Dáil Éireann - Volume 577 - 17 December, 2003
Written Answers. - European Security and Defence Policy.
Aengus Ó Snodaigh Aengus Ó Snodaigh
111. Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Defence the Government responsibilities in relation to the EU Military Committee, EU Military Staff and Rapid Reaction Force when it assumes the EU Presidency in 2004. [31618/03]
Mr. M. Smith Mr. M. Smith
Minister for Defence (Mr. M. Smith):The Italian Presidency European Security and Defence Policy, ESDP, report, which includes the mandate for the incoming Irish Presidency, was approved by the European Council on 12 December 2003. In the mandate, the Irish Presidency is tasked with carrying forward work on developing the European Security and Defence Policy, within the General Affairs and External Relations Council.
The EU Military Committee, EUMC, is the advisory authority on military capabilities in the EU and is responsible for providing the Political and Security Committee with military advice and recommendations on all military matters within the EU. The EUMC is chaired by a permanent chair, assisted by the Presidency. who will prepare a work programme based on the mandate received from the European Council. The EU Military Staff, EUMS, is made up of military personnel seconded from member states to the general secretariat of the council and is under the military direction of the EUMC. The EUMC will be assisted in progressing the EUMC work programme by the EUMS, as appropriate.
At the European Council meeting of 19 and 20 June 2003 held at Thessaloniki, the Council noted the progress which had been made in the field of military capabilities since the inception of the headline goal, which is the more accurate description of what is commonly referred to as the Rapid Reaction Force. Significantly, the Council also noted that the EU now has an operational capability across the full range of Petersberg Tasks, limited and constrained by certain shortfalls. The Irish Presidency will continue to build on the work of previous Presidencies in the development of the EU military capabilities to carry out humanitarian, peacekeeping and crisis management operations, that is, the Petersberg Tasks.
In 2003, the operational capability of the European Union was demonstrated through the launching of three ESDP operations: the EU Police Mission, EUPM, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Operation CONCORDIA in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Operation ARTEMIS in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The EU-led operations EUPM and ARTEMIS demonstrate the level of co-operation between the EU and the UN which continues to be developed and enhanced at EU level. Discussions are ongoing at EU level in terms of the prospective EU follow-on of the UN-mandated NATO-led stabilisation operation, SFOR, in Bosnia Herzegovina. These discussions are likely to continue during the Irish Presidency.
I will be anxious to ensure that the momentum which has been maintained over previous Presidencies in relation to the development of the ESDP will continue in our Presidency.
Dáil Éireann 577 Written Answers. European Security and Defence Policy.