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Procedure : 2005/2134(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0389/2005

Texts tabled :

A6-0389/2005

Debates :

PV 01/02/2006 - 11
CRE 01/02/2006 - 11

Votes :

PV 02/02/2006 - 8.4
CRE 02/02/2006 - 8.4
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2006)0037

Debates
Wednesday, 1 February 2006 - Brussels OJ edition

11. Common foreign policy perspectives for 2006 – Common foreign and security policy – 2004
PV
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  President. The next item is the joint debate on the common foreign and security policy on the following points:

– the Statement by the High Representative for the common foreign and security policy on the common foreign policy perspectives for 2006; and

– the report by Elmar Brok, on behalf of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, on the annual report from the Council to the European Parliament on the main aspects and basic choices of the CFSP, including the financial implications for the general budget of the European Union – 2004 (2005/2134(INI)) (A6-0389/2005).

Before the speakers take the floor, I would like to thank Mrs De Keyser, chief European Union observer at the Palestinian elections, and Mr McMillan-Scott, who led our delegation of 27 parliamentary observers, for the work they have done. We will no doubt have the opportunity to hear what they have to say during the debate, but at this point I would like to stress the important role played by our Members in terms of providing an objective view of the vitality of the electoral process in the Palestinian territories.

I also believe that this is a good opportunity to express our hope that the circumstances will not prevent President Mahmud Abbas from accepting the European Parliament's standing invitation for him to come here whenever he likes.

 
  
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  Javier Solana, High Representative for the common foreign and security policy. (ES) Mr President, I would like to begin by joining with you in congratulating, in particular, the person who has embodied the European Parliament and the European Union as a whole in the electoral observation mission to the Palestinian elections, Mrs De Keyser, a good friend of all of us and a good friend of mine, on the great work she has done over this very difficult time, during which the mission of observers has been extremely important. I do not know whether Mrs De Keyser is in the Chamber, but, in any event, I would like to acknowledge her and express my admiration for her and once again tell her that I think of her as a friend.

(Applause)

Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I can tell you quite honestly that I find it very difficult to begin this sitting of 1 February 2006. If we cast our minds back just one month, to 1 January of this year, and look at what has happened in the world over the intervening thirty days, it is clear that it may be genuinely useful for us to reflect here in this Parliament; we should reflect on the European Union’s capacity for politics, the European Union’s capacity for international politics and the obligation facing all of us. If we look carefully at what has happened over these thirty days that I am about to discuss, we should draw certain conclusions with regard to how we cannot continue to act and how we should actually begin to act. So please allow me, therefore, to remind you very briefly of what has happened over the last thirty days.

Many of us stayed awake the whole of the night of 1 January 2006, trying to resolve an extremely serious problem that was affecting us: Ukraine and Russia had a problem that was very difficult to resolve because of the lack of an energy agreement between the two countries. If, rather than an energy agreement, disagreement had remained, that would have had extremely serious repercussions for the energy supply of many European Union countries. That was the first night of the year.

On the third night of 2006, the Iranian Government took an extremely important decision: to commence enriching uranium. And less than a week later, it began to break the seals that had been affixed by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council and of the Board Governors of that Agency.

A few days later, Prime Minister Sharon was taken into a hospital in Jerusalem, and unfortunately he has yet to recover fully. If you will allow me, I would like to say to the family of Prime Minister Sharon, on behalf of all of us, that we wish him a speedy recovery. Regardless of the differences that may have arisen between us in the past, regardless of the difficulties and misunderstandings that we may have had, men who have fought, people who have worked with us, must be acknowledged in their times of difficulty.

A few days later, serious problems arose with the beginning of the elections in Palestine, and once again Mrs De Keyser was there to try to solve them. The Palestinian elections took place at the end of the month, and the result caused a commotion.

Some days later, within the context of another issue which is absolutely fundamental to the European Union, President Rugova, President of Kosovo, died suddenly.

Also in the final days of the month, there was a crucial meeting of the African Union, with which we are cooperating extremely closely in an attempt to resolve a serious problem: the problem of Darfur.

Finally, just a very few days ago, also during this month, the Secretary-General of the United Nations called upon us to be ready to take a decision on the possibility of the European Union becoming involved in security and protection at the elections that are going to take place in a few months’ time in Congo.

