CSDP Missions and the Security and Defence Committee of the European Parliament

Kenneth McDonagh

Over the past 15 years, the EU has exhibited two significant developments - the development and deployment of security and defence capabilities and an increasing role for the European parliament in everyday policy-making. However, as an oversight body the European Parliament has had a very limited role in influencing decisions on when to deploy military missions in the field and assessing the impact of those missions once deployed. This paper, based on documentary analysis and interviews with members of the Security and Defence (SEDE) Committee (a sub-committee of the Foreign Affairs committee) of the EU Parliament, attempts to assess to what degree the Parliament has the means and the will to assert a more influential role in this key policy area. It places the SEDE in a comparative context with the role of parliaments in scrutinising overseas deployments in member states and argues that although its role in deployment decisions will always be limited given the intergovernmental structure of the funding and manning of CSDP missions it can play a role in improving the EU's capacity in relation to mission planning and in challenging overly optimistic assessments of mission success that have marked the CSDP deployments to date.

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