Written Answers. - Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Ray Burke

Question:

112 Mr. R. Burke asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will assure Dáil Éireann that the reported agreement between EU states to incorporate the costs of actions in common foreign and security policy into the main EU budget will not mean that costs of military operations will be borne by the Irish taxpayer. [16704/96]

Provision was made in the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 for financing of actions which come within the competence of the European Union under the Common Foreign and Security Policy — CFSP — as defined in that Treaty. Under the present Treaty, such expenditure may be financed either from the European Community budget or by national contributions from member states. The Treaty provisions on the CFSP are currently under review at the Intergovernmental Conference — IGC — in accordance with the relevant provisions of Title V of the Maastricht Treaty. There is a generally shared wish to improve the procedures for making funds available for CFSP measures so that these can be mobilised quickly once the Council has decided on a course of action. In this context, the Irish Presidency has put forward a possible approach whereby operational CFSP expenditure could be charged to the Community budget subject to certain exceptions. In particular, operational expenditure on matters involving the use of military means would not be charged to the Community budget. At this stage, however, there is no agreement on any of the issues before the Conference and it is too early to predict the final outcome. Any changes to the Treaty, of course, will require the unanimous approval of all member states.