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Expert Workshop: ESDP missions — Evaluating the past, addressing the future

Participants of the Workshops

On 15 January 2010 the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) organized an expert workshop under the title “ESDP missions: Evalu­ating the past, addressing the future.” The workshop, which was arranged in the framework of the Study Programme on European Security (SPES), brought together repre­sen­ta­tives from the policy-making community as well as young scholars for a discussion on the past, current and future ESDP missions. The presen­ta­tions and the discussion touched on the evalu­ation of the perfor­mance of actors and insti­tu­tions involved, achieve­ments and short­comings of ESDP missions, and the impli­ca­tions the ratifi­cation of the Lisbon Treaty has had on the future devel­op­ments of ESDP (or rather of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), as renamed by the new treaty).

EU member states in the driver’s seat? Setting up ESDP missions before and after the Lisbon Treaty

The first presen­tation was given by Dr des. Nadia Klein, research associate at the University of Cologne. Even though the new ESDP working struc­tures are still in the making, she presented some ideas about the future condi­tions for setting up ESDP missions, and compared its four main stages — agenda setting, planning, decision-making and imple­men­tation — before and after the Lisbon Treaty was ratified. The primary focus of Klein’s presen­tation was the question ‘who is sitting in the driver’s seat?’. She refuted the argument that before the Lisbon Treaty ESDP was an exclusive domain of the EU member states and at the same time contra­dicted the common belief that under the Lisbon Treaty the member states lose control in the field of ESDP.
Concerning the first stage — agenda setting — Klein stated that under the Lisbon Treaty the European Commission will be insti­tu­tionally more connected to the field of foreign and security policy through the double-hatted High Repre­sen­tative (HR), and thus, single member states’ possi­bil­ities to determine the selection of ESDP missions will be reduced. In contrast, the inter­gov­ern­mental character of EU crisis management will be reinforced in the planning phase. In the framework of the External Action Service, national diplomats are expected to be sent to leading positions, which was not the case in the respective planning structure under the Treaty of Nice. As far as the third stage — decision-making — is concerned, there has not been much change compared to the Nice Treaty: unanimity remains the rule. Finally, regarding the imple­men­tation phase, Klein distin­guished two trends. On the one hand, the small CFSP budget has been signif­i­cantly increased over the past years; on the other hand, however, the member states will continue to cover most of the costs arising from crisis management missions, and what is more, a new start-up fund will be created outside the EU budget, i.e. beyond the control of the European Parliament.
Klein concluded that the changes in setting up ESDP missions under the Lisbon Treaty have not been substantial: The EU member states still occupy the driver’s seat; however, the double-hattet HR will also have a front seat and will not hesitate to grab the steering-wheel from time to time.

Evalu­ating the outcome of ESDP civilian missions: What role for local ownership?

Elena Stavrevska, SPES fellow, presented the subject from a different perspective, namely that of the outcome sustain­ability of ESDP civilian missions. She stated that the evalu­ation of such a mission requires the intro­duction of a yardstick according to which the mission sustain­ability could be measured. During her fieldwork in the Western Balkans Stavrevska discovered a relationship between the involvement of local author­ities in the planning process of the necessary reforms and their sustain­ability. She singled out three kinds of reforms that have been intro­duced in her case-studies (EUPOL Proxima in Macedonia (2003- 2005) and EUPM I in Bosnia and Herze­govina (2003–2005): the one-off reforms, whose effects are still present in both of the countries, the reforms continued by another ESDP mandate or taken over by another organi­zation (also still in place), and the reforms left to the local author­ities to decide upon their contin­u­ation. In the latter case, most of the reforms in Macedonia are still present, whereas in Bosnia and Herze­govina results vary across entities and cantons. The discrepancy between the two countries in the sustain­ability of the latter type of reforms, is what Stavrevska tries to explain in her SPES project. According to her, the level of local involvement in shaping, not merely the imple­men­tation, of the reforms, is what has a deciding effect on their sustain­ability. Furthermore, whether the reforms are kept in place also depends on the capacity of the host country. Thus, taking into consid­er­ation the context of the host country prior to the ESDP mission deployment, the mission outcomes and the overall situation in the two countries can be seen as different stages of the same stabi­lization process.

Towards a holistic approach of ESDP? Assessing the integration of civil and military means in EU crisis management

Dr Marco Overhaus, researcher at the German Institute for Inter­na­tional and Security Affairs (SWP), presented another aspect of ESDP missions, i.e. that of civil-military collab­o­ration. While it is obvious that in some cases civil-military cooper­ation is necessary, the frequency of its occur­rence has been less than satis­factory. According to Overhaus, the assessment of a successful civil-military mission is based on context-dependent, but rather general criteria. They include, for instance, the existence of an overar­ching political context in which civil and military actions are embedded, non-contra­dictory operation mandates and appro­priate insti­tu­tions, increased local ownership, as well as a positive impact on conflict resolution. In the context of the above mentioned indicators, Overhaus found the civil-military collab­o­ration to be limited in both of his case studies — Bosnia and Herze­govina and the Democ­ratic Republic of Congo, having only single examples of success.
One of the under­lying reasons was the spread of resource problems, i.e. the spread of the very limited resources over a very large area and numerous missions. According to Overhaus, there was little planning at the European level; on the other hand, however, where civil-military cooper­ation was achieved, it was despite this lack of an efficient strategy. Moreover, civil-military cooper­ation contributed only marginally to local ownership. Last but not least, Overhaus stated that there is only a very weak link between ESDP military instru­ments and the overar­ching political strategies. Despite EU’s ambition to become a unique security actor through its ability to combine civilian, economic and military means in crisis management and post-conflict recon­struction, there is a consid­erable gap between these ambitions and real capabil­ities. As Overhaus stated, there are often no targeted military programmes, and military activ­ities are in most cases not comple­mented by political and economic planning. He concluded that insti­tu­tional reforms are likely to improve civil-military cooper­ation and produce better outcomes of joint missions. However, more important problems, such as the discon­nection of the European Commission from military activ­ities, cannot be fixed by insti­tu­tional reforms, as they are rather of political nature.

On the ground – evalu­ating practical work from a first hand experience

Klaus Wolf, Senior Chief Inspector, Division B 4, Civilian Crisis Management, Inter­na­tional Police Missions, Federal Ministry of the Interior, summarised the state­ments of the above speakers and highlighted practical problems the German police and their European partners encounter while fulfilling the mandate of an ESDP civilian mission. As he put it, one major problem for all EU member states is the recruitment of personnel given the diffi­culty of taking policemen off their function in their home country. According to Wolf, only two or three EU member states, including Germany, have reacted to this challenge by stipu­lating the number of policemen desig­nated to partic­ipate in ESDP missions in the organ­i­sa­tional charts of their national police. Touching upon the previous statement, Wolf empha­sized practical issues with civil-military collab­o­ration. In his opinion, the profes­sional mentality of civil and military staff differs due to distinct needs. The knowledge of their respective methods is by all means helpful and can certainly optimize achieve­ments of objec­tives. As regards Stavrevska’s presen­tation, he agreed that local ownership matters and that a sustainable approach needs a well balanced mix of European wishes and local needs.

Rainer Kühn, former Head of EULEX Police Component, Kosovo, stressed positively the recruitment policy in the framework of ESDP. Given different selection proce­dures, the quality of personnel in ESDP missions is generally higher than in UN missions. While the UN asks for contin­gents and assigns the specific jobs at a later date, ESDP adver­tises concrete jobs and chooses its personnel according to the respective job descriptions.