The EU Global Strategy – Year 1
/globalstrategy/en/file/fullbrochurepdfImplementing the EU Global Strategy Year 1 report
Foreword by HRVP
We have lived through an eventful year in Europe and beyond. If I think back to June 2016, when I presented the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy, the world was a very different place. Since then, the Global Strategy has helped us steer the course of our foreign and security policy through difficult times.
First of all, the Global Strategy has served as a springboard to relaunch the process of European integration after the British referendum. One year ago, after that referendum, many predicted an “inevitable” decline of the European Union, and imagined that the Global Strategy would stay in a drawer or would very soon look outdated. Others told us that the change the Global Strategy advocated for would have taken years to turn into reality, or might simply never happen. This has not been the case. On the contrary, we have moved fast – and united – on concrete implementation, starting with security and defence. In this field, more has been achieved in the last ten months than in the last ten years. The new command centre for EU military training and advisory missions is now reality. A coordinated annual review of national defence budgets is taking shape. Preparations for a Permanent Structured Cooperation on defence among interested Member States are moving forward.
Far from being outdated, the Global Strategy has stood to the test of time in a very dense year. The Global Strategy’s push for a European Union of security and defence, in complementarity with NATO and all our partners, anticipated the debate on military burden-sharing across the Atlantic. In a moment when the crucial role of the United Nations’ system, the importance of development cooperation, or the reality of climate change are put into question, the Global Strategy has been a reminder of the European Union’s strategic interest in a cooperative world order. It has helped us swim against the tide, keeping our unity and building strong global alliances around our key priorities.
The Global Strategy has shown to our partners that the European Union will continue to be a reliable global power and a strong security provider. Over the last year our cooperation with the UN has been closer than ever, and the Global Strategy’s demand for reformed global governance resonates with the ambitious reform agenda for the UN system pushed forward by the new UN Secretary General, António Guterres. Our support to the Paris agreement on climate change, the Sustainable Development Goals or to peacekeeping operations represents a point of reference for our partners around the world. Today, the European Union is increasingly perceived as a strong and indispensable partner for peace, security and human development worldwide.
But the Global Strategy is not only about keeping a straight bar in difficult circumstances. It is also about change. It is about fulfilling the potential of our foreign policy to make Europe stronger, our world more peaceful, and our citizens more secure. The Global Strategy points at a very simple truth: in a world of giants and global challenges, we can only make a difference if we stand together as a Union. Our joint potential is indeed unparalleled. For instance, the European Union and its Member States invest more in development cooperation than the rest of the world combined. This year, for the first time ever, we have managed to agree on a common development policy – the EU Consensus on Development – for all European institutions and Member States. From a shared vision stems common action.
We are also changing the way we approach conflicts and crises. On top of crisis management, we are putting stronger emphasis on preventing new wars, new humanitarian disasters, new refugee crises. And we are doing more to plan in due time for post-crisis reconstruction, from Syria and Iraq to Nigeria – because if we want peace, we must prepare for peace. The Global Strategy notes that events outside our border impact directly on our own security. So we have increased cooperation with our neighbours and partners, from the fight against terrorism to a better management of migration flows.
Things can change – when we work united, with a clear objective, to turn a vision into action. This first progress Report on the Global Strategy’s implementation maps this year’s achievement, and helps us chart the path ahead. A stronger and safer European Union is possible: together, we are making it happen.
From Shared Vision to Common Action: Implementing the EU Global Strategy
We have lived through an eventful year within and beyond our European Union. Internally, we faced the United Kingdom’s referendum, a succession of key elections in several European countries, the beginning of a sustained economic recovery, and the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties, which both celebrated our past and projected our hopes into the future. The new US Administration is reshaping America's role in the international arena. Ongoing conflicts and tensions near and far, and the persisting threat of terrorism across all continents, including in the heart of Europe, continue to affect the daily life of ordinary citizens.
All these trends and events have made the EU Global Strategy for the European Union's foreign and security policy (EUGS), presented by High Representative and Vice President of the European Commission (HRVP) Federica Mogherini to the European Council in June 2016, a timely tool to tackle complexity within and beyond the EU’s borders. As the title of the EUGS itself suggests – Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe – the work was not meant to stop with the elaboration of a shared vision, but to trigger a new beginning through common action. This is why EU Heads of State and Government welcomed the presentation of the Strategy and invited the High Representative, the Commission and the Council to take the work forward.
