted technically as a consequence of the position of the High Representative and following the renaming of the TEC, which becomes the TFEU. These changes in the Lisbon Treaty are, of course, quite similar to the wording of the Constitutional Treaty, but more profoundly they express the essential continuity between much of the existing Treaties with the Reform Treaty.

The Political and Security Committee (French acronym COPS) does not encroach upon the responsibilities of Coreper to prepare the work of the Council, unless expressly mandated by the Council to manage a crisis situation.


Ralf Grahn