Ladies and gentlemen, if we think for just a few moments about these last thirty days, we will see that there are immense lessons to be learnt. And many of them relate to the European Union’s influence in today’s world, because in relation to all of these issues that I have mentioned, all of them, the European Union has had to play a fundamental role: on the issue of energy security, which is fundamental and which will remain with us throughout 2006; on the issue of Iran, which will continue to occupy us over the coming days and no doubt beyond, and I will discuss this in a moment; on the Palestinian elections and their consequences; on the death of President Rugova and the consequences that it will have in 2006, and let us hope that it is only 2006; on the final agreements on the status of Kosovo; and on issues relating to the changes that have taken place in the African Union, our relations with which are marked by profound friendship, affection and cooperation.

If the President will allow me, I shall comment very briefly on these issues that I have mentioned, the most important issues to have arisen over the last month, and which are unquestionably going to make up this Parliament’s and the European Union’s fundamental agenda for 2006, but not without firstly saying once again to the Presidency of Parliament and to its Members that there is no question that the European Union is an essential player in international politics, that this must continue to be the case, that experience has shown us that, whether we like it or not, it must be the case, and that over just thirty days we have had to deal with so many issues, and at times this has stopped us being able to think; such has been the activity in which we have been immersed throughout this month.

This morning, ladies and gentlemen, this Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs received two personalities from Ukraine: the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Tarasyuk, and Yulia Timoshenko, a very distinguished parliamentarian. The Committee on Foreign Affairs has seen — I hope that many of you have been able to say this — the extremely difficult situation being faced by Ukraine, a country that is a friend of ours and that is fundamental to the stability and security of Europe. About a year ago now, all of us, the European Parliament and myself, were trying to resolve an extremely serious problem in Ukraine. Today, a year later, many of the problems that existed at that time are not as serious, but they are unfortunately still sufficiently serious for us to have to continue working, essentially in order to ensure that that country does not lose its way, that this great country continues to move along the path of economic and political development, security and increasing closeness to Europe that we all want to see. Those of you who have listened this morning to both the Foreign Affairs Minister and Mrs Yulia Timoshenko will have realised that the problem is unfortunately very serious and that we must attach particular importance to it.

In the few minutes I am allowed for this first speech, I shall not go into any more detail, but I would like to say that the elections that are going to take place in Ukraine, not in a year’s time, but in two months’ time, will be absolutely fundamental to all of us, not just for the European Union, but also for Ukraine, undoubtedly, and for all of the countries of the eastern part of our continent, which will be affected by their results.

It would be extremely sad for all of us if what a year ago we called the Orange Revolution were to stop being an orange revolution and turn into a revolution of a different kind or a step backwards after the series of steps forward that that country took a year ago.

I would like, Mr President, to move on to the second point on which I wished to comment: the situation with Iran. I believe that the honourable Members are well informed about what has happened in Iran since 3 January of this year, just a little while ago, and in particular about what has happened since the 13th, when, in Berlin, the European Union took the decision to call for an extraordinary meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency and subsequently to call upon the Board of Governors to pass the dossier on Iran to the United Nations Security Council. Many things have happened since then, because the days pass as if they were seconds and months as if they were hours. I can tell you that, at this very moment, the Chinese and Russian representatives are in Tehran, with a mandate from the five permanent members of the Security Council plus the European Union, to try to make the final effort to reach an agreement at the meeting that is going to take place on the 2nd, that is to say tomorrow. I can tell you that, the night before last, the members of the European Union and the United States held a meeting until the early hours of the morning, which I believe was very important, with Russia and China, with a view to reaching a possible agreement on a draft resolution. And I can tell you that we reached that agreement, and that this very afternoon it will be presented in Vienna for debate tomorrow.

It is a draft resolution, ladies and gentlemen, that makes the following appeals: firstly it calls upon Iran to return to the previous situation, that is to say, not to persist in its aspirations to enrich uranium, but to return to a negotiating position; and secondly, it calls for the resolution that is going to be presented this afternoon, with the support of Russia and China, to be approved and for that resolution and all of the related resolutions adopted over recent months to be passed on to the Security Council and for that Council not to adopt any resolution until the ordinary meeting of the Board of Governors in March. Our intention here is to send a clear message to the Iranian authorities and, at the same time, to create the greatest possible degree of consensus within the international community.

