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CFSP budget: the draft interinstitutional agreement

(BRUSSELS2) The European institutions are preparing a modification of the inter-institutional agreement on budgetary matters which also concerns the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). A modification intended to bring the old agreement (which dates from 2006) into line with the new rules and institutions resulting from the Lisbon Treaty. The discussion must be closed before the presentation of the 2011 budget, at the end of April. The multiannual financial framework (MFF) is thus now fixed by a regulation and therefore "exits" from the inter-institutional agreement. And it is the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who now exercises the powers previously vested in the Council. So far the routine...

A little snag

In order not to innovate too much and to stick to an honest "copy-paste" of the previous agreement, we have - it seems - forgotten ... the Council (during the regular consultations). In fact, we have kept the old formula whereby the President of the PSC represents the Council. However, the Treaty of Lisbon withdraws the presidency of the PSC from the rotating presidency of the Council and it is now a delegate of the High Representative who assumes this presidency. It can be an ambassador as an "administrator". A priori Cathy Ashton chose to stay with the "ambassador" formula. But nothing prevents it from proceeding otherwise (the treaty does not provide for anything more precise in the matter). And this president remains under his authority. Representation of the Council is therefore no longer, in my view, as such guaranteed.

Other modifications could occur later, once the Commission and the High Representative have agreed on the respective powers of each in administrative and budgetary matters for the various funds. The previous agreement dating from 2006, it is worth recalling the main provisions set by the new agreement.

Jurisdiction of the Commission. The Commission is competent to autonomously make transfers of appropriations between articles within the 'CFSP' chapter of the budget. “Thus the flexibility” considered necessary for rapid implementation of CFSP actions is ensured ". If, during the financial year, the amount of the CFSP chapter of the budget is insufficient to meet the necessary expenditure, " the European Parliament and the Council agree to find a solution as a matter of urgency, on a proposal from the Commission"

Chapters. Within the "CFSP" chapter of the budget, the items to which CFSP actions must be included are divided into 5 chapters:
« – crisis management operations, conflict prevention and resolution as well as stabilisation, monitoring and implementation of peace and security processes;
– non-proliferation and disarmament;
– emergency interventions (maximum 20% of the overall "CFSP" budget);
– preparatory and follow-up actions;
– special representatives of the European Union. »

Presentation of the budget. " Once a year, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
consults the European Parliament on a forward-looking document, submitted no later than 15 June of the year in question, which presents the main aspects and fundamental choices of the CFSP, including their financial implications for the general budget of the European Union , as well as an assessment of the measures launched during year n-1”

Regular consultations. Among other things, " the HR keeps the European Parliament informed by organizing joint consultations at least five times a year as part of the regular political dialogue on the CFSP, to be agreed at the latest in the Conciliation Committee”. Participate in these meetings: for the European Parliament, the offices of the two committees concerned; for the Council: the Chairman of the Political and Security Committee. The Commission is invited to participate in these meetings. »

Budget modification. " Whenever the Council adopts a decision in the field of the CFSP entailing expenditure, the HR
communicate immediately to the European Parliament, and in any case no later than five working days after the final decision, an estimate of the costs envisaged (financial statement), in particular those relating to timetables, staff, use of premises and other infrastructure, transport equipment, training needs and security arrangements

Monitoring of budget execution. " Once a quarter, the Commission informs the budgetary authority of the implementation of CFSP actions and
financial forecasts for the remainder of the year. »

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).