REPORT on the implementation of the common foreign and security policy – annual report

18.12.2019 - (2019/2136(INI))

Committee on Foreign Affairs
Rapporteur: David McAllister

Procedure : 2019/2136(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  


on the implementation of the common foreign and security policy – annual report


The European Parliament,

 having regard to the annual report from the Council to the European Parliament on the common foreign and security policy,

 having regard to Title V of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

 having regard to the Charter of the United Nations and the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE),

 having regard to the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949 and the joint declaration on EU-NATO cooperation of 10 July 2018,

 having regard to the declaration by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on political accountability[1],

 having regard to the 2016 Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy,

 having regard to the joint communication from the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 7 June 2017 on a strategic approach to resilience in the EU’s external action (JOIN(2017)0021),

 having regard to the Sofia Declaration of 17 May 2018 and the Council conclusions on enlargement and stabilisation and association process of 26 June 2018 and 18 June 2019,

 having regard to United Nations General Assembly resolution A/RES70/1, ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, of 25 September 2015,

 having regard to the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which established the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda in 2000,

 having regard to its recommendation of 15 November 2017 to the Council, the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) on the Eastern Partnership in the run-up to the November 2017 Summit[2],

 having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

 having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A9-0054/2019),

A. whereas Parliament has a duty and responsibility to exercise its democratic oversight of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and common security and defence policy (CSDP) and should get the necessary and effective means to fulfil this role;

B. whereas the EU’s external action has a direct impact on the wellbeing of its citizens both within and outside the EU, and sets out to ensure security and stability while promoting the European values of freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights; whereas the credibility of the European Union as a global actor for peace and security rests on its practical adherence to its values, therefore meaning that value-driven foreign policy is in the Union’s immediate interest;

C. whereas the European Union cannot be a promoter of its core values unless they are protected and respected in all of its Member States;

D. whereas, currently we are witnessing the retreat of traditional partners from the global stage, increasing pressure on multilateral cooperation and institutions, and the rising assertiveness of regional powers;

E. whereas for some time now, the Union’s strategic environment has been deteriorating, meaning that the need for a stronger Europe that acts on its external relations in a unified manner is more urgent than ever before in order to face the multiple challenges that directly or indirectly affect the security of its Member States and its citizens; whereas issues that affect the security of EU citizens include: armed conflicts immediately to the east and south of the European continent and fragile states; terrorism – and in particular Jihadism –, cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns; foreign interference in European political and electoral processes; the proliferation of arms of mass destruction and agreements on the non-proliferation of weapons being called into question; the exacerbation of regional conflicts that have given rise to forced displacement and uncontrolled migration flows; tensions over the energy supply of the Member States; competition for natural resources, energy dependency and energy security; the rise in organised crime at borders and in Europe; the weakening of disarmament efforts; climate change;

F. whereas Jihadism is one of the main challenges that threatens public safety in the EU today, and rapid, assertive and coordinated action should be taken both domestically and abroad;

G. whereas no single Member State is able to tackle, on its own, any of the challenges the European continent and its close environment are facing today; whereas the principle of equality between the Member States in designing EU foreign and security policy and actions should be respected and guaranteed; whereas the prerogatives of the national parliaments in the area of their own national foreign and security policy should be respected; whereas an ambitious, credible and effective common foreign policy must be underpinned by adequate financial resources and timely and decisive actions from the EU; whereas EU external policy instruments need to be used in a more coherent and cohesive way;

H. whereas multilateralism is the only guarantee for peace, security, and sustainable and inclusive development in a highly polarised international environment; whereas its foundations are threatened when universal rules and values – including fundamental human rights, international law, and humanitarian law –are either called into question or abused; whereas multilateralism is at the heart of the European Union’s approach to its CFSP as enshrined in the TEU;

I. whereas the world is facing a global shift of powers with geopolitical competition being a leading trend in foreign politics, which requires quick, unified and adequate response mechanisms and capabilities; whereas the EU is largely absent in this global shift of powers and geopolitical competition due to a lack of unity among its Member States;

J. whereas rising state actors and new economic powers are pursuing potentially destabilising global and regional ambitions and endangering peace and stability in the European neighbourhood, with unpredictable consequences for peace, in addition to European and global security; whereas Europe is running the risk of being side-lined when it comes to decision-making and will be severely disadvantaged as a result; whereas this global reconfiguration is facilitating the emergence of autocratic leaders, violent non-state actors and popular protest movements;

K. whereas the EU’s security environment, which is contingent on peace and stability in its neighbourhood, is more volatile, unpredictable, complex and vulnerable to external pressure – something which is already taking place in the form of hybrid warfare, including hostile propaganda from Russia and other actors, in addition to the rise in threats from radical terrorist groups, which hinder the EU from exercising its sovereignty and strategic autonomy; whereas instability and unpredictability at the EU’s borders and in its near neighbourhood represent a direct threat to the security of the continent; whereas the link between internal and external security is indivisible; whereas this external pressure implies both a physical and an online dimension; whereas disinformation and other forms of foreign interference from external forces poses serious risks for European sovereignty and a serious threat to the stability and security of the Union;

L. whereas socioeconomic inequality, oppression, climate change, and a lack of participatory inclusion are the leading causes of global conflict; whereas the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in 2015 by all UN Member States to provide a roadmap for equitable, just, sustainable, and inclusive global cooperation;