The issue we are dealing with is fundamental, linked to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and it therefore seems to us to be essential to achieve the greatest possible agreement amongst the members of the international community and, specifically, amongst the members of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. I do not wish to say that I am optimistic, because I believe that it is difficult to be optimistic on these issues, but I believe that we have worked extremely hard over recent hours amongst all of the members of the international community, led, without any doubt whatsoever, by the positions that the European Union has held for several months and years.

(Applause)

We therefore hope that the debate that will begin tomorrow, and will no doubt last more than one day, will enable us to make progress in terms of rationalising Iran’s position on nuclear issues.

The third point that I wished to mention very briefly, Mr President, since time is pressing, is the Palestinian elections. I have already mentioned the good work that the European Union has done in terms of observation; I would like to make two or three observations about the results. Ladies and gentlemen, the results have surprised everybody: they have surprised Hamas, they have surprised Fatah, they have surprised Israel and they have surprised the international community.

Hamas were certainly expected to achieve better results than they have done before, but nobody ― either in Hamas, in Fatah, or in the international community ― expected Hamas to be so successful.

What positions do I believe we should take at this time? And these are not personal positions, they are positions that have been agreed by the General Affairs Council, by the Foreign Affairs Ministers on Monday morning ― that is to say, very recently ― and in the afternoon, in the Quartet, with our friends from Russia and the United States and with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Ladies and gentlemen, we believe ― quite rightly I believe ― that we must continue to help President Abu Mazen. He stood in the elections on the platform that we supported: one of progressing towards peace; recognising the need to negotiate with Israel; of ending the Intifada; and of implementing the roadmap. Those were the positions of President Abu Mazen, and they had the mass support of his Palestinian fellow citizens.

There have subsequently been elections which Hamas has won by a very substantial majority, by an absolute majority, on a platform that to a certain extent is different to that of President Abbas. There is therefore no doubt that in the future ― when the government is formed following the negotiation that will take place, very probably within several weeks, and we will therefore probably not have a government for two or three months at least ― there may well be a clash of positions amongst the different parties, between what President Abu Mazen has represented and what Hamas represents.

In Monday’s statement by the Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers, which was then also recognised in the meeting of the Quartet, we said what I believe are some important things which should be known and, above all, explained. We stated clearly that, according to the report by the observers and in particular by their chief observer, the elections took place in an open, clean and fair manner. We then went on to say in this statement that Europe is entirely prepared to carry on working with our Palestinian friends, with whom we have cooperated for many years, since the Oslo process, during which we have invested European economic resources and also political and psychological resources, to a large extent, and that we are prepared to carry on doing so; and there is absolutely no doubt that we are prepared to carry on doing so in the time between now and the formation of the new government. But when the new government is formed, on the assumption that it is led by Hamas, this House will have to reflect and set certain conditions.

It would be difficult for the European Parliament and the European Union as a whole not to say various things very clearly to our Palestinian friends; specifically, three things: the first is that violence is not compatible with election results in a democracy. In a democracy, parties that have been elected must abandon violence and must play by the democratic rules.

(Applause)

The second thing we should say with the same affection and friendship we have always felt for our Palestinian friends is that, if they want the European Union’s assistance, it is essential that their policy is compatible with the position that this Parliament and the European Union have maintained since the Oslo agreements in 1993. We want to see two States living together in peace and prosperity; we want negotiations to take place via the peaceful route ― not by any other route ― and we would therefore call upon the two parties ― if that is what we want ― to recognise each other. This Parliament could not possibly support anything that does not involve an explicit recognition on the part of all of the Palestinian authorities, whoever they may be, that Israel is a reality with which they must hold dialogue and reach agreement.

Thirdly, we would like to say to our Palestinian friends ― I have said this personally on several occasions since the elections, and I am able to speak to the President practically every day ― that it would be a very good thing for the new government which emerges following these elections, in three months, also to recognise all of the agreements that the Palestinian Authority has signed over recent years. It would be absurd to go right back to zero after all the work we have done over such a long time and after the work many of you have also done over such a long time.

This is what we want to say very simply, therefore, ladies and gentlemen, and I believe that everybody must understand it; and I believe and I hope that our Palestinian friends, regardless of the party they are from, regardless of the party or formation they represented in these elections, understand that this does not mean imposing anything on anybody, or trying to force anybody’s will, but that it is a question of affirming in a clear and simple manner what the European Union’s position has been; not since yesterday, but since 1993, when the Oslo agreements were signed. And I believe that we should all be united here in this task; I believe that, as we have done in the General Affairs Council and as the Quartet did on the night following the General Affairs Council, we must stand firm in this area. This does not mean that at this difficult time, at this time when President Abu Mazen has the enormous responsibility of forming a government and of making contact with all of the different political factions, we should not help, or we should not help President Abu Mazen as much as possible at this time when he still has control of the situation, so that over these three months that he surely still has before there is a new government, the Palestinians do not face economic bankruptcy.

