The Council will continue to act by unanimity among member states on all aspects of European Security and Defence Policy except for certain procedural items in respect of permanent structured cooperation and the European Defence Agency.
The Council would act by qualified majority voting (QMV) when establishing permanent structured cooperation and when determining the list of participating member states, including when deciding on the participation of a member state that subsequently wishes to participate or suspending the participation of a member state which no longer fulfils the criteria or its commitments.
In the context of the European Defence Agency, although the treaty provides for the adoption of a decision on the Statute, seat and operational rules of the agency by QMV, these matters have already been decided upon under the joint action establishing the agency. We therefore do not anticipate any further need for decisions in this area.
The “passerelle” clause, which allows the European Council unanimously to decide to adopt a decision by QMV does not apply to decisions having military or defence implications.
We expect that the new EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy would become Head of the European Defence Agency. This role is currently held by the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union.
The Solidarity Clause reflects EU member states' desire to offer each other support in dealing with disasters on their territory, including terrorist attacks. The use of any UK military assets under the Solidarity Clause would be on a voluntary basis and would be a sovereign decision for the UK Government to take in the light of other commitments at the time. Any support would be given only in response to a specific request by an affected member state. The arrangements required to implement the Solidarity Clause would be defined by a European Council decision. In the case that there were defence implications, the Council would decide unanimously.