This year’s events have nothing but confirmed the priorities we identified in the EUGS, and speeded up the tempo of our work. Our push for stronger EU cooperation on security and defence, in constant dialogue with NATO and all our partners, anticipated the debate on burden-sharing across the Atlantic. Our collaboration with countries of origin and transit, to better manage migration flows, resonated with international calls for a global compact on refugees and migrants. Our focus on conflict prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding has gathered support among our partners, from Eastern Europe to the Middle East, from Africa to Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Our demand for reformed global governance was echoed by the ambitious reform agenda of the United Nations’ system put forward by the new UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. Our investment in multilateralism and our commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change and to the Sustainable Development Goals have cemented strong global alliances across the globe.
This work has pressed on at a rapid pace, building unity across all Member States and EU institutions. It is a common action that positions the Union ever more to play its full role on the global scene. And never more than now do Europeans and the wider world need a strong and united global Union.
The EUGS called for a yearly reflection “on the state of play of the Strategy, pointing out where further implementation must be sought”, a suggestion which was picked-up and endorsed by the Foreign Affairs Council in its October 2016 conclusions. Back then, the Council welcomed the HRVP's decision to submit a first yearly implementation report of the EUGS in June 2017. On that occasion, the Council, in parallel with the European Commission’s release of its yearly work programme, outlined the priorities for the first year of implementation, drawing on the Roadmap proposed by the HRVP to Member States in September 2016. (1) The priorities highlighted for 2016-17 selected a mix of goals and means: resilience, an integrated approach to conflicts and crises, and security and defence; as well as work on the internal-external nexus and public diplomacy to be streamlined across our external action.
This Report reviews what has been done so far, suggesting possible leads for the work that lies ahead.
Implementing the Goals of the EUGS
The EUGS is a “global” rather than an exclusively “security” strategy. Above all it provides a coherent perspective for the EU’s external action as a whole, as warranted by the Treaty on European Union. Security and defence are essential components for a credible EU role in the world. But the full strength and value of such instruments are fulfilled only when they are deployed alongside other external policies – such as enlargement, development and trade – or policies with external aspects, including on migration, energy, climate, environment, culture and more. This unique mix of actions is the European way to foreign and security policy. The Council and the Commission concurred that such a “whole of the EU” approach should be pursued in the implementation phase of the EUGS as well, and has been reflected in the EU’s regional and geographical priorities.
Almost one fourth of the world’s population lives in fragile states or societies. (2) This year we have focused on preventing many of these fragile situations from turning into new wars, new humanitarian disasters, new refugee crises: we have worked to strengthen the resilience of states and societies to our East and South. We have engaged with governments and institutions as well as with civil society organisations and private actors. Our actions have spanned from security sector reform in Ukraine to the training of the Libyan coastguard, from supporting Syrian refugees and their host communities to setting up a European External Investment Plan for private companies to safely invest in fragile parts of our surroundings.
Resilience is not a new concept. It is a notion that has been used for several years now amongst the humanitarian and development communities – starting with the 2012 Commission Communication on Resilience, the subsequent Council Conclusions and the Resilience Action Plan 2013-2020 – and more recently by the energy and climate as well as by the security and defence communities. To fully translate this common concept into common action, in June 2017 the Commission and the High Representative released a Joint Communication on Resilience. (3) The Joint Communication builds on the ongoing experience in the humanitarian-development context and provides a shared policy framework within which different strands of work in the EU can become more effectively coordinated amongst themselves, and together with external partners.
A particular focus is placed on resilience in the EU's Eastern and Southern neighbouring countries. This reflects the special political commitments of the accession process and the EU's Neighbourhood Policy. The 2015 Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy was closely coordinated with work on the Global Strategy, and implementing the Review is a major part of our work on strengthening resilience in the region. A joint report on the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy Review was published on 18 May 2017. (4)
The European Union adopts a transformational approach to resilience, aimed at protecting rights, building political participation, fostering sustainable development and security. We aim to do so in a manner that enables states and societies to withstand, adapt, recover and respond to shocks and crises if and when they arise.
