Last updated: August 1, 2019
Topic: LawLaw Enforcement
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In this essay we have seen how the EU has
gradually obtained military and civilian arms for peace-related tasks in
third-country under the legal authority of the Petersberg Tasks. The latter
were incorporated into the EU Treaties by the Amsterdam Treaty of 1997. Their
operational capacity was subsequently enhanced through agreements such as the
Headline Goals of 2003 and 2010, and the one found during the Freira European
Council of 2000. A major extension to the tasks occurred with the Lisbon Treaty
of 2007. However, as we have seen, some these ‘new’ tasks were still being
undertaken under the broad term of “peace-keeping tasks” prior to Lisbon’s
entry into force. Finally, while the EU now has the legal backing to undertake
significant peace-related operations, some commentators have been left
disappointed with the results. This may be put down either to a lack of
willingness by member states to engage in demanding missions, or due to a lack
of capacity.

Blanke and Mangiameli (Ibid, p. 1244) also
believe that despite the legal backing, EU member states have not pursued the
most demanding missions. Indeed, 2003’s Operation Concordia in Macedonia and
the mission in Bosnia-Herzogovina were essentially follow-up missions from
previous operations conducted by NATO (Aybet, 2004, p. 6).

Despite their relatively recent inclusion
in the Treaties, these ‘new’ peace-related tasks were already employed prior to
the Lisbon Treaty was agreed (Ibid, p. 1243). As I have just discussed, joint
disarmament as well as military advice and assistance tasks were already in
place in the EUFOR mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo back in 2006.
Military advice and assistance was also provided in the Security Sector Reform
mission in Guinea-Bissau in 2008 (Eeas.europa, n.d.). Blanke and Mangiameli
(2013, p. 1243) argue that, while these tasks did not have specific legal
backing within the Treaties, the EU member states interpreted “peace-keeping”
widely as to also incorporate (in this case) disarmament and military advice.
Thus, while peace-related operations were only allowed if stated within the
article, a loose interpretation of the latter allowed the member states to
carry out the operations.

Joint disarmament is intended to address
the proliferation of illegal armaments. This was displayed in the
aforementioned operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As was seen in
the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) in Somalia, military advice and
assistance tasks seeks to provide training for local security forces. Through
conflict prevention the EU attempts to avoid conflict situations from
developing and to contain already existing conflicts. Next, post-conflict
stabilisation is intended to support the structures ensuring peace and security
to prevent a potential return of conflict. Finally, the final sentence of Art
28B.1 provides for all the aforementioned peace-related tasks (old and new) to
be used in the fight against terrorism (Blanke and Mangiameli, 2013, pp.

These have been formally enshrined in Art
43(1) of the TEU. Their extension was already suggested through the Headline
Goal 2010 which included “joint disarmament operations, the support for third
countries in combating terrorism and security sector reform” (Quille,
2008, p. 5).

“joint disarmament operations, humanitarian and rescue
tasks, military advice and assistance tasks, conflict prevention and
peace-keeping tasks, tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including
peace-making and post-conflict stabilisation. All these tasks may contribute to
the fight against terrorism, including by supporting third countries in
combating terrorism in their territories” (Lisbon Treaty Article 28B.1).

The TEU article enshrining the Petersberg
Tasks remained untouched until the Lisbon Treaty of 2007 (the Treaty came into
force in 2009). The latter enlarged their scope and incorporated ‘new’
peace-related tasks into the article. As it stands today, the modified
Petersberg Tasks provide for:

During the Intergovernmental Conference
(IGC) leading up to the Amsterdam Treaty of 1997, member state governments
deliberated over whether the WEU should be fully integrated into the EU. While
the latter was not agreed upon at the time, the parties did decide to insert
the Petersberg Tasks into the TEU (Pagani, 1998, p. 740). The tasks were
enshrined in the first two paragraphs of Article J.7 of the Treaty of
Amsterdam. Despite initial resistance from the United Kingdom (UK), they
eventually endorsed the plan following a bilateral meeting in 1998 between
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the French President Jacques Chirac at
Saint-Malo, France. Thus, the Petersberg Tasks were to become part of the EU’s
European Defence and Security Policy (ESDP) within the CFSP pillar (Aybet,
2004, p. 2). One year later in the Cologne European Council the EU governments
effectively established two principle ways through which the EU may implement
peace-related tasks; either through its own resources or by utilizing NATO
assets (Cologne European Council Declaration on the common policy on security
and defence (4 June 1999)).

Humanitarian and rescue tasks, as it has
been applied in Bosnia-Herzegovina and more recently in Libya, refers to the
safe removal of effected persons from the crisis situation. As they were
initially interpreted, peace-keeping tasks consisted of having military
personnel on the ground in order to assist domestic actors in the monitoring of
peace and upholding peace agreements (Blanke and Mangiameli, 2013, p. 1245). During
the Helsinki European Council of 1999, the member states agreed upon the
so-called ‘Headline Goal 2003’ which provided for the deployment, within 60
days, of 60,000 military personnel up to a period of one year. Member states
were to designate other troops to act as replacements if the need arose
(Lindstrom, n.d., p. 1). The Freira European Council of 2000 complemented this
area by including civilian aspects to peace-keeping, such as deploying police
and law enforcement officials (Aybet, 2004, p. 5). Finally, some commentators
argue that tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking, may
extend the EU’s capabilities into the field of peace-enforcement as was seen
with the EU Force (EUFOR) mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. However,
peace-enforcement has seemingly been used as a complement to other
peace-related tasks and not as an operation in itself (Blanke and Mangiameli,
2013, pp. 1245-1246).

In this regard, the Foreign and Defence
Ministers of the WEU member states met in the same year in Bonn. From the
resulting declaration we have what we now know as the ‘Petersberg Tasks’. These
were intended to extend the operational capacity of the WEU to include a
variety of peace-related assignments. More specifically, part II of the
declaration provided for the employment of WEU member’s military units for
“humanitarian and rescue tasks; peace-keeping tasks; tasks of combat forces in
crisis management, including peacemaking” (WEU, 1992).

In the post-cold war period greater
concern was placed on increasing capabilities in crisis management and
prevention, as well as fostering peace and international security. The main
actors in this regard turned out to be regional security organisations such as
the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the Western European Union
(WEU). The former endorsed such initiatives in its Foreign Ministers Meeting in
June of 1992. Meanwhile, European Union (EU) member states deliberated on
further cooperation within security matters (Pagani, 1998, p. 738). The chapter
on Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) within the Treaty on European Union
(TEU) (concluded earlier that year) expressly stated that the WEU was “an
integral part of the development of the Union.” The WEU was then charged with
the task “to elaborate and implement decisions and actions of the Union which
have defence implications” (Treaty on European Union, 1992, Article J.4.2).

In this essay I shall first provide a
brief overview on what led to the Petersberg Tasks of 1992. After defining the
individual tasks, I shall discuss how these have been complemented by
subsequent agreements. The major reform to the substances of the Petersberg
Tasks came with the Lisbon Treaty of 2007. This added new peace-related tasks
to the respective Treaty article.