And what the hell is that I hear you ask. Only the creation of a EU paramilitary police force, nothing to worry about. What is more, I am prepared to bet that not one of the hundreds of British press types in Lisbon to cover the summit will mention it in their breathless copy for tomorrow.
So what is this Treaty? Let's have a look at Article 1:
The object of this Treaty is to establish a European Gendarmerie Force, which shall be operational, pre-organised, robust, and rapidly deployable, exclusively comprising elements of police forces with military status of the Parties, in order to perform all police tasks within the scope of crisis management operations.Oh goody I feel so warm inside.
So what is it going to do? I know let's look at Article 4:
Missions and tasksNow I don't want to be alarmist about this, after all only five countries have so far signed up. What is more, under article 42:
1. In accordance with the mandate of each operation and operating independently or jointly with other forces, EUROGENDFOR must be capable of covering the full spectrum of police missions, through substitution or strengthening, during all the phases of a crisis management operation.
2. EGF Forces can be placed either under civilian authority or under military command.
3. EUROGENDFOR may be used for:
a. performing security and public order missions;
b. monitoring, advising, mentoring and supervising local police in their day-to-day work, including criminal investigation work;
c. conducting public surveillance, traffic regulations, border policing and general intelligence work;
d. performing criminal investigation work, including detecting offences, tracing offenders and transferring them to the appropriate judicial authorities;
e. protecting people and property and keeping order in the event of public disturbances;
f. training police officers as regards international standards;
g. training instructors, particularly through co-operation programmes.
Any EU Member State possessing a police force with military status may apply to CIMIN for accession to this Treaty. After receiving the approval of the Parties, in accordance with Article 7, paragraph 5, subparagraph a., CIMIN shall notify the applicant State of the Parties' decision.(CMIN being its management).So that's alright then we are safe. What's that, the fact that we do not have a paramilitary police force precludes UK involvement in this (though if you have been to an airport recently you might beg to differ)? But hold on, what's that in Article 44:
Partner StatusHappily the Portuguese Minister, Rui Pereira who announced this today described it as:
1. EU Member States and EU candidate countries that have a force with military status and some police skills may apply for Partner Status.
2. CIMIN shall define the specific rights and obligations of the partners.
...an essential step to endow the EU with a joint police tool designed to respond to crisis scenarios. Eurogendfor should be used in non-stabilised and added-risk environments.Though one might say that this is good intergovenmentalism, comments like this seem to suggest that there is more to it than that. Then think how the Treaty of Prum came into force. First blocked by Council, then forced through after it had been signed by a number of member states.
We are told that this is to help out in global trouble spots, somewhere after the troops have left, but before fully civilian police can enter safely. Think Bosnia.
Then have a look at this page. The photos here were taken when the then French Defence Minister visited EUROGENDFOR. They put on a show for her and employed some of their staff to be the enemy. Were they pretending to be Jihadists a la Darfur? No. Were they Indonesians in East Timor? Nope. They were pretending to be Breton nationalists.
So the Minister watched a special show where Dutch and Spanish paramilitary police beat up French protesters. How she clapped.