If it is to avoid a further loss of global influence, the EU must use its existing foreign policy tools much more efficiently and it must devise a new security strategy, said MEPs on Thursday. They were taking part in a debate with the Swedish and Polish foreign ministers, Carl Bildt and Radosław Sikorski, and the.chairs of the foreign affairs and defence committees of national parliaments.
The discussion centred on the formulation of a European global strategy, which should help frame a clearer mandate for the EU foreign policy chief. The initiative, launched by the foreign ministers of Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden, will also feed into the discussion on defence by EU heads of state and government at their December summit.
Review of European Security Strategy
The European External Action Service "is not complete yet", said the chair of the EP foreign affairs committee, Elmar Brok (EPP, DE), reckoning that "it is impossible to set up a perfect service like this in two years." Together with other MEPs and national MPs, Mr Brok called for a new definition of the EU's common strategic goals and a review of the 2003 European Security Strategy.
"The European Security Strategy was written as an antithesis to the US strategic concept" of the first George W. Bush administration, Carl Bildt said. "We are now increasingly living in the third phase of globalisation, with the rise of Asia and other countries," he added, calling for greater awareness of the geopolitical changes and challenges ahead.
Start with neighbours
"By 2050, no single EU national economy will be among the global top 10," Radosław Sikorski said, urging an end to member states' "self-absorption", calling on them to "punch together."
"If we fail in our neighbourhood, we will also fail elsewhere," the minister stressed. In 2013, "the geopolitical orientations of our neighbours will be probably decided," he added.
December European Council
Many speakers urged member states to pull together, in the context of strained budgets and new threats, and to rise to the challenge at the December summit discussion.