The EU's multifaceted approach to resilience is well exemplified in the case of Ukraine. EU financial support to Ukraine's reform process, including combating corruption, improving its public administration and judiciary, and supporting civil society, all strengthen Ukraine's resilience.
In Libya we are supporting communities to be resilient against the dual shocks of conflict and migration: we have worked in parallel with Libyan authorities – including local authorities and mayors – and with international organisations to ease the living conditions of migrants inside the country.
In Jordan and Lebanon, we have acknowledged the impressive solidarity demonstrated by local residents towards refugees, and the potentially destabilising impact of the Syrian crisis on neighbouring countries that were already under great pressure. On the one hand, we are working to make sure that Syrian children and youth are guaranteed good education and professional training: they need to know they will not be refugees forever. On the other hand, our assistance focuses on integrating refugees in a way that supports host communities and the wider economy.
As regards Iran, the EU, through the High Representative, has continued to play a key role in the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as coordinator of the Joint Commission. In addition to that, and in line with the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of November 2016, the EU has also stepped up its strategy of gradual engagement with Iran, following the joint statement agreed by the HRVP and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif in April 2016.
The EU’s support to Tunisia's civil administration reform is in line with our commitment to ensuring sustainable stability, which can only be based, in the long term, on accountable governance, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.
Our work on resilience is also showcased by the EU's contribution to stability in the Sahel region, where different instruments, including CSDP missions, complement each other in bolstering the resilience of local states and societies. Humanitarian aid helps tackle the immediate crisis of displaced people, while development cooperation addresses the longer-term root causes of poverty, further complemented by actions for job creation, access to education, health and climate mitigation.
The EU’s response to the crisis in Northern Nigeria provides another good example. It is based on joint analysis (together with the World Bank and the UN) and joint strategic planning: building on the existing emergency response, we are gradually moving into recovery and rehabilitation, using both humanitarian and development funds.
Resilience is also a guiding principle in the EU’s work with Latin America and the Caribbean, especially on Citizen Security.
As the EUGS notes, there is no single recipe to becoming resilient. Resilience will be region, country and community specific: resilience is contextual. For this reason, we aim at developing better risk-informed analysis and monitoring, through an approach which is both deeper – exploring state, societal and communal strengths and vulnerabilities – as well as wider – addressing vulnerabilities across different sectors. We are also taking into account how external resilience can impact the EU’s own resilience in areas such as hybrid threats, cyber security, strategic communications and counter-terrorism.
Early warning must then be followed by early action. To this end, the Joint Communication elaborates an EU strategy to promote resilience by working with its Member States to ensure timely and joined-up political/diplomatic responses to vulnerabilities, including emerging violent conflicts and their prevention. Resilience is a focus in EU programming and financing instruments, notably as related to political participation, socio-economic development, climate change and environmental protection, migration and forced displacement. The Joint Communication promotes enriched sectoral policy dialogue with partner countries drawing on the lessons learned from the EU’s work to strengthen its own resilience, for instance in areas such as critical infrastructure, employment, energy, climate adaptation, health and research. And it foresees the strengthening of the ongoing joint work on resilience with international partners, notably the UN and other international organisations.
Our external action is increasingly attentive to conflict prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding, beyond mere crisis management. At the Brussels international conference on the future of Syria and the region, co-hosted by the EU in April 2017, the international community started to reflect also on the reconstruction of the country, which will have to begin when a political transition is firmly under way. Both regional actors and, crucially, representatives of Syrian civil society have welcomed this approach and praised its positive impact in support of peace.
In Colombia, we made sure that the moment a peace deal was signed, we could step in with financial support for reconciliation. In Afghanistan, we have coupled our work for stabilisation inside the country with a renewed diplomatic push with regional powers in support of peace.
The Integrated Approach builds on and succeeds the 2016-17 Action Plan on Comprehensive Approach. (5) The HRVP established a dedicated division called PRISM (Prevention of conflict, Rule of Law/Security Sector Reform/Integrated Approach, Stabilisation and Mediation) as a focal point within the European External Action Service. PRISM, jointly with the Commission services, prepared an "EEAS – Commission services Issues Paper on the Integrated Approach” discussed with Member States in June 2017.