M. whereas the effects of climate change are having increasingly severe impacts on different aspects of human life, development opportunities, and on the worldwide geopolitical order and global stability; whereas those with fewer resources to adapt to climate change will be hardest hit by its impact; whereas EU foreign policy should focus more on promoting multilateral activities by cooperating on specific climate-related issues, building strategic partnerships and strengthening cooperation and inter-actions between state and non-state actors, including major contributors to global pollution;

N. whereas human rights are facing a rollback globally; whereas people from all regions around world, when failed by their own governments, are looking to Europe for support in ensuring that their human rights are upheld;

O. whereas the EU’s enlargement policy is an effective foreign policy instrument of the Union; whereas the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is a key instrument with regard to the EU’s eastern and southern neighbours;

P. whereas more than half of the world’s population growth by 2050 is expected to take place in Africa, which is expected to account for 1.3 billion of the additional 2.4 billion people on the planet; whereas the concentration of this growth in some of the poorest countries, together with the effects of climate change, will lead to a series of new challenges, which, if not addressed immediately, will have extremely problematic consequences both for the countries in question and for the European Union; whereas the recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report on Trade and development 2019 includes figures for an additional USD 2.5 trillion a year in order to achieve the goals outlined in the UN 2030 SDG Agenda;

Q. whereas in view of the collapse of important arms control and disarmament agreements – and also in view of ‘emerging technologies’ such as cyber technology and autonomous weapons disarmament – arms control and non-proliferation should become a major focus of the EU's foreign and security policy; whereas the Common Position 2008/944/CFSP[3] has to be reviewed and updated so that the criteria have to be strictly applied and implemented and that a sanction mechanism be established;

Multilateralism at stake: urgent need for a stronger and united Europe

1. Recalls that at a moment when competing powers are increasingly challenging the rules-based global order, we, as Europeans, must defend universal values, rules and principles – in particular multilateralism, international law, the rule of law, democracy, respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, free and fair trade, non-violent conflict resolution and shared European interests – both outside and inside the EU; stresses that, in order to retain credibility as a bearer of universal values like democracy, the European Union must take action that is consistent with its principles;

2. Underlines that multilateralism must be at the centre of the EU’s efforts to prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflicts based on the norms and principles of international law, the UN Charter and the OSCE 1975 Helsinki Final Act and is the best way of guaranteeing transnational political dialogue, peace and a stabilised global order; stresses its firm belief that, in a strategic environment that has been deteriorating considerably, the EU and its Member States have a growing responsibility to contribute to international security;

3. Outlines that multilateralism is the cornerstone of the EU’s foreign and security policy and represents the best way of ensuring peace, security, human rights and prosperity; stresses that this approach delivers benefits for people in Europe and across the world; recognises a three-fold approach of multilateralism based on the following principals: upholding international law and ensuring that the EU’s action is based on rules and norms of international law and cooperation, extending multilateralism to a new global reality that encourages a collective approach and considers the potential of taking advantage of the EU's normative capacity, autonomy and influence within international organisations, preserving and extending their influence and reforming international organisations, making multilateral organisations fit for purpose; recognises further that if multilateralism is to be effective, the issue of power inequalities between state and non-state actors must be addressed and resolved; welcomes action taken by the Union for its decisive support for the Paris Agreement, regional peace agreements and nuclear disarmament;

4. Expresses its regret at the gradual retreat by the United States from the multilateral world order, namely its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the UN Human Rights Council and UNESCO, and its decision to suspend its funding of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) strongly supports the preservation and full implementation by all sides of the JCPOA as an integral part of global multilateral order and non-proliferation regime and contribution to the regional security in the Middle East; rejects the unilateral, extraterritorial reimposition of sanctions by the United States following its withdrawal from the JCPOA, as it severely interferes with the EU’s legitimate economic and foreign policy interests; calls for the EU and its Member States to build up their unity, deterrence and resilience against secondary sanctions from third countries, and be prepared to adopt countermeasures against any country that harms the EU’s legitimate interests through the means of secondary sanctions;

5. Expresses its regret over the fact that the transatlantic partnership is facing a significant number of challenges and disruptions, yet it remains indispensable for security and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic; expresses its regret over the progressive retreat of the US from the multilateral, rules-based world order;

6. Calls, once again, for the Member States to support reforms in the composition and functioning of the Security Council; emphasises that the EU is committed to strengthening the international role of the UN;

7. Calls for a stronger, united, effective, proactive and more strategic European Union, especially given that a new European political cycle has just started and that the EU’s foreign and security policy is subject to change; believes that no single Member State can provide, on its own, an efficient response to today’s global challenges; stresses the need for European cooperation to have an influence on the world stage – something which requires a united approach and would not be possible if the EU were divided; calls for the EU to the intensify efforts to protect interests and values, while acting as a reliable international partner; believes that it is important to boost the EU’s own effectiveness and enforcement powers at international level, and calls on the EU institutions to focus on being citizen-focused and act in the people’s interest; stresses that the EU should communicate policy objectives, set priorities and targets that engage with citizens, are focused on people and not on processes, deliver tangible results and do not lead to further bureaucracy; calls for the EU to improve dialogue with governmental and non-governmental actors of third countries when developing policy proposals with an international dimension in order to allow the EU to speak with one single voice;

