Print version

Observatory on European defence, April 2006


3 April 2006
European Commission, European Defence Agency - European Defence Market

On 3 April the European Commission launched a consultation on free intra-community circulation of products related to defence. 
The initiative adds on to the other, complementary ones, undertaken since the publication in September 2004 of the European Commission's Green Paper on Defence Procurement, aimed at opening the European military acquisitions market to competition - a market normally exempt from common market rules pursuant to the exception contained in art. 296 TEC: 
- a voluntary, not legally binding, Code of Conduct, adopted in November 2005 by the European Defence Agency (EDA), which will entry into force on 1 July 2006, following the adhesion of member States by 19 May (to facilitate its entry into force, the EDA Steering Board, meeting at NADs formation, adopted several appropriate measures); 
- the issue, foreseen for 2006, of an interpretative Communication on the applicability of the exception that is more consistent with the Case Law of the European Court of Justice; 
- a Directive that, studying the specificities of the sector, regulates the contracts for which the exception of art. 296 TEC could apply but which do not have the strategic nature required to make exemption worthwhile.

20-21 April 2006
EU General Affairs and External Relations Council - Middle East, Kosovo

The General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) discussed in detail the evolution of the situation in the Middle East and Kosovo. 
Ministers, in keeping with the decisions of the Quartet (EU, UN, USA, Russia) on the Middle East peace process made direct financial support for the Palestinian Authority (PA) conditional on the renunciation of terrorism, the recognition of the Israeli state’s right to exist, and respect for the existing agreements signed by the previous government, including the Road Map for the peace process. EU support will therefore remain suspended until the abovementioned principles are accepted by the new government led by Hamas which, in its programme approved by the PA on 28 March, does not seem to consider them. 
By contrast, humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people will continue, on the condition that it does not transit through the official channels of the new government, in accordance with modalities to be defined. 
Moreover ministers upheld the Decision of the Commission, announced on 7 April, of suspending all direct payments and technical assistance to the PA as a precautionary measure, followed individually by EU member states. 
Finally the Council called on Israel to stop its settlement activities and construction of the separation barrier and to pay to the PA tax and customs revenues on the Palestinian goods transiting in its territory (i.e. about 50 million dollars per month). 
Concerning Kosovo, the GAERC approved a Joint Action to send an EU planning team (EUPT Kosovo) to launch a crisis management operation in the field of rule of law. The team, composed of about 24 police officers and justice experts, will be gradually deployed in the province between the end of April and 1 September 2006. From 1 January 2007, the future EU mission could take over some of the tasks of the ongoing UN MINUK mission. The approximately 800 men involved in the mission will have an executive mandate allowing them to act effectively as local police and judges.

27 April 2006
ESDP Missions - Democratic Republic of Congo

Following the UN Security Council Resolution no. 1671 of 25 April, on 27 April the EU Council adopted a Joint Action to launch an autonomous military operation of the European Union aimed at guaranteeing the security of the electoral process in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 
The operation, named “EUFOR RD Congo” will last about 4 months and will start in June, in correspondence to the presidential and legislative elections. The cost will be 16.7 million euros. “EUFOR RD Congo” will be carried out in accordance with the Congolese authorities and in support of the UN MONUC mission. The EU foresees the deployment of 400-450 soldiers and a reserve of 800-1,000 men based in Africa, outside DRC territory, ready for rapid intervention. 
Moreover the Union is committed in the DRC with the “EUPOL Kinshasa” police mission and the “EUSEC RDC” mission, to assist in reform of the security sector.

April 2006
EU - Non Proliferation, Iran

The EU General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) of 20 and 21 April discussed the Iranian issue, supporting the UN Security Council (UNSC) statement of 29 March which called for Iran to suspend enrichment activities and satisfy the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) requirements within 30 days. 
A report submitted to the UNSC by the IAEA General Director El Baradei accuses Teheran of not collaborating fully with the IAEA inspectors and in particular of non-compliance with the ultimatum set by the UNSC for the suspension of uranium enrichment. 
The EU position expressed by the Council, confirming the search for a diplomatic solution, was followed by statements by the High Representative for CFSP, Solana, who calls upon the EU, should Teheran fail to cooperate with the IAEA, to examine the possibility of sanctions such as denying visas to Iranian authorities, and excludes military action.