In my view, it would be an extremely serious mistake for us now to abandon President Abu Mazen, in an economic sense, and for those resources not to be used, or not arrive, and for us to run the risk of the Palestinian Authority finding itself in a very difficult situation at this point in time.

(Applause)

This is an appeal to all of us and the European Parliament ― if at some point the Commission presents a request or a recommendation to the European Parliament in this regard, and I hope that it will ― to have the generosity to support President Abu Mazen over the months remaining before a new government is in place, so that he can establish himself and find a place for himself and what he signifies. I believe that we should say ‘yes’, a resounding ‘yes’, so that that is what happens in the future.

I would like to say that what we have before us is going to be a new situation, it is going to be difficult, it is not going to be easy, but I believe that we must remain determined to ensure that this peace process moves forward under the conditions to which I referred before. They are not absurd conditions, as I have said; they are not conditions that have just been plucked from the air, but they come from many years of work, of working together, of work with our Palestinian friends to ensure that the process can move forward.

Mr President, I will now say a couple of very brief words about the situation in Kosovo, following the death of President Rugova. It was my sad duty – though I was delighted to go – to attend the funeral of President Rugova. The family asked me to speak on that occasion on behalf of the European Union, and I did so. I did so thinking of all of you, I did so thinking of all of the citizens of Europe, whose thoughts I am sure were with President Rugova at that time. But let there be no mistake; it is going to be a difficult process. Because if the process was difficult enough when President Rugova was alive and acting as a sort of 'umbrella’ for the whole political operation that we are facing, imagine what it is going to be like without him. In my speech, I called upon the Kosovan political leaders and people in general to show generosity, unity and responsibility at this time so that progress can be made, and I believe that to a certain extent those words, spoken by myself and by others, have been heard: we now have somebody to replace President Rugova, something that I feared was going to take much longer, and who is also going to head the team which, under the direction of Mr Ahtisaari, former President of Finland, will jointly lead the negotiation with our Serbian friends.

Let us hope therefore that we can move in that direction and that we can move relatively quickly, but I would emphasise once again that great energies are going to be required in order to progress along this path towards a definitive solution to the situation in Kosovo, which would unquestionably represent an essential step towards stability throughout the Balkan region, stability for the countries to which we have offered a future in Europe, at the Thessaloniki Summit and on numerous occasions.

Mr President, I believe that my time is running out, and it would be a great shame not to discuss some of the other issues that I wished to raise with you, given the enormous amount of activity that has taken place over the last twenty days. I would like to tell you that we are continuing to work very hard with the African Union to try to resolve the problem of peace in Darfur. We have made a lot of progress on the North-South negotiation, and we have reached an agreement, but we unfortunately have the Abuja process, which has not made any progress. We are working as hard as we possibly can in that regard. Fortunately, the meeting of the African Union has found a compromise formula whereby, rather than making the President of Sudan the President of the African Union, which would have been a great problem for the future negotiations, it has chosen President Brazzaville of Congo. We will therefore be very happy to do everything we can to ensure that the Abuja process moves forward and at the same time will begin to plan ― because we are going to have to take on many responsibilities ― the transition from a force that is present on the ground, led by the African Union, to a force which, sooner or later, but within a few months, will be United Nations blue helmets and with which we will undoubtedly have to continue cooperating.

The last thing I would like to say, Mr President, is that, as you know, ladies and gentlemen, we have received a request ― or at least the Presidency and myself have received a request ― from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, asking us whether we could assist in the elections that are going to be held in the Democratic Republic of Congo and which will provide the final impetus for the process of democratic transition in Congo; if it goes well, it will bring stability to a significant part of Africa’s backbone; this issue is therefore fundamental for all of us. We are being asked to help, and today there is a fact-finding mission in Kinshasa, and I hope that in a few days time, on the 7th, it will be able to give us its results, so that we can see whether, in the end, the Member States of the European Union can take the decision to support the United Nations in response to this offer, or request. To do so would be a good decision.

