What's In Blue

Posted Tue 19 May 2015

Informal Meeting between Members of the Security Council and EU Political and Security Committee

Tomorrow afternoon (20 May), members of the Security Council will hold an informal meeting with members of the EU Political and Security Committee (PSC). Since this is an informal meeting, it will not be held in the Security Council chamber and is not on the official programme of work of the Council. The meeting was requested by the EU and will be hosted by Lithuania, the current president of the Council, at the premises of the EU Delegation to the UN. The mutually agreed agenda for the meeting includes EU-UN peacekeeping cooperation in Africa, Libya and Ukraine.

This will be the third time the Council is meeting the members of the EU PSC in New York. The last informal meeting took place on 21 May 2014 and its agenda included the Central African Republic (CAR), Syria and Ukraine. The most recent update on matters of direct interest to the EU was held on 9 March when the Council was briefed by Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the EU, on the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean (S/PV.7402).

EU-UN peacekeeping cooperation
Council members are expected to discuss the role of EU-UN cooperation on peacekeeping, including through the deployment of EU missions, as well as the provision of resources to other missions (such as the AU Mission in Somalia). Council members might be interested in drawing some lessons learned from the EU training missions currently deployed in Mali and Somalia. Both missions have faced important challenges in contributing to defence sector reform, including the upholding of international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians by the battalions they have trained. Council members might be interested in knowing how the development of training programmes has changed in light of these challenges. Council members might also be interested in the transition from the EU military operation in the CAR established in 2014 to the current EU military advisory mission, and the lessons learned for possible future EU military operations deployed in the intermediate period (as a bridging operation) before UN forces are able to deploy on the ground. (This usually takes several months after authorisation, if not more.) Council members might also be interested in hearing more about the EU Naval Force Atalanta deployed to fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia and how assessment of the effectiveness of this operation is informing the EU’s planning process of a similar mission to counter the smuggling of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.

Libya/Migrant Smuggling
On this last issue, Council members are also expected to discuss with the members of the EU PSC the details of the EU military operation (EU NAVFOR Med) the EU decided to establish on 18 May to break the business model of the smuggling of migrants. Briefing the Council on 11 May, Mogherini presented proposals for the EU strategy to tackle the flow of migrants towards Europe. As part of this strategy, Mogherini discussed the plans for an EU military operation that would be authorised under Chapter VII to inspect, seize and dispose of vessels when there are grounds to believe that they are participating in the smuggling of migrants. Negotiations are ongoing among EU members of the Council (France, Lithuania, Spain and the UK) and China, Russia and the US on a draft resolution to authorise the EU operation. Council members are likely to be interested in the details that the EU PSC ambassadors can provide on this proposed operation, and what they are seeking from the Council, including on the appropriateness of this response to tackle this phenomenon, the protections foreseen in accordance with international refugee law, the issues associated with consent from the Libyan authorities, the geographical scope of the resolution, and consent by the flag states regarding interdictions.

While the Council has not played an active role in resolving the crisis in Ukraine, the EU has been invested in finding a sustainable solution since the outset of the hostilities. Council members may be particularly interested in the latest developments regarding the implementation of the Minsk agreements adopted and signed on 12 February. Two EU members, France and Germany, together with Russia and Ukraine, played an instrumental role in the adoption of these agreements. Since their signing, the EU has called for full implementation of the agreements, and has continued to support the work of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine by providing financial and in kind contributions. The Security Council endorsed the Minsk agreements by unanimously adopting resolution 2202 on 17 February, and has been generally supportive of the diplomatic efforts to end the crisis in Ukraine as well as supportive of the work of the OSCE.

Council members may also use this meeting to discuss developments in the working groups mandated by the relevant provisions of the Minsk agreement. These working groups were officially established and commenced their activities on 6 May. There may also be some interest in the EU Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform in Ukraine, established in July 2014. Council members may ask about the work of this civilian mission, which aims to provide advice to civilian security sector reform in Ukraine.

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