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UK could lose influence on CSDP missions and operations post-Brexit, warns Committee

14 May 2018

The EU External Affairs Sub-Committee today is publishing a report on Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations post-Brexit. This report concludes that the UK may be able to continue in participating in CSDP missions and operations post-Brexit, but it will not have the influence it currently enjoys in the development, planning and leadership of missions and operations.

Key findings

  • As an EU Member State, the UK has influenced the development and planning of all missions and operations, and has led the EU's flagship anti-piracy operation, EU NAVFOR Somalia (Operation Atalanta).
  • CSDP missions and operations have been an important channel of UK influence - from tackling piracy to promoting the rule of law to peacebuilding in post-conflict states. The highly successful Operation Atalanta, in which the UK plays a leading role, has brought together EU Member States and the wider international community in combating piracy in the Horn of Africa.
  • The UK's main contribution has been strategic guidance during the planning and review of missions and operations. It has also provided assets, such as naval vessels and aircraft. The UK's contribution of personnel is very limited. To date it has accounted for just 2.3% of total Member State contributions.
  • To maintain engagement with the EU on wider security and defence, we recommend that the Government develops and submits to the EU27 detailed proposals for future CSDP co-operation before the June 2018 European Council meeting.
  • It should also negotiate observer status in the Political and Security Committee after Brexit and it will also need to invest significant resources in Brussels and in Member States' capitals after Brexit.

Chair's comments

Chair of the EU External Affairs Sub-Committee, Baroness Verma, said:

"CSDP missions and operations have contributed significantly to UK foreign policy and have benefitted from the UK's participation. A good example is Operation Atalanta, the EU's flagship anti-piracy operation, which the UK has successfully led.

"Under the existing model for third country participation, the UK will lose influence over CSDP missions and operations. To maintain engagement with the EU on wider security and defence, the UK should seek to negotiate observer status in the EU's planning and decision-making bodies."

Further information

Image: "EUTM Somalia - FIBUA Training" by European External Action Service is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0