I shall end here, Mr President, ladies and gentlemen. There are endless things I would like to share with you on this first day of February 2006, a year which has begun with some truly frenetic activity, which is going to make us all frenetic and which must make us work with an energy, a capacity and a dedication that we have rarely seen in the European Union.

Through the will of the Members of this Parliament, through the will of the citizens of Europe and through the will of the governments of Europe, the European Union must be a fundamental player on the international scene. And as you have just heard, ladies and gentlemen, given the things that have happened during this last month alone, we have no choice but to play that role, whether we like it or not: we cannot close our eyes to the world’s problems, and I would like to say to you that the world wants Europe to act. Wherever we go, we come across people, political leaders, knocking on Europe’s door and saying, ‘Act. Act; we like the way you act; your way of acting suits us; the way you act is better for the world, the multilateral world in which the citizens of the European Union believe’.

The Eurobarometer, Mr President, tells us every day, every month, or every two months, or every time we ask it, what the Members of this Parliament want. Let us therefore continue along that path, let us ensure that Parliament and all of the institutions can work together, because we are necessary if we are to create a better world.

Mr President, I would like to say much more, but I know that that is not possible. So I will stop and I will await any question the honourable Members wish to ask me; I shall do my best to answer as best I can, with the same respect and affection that I have always shown to this Parliament. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Elmar Brok (PPE-DE), rapporteur. (DE) Mr President, Mr High Representative, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, considering where European foreign and security policy started off from several years ago, we cannot do other than observe that those involved in it can point to some extraordinary achievements, that hitherto impossible things are being achieved in the Balkans, through the EU troika and in many other areas, and that the European Union, through its enlargement policy, its neighbourhood policy, its Mediterranean policy and much else, has made a major contribution to global stability.

Parliament has been constantly supportive of this work and is well aware of its own inability to actively engage in foreign policy, that being a task for the executive. While it must, however, be open to Parliament to monitor it, the position we are in prevents us from doing so to an adequate degree, since we are mainly informed after the event and no priority is given to our being included in the discussion process. There is room for improvement here; we need to move things on in line with this interpretation of Article 21, and I hope that we will be able to use peaceful means in getting the Council and the Commission to agree to this.

It must also be clear to us, though, that this House has so far been able to bring forward little other than budgetary arguments in its attempts to get its way, and we have to move on from this if this House is to be better enabled to monitor and be consulted.

One might ask, by way of an example, what is going on in the Congo? We have all read in the newspapers about the plans that are being considered for military intervention there, but at no stage of the proceedings has anyone thought to give this House or the relevant committee within it prior notice of this. I do not think that we can go on like this.

Although I did say that a lot of good things had been achieved, it is possible to regard a glass as either half full or half empty. We are in a much more difficult situation than we were a year ago; far from being something that can be blamed on European policy, this is a matter of the way things are, and Mr Solana gave a few examples at the beginning of the year. Consider, if you will, the state of affairs in Iran, where we are laboriously endeavouring to get talks underway, and where nobody has any real idea of how to prevent matters escalating now there is the possibility of Iraq ending up with a Shiite government that could ally itself with Iran, in view of the Palestinian elections having been won by Hamas, which is linked with and funded by Iran, not to mention Hezbollah and all the rest of it. If you consider what this scenario means in terms of world peace, and might also mean in terms of the security of our energy supply, bearing in mind at the same time the way in which a politically resurrected Russia uses energy as a political instrument, causing countries in our neighbourhood to fear for the maintenance of their independence and freedom to make decisions for themselves, then it can be a depressing one. And that is just a small sample. The whole scenario shows that we, in the European Union, are in a worse position in terms of foreign policy than we were a year ago, and that we therefore need to come up with a strategy for dealing with the situation. We must become much more pro-active and, whether dealing with the Ukraine situation or energy policy in general, establish connections in such a way that no single country is penalised, but that, rather, we join together in defending our interests. Our Member States and our neighbours must come to understand that we have no chance of defending our interests unless we do so together rather than each looking after his own. None of us can save ourselves; it is only together that we can defend our own interests, and this is something that has to be spelled out with greater clarity.

(Applause)

We have something to contribute, and one place in which we can do so is the Balkans, where, this year, there is to be a referendum in Montenegro and negotiations on the status of Kosovo, and so important decisions are in the offing. The question of how we involve Serbia in all this is one of the really big and difficult issues with which we have to deal. There must also be a marked improvement in trans-Atlantic relations, so that, through the values we share, order may be brought into the scenario I described earlier.

