MEPs saluted France's military engagement in Mali and urged EU member states to show real solidarity with Paris in Tuesday's urgent debate with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. They also deplored the lack of a European response to the crisis in the region.
France's military intervention was welcomed by all Parliament's political groups, which highlighted the exceptional circumstances created by the north Malian rebels' offensive against the south. MEPs stressed that Mali must not fall into the hands of terrorists.
Other EU member states must nonetheless lend France real solidarity, urged MEPs, affirming that the credibility of EU action was at stake. Here many deplored the EU's lack of crisis intervention capability and its cumbersome administrative procedures. Others regretted that the EU mission to train the Malian army still had not been put in place.
Ms Ashton stressed the need for a holistic response to the crisis in the region, drawing together all the strands of EU external policy, and stated that she wished to appoint a special EU representative for the region. An extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council on Mali is to be held on Thursday.