Financing of civilian crisis management operations
This Communication presents the case for creating a flexibility instrument and improving financial mechanisms to overcome budgetary obstacles to prompt action on civilian crisis interventions.
Commission Communication of 29 November 2001 on Financing of civilian crisis management operations [COM(2001) 647 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
In view of the need for more effective and reliable procedures for the rapid financing of civilian crisis interventions, the Commission has drawn up recommendations on the subject. It proposes a new flexibility instrument to permit the release of additional funds for external action, while remaining within the financial perspectives. It also believes that the procedures should be made less cumbersome and that Member State contributions could be considered in exceptional circumstances.
A new flexibility instrument
The Commission considers that since the Treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam established new instruments for action in this field, and given the scale of the crises with which the EU must respond, it is important to ensure coordination and cohesion between the instruments. There must be no confusion about the distribution of tasks. As in the case of the (RRM), it proposes a derogation from the rule requiring CFSP crisis operations to be charged to the regular budget.
Given that both Community and CFSP appropriations depend on the financial perspectives, the Commission considers ways of mobilising needed to respond to a crisis situation. One solution would be to create a crisis management reserve outside the heading for external actions. This would allow the EU to live up to its ambitions, but could also involve a revision of the ceiling. The Commission therefore feels that it would be more prudent to create a new flexibility instrument allowing the EU to respond to unexpected situations without changing the financial perspective ceiling. At the same time the use of the current emergency reserve would be extended to CFSP crisis interventions.
The new instrument should be backed up by improved management, with faster decision-making, adoption and implementation procedures. The mobilisation of the funds from the emergency reserve would follow the present rules. In the Commission’s view this arrangement has three advantages:
Member States only have to contribute when the reserve is exhausted;
- there is no need to establish a new funding key; and
- maintaining established budgetary management structures means that administrative overheads can be kept to a minimum
The Court of Auditors has criticised the cumbersome nature of common foreign and security policy (CFSP) procedures for financing civilian crisis management. It believes that the Commission should be more involved at the preparatory stage and that transparency should be improved.
Civilian crisis management operations have four priority fields of action, established by the Feira European Council: the police, the rule of law, civilian protection and civilian administration. The source of their budget financing depends on their purpose and their content. Funds may come from three different budget lines:
- the appropriate Community budget line, when the operations are conducted under a Community instrument (information or observation missions, training, economic and trade development incentives, mine clearance, human rights, reconstruction, food aid, humanitarian interventions, etc.);
- the CFSP budget line for CFSP operations without military or defence implications (such as disarmament, support for peace processes, political assistance, etc.);
- a budget other than the EC budget for operations under the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) with military or defence implications.
In the case of CFSP operations, procedures are becoming too cumbersome and threaten to reduce the potential and credibility of the European Union. The Commission considers that if the Community wishes to continue financing CFSP operations from the budget, it must note sure they can be implemented rapidly. Two options could be considered in the context of the CFSP to remove the budgetary constraints: systematic drawing on Member State contributions or increasing the flexibility of the regular budget. The Commission considers the second option more appropriate, since creating a new ad hoc fund would raise many issues concerning its management, control and coherence.
To find out more about civilian crisis management, please consult the section of the website of the European External Action Service on the subject.