That also means that we have to be strong enough to have an influence on American policy, which means reinforcing the preventive dimension of policy and its character as a dialogue, in order to ensure greater security in a multilateral world.

It means that we have to sharpen up some of our instruments. We would like to see Mr Solana become Europe’s Foreign Minister on 1 January 2007; while the failure of the Constitution means that he will not, another consequence of that is that the instruments need to be improved in order to maximise the effectiveness of all the institutions rather than have them working against each other.

As Mr Solana said, this multilateral approach is one reason why the world wants European foreign policy. The public want it too; nothing matters so much to them as that we should take joint action in this area, and that imposes on us the obligation to join with our counterparts at the national level in putting the half measures of the past behind us and agreeing on ways to secure our citizens’ right to life.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Hans Winkler, President-in-Office of the Council. (DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, in introducing his statement, the High Representative referred to the first 31 days of this year – and hence also of the Austrian Presidency of the Council – as having been a turbulent time, and that they indeed were. Evidence of that could be found on the order of business for the first meeting of the Council under Austrian Presidency two days ago.

It was important that we in the Council should consider the issues, to many of which Mr Solana has alluded, and come to decisions that carried a clear message, for it is indeed important that the European Union should, where today’s important issues are concerned, speak to the world clearly, unmistakeably, and with one voice, and this we are doing, of course, together with the Commission, while also seeking dialogue with you in the European Parliament. I would point out that, in the 31 days of the Austrian Presidency so far, the foreign minister, many other Council chairmen and I myself have had many opportunities to come here and debate many issues of concern to your House, and that I yesterday had the opportunity – for which I am very grateful – to report to the Committee on Foreign Affairs on the foreign policy aspects of the first meeting of the Council under Austrian Chairmanship. The Austrian Presidency wants to continue offering this willingness to engage in discussion on behalf of the Council and wishes to maintain dialogue with your House.

In this brief statement, I would like, in essence, to focus on two points: firstly, the Council’s annual report to the European Parliament on the main aspects of, and fundamental options for the common foreign and security policy – which is what this item on the order of business is all about – and, secondly, relations between your House and the Council as regards the budget for it.

Firstly, the 1999 interinstitutional agreement on budget discipline and improvement of the budget procedure specifies that the Council shall draw up a report setting out the main aspects and basic choices of CFSP, along with its financial implications for the overall Budget, and so it was that the Council, in April 2005, forwarded to Parliament the report for 2004, which is on our order of business today, and in which it endeavours to do as Parliament has asked it to do and reflect on Europe’s security strategy. As a result, the report gives particular attention to important issues in connection with this, notably such aspects of the common foreign and security policy as, for example, crisis management and conflict prevention, combating terrorism, disarmament and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and small arms, external relations in different geographical areas, and so on.

The Council endeavoured to make the report a comprehensive one that would give a full account of the outcomes and activities in connection with the common foreign and security policy. Its production of these reports is a matter of obligation, and they help to make visible and transparent the work that is done in connection with the CFSP. Efforts have also been made to accommodate the views of the European Parliament, one consequence of which is that the report includes a special chapter with an overview of future activities and suggestions for activities in the coming year and for possible responses to any crises that may occur.

If I might move on to my second subject, the Budget for the common foreign and security policy, I would like to point out that the coming into being of the CFSP, as also of the European Security and Defence Policy, is without doubt one of the European Union’s success stories; the crisis management operations in the Balkans, in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East have helped to make the European Union more visible on the international stage. The continuation of this in accordance with the European Security Strategy is a matter of priority, but that can be done in an effective manner only with the appropriate funding. In the conclusions to the agreement on the next financial perspective, the European Council requests ‘the budgetary authority to significantly increase the funding under the Budget for the common foreign and security policy for the period beginning in 2007 in order to cover the foreseeable need for resources as estimated on the basis of prognoses produced annually by the Council, with a reasonable margin being left for unforeseen activities’.

One outcome of the trialogue was an agreement to add EUR 40 million to the CFSP Budget, bringing it to a total of EUR 102.6 million for the current year of 2006, and, although that is a step in the right direction, there are great challenges lying in store for us. If the European Union becomes active in Kosovo, that will probably require substantial funds that the current CFSP Budget for 2006 will be incapable of providing. Work is in progress on the question of how a situation of this kind can be dealt with.