The Integrated Approach to conflicts and crises takes stock of the best practices already in place and entails a multi-dimensional approach through the use of all available policies and instruments; a multi-phased approach, acting at all stages of the conflict cycle; a multi-level approach acting at the local, national, regional and global levels of conflicts; and a multilateral approach engaging all key players present in a conflict and necessary for its resolution. As a consequence, we are responding to the need for shared conflict analysis. We are also developing further our support to mediation in EU peace-related work and to security sector reform.
The Integrated Approach outlines how to ensure rapid and effective crisis response, from building greater synergies between the EEAS Crisis Response Mechanism, the European Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) and other emergency response systems in different EU institutions, to the deployment of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) crisis management or capacity building missions and operations. At the same time, we are placing greater emphasis on civil protection and humanitarian issues, while ensuring the link to development policies.
In key instances the Integrated Approach is already being implemented. We have put particular emphasis on the coherent use of security and development instruments. In the Sahel, for instance, we are supporting the establishment of the G5 Sahel Joint Military Force, while we continue to invest in the region’s development, from job creation to infrastructure, from health to education. This was particularly highlighted by the Ministers of the G5 Sahel during the 3rd EU-G5 Ministerial meeting held on June 5 in Bamako and co-chaired by the HRVP.
The EU Strategy for Syria blends work on a political solution at national, regional and international levels in the framework of the Geneva process, with local work with Syrian civil society, local councils, the Syrian interim government, and support for dialogue towards national reconciliation.
In Colombia, the EU combines its strong political support, including through the action of the HRVP's Special Envoy Eamon Gilmore, with a whole set of projects: these projects range from rural development in formerly disputed territories to demining, supporting the reintegration of former child soldiers, and reconciliation activities. The EU's Colombia Trust Fund was established with 19 participating Member States working on local development and reconciliation: it is a good example of the EU’s leverage as a global mediator, stemming from the strategic and coordinated use of political, technical and security-related tools and activities.
The EU's approach to supporting a political solution to the crisis in Libya combines Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations together with the use of Union funding and policy instruments, as well as a strong diplomatic angle and a constant focus on human rights.
The EU is also stepping up its work on conflict analysis. Recent situational analyses on Jordan, Egypt and Burundi involved EU institutions and all Member States locally present. Also, the EU ensured participation of the UN, the World Bank and civil society organisations in these workshops. The EU has also reviewed its Early Warning System to shift the emphasis from early warning to early action. Both Member States Embassies and EU Delegations are now more involved in the process to drive integrated action on the ground. The EU and the UN have agreed to hold quarterly Video Conferences on conflict prevention to develop cooperation and synergies. An EU office has been set up in Agadez, bringing under one roof the EU actors dealing together with security, migration and development.
The EU has dispatched integrated Security Sector Reform (SSR)-missions to the Central African Republic, Mali and Somalia. Responding to a call from the Central African Republic and the Nigerian authorities, the EU, together with the UN and the World Bank, has supported these authorities to conduct Recovery and Peace Building Assessments: these Assessments have been critical for their national development plans and for the EU's development support to these countries (as well as of the UN, the World Bank and other development partners).
The EU, together with its Member States, is preparing an innovative stabilisation action in Central Mali to prevent further escalation of violence and increase human security. This will also facilitate the deployment of additional EU tools (development projects, CSDP operations) as well as Member States’ initiatives. The idea is to second experts to local government structures to support the implementation of a peacebuilding plan. The preparations for this action are being undertaken in close coordination with the United Nations and the Malian authorities. Like resilience, the Integrated Approach is already a reality.
In the area of security and defence, more has been achieved in the last ten months than in the last decade. Issues that only one year ago seemed out of reach – from a permanent planning and conduct capability for non-executive EU military missions to the activation of a Permanent Structured Cooperation between willing and able Member States – are fast becoming realities. The foundations of a European security and defence union are rapidly and solidly being built.
The EUGS called for “a sectoral strategy, to be agreed by the Council” specifying “the civil-military level of ambition, tasks, requirements and capability priorities stemming from this Strategy.” The Implementation Plan on Security and Defence (6) presented by the HRVP in November 2016 went far beyond this.
