MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION – European Parliament resolution on the mutual defence clause (Article 42(7) TEU)

The European Parliament,

– having regard to Title V of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and in particular Article 42(7) thereof,

– having regard to Articles 2(4) and 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

– having regard to its resolution of 22 November 2012 on the EU’s mutual defence and solidarity clauses: political and operational dimensions(1),

– having regard to the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular to the provisions of its Chapter VII and Article 51,

– having regard to the statement made by the President of the French Republic before the French Congress on 16 November 2015 that France was at war,

– having regard to the conclusions on defence and security adopted by the European Council on 19-20 December 2013 and 25-26 June 2015,

– having regard to the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council meeting (of Defence Ministers) on 17 November 2015,

– having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas on 13 November 2015 multiple terrorist attacks took place in Paris, taking the lives of at least 130 people from more than 26 nations;

B. whereas the French Government officially invoked the mutual defence clause of Article 42(7) of the Treaty on European Union following the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015;

C. whereas Article 42(7) should be considered the EU equivalent of NATO’s Article 5;

D. whereas solidarity, aid and mutual assistance among the Member States, including through recourse to Union means, are one of the foundations of the European Union;

E. whereas combating international terrorism is considered a priority for the EU and pursuing the principle of solidarity requires action at home as well as abroad;

F. whereas the security and defence architecture foreseen by the Treaties has not been implemented; whereas the Member States are responsible for achieving progress in the area of the security and defence of the Union;

G. whereas the EU needs to strengthen its cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in order to make the security and defence policies established within both frameworks increasingly compatible, in particular when a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, which includes terrorist attacks;

H. whereas the EU institutions need to be more active in security and defence policy, and to promote the implementation of all the provisions on security and defence policy enshrined in the Treaties, including those on the particular role of NATO in European and transatlantic security and defence; whereas the EU institutions must support all the Member States in their endeavours to implement those provisions fully;

I. whereas Article 42(6) TEU on permanent structured cooperation should be activated among those Member States that wish to cooperate closely with each other;

1. Welcomes with great satisfaction the unanimous and full support extended to France by all the Member States; welcomes, in particular, the readiness of all the Member States to provide all necessary aid and assistance;

2. Recalls that the mutual defence clause was used for the first time; considers that the current case will serve as a precedent for future use of the mutual defence clause for the sake of strengthening European security and defence;

3. Notes with great satisfaction that, upon France invoking the mutual defence clause, additional contributions of resources were made available in the fight against terrorism; encourages all the Member States to sustain their contributions for as long as necessary; welcomes France’s role as a catalyst in this common endeavour; encourages the competent EU institutions to provide and sustain their support as necessary;

4. Considers that invoking the mutual defence and solidarity clauses under the Treaties is first and foremost a political matter; underlines the fact that, when these clauses are invoked, both the European Council and the European Parliament are the place for the political debate;

5. Expresses concerns that managing aid and assistance under the mutual defence clause on a bilateral basis – as in this case – will not be possible for all Member States, and therefore calls on the European Council to add impetus to the further development of the mutual defence clause and to strengthen the role of the relevant EU institutions as facilitators;

6. Calls on Member States to utilise the full potential of the European institutions; renews its calls on the VP/HR, the Council and the Commission to clarify the relevant Union means and procedures to that end; calls for proposals on practical arrangements and guidelines to ensure a collective and effective response in the event of a Member State invoking the mutual defence clause;

7. Regrets, however, that no analysis and no guidelines were available upon the activation of the mutual defence clause, with the result that ad-hoc measures, ad-hoc management and ad-hoc cooperation were required in the present case;

8. Notes that the solidarity clause in Article 222 TFEU would make it possible to put all relevant EU means at the disposal of France and other Member States directly engaged in the fight against terrorism;

9. Is convinced that, drawing on existing capacities in the Member States and at Union level, the EU needs a permanent civil-military headquarters at strategic and operational levels, and that this structure should be tasked with strategic and operational contingency planning, including for collective defence as foreseen by Articles 42(7) and 42(2) TEU and future application thereof in close cooperation with relevant NATO structures;

10. Takes the view that the current activation of Article 42(7) TEU should be the catalyst for unleashing the potential of all the security- and defence-related Treaty provisions that should follow suit;

11. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the United Nations Secretary-General, the President of the United States and the US Secretary of Defence.

(1) OJ C 419, 16.12.2015, p. 138.