8. Reiterates the urgent need to strengthen the EU’s resilience and independence by reinforcing a CFSP that is committed to peace, regional and international security, human rights, social justice, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law in the EU, its neighbourhood and throughout the world; stresses that the EU's credibility in the world is contingent on these principles being protected and adhered to; believes that this reinforced CFSP should be more coherent, including not only traditional soft power, but also a strong CSDP, an effective sanctions policy and cross-border anti-terrorism cooperation; reiterates its call for the swift adoption of an EU human rights sanction mechanism, (i.e. an EU version of the ‘Magnitsky Act’), that allows for targeted sanctions against individuals that have a complicit role in serious human rights violations;

9. Believes that the European Union needs to become a credible and effective global actor so that it can take on a global responsible, tangible, proactive and prominent leadership role at the international stage and unlock its political potential to think and act like a geopolitical power with a meaningful impact, while defending and promoting the objectives of Article 21 of the TEU, its universal principles and rules, its common values – starting with peace and human rights – and interests in the world, helping to resolve conflicts worldwide and shaping global governance; reaffirms the need to secure EU strategic autonomy, in particular improved decision-making, capacities and adequate defence capabilities, recognised in the EU Global Strategy, reconfirmed in June 2018 by the 28 heads of state and government, and that seeks to promote a more capable, independent EU at a time of growing geopolitical competition;

10. Fully supports the Commission President’s decision to transform the EU’s executive branch into a ‘geopolitical Commission’, whose focus is on building a credible external actor that will systematically address external action matters; welcomes the commitment of the future VP/HR to coordinate the external dimensions of the Commission’s action and to ensure a better link between internal and external aspects of our policies; underlines that a geopolitical Commission would therefore be expected to adopt a proactive rather than responsive approach to global affairs and to make the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) reflect this mandate; believes, in this regard, that the European Union should strive to become a more assertive actor, without prejudice to its standing as a normative power; stresses that a geopolitical Commission is to safeguard its interests in full respect of international law and its own values; underlines that the EU is to engage all powers based on a spirit of cooperation and openness, while reserving the right to push back when required;

11. Reaffirms its commitment to the EU Global Strategy as a decisive step forward from ad hoc crisis management to an integrated approach towards the foreign policy of the European Union; believes that a strategic revision of the EU Global Strategy would be timely and needed, in particular in light of some of the profound geopolitical changes that have taken place since its adoption (e.g. political divergences across the transatlantic partnership, the emergence of new, more assertive powers such as China, and the aggravation of the climate emergency), all of which have serious implications for the Union's foreign policy objectives and overall security policy; calls, as a result, on the VP/HR to begin a process of all-around inclusive consultations, starting with the Member States and leading experts in EU foreign policy from outside the EU institutions, and by including civil society organisations;

12. Considers that the EU should rely more on trade and development instruments such as bilateral agreements and free trade agreements with third countries, by making the ratification of an agreement conditional on signing up to the Paris Agreement and respect for fundamental European values;

13. Considers also that the EU, in order to keep its external credibility, should put respect for human rights clauses at the core of the EU's agreements with third countries, making them conditional and applying them when necessary;

14. Believes that the European Union needs to be able to react to crises more rapidly and effectively, with all the diplomatic and economic instruments it has available and to include more civil and military missions as part of the CSDP; recalls, to this end, that it should put greater emphasis on preventing conflicts by addressing the root causes of instabilities and by creating instruments to cope with them; recalls, in this respect, the need to significantly boost EU budget resources for the next MFF and to at least double funds on conflict prevention, peacebuilding and mediation; recalls the EU’s fundamental role in fostering democracy in the European neighbourhood, especially via the European Endowment for Democracy support programmes;

15. Stresses that the European Union has to switch from a responsive to an anticipatory approach and the importance of teaming up with like-minded EU strategic partners, in particular NATO and emerging countries in order to defend the global rule-based order that is founded on international and humanitarian law and multilateral treaties; recalls that the EU’s CFSP is based on partnership and multilateralism, which help to unite the relevant regional and global powers; underlines the urgent need to explore new flexible forms of alliance cooperation, especially in monitoring and control of flows of technology, trade and investments and find innovative and inclusive mechanisms for cooperation, developing smart multilateralism; calls for joint efforts to reform multilateral organisations to make them fit for purpose;

16. Promotes an EU foreign policy that unites the EU institutions and Member States behind a common and strong EU-level foreign policy, thus giving the EU more credibility; endorses the idea that such a policy should wholeheartedly support the vital role carried out by the VP/HR; encourages the establishment of ad hoc coalitions of Member States that contribute to greater flexibility and improved responsiveness of the Union’s external action, by reducing the pressure created by the need to achieve consensus among the Member States; encourages re-establishing closer forms of cooperation between the VP/HR and foreign ministers, so that the latter is delegated to act on behalf of the EU in order to strengthen EU cohesion and democratic legitimacy; calls for the EU to better communicate its vision and CFSP policy objectives to its citizens;