Drawing on the Implementation Plan on Security and Defence, the Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions in November 2016 agreed on a new level of ambition in security and defence, based on three strategic priorities derived from the EUGS: responding to external conflicts and crises, building capacities of partner countries, and protecting the EU and its citizens. Stemming from this, the Council outlined thirteen taskings aimed at equipping the EU to realise its declared level of ambition. In December 2016 this level of ambition and work plan were endorsed by the European Council, as part of a broader defence package which included as well the European Commission’s European Defence Action Plan, (7) aimed at facilitating and incentivising defence cooperation between Member States through the establishment of a research and of a capability window, and the implementation of the Warsaw Joint Declaration of EU and NATO leaders.
The first semester of 2017 saw rapid progress on several of the Council and European Council’s taskings. The EU has established a military planning and conduct capability (MPCC) for its non-executive military missions within the EU Military Staff (EUMS), to be reviewed by end of 2018. The director of the MPCC has assumed the functions of missions’ commander for the EU’s non-executive military CSDP missions: at present the three EU Training Missions respectively deployed in the Central African Republic, Mali and Somalia. The Council also agreed to establish a Joint Support Coordination Cell to strengthen synergies between EU civilian and military missions. At the same time, the EU has reinforced its civil-military situational awareness through the joint work carried out by EU Intelligence and Situation Centre and the Intelligence Directorate of the EUMS within the EEAS.
As advocated by the EUGS, the Council also agreed to initiate a Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD). This mechanism will facilitate regular and systematic sharing of information between Member States on their defence planning and the implementation of the Capability Development Plan. This will support delivering capabilities and actively promote enhanced defence cooperation among Member States. A CARD trial run will be launched as of autumn 2017, in view of Ministers of Defence being presented with a first CARD report within 2018.
Rapid response and civilian capabilities are two further action areas identified by the Council. On military rapid response, the Council has agreed to a number of actions to enhance the preparation, modularity and effective financing of the EU Battlegroups, in order to improve their deployability and flexibility. In terms of effective financing, the Council has provided orientations for the forthcoming revision of the Athena mechanism. While having proven their value as a tool for cooperation and transformation, such steps forward are of critical importance for the credibility of EU’s military rapid response capacity. On civilian capabilities, the High Representative has been tasked by the Council to work on a review of the Feira capability priority areas for civilian crisis management in light of the EUGS, the new level of ambition and current security challenges. Work is also ongoing to strengthen the responsiveness of civilian CSDP missions: proposals have been made to establish a core responsiveness capacity to allow for more rapid action on the ground.
Finally, and potentially most importantly, the Council agreed to explore the activation of a Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). PESCO, as provided for in the Treaties, allows willing and able Member States to make more binding commitments to one another with a view to the most demanding missions. The Council agreed to explore a PESCO which would be both inclusive and ambitious, open to all those Member States willing to make the necessary commitments and meet the agreed criteria. Work is ongoing to define the governance structure of PESCO, the commitments, as well as the initial projects that could be developed in this framework. PESCO holds the potential to make the definitive leap forward in European security and defence. It would create a binding contractual framework in which participating Member States would commit to a shared common objective and ambition together.
While PESCO, CARD and the Commission’s European Defence Fund each have their own merits, it is increasingly clear that they can mutually reinforce each other. PESCO could be a hub for cooperative projects matching EU priorities within a more binding framework. For its part, the Fund would coordinate, supplement and amplify national investments in defence research, in the development of prototypes and in the acquisition of defence equipment and technology, and would provide a valuable incentive to a more collaborative approach by Member States. PESCO, once activated, would run like a silver thread between the EU’s operational capacities, capability development initiatives and defence industrial and technological support – thus bringing European security and defence to a higher level.
The European Defence Agency has a key role in supporting all these initiatives. The Agency is also actively engaged in implementing other aspects of the work on security and defence, in particular the revision of the Capability Development Plan by spring 2018.