The Presidency’s report to the European Council on the ESDP invited the Austrian Presidency to continue working towards securing adequate funding for civilian ESDP missions from the CFSP Budget. The presidency looks forward to working constructively with the European Parliament on this issue and will shortly provide it with relevant information in accordance with the agreement reached during the trialogue on the 2006 Budget. It is expected that the Political and Security Committee will, through its representative, report on the subject in March of this year.

Let me conclude by emphasising once again that the Presidency looks forward to working constructively with your House towards the end of an increased and more efficient CFSP Budget in the negotiations on the future inter-institutional agreement and in the 2007 Budget procedure.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the Commission. Mr President, while in 2004 and 2005 we saw the terrible scenario of the tsunami, I agree with Mr Solana that this year, particular political challenges lie ahead.

I would like to start with Ukraine and Russia, because that brings me to a very important point. As you know, the Commission – President Barroso, Commissioner Piebalgs and I – have been working both in the background and at the forefront in order to facilitate the dialogue between Ukraine and Russia. The important thing is, firstly, that we – as well as they – have come to a solution. Secondly, we also have learned a very important lesson from this, namely that the question of energy is of great importance and has to be placed much higher on our political agenda. The issue of energy covers energy security, the question of diversification and the ways of dealing with this question in the future. The Commission will therefore prepare a communication on this matter, which will take all these issues into account.

The second point I would like to make concerns the Palestinian elections. I wish to pay tribute to Mrs De Keyser. We met in Gaza two weeks ago under difficult circumstances, when the security situation was still unclear. We thought that Hamas would have 30-40% of the votes. Like everybody else, we were taken by surprise. However, let me say that the most important thing is that the elections were held freely, fairly and in relative security. This is already an achievement. It leads me to believe that election observation missions are becoming more and more important. We see it in Sri Lanka, Palestine, Gaza and Afghanistan, to name just a few. In the future, we will see it in Congo and in Haiti. This is a very important tool that we will certainly want to use in favour of all our European friends in Parliament and Council and in favour of the European public.

To come back to Palestine, we had a very important Council meeting on Monday and a Quartet meeting on Monday evening. Mr Solana has already reported on the main thrust of the three important principles: there has to be a commitment to non-violence, the new Palestinian Government has to recognise the State of Israel, and it also has to stand by its existing obligations, i.e. Oslo and the roadmap.

However, we are also faced with a challenge. The caretaker government could stay in place for two to three months. What do we do, in particular with regard to financial support? We in the Commission have to find solutions. I have already said that we would try to release EUR 10 million from our infrastructure facility – there is some money there to be disbursed. We also said we would help with the utilities, paying these directly to the Israelis in order to help that government too.

However, we also have to see what can be done with the money in our World Bank Trust Fund. It was blocked and has not been disbursed because the benchmarks had not yet been met. A World Bank mission will be going there and we will have to see what can be done. This means that we will try to work in a coherent way, together with the President, the Council, the Council secretariat and Mr Solana to see which are the best instruments to use in order to make the foreign policy coherent, speedy and effective as quickly as possible.

Whilst on the subject of foreign policy issues, the Ukrainian elections are forthcoming. Within the last hour I met Boris Tarasyuk. We know how important these elections will be. Again, an election observation team from the OECD, perhaps with your support, will be important.

We could also say that a lot was done in 2005, for example, on the market economy status, where we were working with the Ukrainians. We could work on quite a number of issues that are important, such as visa facilitation and readmission. We hope that after free and fair elections we can offer them an enhanced agreement, perhaps a free trade agreement. That would give them an even better stance and approach towards us.

All of that brings me to the more general questions. Both Mr Brok and Mr Winkler, the President-in-Office, have stressed the importance of the coherence between the different instruments at the disposal of the European Union under the first and second pillars. I could not agree more. In our view, it is a very important task to ensure that all EU foreign policy instruments – development aid, diplomacy, trade policy, civilian and military crisis management, institution-building, humanitarian assistance – work as part of a coherent whole, like interlinked cogs in a well-oiled machine. After all, this is the rationale behind the Commission being ‘fully associated’ with common foreign and security policy. It also reflects the direction in which the Constitutional Treaty was taking us. As Mr Brok’s report highlights, the security challenges we face span the fields covered by all three EU pillars.

