Lisbon Treaty changes
211. Under the Lisbon Treaty the ESDP would gain
an expanded and more distinctive Treaty base. In the existing
TEU, the ESDP is dealt with in a single Article, which is subsumed
within the CFSP provisions and which Professor Whitman told us
was "feeling increasingly threadbare".
Under the Lisbon Treaty, the ESDP would have five Articles, gathered
in a dedicated named subsection of the TEU's CFSP chapter.
212. Professor Whitman identified five substantive
changes which the Lisbon Treaty would make to the existing Treaty
provisions on the ESDP.
The five changes are:
- expanded "aims and ambitions"
for the policy, in particular as regards Member State military
- an expansion in the list of "Petersberg
tasks", i.e. the humanitarian, crisis management and peace-building
tasks which the EU may undertake;
- the introduction into an EU Treaty for the first
time of reference to the European Defence Agency, a body aimed
at encouraging greater and more co-ordinated defence capabilities
development among Member States, which Member States may join
voluntarily and which was already established in 2004 by a decision
of the Member States;
- the introduction of the possibility of what Professor
Whitman called "sub-contracting" of ESDP tasks to "coalitions
of the able and willing" among the Member States;
- the introduction of the possibility of "permanent
an arrangement among a group of Member States possessing greater
military capabilities which could be established by a qualified
majority decision of the full Council. The Foreign Secretary told
us in December that the creation of "permanent structured
cooperation" is about "enhancing capability for European
defence; EU-led operations in respect of security in the European
213. Of the ESDP changes introduced by the Lisbon
Treaty, that concerning "permanent structured co-operation"
has aroused most attention. Mr Donnelly noted that the provision
allowing "permanent structured co-operation" to be established
by qualified majority vote had "aroused some critical comment"
in the UK. However,
Mr Donnelly told us that
given the universal recognition throughout the European
Union that 'structured cooperation', however it evolves, will
have no credibility or even reality without the full engagement
in it of the United Kingdom, it strains the bounds of credibility
to imagine that the membership of this intergovernmental sub-set
would ever be one unacceptable to the United Kingdom [
If 'structured co-operation' in fact proceeds beyond its present
largely aspirational nature, the United Kingdom will be more fully
associated with its genesis and evolution than has been the case
in any other area of the European Union's activities. The likelihood
that this sub-set of 'structured co-operation' might over time
develop in a way inimical to the United Kingdom's interests is
remote in the extreme.
Dr Solana similarly affirmed that "structured
would be inconceivable without the United Kingdom,
which is at the core of our security and defence capability. Structured
cooperation will increase the defence capabilities and efficiency
of the European Union, so [the UK's] presence or absence will
be a yes or noit will not happen without [the UK]. That
is very clear to me.
214. In written follow-up evidence after his appearance
before the Committee in December, the Foreign Secretary told us
Permanent Structured Cooperation [
] is a new
provision that specifically addresses capability development.
It provides a mechanism designed to help develop more effective
military capabilities amongst EU Member States and is line with
UK objective [sic] for improving the capabilities available for
EU-led operations. It should be noted that PSC and Enhanced Cooperation
are completely different and distinct provisions with different
criteria for establishment [
] A Council decision is required
to launch PSC, to accept new Members into it and to suspend membership
of a Member State that no longer fulfils the membership criteria.
These decisions are taken by QMV. The use of QMV for these aspects
is in UK interests since it prevents an individual Member State
from blocking PSC establishment, from blocking another Member
State from subsequently joining or from blocking suspension of
a non-performing Member State [
] Since improved capability
development amongst Member States is a key UK objective, it is
likely that we would look to launch PSC as soon as practicable,
in cooperation with other like minded Member States.
We advise that the suggestion for UK involvement
should not overlook the requirements laid down in the Protocol
on Permanent Structured Co-operation, whereby participants undertake
to "bring their defence apparatus into line with each other
as far as possible, particularly by harmonising the identification
of their military needs", as well as "possibly reviewing
their national decision-making procedures".
215. Mr Donnelly felt that the "possibility
that 'structured co-operation' will remain a name without substance"
was "much more pertinent" than the possibility of the
arrangement developing in a way opposed by the UK.
Professor Whitman similarly suggested that, given the somewhat
cumbersome procedures involved in establishing and operating "permanent
structured co-operation", it might prove to be a little-used
Professor Whitman suggested that "permanent structured co-operation"
was "likely to go absolutely nowhere".
Professor Whitman felt that the possibility of "coalitions
of the able and willing" in the military field might be of
greater interest because their organisation under the Lisbon Treaty
was relatively "light-touch".
216. The Foreign Secretary rejected the view that
the EU should develop a common military leadership for its ESDP
missions, arguing that having a particular Member State in the
lead for a particular ESDP mission was not the problem. According
to the Foreign Secretary, "the European problem is not an
institutional one, it is to do with capabilities and coordination".
217. The FCO's overall assessment of the ESDP element
in the Lisbon Treaty is as follows:
The provisions for European defence in the Reform
Treaty meet UK objectives to ensure the development of a flexible,
militarily robust and NATO-friendly ESDP. The Reform Treaty preserves
the principle of unanimity for ESDP policy decisions and on initiating
missions as well as confirming the prerogatives of Member States
for defence and security issues. 'Enhanced cooperation' will be
extended to ESDP, allowing smaller groups of Member States to
pursue particular ESDP projects. The requirement for a unanimous
Council decision will ensure that the mechanism cannot be used
against UK interests.