Strengthening EU security and defence means strengthening NATO and EU-NATO cooperation too, as repeatedly stated by the HRVP and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Testimony to this, the parallel qualitative leap forward made in EU-NATO relations in the last year. Stemming from the Warsaw Declaration the EU and NATO are jointly implementing at full speed the 42 action points agreed in December 2016. A new European Centre for Countering Hybrid Threats was established in Helsinki, and joint work is ongoing on situational awareness, strategic communications, maritime operations in the Mediterranean, preparation for the first parallel and coordinated exercise in fall 2017, and capacity building of partner countries with Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Tunisia selected as pilot cases. In terms of defence capabilities, work is ongoing also to ensure output coherence between the NATO Defence Planning Process and the Capability Development Plan.
Changing the way we work: a joined-up Union
The implementation of the EUGS has not only meant the activation of individual work strands on the strategic goals selected by the Strategy. It has also triggered the transformation of a method of work: of the way in which the EU does foreign policy. A leitmotif in the EUGS is the notion of a joined-up Union: the idea that the full potential for EU foreign policy can only be realised if the Union works jointly across policy sectors, institutions and Member States. In implementing the EUGS in all the work strands discussed above, such a joined-up approach was followed through. The work on security and defence for example has brought together the Council and Member States, the European Defence Agency and the Commission; it has been discussed with the European Parliament and debated thoroughly by the expert community across most Member States.
The same approach applies to a number of initiatives, from regional strategies to thematic ones; from climate, energy, oceans governance and economic diplomacies, to culture in international relations, youth initiatives or the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights.
In order to deepen further this joined-up approach, the October 2016 Foreign Affairs Council selected two priorities for the first year of implementation which are horizontal by their very nature: the internal-external nexus and public diplomacy.
Given the importance that the EUGS attaches to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is an integral part of implementing the Global Strategy. The new European Consensus on Development (8) promotes a coherent approach to people, planet, prosperity, peace and sustainability that is fully consistent with the EUGS, including its emphasis on building resilience at all levels. The Consensus was agreed by the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council, as well as by the representatives of Member State governments meeting with the Council: for the first time ever, the Consensus applies in its entirety to EU institutions and to all EU Member States. Ensuring consistency between internal and external action is central to the implementation of the SDGs. (9) For this reason, coordinated initiatives have been taken not only on the external implementation of the 2030 Agenda, but also to ensure consistent implementation through EU internal policies. This has been recently highlighted in the Council conclusions on "A sustainable European future: the EU response to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" (10).
The internal-external nexus is key on migration too. Over the last year the EU has put in place short, medium and long-term measures to tackle migration and its root causes. At the global level, the EU helped deliver the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants at the UN Summit in September 2016, and it is now working with Member States on the development of Global Compacts. In parallel, the Union draws on a menu of funding instruments, such as the EU Trust Fund for Africa and the European External Investment Plan. The innovative External Investment Plan is expected to help address the roots causes of irregular migration by boosting private investment and job creation, notably in fragile parts of Africa and the EU's neighbourhood. The EU Trust Fund for Africa turned out to be a powerful tool to deliver targeted action in a speedy manner in several migration related areas. To this date, over EUR 1.7 billion has been committed and approximately EUR 800 million contracted within its framework. Substantial support has also been provided through the EU regional trust fund in response to the Syria crisis, through Compacts concluded with Lebanon and Jordan and through the Facility for Refugees in Turkey. The Facility for Refugees in Turkey is a coordination mechanism set up by the European Union early in 2016 to enable the swift mobilisation of EUR 3 billion in assistance to refugees in Turkey.
In line with the EUGS, the EU's Partnership Framework on Migration (11) is based on the idea that migration can only be managed in partnership with the countries of origin and transit of migrants, in a sustainable, respectful and human manner. The Partnership Framework has contributed to developing the external aspects of EU migration policy, and has enhanced the links among a series of internal and external policies. It has become the reference for cooperation with our partners. With Afghanistan, the EU has promoted a comprehensive migration dialogue, addressing not only emigration to Europe but also to the neighbouring countries.
