EU Military Staff and ACSA
Question for written answer to the Council
Geoffrey Van Orden MEP (ECR)
Subject: EU Military Staff and ACSA
It is understood that the EU Military Staff (EUMS) is negotiating with the US Department of Defense to set up an acquisition and cross-servicing arrangement (ACSA).
1. Given that defence is a Member State competency, why is the EUMS seeking an ACSA itself?
2. Was this ACSA requested by a Member State or was it on the initiative of the EUMS?
3. Can the Council confirm that EU Member States will not be disadvantaged by such an ACSA?
Reply from the Council (P-005741/2014)
15 September 2014
The competent authority for ACSA negotiations is the ATHENA Mechanism, established by Council Decision 2011/871/CFSP of 19 December 2011 to act on behalf of Member States (MS) to administer the finances of EU military operations. Article 11 of this Decision allows for administrative arrangements to be negotiated with third States in order to facilitate procurement and/or the financial aspects of mutual support in operations in the most cost-effective manner. Such agreements are subject to approval by the ATHENA Special Committee (SC), consisting of the representatives of the participating MS (all EU MS, except Denmark) acting unanimously.
For the exploratory discussions on ACSA, ATHENA has the leading role supported by the EEAS/EUMS; the US DOD (Department of Defence) is represented by US EUCOM.
ACSA exploratory talks started in Summer 2012. This led to informal discussions and, in March 2014, it became clear that a potential agreement could be more formally investigated. The ATHENA SC received a preliminary orientation on 14 April 2014. Subsequently, a draft negotiation text has been sent to the SC for its input prior to its meeting on 23 July in order to be able to start formal negotiations. The final agreement will be submitted to the ATHENA SC for approval prior to its signature.
While 26 EU MS have already established an ACSA with the US DOD, should an ACSA between the ATHENA mechanism and the US DOD be established, it would be for the benefit of EU-led military operations. It would provide Operational Commanders with an additional logistics tool and would be subject to MS approval, at no additional costs. Standard Operating Procedures will be drafted by ATHENA in order to clarify the circumstances and limitations with regard to activation of an ACSA.