17. Calls for greater solidarity and enhanced coordination between the EU and the Member States; recalls the need for consistency among the Union’s external policies and with other policies with an external dimension, and for such policies to be coordinated with international partners; believes that cooperation between the Member States is essential to safeguarding the EU’s democracy, common values, freedoms, and social and environmental standards; underlines the need to extend cooperation between the Member States, partner countries and international organisations; reiterates the importance of Article 24(3) TEU, which states ‘Member States shall support the Union's external and security policy unreservedly in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity and refrain from any action which is contrary to the interest of the Union’; underlines that, as set out in the Treaty, the EU Foreign Affairs Council is the forum at which national ministers present their views and agreed on policies, and that, once the policy is agreed, Member States are to fully support the VP/HR in the execution of said policy, without acting in parallel;

18. Stresses that the Union must fully implement the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty and use existing instruments more effectively; calls for the EU to act in a more harmonised and coherent manner in order to improve its decision-making processes and become an effective and credible external actor, in which the EEAS plays a pivotal role;

Reinforcing the European Parliament as a pillar of the CFSP

19. Underlines that the European Union can only deliver its full potential when speaking and acting as one voice and when decision-making is carried out, gradually, from the national to the supranational level, thus taking full advantage of the possibilities offered by the EU treaties, institutions and their procedures and while fully complying with the principle of subsidiarity and upholding the competences of the Member States; stresses that the European Union should use all available means to achieve this goal, including those offered by parliamentary diplomacy;

20. Reiterates, in this respect, that over the years, Parliament has developed a series of instruments and networks in the field of external action, such as joint parliamentary committees and parliamentary cooperation committees with third countries, as well as the work of interparliamentary delegations, ad hoc delegations and election observation missions, which are both distinct from and complementary to those of the EU’s executive branch; underlines the powers of oversight and control conducted by Parliament and stresses that its reports and resolutions deserve greater attention; emphasises the importance of parliamentary assemblies as forums for cooperation and institutional dialogue, highlights the valuable contribution they make to European Union external action and to the area of security and defence; emphasises the need to promote their activities and guarantee the proper conduct of their work;

21. Underlines the vital role of the EU's election observation missions; stresses the political responsibility of the Chief Observers, which are nominated from the ranks of MEPs; calls, therefore, for a more integrated approach to EU foreign and security policy, which includes a parliamentary dimension; calls for more interinstitutional cooperation when devising strategies towards third countries and regions, with a special emphasis on the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries; recalls the importance of the parliamentary diplomacy and inter-parliamentary relations to support these aims; affirms that Parliament must have a stronger role in the CFSP and in the international arena; outlines the need for the EU and the Member States to work together to set out an overall policy strategy for a refocused parliamentary diplomacy that includes a more integrated approach of the EU foreign and security policy and adapt the way they work;

22. Underlines the role of each institution involved in the CFSP/CSPD in revisiting its working methods and evaluating the best way to fulfil its role under the Treaties;

23. Calls for improved interinstitutional cooperation in the sense that Parliament would receive information, in sufficient time, for it to be able to express its point of view, if appropriate, and for the Commission and the EEAS to be able to take Parliament’s views into account; calls for the effective and comprehensive sharing of information by the Commission and the EEAS, so that Parliament is able to exercise its role of scrutiny in an efficient and timely manner, including in the field of the CFSP; welcomes the commitment of the VP/HR to better and sooner inform, involve and consult Parliament on the fundamental choices of the CFSP;

24. Calls for the strengthening of Parliament’s roles of  oversight and scrutiny of EU external action, including by continuing to hold regular consultations with the VP/HR, the EEAS and the Commission; calls for the conclusion of negotiations on Parliament’s access to sensitive Council information in the field of the CFSP and the CSDP;

25. Notes that if/when Brexit takes place, Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), as the leading committee responsible for relations with third countries, should be given all the necessary information by the EU executive to enable it to scrutinise, on behalf of Parliament, the negotiation process in line with Article 218 of the TFEU, and to provide timely input on the future agreement(s) with the United Kingdom, which will require Parliament’s consent; stresses the importance of future cooperation between the European Union and the United Kingdom in the areas of the CFSP and the CSDP and recognises the need to find creative solutions;

26. Highlights the EU’s efforts in consistently affirming the importance of maintaining and strengthening a free and open international order that is based on the respect of rule of law;

27. Requests that, prior to the adoption of a CFSP-related strategy or communication by the Commission and the EEAS, a consultation mechanism with the Committee on Foreign Affairs and relevant bodies be established;

28. Calls for a more strategic approach, greater coherence, consistency and complementarity, as laid down in the Treaties, between the EU’s external financing instruments and the CFSP so as to enable the European Union to tackle growing security and foreign policy challenges; stresses that a credible and effective CFSP must be underpinned by adequate financial resources; calls for these to be made available for the EU’s external action under the next MFF (2021-2027) and for the EU to focus its resources on strategic priorities;

29. Notes the Commission's proposal to combine most of the existing instruments for external action into a single instrument, the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI); reiterates that pooling external action instruments into a single fund may lead to synergies, effectiveness and rapidness in decision-making processes and disbursement of funds, but should not divert the Union's funding from its longstanding and overarching foreign policy goals of poverty eradication, sustainable development and the protection of human rights; welcomes the simplified structure of external instruments proposed under the NDICI; calls for proper checks and balances, a sufficient level of transparency, and strategic policy input and regular scrutiny of application by Parliament; stresses the importance of the differentiation principle in assistance for neighbourhood countries with a higher level of commitment to European reforms under the principle ‘more for more’ and ‘less for less’;