We have already started to reap the benefits of the Partnership Framework approach: the numbers of assisted voluntary returns of migrants from Libya to their countries of origin over the last three months, from March to May 2017, have surpassed the total amount of Assisted Voluntary Returns from Libya in 2016; we have increased enormously our cooperation with the International Organisation for Migration and UNHCR with a view to ensuring adequate protection to migrants held in Libyan detention centres; Operation Sophia continues its training of the Libyan Coast Guard, and the handing over of patrol vessels to the Libyan Coast Guard could soon put Libyan authorities in a position to regain control of their territorial waters; the EEAS, the Commission and Member States are fully engaged in developing an integrated border management system throughout Libya; local communities in Niger are being provided with alternative livelihoods, steering them away from smuggling and trafficking; the Joint Investigation Team in Niger, supported by the EU Trust Fund for Africa, has been operational since March 2017 and had its first success in dismantling a network of migrant smugglers operating in Tchin-Tabaraden; Nigerian liaison officers have been deployed in Italy to facilitate the identification of irregular migrants; Senegal is adopting an action plan for its national migration strategy; a proposal for an EU CFSP-stabilisation action to assist the re-establishment of civil administration to the centre of Mali has been tabled; and the HRVP has recently announced a EUR 50 million contribution to the G5-Sahel Joint Force, whose aim is to fight terrorism and trafficking. (12)
The generation of synergies between our foreign policy and the external aspects of internal EU policies has been the underlying logic of the EU's action on migration at both the global and regional levels, always based on the respect of human rights and international law.
On top of this, important steps have been taken towards an effective and genuine EU Security Union, notably in the area of counter-terrorism, human smuggling and organised crime.
On counterterrorism (CT), the High Representative in cooperation with the European Commission, the EU Counter Terrorism Coordinator and with the contribution of relevant Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) agencies (starting with Europol, Eurojust, CEPOL and Frontex) has strengthened cooperation with priority partners in the Middle East, North Africa, the Western Balkans and Turkey. We are supporting their efforts to overcome gaps in legislative frameworks and capabilities through upgraded and targeted CT Political Dialogues and the development of CT partnerships. We have also increased our outreach to the Arab world including through the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League. EU internal security priorities are fully reflected in CT political dialogues with third countries and international organisations, with specific reference to law enforcement and judicial cooperation, border security, countering illicit trafficking of firearms, violent extremism and terrorist financing, and tackling the challenge of foreign terrorist fighters.
To further strengthen the internal-external nexus, the EEAS and Commission services have worked to facilitate cooperation between priority partners and relevant JHA agencies, within the limits of their mandates and capacities. This includes support to local CT capacity building initiatives, the secondment of JHA experts to CSDP missions, and a better use of the network of CT/Security experts already deployed in 13 EU delegations, including through sharing of reporting. Work to further enhance cooperation, including information exchange, between CSDP missions and JHA actors is underway.
Priorities linked to organised crime – such as fighting firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans – are fully reflected in our political dialogues with such third countries.
Finally, recent events have made it increasingly clear that cyber security is essential to the security of the EU. Work in the Commission is ongoing to revise the EU’s existing cyber security strategy and a cyber-diplomacy toolbox has been presented.
The elaboration of the EUGS involved an unprecedented public consultation, both within and outside the European Union. The HRVP herself has visited extensively Africa, Asia and Latin America to promote the cooperation envisaged by the Global Strategy.
We finally realise that it is essential not only to communicate the added-value of the EU’s action, but also to open new channels for European and non-European citizens to engage with EU policy-making. Too many young people feel excluded from political processes, and struggle to find a place inside our societies. During this year, we have worked to invest in existing dialogue initiatives, but also to create new opportunities for young people to have a say and new channels of participation: this is the aim of the new Young Med Voices Plus initiative, launched by the HRVP, which has already brought a group of young people from Europe and the Mediterranean to discuss policy proposals and present them to representatives of the EU institutions. This kind of initiative can also help build a network of EU-minded opinion makers in our region.
The EEAS has increased its staffing with specific focus on improving outreach to the Arab world and the Western Balkans. It is also working to harness further the potential of the EU’s 139 delegations worldwide, with better coordination, sharing best practices, and highlighting local success stories through communication activities. The East StratCom Task Force is significantly improving the positive communication of EU policies towards the Eastern Partnership countries, whilst addressing disinformation activities, including through improving the resilience of media. Outreach efforts such as the "Stronger Together" campaign in Ukraine have reached a large audience, highlighting the concrete benefits of partnership with the EU and supporting the reform agenda.
