• 2 days PDVSA Booted From Caribbean Terminal Over Unpaid Bills
  • 2 days Russia Warns Ukraine Against Recovering Oil Off The Coast Of Crimea
  • 2 days Syrian Rebels Relinquish Control Of Major Gas Field
  • 2 days Schlumberger Warns Of Moderating Investment In North America
  • 2 days Oil Prices Set For Weekly Loss As Profit Taking Trumps Mideast Tensions
  • 2 days Energy Regulators Look To Guard Grid From Cyberattacks
  • 2 days Mexico Says OPEC Has Not Approached It For Deal Extension
  • 2 days New Video Game Targets Oil Infrastructure
  • 2 days Shell Restarts Bonny Light Exports
  • 2 days Russia’s Rosneft To Take Majority In Kurdish Oil Pipeline
  • 2 days Iraq Struggles To Replace Damaged Kirkuk Equipment As Output Falls
  • 3 days British Utility Companies Brace For Major Reforms
  • 3 days Montenegro A ‘Sweet Spot’ Of Untapped Oil, Gas In The Adriatic
  • 3 days Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 3 days Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 3 days OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 3 days London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 3 days Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 3 days Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 3 days India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 4 days Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 4 days Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 4 days Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 4 days Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 4 days Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 5 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 5 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 5 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 5 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 5 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 5 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 5 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 5 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 5 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 6 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 6 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 6 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 6 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 6 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 6 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
Alt Text

What Is Putin Planning For Ukraine?

Despite a 2015 ceasefire, conflict…

Defense and Security in the EU

Defense and Security in the EU

As EU defense ministers prepare for formal meetings within the Foreign Affairs Council, the hope is that this will provide political impetus for the refinement and further development of the bloc’s common defense and security policy.

As the EU security and defense policy has been upgraded from European (ESDP) to common (CSDP) with the entry of the Lisbon Treaty, EU defense ministers are seeking to boost the credentials of their gatherings, too.

So far, they have met four times a year. Two meetings have taken place in informal settings. Twice they have gathered prior to their joint session with the foreign ministers. There, on the sidelines of the Foreign Affairs Council, the defense ministers have held one session as the steering board of the European Defence Agency and one to discuss but not decide CSDP matters.

Due to French and Spanish efforts and with the blessing of the European Parliament, this is about to change. It is widely expected that the EU defense ministers soon will hold their own formal meetings in a ‘Council of Defence Ministers’ format within the Foreign Affairs Council. First though, some institutional questions and crucial elements of the set-up await decision.

Moreover, concerns that formal defense ministers’ gatherings will further the militarization of CSDP are to be addressed. They are set to persist even though EU defense ministers will meet within the Foreign Affairs Council. A defense minister’s council separate from the Foreign Affairs Council is legally not feasible. It would require a treaty change so as to enable High Representative Catherine Ashton, president of the foreign ministers’ council, to chair it.

Different ministerial formats within a single Council do not constitute novelty. EU trade ministers already meet irregularly in the framework of the Foreign Affairs Council. Other Council of the EU formations host different ministerial formats, too. Nor is a distinct council politically appropriate. The Common Security and Defense Policy is an integral part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).

Core business

EU defense ministers may finalize the way they organize themselves within the Foreign Affairs Council at their next informal gathering. Until then, an understanding must be reached on the following elements of the set-up:

How frequently will the defense ministers meet formally? Will all these gatherings take place on the same day as the meetings of the foreign ministers? Which issues fall within the exclusive decision-making competence of the defense ministers? What will be the specific hierarchy between the joint session of foreign and defense ministers and the defense ministers’ format when it comes to preparing and taking decisions?

Moreover, a core area of responsibility encompassing specific duties must be defined. There are five tasks by which EU defense ministers could guide and drive forward the CSDP:

• Decision-taking in relation to military capabilities and procurement matters

• Overseeing the preparatory work for the launch and the termination of EU military operations to be decided jointly with the foreign ministers

• Furthering strategic convergence among member states by defining specific EU security interests and objectives as well as elaborating and reviewing strategic and conceptual documents

• Working out procedures for the implementation of defense-related treaty provisions

• Deepening security cooperation with third states and international organizations

Providing political impulse

In addition to these general responsibilities there is no shortfall of particular issues in need of political impulse. Above all, they should take charge of the process elaborating a White Book on EU Security and Defence called for by members of the European Parliament, civil society as well as academic representatives.

It is their duty to specifically define security interests, objectives and priorities and outline the means available and necessary for achieving them. They should, moreover, agree on criteria for deploying EU military operations, for intervening overseas as well as for the use of force.

There are also new treaty provisions to be translated into political practice. Procedures for implementing the mutual assistance clause or common defense in case the European Council decides to apply these provisions must be worked out. In addition, the start-up fund financing the preparation of CSDP activities has to be established.

EU defense ministers should also discuss ways to further institutionalize and formalize structures for dialogue, consultation and cooperation with their Norwegian, US, Turkish, Russian, Canadian and Ukrainian counterparts. Finally, they should work on improving EU-NATO cooperation and should, thus, ensure that the NATO secretary-general takes part in as many of their discussions as possible.

Countering fears of militarization

So far, the EU’s approach to crisis management, conflict prevention and peace-building has been characterized by a comprehensive, civilian-military strategy. A council of defense ministers must, therefore, raise fears of military predominance in developing CSDP. The misgivings are further aggravated by increased emphasis that the Lisbon Treaty puts on the defense component of CSDP.

And yet, the defense ministers will meet within the Foreign Affairs Council only. The fact that CSDP decisions of wider implication have to be taken jointly by foreign and defense ministers should, additionally, guarantee that the EU’s comprehensive approach to security will not be diluted.

Moreover, both the foreign and defense ministers gather in meetings chaired by the High Representative. She and her team will ensure that all instruments at the EU’s disposals will receive due application. Notwithstanding these efforts, EU defense ministers should commit to review and further develop the comprehensive civilian-military approach. To this end, they should occasionally invite justice and home affairs as well as development ministers to participate in informal discussions.

A council of defense ministers format within the Foreign Affairs Council provides a good opportunity to refine CSDP-related procedures, instruments and activities. There are too many topics on the Foreign Affairs Council’s agenda to deal with all relevant issues in depth.

CSDP will benefit most by regular dialogue among defense ministers advancing the strategic convergence and ensuring the political backing of ongoing CSDP engagement. Eventually, such a council format could become a key tool for creating a common security and defense policy.

By. Valentin Misteli

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News