30. Stresses the need for an increased role of Parliament during the scrutiny and steering of all EU external instruments, including for the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance for 2021-2027 (IPA III); highlights the role of the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), particularly in supporting peace and stability around the world; expects a timely adoption of the post-2020 instruments, including the European Peace Facility (EPF) so as to avoid unnecessary funding gaps;

31. Believes that conflict prevention, peacebuilding and mediation and the peaceful resolution of protracted conflicts, in particular in the EU's immediate neighbourhood, should be a priority in the coming years; underlines that such an approach would deliver a high degree of EU added value in political, social, economic and security terms; recalls that conflict prevention and mediation activities help to assert the presence and credibility of the EU on the international stage and that these should form part of a holistic approach that combines security, diplomacy and development; points out the need to consolidate the European Union as an influential global player and to invest in conflict prevention and mediation; calls for the EU to further prioritise conflict prevention and mediation; highlights Parliament’s valuable contribution in the field of conflict resolution and input on mediation, dialogue and the promotion of the values of democracy, the rule of law, respect for minorities and fundamental rights, particularly in the countries of the Western Balkans, the Eastern Partnership and the Southern Neighbourhood and calls for the further development of interinstitutional cooperation on mediation; welcomes the EU's increased role in conflict resolution and confidence building in the framework or in support of existing agreed negotiating formats and principles;

32. Recalls the importance of a strong ENP, where the EU commits to common societal, political and economic interests with partner countries of the east and south; underlines the strategic role the Union can play through the ENP to strengthen the resilience of the EU's partners as a key priority in order to contend with the threats and pressures they are experiencing; acknowledges that for the European Union to be a strong global actor, the EU needs to be a relevant actor in the neighbourhood;

33. Recalls that modern democracies require fully functioning legislative branches and, in this regard, underlines the importance of supporting the work of parliaments in both the Western Balkans and in the neighbourhood;

34. Recognises the importance of the stability of the Eastern Neighbourhood for the Union's own stability and EU’s transformative potential for neighbouring regions and countries; reiterates its support for the Eastern Partnership (EaP), which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2019; stresses, however, that in order for the EaP to be more successful, it needs new initiatives and commitments from both sides (i.e. the EU and its partners); encourages the development of ever closer relations with the EaP, including targeted strategies for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova and the importance of taking note of ideas such as the Trio Strategy 2030 and those from the most advanced EaP EU-associated countries; highlights that such an approach should be based on the principle of ‘more-for-more’ and ‘less-for-less’, led by EU institutions and the coalition of like-minded Member States, known as the European Trio process, with a focus on tangible projects and programmes to follow the best practices from the Berlin process and European Economic Area integration; believes that the success of transformation in the EaP countries – especially the EU-associated countries of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia – can yield positive results, which could also have an influence on society in neighbouring Russia;

35. Recalls and emphasises that cooperation with EaP countries and other EU neighbourhood countries should be a priority for the CFSP due to the vital interest of the EU in the development and the democratisation of these countries; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to continue strengthening economic and connectivity ties, using trade and association agreements, access to the single market and deepened people-to-people contacts, including through visa facilitation and liberalisation when all requirements are fulfilled; emphasises that the above could serve as incentives to foster democratic reforms and the adoption of EU rules and standards;

36. Reiterates the EU’s commitment to supporting the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine and all EaP countries within their internationally recognised borders, in accordance with international law, norms and principles in order to increase support for conflict-affected residents, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees and to counter attempts at destabilisation from third countries, in particular Russia; rejects the use of force or the threat of force when resolving conflicts and reiterates its vision that current conflicts in all EaP countries should be settled in accordance with international law norms and principles; remains fully committed to the policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea; strongly underlines the importance of the proactive stance based on international law against protracted conflicts in the Eastern Neighbourhood; condemns, furthermore, the continued militarisation in the Georgian occupied territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and calls on Russia to fulfil its obligations under international law; underlines, that more than a decade after the end of the Russian act of aggression in Georgia and subsequent ceasefire brokered by the EU, the Russians are still acting in blatant violation of some of some of its own provisions and the ‘borderisation’ process is ongoing; calls for the strengthening of the mandate of the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) and the enhanced visibility thereof; urges the Russian Federation, as the occupying power, to honour its international obligations and grant EUMM unhindered access to the occupied regions;

37. Welcomes the President of the Commission's reassertion of the European perspective of the Western Balkans and stresses its commitment to enlargement, which remains a key policy and serves as the EU’s propulsive force; reiterates the need for the EU’s stance on enlargement to be ambitious and credible;

38. Calls for a credible EU enlargement strategy in the Western Balkans, rooted in strict and fair conditionality in accordance with the application of the Copenhagen criteria, and which remains for foreign policy reasons an important tool for promoting security by enhancing the resilience of countries in a region of strategic importance to the EU;

39. Reiterates that, apart from the overall CFSP, the objectives of EU policy regarding the Western Balkan countries is to guide them towards accession; highlights that this process of enlargement is merit-based and depends on their respect for the Copenhagen criteria, the principles of democracy, respect for the fundamental freedoms and human and minority rights, observance of the rule of law and their individual achievements to meet the imposed criteria;

40. Underlines the importance of an ongoing reform process linked to the transformative effect on candidate countries; remains fully committed to supporting EU-oriented reforms and projects, in particular those focusing on further strengthening the rule of law and good governance, protecting fundamental rights and fostering reconciliation, good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation; notes with regret the slowing down of the process;

Strengthening the CFSP to counter global threats

41. Calls for strengthening the capacity of the EU and the Member States to act autonomously in the area of security and defence; stresses that efficient and close partnerships with partner organisations, such as the UN or NATO, and with other international institutions, such as the African Union and the OSCE is more vital than ever; emphasises that NATO is the key security partner of the EU; underlines the importance of close cooperation with NATO on all defence-related matters and in addressing security challenges that the EU and its neighbourhood faces, in particular those regarding countering hybrid threats;

42. Welcomes EU efforts to bolster EU security and defence so as to better protect the Union and its citizens and to contribute to peace and stability in the neighbourhood and beyond, in accordance with the joint declaration on EU-NATO cooperation of 10 July 2018;

43. Underlines the role of NATO as an important pillar of European security and welcomes the ongoing process of NATO enlargement, which contributes to the stability and wellbeing of Europe;

44. Believes that qualified majority voting (QMV) would make the EU’s foreign and security policy more effective and would speed up the decision-making process; calls on the Council to make regular use of QMV in the cases envisaged in Article 31(2) of the TEU and calls on the Council to take up this initiative by making use of the ‘passerelle clause’ contained in Article 31(3) of the TEU; encourages the Council to consider extending QMV to other areas of the CFSP;

45. Supports a debate within the EU on new formats, such as an EU Security Council in full dialogue and cooperation with the Member States, and on ways of coordinating more closely within the EU and with international authorities so as to facilitate a more efficient decision-making process in the field of security policy;

46. Welcomes the decision of the President of the Commission to build, within five years, a genuine and operational European defence union and calls for transparent exchanges with Parliament and the Member States for the establishment of a defence union; believes that, in this context, the EU should make best use of the already existing mechanisms and instruments, such as permanent structured cooperation (PESCO), military mobility and the European development fund (EDF), which aims at improving national and European capabilities and support the enhancement of the efficiency of the European defence industries; calls for the creation of a mechanism for parliamentary democratic control of all new instruments in the field of defence;

47. Underlines the need to ensure the constant evaluation of PESCO and the EDF and the ways in which they contribute to CFSP objectives, in order to ensure the provision of adequate resources in line with PESCO commitments, and to implement EU decisions effectively and coherently – including through a more integrated European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) – in a way that guarantees that the Union remains open for cooperation;

48. Recalls that Article 20(2) of the TEU, which lays down provisions for enhanced cooperation, provides additional possibilities for Member States to move forward with the CFSP and should therefore be used;

49. Recalls that climate change has an impact on all aspects of human life, and that, inter alia, it increases the likelihood of conflicts and violence; stresses that climate security concerns and the willingness to enforce global environmental governance should be integrated into EU foreign policy;

50. Underscores the fact that the EU should develop capacities to monitor climate change-related risks, which should include conflict sensitivity and crisis prevention policies; acknowledges, in this context, that linking climate adaptation and peacebuilding measures reinforces conflict prevention; underlines the need to develop a comprehensive and anticipatory approach to climate change; calls for the EU and the Member States to act with high ambitions at the international climate conference and to implement their obligations; stresses the value of climate diplomacy in this regard;

51. Underlines the need to develop a comprehensive approach to climate change and security in line with the SDGs, in particular SDG 13 and SDG 16, to secure equitable and sufficient flows of climate finance under the Paris Agreement and to devote higher levels of financing for such actions under the current IcSP and the upcoming NDICI;

52. Underlines the growing geopolitical importance of the Arctic and its effect on the security situation both within the EU and globally; urges the EU to work towards a more coherent EU internal and external policy, an Arctic strategy and concrete action plan on the EUs engagement in the Arctic that also takes into account the security and geostrategic aspect; notes the ability of the EU to contribute to the resolution of potential security and geostrategic challenges;

53. Calls for stronger support to the EU maritime security strategy as freedom of navigation presents a growing challenge both globally and for the neighbourhood; insists that freedom of navigation must be respected at all times and that measures need to focus on de-escalation and the prevention of armed conflicts and military incidents;

54. Expresses its regret that tensions are on the rise and violations of the Law of the Sea and international maritime law continue to persist around many of the world's major maritime hotspots, such as in the South China Sea, the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea; recalls the volatile situation in the Sea of Azov; notes that many of these tensions are geopolitical in nature;

55. Calls for the EU to take active measures and to consider restrictive measures in response to severe breaches of freedom of navigation and international maritime law;

56. Recalls that effective international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation regimes are a cornerstone of global and European security; notes that irresponsible arms transfers to third countries undermine and weaken the CFSP, in particular EU efforts for peace, stability and sustainable development; calls for strict compliance with the eight criteria set out in Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP on the control of arms exports[4] and calls for a mechanism for EU-level monitoring and control in this respect; emphasises the need for a defence industry that uses taxpayers’ money effectively and efficiently, in addition to the need for the EU to foster a more integrated internal market in defence goods and a coordinated policy to support defence research and development; calls on the Member States to make multilateral nuclear disarmament an EU foreign and security policy priority; believes that the EU must continue its efforts to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive; urges the VP/HR to use all available political and diplomatic means to safeguard the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA) and new strategic arms reduction treaty (New START) and to launch a coherent and credible strategy for multilateral negotiations on regional de-escalation and confidence-building measures in the Gulf that involves all the actors in the region; emphasises that the EU´s ability to engage diplomatically with all actors concerned is a strong asset that should be fully used for that end;

