LORDS

EU missions in the Palestinian Territories - EUPOL COPPS and EUBAM Rafah

On 13 July 2017, the EU External Affairs Sub-Committee considered the extension of the mandates of the EU Co-ordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support (EUPOL COPPS) and the EU Border Assistance Mission for the Rafah Crossing Point (EUBAM Rafah). The Council Decisions extend the mandates of the missions for another year, until 30 June 2018.

The Committee decided to retain the items under scrutiny and write to the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister for Europe and the Americas. The Committee expressed its disappointment with the level of analysis provided by the Government in its Explanatory Memorandums (EMs), given that the two missions are part of the EU's commitment to support the development of Palestinian state capacity, and that the political context determines the work that can be undertaken by the EU. In its letter, the Committee asked for:

  • An assessment of recent political developments relating to the Palestinian Territories.
  • With regard to EUPOL COPPS: whether the lack of political will in the Palestinian Authority is an obstacle only at a district level, or if it also affects the rule of law and criminal justice system activities of the mission in its engagement with the Ministry of the Interior; and where there is a risk that the mission's effectiveness may be diluted by focusing only on the limited number of districts where it has had more traction.
  • For information on the April 2017 Interim Strategic Reviews of the missions, and whether these involved "a full cost-benefit analysis" and consideration of "all options for the way ahead".
  • With regard to EUBAM Rafah, whether HM Government remains of the view that "there is no alternative way of supporting operation of the border crossing while it remains closed ... Consequently, we have not explored other options", as stated in its letter of 27 July 2016.
  • An assessment of the original staffing proposal for EUBAM Rafah, and the implications of the compromise reached on additional staffing for the mission's work.
  • Information on where EUBAM Rafah currently operates from, how often its staff travel to and from Gaza, and the principal ways in which the mission's work is undertaken.

On 12 October 2017, the EU External Affairs Sub-Committee cleared these documents from scrutiny. 

Letters from the Minister


Letter from the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister for Europe and the Americas, to the Committee, 4 August 2017: European Union Missions in the Palestinian Territories - EUPOL COPPS and EUBAM Rafah. (PDF PDF 148 KB)

Within his letter, the Minister states that:

  • "The situation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains bleak", but "The UK stands ready to support renewed efforts and is actively engaging with parties on the ground." 
  • The April 2017 Interim Strategic Review of EUBAM Rafah considered three options, "closure of the mission", "extend the mandate with the same level of resources", and "extend the mandate and increase staffing to address structural reforms". The second option was chosen.
  • The Government continues "to judge that there is no alternative way of supporting the operation of the Rafah border crossing while it remains closed. We have not therefore explored other options to EUBAM Rafah."
  • EUBAM Rafah " has its headquarters in the Tel Aviv district of Israel and also has a field office in Gaza". Visits to the Gaza Strip "have now resumed and visits took place in February and March".

Letter from the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister for Europe and the Americas, 29 September 2017: EU missions in the Palestinian Territories - EUPOL COPPS and EUBAM Rafah (PDF PDF 125 KB)

Letters to the Minister

Letter from the Committee to the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister for Europe and the Americas, 15 September 2017: EU missions in the Palestinian Territories - EUPOL COPPS and EUBAM Rafah (PDF PDF 59 KB)

Letter from Committee to the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister for Europe and the Americas, 13 July 2017: EU missions in the Palestinian Territories - EUPOL COPPS and EUBAM Rafah (PDF PDF 74 KB)

Related documents

Letter from the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister for Europe and the Americas, to the Committee, 5 July 2017: European Union Police Mission for the Palestinian Territories (EUPOL COPPS) (PDF PDF 113 KB)

Explanatory Memorandum from the Government, 5 July 2017 (PDF PDF 437 KB)

Letter from the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister for Europe and the Americas, to the Committee, 5 July 2017: European Union Border Assistance Mission for the Rafah Crossing Point (EUBAM Rafah) (PDF PDF 112 KB)

Explanatory Memorandum from the Government, 5 July 2017 (PDF PDF 415 KB)

Letter from the Committee to the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister for Europe and the Americas, 1 July 2016: European Union Border Assistance Mission for the Rafah Crossing Point (EUBAM Rafah) (PDF PDF 69 KB)

Letter from the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan, Minister for Europe and the Americas, to the Committee, 27 July 2016: European Union Border Assistance Mission for the Rafah Crossing Point (EUBAM Rafah) (PDF PDF 132 KB)

Follow the committee on...

TwitterTwitter - keep up to date with the European Union Committee

The scrutiny process

Find out more about the scrutiny of EU documents: