Dáil Éireann - Volume 487 - 19 February, 1998

Written Answers - Common Foreign and Security Policy.

14. Mr. Bell asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs when he expects the common foreign and security policy planning cell, as proposed in the Amsterdam Treaty, to be in place; and the procedures for the selection of personnel for this. [4299/98]

53. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs when he expects the new powers of the high representative for common foreign and security policy to be conferred upon the Secretary General of the European Council. [4298/98]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Andrews): I propose to take Questions Nos. 14 and 53 together.

The establishment of a policy planning and early warning unit for the Common Foreign and Security Policy — CFSP — of the EU was agreed in a declaration adopted by the European Council in Amsterdam in June 1997. The Treaty of

Amsterdam will give the Secretary General of the Council a new role as high representative of the CFSP. Both these changes will come into effect when the treaty enters into force. It is difficult to anticipate the exact date of the entry into force which will require the completion of ratification procedures by all member states, according to their constitutional requirements. However, I expect the establishment of the policy planning unit to be complete and the Secretary General of [952] the Council to assume his role of high representative for CFSP on the entry into force of the treaty.

The declaration on the establishment of the policy planning and early warning unit stipulates that it will be established in the general secretariat of the Council, under the responsibility of its Secretary General, the high representative for the CFSP. It will consist of personnel drawn from the general secretariat, the member states, the commission and the Western European Union. The Council of Ministers has already had an initial discussion of the size and structure of the unit and mandated the appropriate bodies to consider these issues further. It is expected that a report on the outcome of these discussions will be made to the General Affairs Council later this year to allow for initial decisions to be taken in respect of the 1999 budget, in preparation for setting up the policy planning and early warning unit.