57. Urges the Member States to fully comply with the Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP on the control of arms exports, to strictly implement their obligations stemming from this Common Position, in particular criterion 4 on regional peace, security and stability, regarding their arms export policy to Turkey and to impose an arms embargo to Turkey following its illegal invasion of northern Syria and its illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean – in particular, its invasion of the exclusive economic zone and territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus; reiterates its position that the Common Position has to be reviewed and updated so that the criteria have to be strictly applied and implemented and a sanction mechanism has to be established; calls on the VP/HR to treat this dossier as a priority;

58. Calls on the VP/HR to promote a multidimensional biregional cooperation strategy with Latin America and the Caribbean in the area of security and defence, to advocate the joint defence of the multilateral order, the strengthening of cooperation in combating terrorism and organised crime and in combating climate change and its effects on social, political and economic stability, and to foster dialogue as a tool for achieving negotiated, peaceful settlements to the political conflicts we are witnessing;

59. Calls for exploring the possibility of creating a new forum for multilateral cooperation among Western allies, i.e. the EU, the USA, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, drawing on the legacy of the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Strategic Export Controls; stresses that the remit of a new forum should cover the monitoring and control of export of technologies, trade flows and sensitive investments to countries of concern;

60. Stresses that strengthening substantial relations with east and southeast Asia is essential to the EU's rules-based, comprehensive and sustainable connectivity strategy and vice versa; promotes, therefore, sustainability, a rules-based approach and the MFF as a decisive instrument;

61. Takes note of the military build-up in the region and calls for all parties involved to respect the freedom of navigation, to solve differences through peaceful means and to refrain from taking unilateral actions to change the status quo, including in the East and South China Seas and the Taiwan Strait; expresses concern that foreign interference from autocratic regimes through disinformation and cyber-attacks on the upcoming general elections threaten Asian democracies and regional stability; reiterates its support for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organisations, mechanisms and activities;

62. Stresses that the Commission should integrate a cybersecurity strategy into EU digitalisation efforts and promote the initiative in all Member States as part of a strong political and economic commitment to digital innovation;

63. Calls on the VP/HR, the Commission and the Member States to step up their efforts when it comes to confronting cyber and hybrid threats that are combinations of ambiguous posturing by strengthening the cyber-defence mechanisms of the EU and its Member States and their resilience against hybrid threats, by building critical infrastructures that are cyber-resilient; calls, in this regard, for the development of comprehensive joint capacities and methods to analyse risk and vulnerability; stresses that better coordination is needed in order to overcome such challenges effectively; recalls that strategic communication and public diplomacy should strengthen the EU’s geopolitical influence and overall image in the world and should protect EU interests;

64. Stresses that foreign interference in EU affairs poses a great risk to the EU’s security and stability; strongly supports the boosting of the European Union’s strategic communication capabilities; calls, in that connection, for further support for the three strategic communication task forces (East, South and Western Balkans); calls for increased support for the EEAS Strategic Communications Division, as it plays a vital role, by turning it into a fully-fledged unit within the EEAS that is responsible for the eastern and southern neighbourhoods, with proper staffing and adequate budgetary resources – possibly by means of an additional dedicated budget line;

65. Calls on the Member States to strengthen their capacities and encourage cooperation and information sharing to prevent state and non-state actors from third countries to exert hostile interference on EU and Member State decision-making; believes that increased EU strategic communication capabilities could contribute to that goal;

66. Underlines that interference in elections is part of a broader strategy of hybrid warfare and that responding to it therefore remains a core security and foreign policy issue; calls on the VP/HR, the Commission and the Member States to develop a comprehensive strategy in the fight against foreign electoral interference and disinformation in national and European democratic processes, including those coming from state-sponsored Russian propaganda;

67. Notes that Russia is the most imminent source of hybrid and conventional security threats to the EU and its Member States and is actively striving to undercut European unity, independence, universal values and international norms; maintains, that while no change in aggressive policy can be expected under the current leadership in Moscow, the positive change to a more democratic and European-style country is possible in a more distant future; calls, therefore, for increased efforts to strengthen resilience of the EU and its Member States and for the creation of a long-term EU strategy towards Russia that is built on three pillars of deterrence, containment and transformation;

68. Calls on the Council to supplement the EU human rights and foreign policy toolbox with a global ‘Magnitsky Act’-type sanction regime to strengthen the one that already exists by enabling the imposition of asset freezes and visa bans on individuals involved in grave human rights violations;

69. Stresses the need to benefit from the EU’s competitive advantage so that the EU can quickly establish a strategic position in the international race of emerging technologies, information, defence, renewable energy industries, 5G deployment, the European high-performance computing joint undertaking (EuroHPC) ecosystem and the EU's autonomous, reliable and cost-effective access to space in order to prevent the EU from becoming dependent on third country non-European technological and digital giants; emphasises that developing reliable artificial intelligence technology is essential to ensuring EU strategic autonomy, in particular, in the remit of decision-making and capabilities; calls, therefore, on the Union to keep up and increase its investment in this area;

