Status of Forces and Status of Mission Agreements Under the ESDP: The EU's Evolving Practice
34 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2008 Last revised: 28 Oct 2014
Date Written: February 1, 2008
The conduct of EU military and civilian crisis management operations in third states within the context of the European Security and Defence Policy has presented the EU with new administrative and operational challenges in recent years, including the need to define the international legal position of such operations and their personnel during their presence abroad. In some cases, the EU has entered into agreements with host states to determine the legal status of EU crisis management operations, while in other cases the application of already existing arrangements has been extended to them. The status agreements negotiated directly by the EU confer more extensive privileges and immunities on EU operations and their personnel than current international practice in this area would warrant. Despite opposition to this policy within the EU, it has remained in place under the two model status agreements adopted by the Council of the European Union in 2005 to serve as a basis for negotiations with prospective host states in all future EU operations. Even though no norm of international law compels the EU to request only such privileges and immunities as are absolutely necessary for the purposes of an operation, its practice of negotiating extensive privileges and immunities does not sit well with the growing emphasis on the accountability of peace support operations. This article offers an overview of the evolution of the EU's practice of concluding status agreements in the context of the European Security and Defence Policy and examines the key provisions of the two model status agreements.
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