Dáil Éireann - Volume 562 - 05 March, 2003
Written Answers - Peacekeeping Missions.
Mr. Eamon Ryan Mr. Eamon Ryan
122. Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on the agreement reached between EU foreign ministers and NATO at the recent General Affairs Council on the transfer of NATO's allied harmony peacekeeping mission in Macedonia to the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6529/03]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): Following on from the European Council in Copenhagen last December and on the basis of a joint action adopted by the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 27 January, the European Union is prepared to take over the current NATO-led allied harmony military monitoring-stabilisation mission in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, FYROM. A further joint action is expected to be submitted for approval at the next Council meeting on 18 and 19 March in order to facilitate deployment of the operation before the end of the month.
The planned EU mission in FYROM is small scale, with an overall personnel strength of around 300. It has been anticipated since the Barcelona and Seville European Councils and will constitute the first military operation under the EU's European Security and Defence Policy, ESDP. It takes place with the full agreement of the FYROM authorities and should also be seen within the overall EU political framework for FYROM and the Balkans region as a whole. The original NATO-led operation was endorsed by the UN Security Council under the terms of Resolution 1371 of 26 September 2001.
The joint action approved by the Council on 27 January confirmed the EU's decision in principle to act and was agreed unanimously by EU foreign ministers. NATO did not participate in that decision but the joint action contained provision that the EU operation should have recourse to certain NATO assets and capabilities. Arrangements in this regard are fully consistent with principles established by the Feira and Nice Euro pean Councils which hold that there should be autonomy of EU decision making, recognition of the different nature of the EU and NATO and non-discrimination against any of the member states.
It is envisaged the EU mission will be of six months duration. EU and OSCE monitors will remain in FYROM throughout the period of the operation, as will a separate NATO advisory mission. Against that background, provision has been made for participation by non-EU member states and for necessary ongoing liaison and co-ordination with NATO and the OSCE. A so-called committee of contributors, that is participating states, for the EU operation has since been established and will be composed of representatives of all EU member states, as well as representatives of the third countries contributing to the operation.
Powers of decision-making on the nature and scope of the EU operation are vested in the EU Council of Ministers, with the political control and strategic direction to be undertaken by the political and security committee – PSC – under the authority of the Council.
Ireland has expressed support in principle for the EU mission. It is entirely consistent with the EU's ongoing support for full implementation of the Ohrid framework agreement in FYROM and our general approach to tasks of conflict prevention and crisis management. However, Ireland will not participate on this occasion. This is due to legal advice indicating that the UN endorsement for the original NATO-led operation does not fully meet the requirements, as provided for in the Defence Acts, for the participation of Defence Forces personnel in the EU-led successor force.
Dáil Éireann 562 Written Answers Peacekeeping Missions.