The EEAS StratCom team is gearing up to develop a parallel work strand towards the Arab world and the Western Balkans. These will build on efforts already underway, such as the EU Delegation to Morocco's multi-faceted outreach campaign, which includes direct outreach, training and the mobilisation of networks.
The Commission's OPEN programme underpins these activities across neighbourhood countries. The OPEN EU Neighbours South project for example includes a digital campaign aiming to inform one million young people about the opportunities offered by the EU, and showcase the tangible results of cooperation. The digital campaign is complemented by events, organised thus far in Algiers, Beirut and Tunis, giving visibility to the beneficiaries of EU-funded projects.
The joined-up approach which underlies the EUGS applies also here. EEAS and Commission services work side by side in providing targeted assistance to our delegations’ network. This is particularly true for the neighbouring countries, where regional seminars are organised jointly and where the EEAS StratCom team provides strategic guidance to Commission services' work and programmes. Strategic use is being made of a dedicated Public Diplomacy budget line (EUR 50.9 million) under the Partnership Instrument, which allows us to target communication activities to specific key target groups in strategic partner countries. The EEAS has strengthened also its cooperation with European Commission and Parliament representation offices in Member States, providing briefings on the EUGS and sharing communication campaigns and products. Steps have already been taken to involve directly Member States in this work. A seminar with communications staff of the EU28 foreign ministries was organised to help promote common messaging, in line with the priorities of the EUGS, and sharing products, particularly ahead and during major events (Eastern Partnership Summit, EU-Africa Summit, EU-CELAC Summit). Work is also ongoing to exploit the full potential of the EU Visitors Programme, the network of Jean Monnet chairs, the Erasmus+ Programme and the Young Med Voices Plus initiative. A good example of public diplomacy is the recent compilation of best practices for follow-up to EU election observations missions, prepared by the EEAS through a multi-stakeholder process. Steps have been taken also to increase the capacity of our delegations in terms of public diplomacy through a pilot training scheme which will be extended.
The Work Ahead
It was an intense first year in the implementation of the EU Global Strategy. This work does not and cannot stop here. In the year ahead, the EU will continue to pursue the work strands which have been opened so far, notably but not exclusively in the key field of security and defence. And it will continue to work in a joined-up manner, internally across institutions and Member States, along the internal-external policy nexus, or externally through its work on public diplomacy.
The Council and the Commission may also consider exploring other fields for the implementation of the EUGS, possibly focusing on strategic goals such as the support for cooperative regional orders and global governance, as well as means such as the establishment or empowerment of more responsive and flexible tools in the fields of diplomacy and development, as advocated by the Strategy.
The journey translating the EU Global Strategy from a shared vision into common action has begun. Let us keep up this momentum in the year ahead of us.
(1) Roadmap on the follow-up to the EU Global Strategy, EEAS(2016)
(2) States of Fragility 2016: Understanding violence, OECD(2016)
(3) Joint Communication from the High Representative and the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council "A Strategic Approach to Resilience in the EU's external action", JOIN(2017) 21 final, 7.6. 2017
(4) Joint Report to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions Report on the Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy Review. JOIN(2017) 18 final
(5) Joint Staff Working Document "Taking forward the EU's Comprehensive Approach to external conflicts and crises - Action Plan 2016-17", Brussels, 19 July 2016 (OR. en) 11408/16
(6) Implementation Plan on Security and Defence, Brussels, 14 November 2016 (OR. en) 14392/16
(7) Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, European Defence Action Plan, Brussels, 30.11.2016 COM(2016) 950 final
(8) The new European Consensus on Development “Our World, Our Dignity, Our Future”, signed on 7 June 2017
(9) See Council conclusions on the EUGS, October 2016 Foreign Affairs Council (para 5); new European Consensus on Development, para 9.
(10) See also Communication "Next steps for a sustainable European future: European action for sustainability", COM (2016) 739 of 22.11.2016.
(11) Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council and the European Investment Bank on establishing a new Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration, European Commission, Strasbourg, 7.6.2016 COM(2016) 385 final
(12) "Fourth Progress Report on the Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration", COM(2017) 350 final of 13.6.2017.