The European Union intends to manage
crises in a comprehensive and coherent manner using civil and military
means. This implies that a political will exists to that end; that the
Union has the requisite civilian and military capacities and that satisfactory
procedures are put into effect. With regard to those procedures, a coherent
framework needs to be defined within which instruments coming under the
various pillars and the competence of different institutions and bodies
are implemented in synergy.
Inevitably, this is a complex task.
Its complexity is due on the one hand to the existence of decision-making
mechanisms peculiar to each pillar, and on the other hand to the fact that
the institutions and their various subordinate bodies have distinct (and
occasionally exclusive) powers and prerogatives under the Treaties.
This document aims to define, in
compliance with the Treaty, a reference framework for a comprehensive,
coherent management procedure for any crises which the Union might have
Two key factors should be regarded as
the basis of this document:
The main aim of a crisis management
procedure must be to ensure that the Union responds effectively and coherently.
There is a clear requirement for results, without which the added value
of acting in common as well as the credibility of the Union itself, would
be called into question.
The Union is a Community governed by
law. This means that, even in the context of crisis management, there will
be no derogation from the provisions governing the attributions and powers
of its institutions and bodies. This applies in particular to the Commission's
right of initiative and the implementation of the instruments which fall
within its competence.
These two principles are not incompatible
provided that the interaction between different sectors, bodies and decision-making
processes is governed by a desire to ensure effectiveness in institutional
coherence. Obviously, this means that political will must always be present
at all levels and within all the bodies involved in crisis management.
In order to ensure consistency between
the instruments available to the Union, it is essential that a single body
should have access to all the information, proposals and initiatives relating
to the crisis involved in order to make a global assessment; following
the conclusions of the Helsinki European Council, this role would fall
to the Political and Security Committee. This is without prejudice either
to institutional prerogatives or to the decision-making mechanisms peculiar
to each pillar.
It is also essential that all the civilian
and military means available should be capable of being mobilised as required
by each individual crisis. Without a permanent central co-ordination body
and strategic supervision, there can be no guarantee that our collective
efforts will be brought together in the desired time sequence. However,
the actual ability of such a body to carry out its task of co-ordinating
a comprehensive crisis response will ultimately depend on the establishment
of simple, rapid and effective procedures in the context of the definition
of permanent bodies.
The Council decision identifying the
civil and military instruments which the Union must implement in response
to a crisis could, where appropriate, take the form of a Joint Action in
full respect of the single institutional framework and of Article 47
of the TEU. This Joint Action will define the conditions under which
the SG/HR, with the assent of the PSC, will be responsible for implementing
its political and military aspects. This will give the military leadership
a clear and continuous point of reference, and will help to ensure consistency
of the Union's representation in contacts with third countries, international
organisations and any other interested party.
The Secretary-General/High Representative,
assisting the Presidency of the Union or acting as Chairman of the PSC
as the case may be, will contribute with his suggestions to the strategic
direction of the response to the crisis. He will remain in close contact
with the Commission at all times. He will likewise ensure that the resources
of the Council Secretariat, including the European Union's Situation Centre,
are properly mobilised.
Throughout the crisis, the Chairman
of the Military Committee will take part in the PSC; the other members
of the Military Committee will be encouraged to do likewise. The Chairman
of the Military Committee will also be the channel for conveying politico-military
guidelines to the operational commander. On military matters, the Secretary
General/High Representative will receive advice from the Chairman of the
Military Committee and be assisted by the Director General of the EU Military
In order that full use can be made of
all instruments available to the Union, it is vital to ensure the consistency
not only of the work of the various Council bodies but also of the Council's
decisions in its various configurations (Ecofin, Justice and Home Affairs,
etc.) and of the actions of the Member States, the Community and the Commission.
In addition to the role of the Council and the Commission as laid down
in Article 3 of the TEU, this consistency will be guaranteed by Coreper,
the GAC and, at the highest level, by the European Council. Its conclusions
will therefore be an invaluable element, which should be used to the full.
All those involved in crisis management must also be equipped with mechanisms
and procedures which are flexible enough to allow decisions to be taken
and consultations to be held in sufficient time.
Delegations have already been sent more
detailed suggestions for procedures, which are in principle appropriate
for governing crisis management in the Union framework effectively. They
should be studied in detail and evaluated by civilian and military experts.
In any event, such procedures should not be validated until they have been
tested, in exercises which will be carried out shortly. In this context,
the detailed document on the subject, which has already been distributed
by the Secretariat, and the guidelines set out above, form an evolving
whole, which will be reviewed and updated in the light of experience.