70. Recognises the fundamental role played by the civil and military missions that form part of the CSDP and points out that those missions must be given the human and material resources to maintain peace, avoid conflicts, strengthen international security and reinforce European identity and the EU’s strategic autonomy; expresses regret that the effectiveness of these CSDP missions and operations is being undermined by persistent structural weaknesses, a strong disparity in Member State contributions and the limits of its mandates;

71. Believes the EU has not yet made adequate use of its abundant resources in the field of CSDP; calls on the VP/HR, on the Commission and on the Member States to step-up their efforts in the field of CFSP cooperation, in order to make CSDP civil and military missions more robust, to improve their operational capacity by means of increased flexibility, to increase efficiency and effectiveness on the ground, and to make their mandates more encompassing, streamlined and clear; believes that new instruments such as the European peace facility could enhance solidarity and burden-sharing between the Member States when it comes to contributing to CSDP operations and could more generally help increase the effectiveness of the EU’s external action;

72. Recalls that an inclusive approach to conflict prevention, mitigation and resolution is paramount to their long-term viability and recalls the increased success of conflict resolution when gender parity and equality are respected along the process; calls for increased participation and managerial positions of women in such missions, including in decision-making and negotiations; stresses that a gender perspective should be more systematically mainstreamed into CSDP missions and operations, and to actively contribute to the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and its follow-up resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, and UN Security Council Resolution 2250 (2015) on Youth, Peace and Security; calls, therefore, on the Commission to provide for the structural inclusion of women, youth, human rights defenders, and religious, ethnic and other minorities in all its conflict management-related activities;

73. Calls for the effective mainstreaming of gender equality and minority rights in the strategic and operational aspects of the EU's external action, which could include targeted programming in the new NDICI financial instrument; welcomes the commitment from the VP/HR to reach the goal of 40 % women in management positions and Heads of Delegation by the end of his mandate; calls on the EEAS to provide Parliament with regular updates on the implementation of that commitment;

74. Stresses that the terrorist threat remains present both in Europe and beyond; strongly believes that the fight against terrorism should remain a priority for the EU in the coming years; calls on the new Commission to present an EU action plan against terrorism;

75. Emphasises the importance of strengthening and guaranteeing intelligence cooperation within the EU, given that terrorism is threatening our core European values as well as our security, and requires a multidimensional approach involving border authorities, the police, the courts and the intelligence services of all the Member States, in addition to countries outside the EU;



° °

76. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the President of the European Council, the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the Member States.


Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Alexander Alexandrov Yordanov, Maria Arena, Traian Băsescu, Phil Bennion, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Susanna Ceccardi, Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Gina Dowding, Tanja Fajon, Michael Gahler, Kinga Gál, Giorgos Georgiou, Raphaël Glucksmann, Klemen Grošelj, Bernard Guetta, Márton Gyöngyösi, Sandra Kalniete, Andrius Kubilius, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, David Lega, Nathalie Loiseau, Jaak Madison, Claudiu Manda, Thierry Mariani, David McAllister, Vangelis Meimarakis, Sven Mikser, Javier Nart, Urmas Paet, Demetris Papadakis, Tonino Picula, Manu Pineda, Kati Piri, Diana Riba i Giner, Catherine Rowett, Nacho Sánchez Amor, Isabel Santos, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Radosław Sikorski, Sergei Stanishev, Hermann Tertsch, Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel, Irina Von Wiese, Witold Jan Waszczykowski, Charlie Weimers, Isabel Wiseler-Lima

Substitutes present for the final vote

Andrea Bocskor, Andrea Cozzolino, Arnaud Danjean, Loucas Fourlas, Jytte Guteland, Andrzej Halicki, Martin Horwood, Katrin Langensiepen, Hannah Neumann, Juozas Olekas, Kris Peeters, Mick Wallace, Javier Zarzalejos, Bernhard Zimniok

Substitutes under Rule 209(7) present for the final vote

Gilles Lebreton, Geoffrey Van Orden







Márton Gyöngyösi


Alexander Alexandrov Yordanov, Traian Băsescu, Andrea Bocskor, Arnaud Danjean, Loucas Fourlas, Michael Gahler, Kinga Gál, Andrzej Halicki, Sandra Kalniete, Andrius Kubilius, David Lega, David McAllister, Vangelis Meimarakis, Kris Peeters, Radosław Sikorski, Isabel Wiseler-Lima, Javier Zarzalejos


Phil Bennion, Klemen Grošelj, Bernard Guetta, Martin Horwood, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Nathalie Loiseau, Javier Nart, Urmas Paet, Irina Von Wiese


Maria Arena, Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Andrea Cozzolino, Tanja Fajon, Raphaël Glucksmann, Jytte Guteland, Claudiu Manda, Sven Mikser, Juozas Olekas, Demetris Papadakis, Tonino Picula, Kati Piri, Nacho Sánchez Amor, Isabel Santos


Gina Dowding, Katrin Langensiepen, Hannah Neumann, Diana Riba i Giner, Catherine Rowett, Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel





Hermann Tertsch, Geoffrey Van Orden, Charlie Weimers


Giorgos Georgiou, Manu Pineda, Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, Mick Wallace


Susanna Ceccardi, Gilles Lebreton, Jaak Madison, Thierry Mariani, Bernhard Zimniok





Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Witold Jan Waszczykowski


Fabio Massimo Castaldo


Sergei Stanishev


Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention



Last updated: 18 December 2019
Legal notice - Privacy policy