Security is not only about defence and military deployment, it is also about civilian crisis management and the wise management of bilateral relationships – and we have a lot of those. It is also about public health: think of avian flu. It is about the environment: think of the Kyoto Protocol. It is about the fight against terrorism and organised crime. Yesterday we had the Afghanistan conference. It is also about working together for institution-building, or fighting the scourge of drugs. We have so many instruments that we can use and apply together. It is not only about energy supplies and prices, but also about the fight against poverty in the world, and our ability to integrate our immigrant populations.

The European Union is increasingly called upon to face these global responsibilities in the field of peace and security. We now have an impressive toolbox with which to do so. But a smart toolbox is no good if the tools do not work very closely together. This, therefore, has to be our aim. An effective crisis response requires instruments that complement one another. We need strong Community instruments working alongside the instruments of the CFSP. It is a recipe that can work. For example, our contribution to the Aceh peace process is a mix of CFSP and Community instruments. The Commission also financed, for instance, President Ahtisaari’s peace negotiations using the rapid reaction mechanism. We have therefore tried to be flexible.

The CFSP launched the Aceh Monitoring Mission to monitor compliance with the peace agreement. At the same time, for instance, the Commission and Member States, working with the international community, put in place a package of long-term measures to support the peace process. Another example is the border assistance mission in Moldova and Ukraine, where the Commission is funding the deployment of mobile teams to provide advice and on-the-job training to Moldovan and Ukrainian border and customs officials.

The long-term objective of facilitating a resolution of the Transnistria conflict matches that of the EU’s Special Representative. The Border Assistance Mission and the EU Special Representative therefore work closely together. Our head of mission also acts as his senior political adviser, and one of his team is based at our mission’s premises. Early results are highly positive. Community assistance enhances the impact of the CFSP assistance, and vice versa.

In neither case would the European Union’s contribution have been comprehensive or meaningful without utilising both Community and CFSP instruments. And most importantly, its impact on the ground – on peoples’ lives – would be significantly reduced.

We also need to enhance the EU’s existing instruments in support of our security objectives. Diplomacy requires carrots and sticks, whether we are talking about weapons of mass destruction or promoting stability and prosperity in our neighbourhood. Access to the world’s biggest internal market or our sizeable assistance programmes is a considerable carrot. This complementary use of Community and CFSP instruments needs to become the rule, not the exception.

In 2006 the task for us all – Parliament, the Council and the Commission – is to work to improve the coherence of our different pillars and policies. The issue will also be dealt with in the concept paper on the EU’s external project which President Barroso announced at Hampton Court, now planned for the June European Council. The Commission will focus in particular on building up its crisis response capacities. Within DG External Relations a ‘crisis platform’ will improve both internal and external policy coordination and will also ensure a more efficient implementation of projects and operations. It will complement our existing instruments such as the civil protection mechanism, humanitarian assistance and the rapid reaction mechanism.

We also want to build on our strategy for disaster alert and preparedness. Under the new financial perspectives, the stability instrument will also help ensure continuity between short- and long-term interventions. Our aim is to develop flexible and responsive solutions to crisis situations and thus be a better partner for the military component of crisis response.

Finally, we will also cooperate very closely with the two arms of the budgetary authority to ensure adequate resources for CFSP. The Commission welcomes the substantial increase of the CFSP budget in 2006 in order to meet concrete new demands. We know there will be new demands.

We also understood the conclusions of the European Council with regard to the future financial perspectives. Our common aim must be to have sufficient resources to cover all external relations priorities, bearing in mind the 20% cut in the Commission’s proposal for Heading 4. In the light of past experience, one particular issue will be to ensure sufficient flexibility to respond to unforeseen needs. I also hope there will be continued support for our stability instrument to enable us to make real progress in crisis response and coherence.

This is the main thrust of how we would like to face 2006 and its political challenges.

(Applause)

 
  
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  João de Deus Pinheiro, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. – (PT) None of this is new to me, because I have for many years been in agreement with what my friends Mr Solana and Mrs Ferrero-Waldner have been saying. The only point on which I disagree is the idea that resources are sufficient for the EU to be a player on the world stage, as Mr Solana put it, which is what our partners and the citizens are demanding. This is not the case. It is not the case either in terms of resources or in terms of organisation, and the right thing would be to think about how best to use the instruments provided for in the Treaty of Nice, in such a way that we can coordinate internal actions and organisation more effectively.

In order to address the lack of resources, we must establish priorities, and in this regard the support of the institutions is crucial. Furthermore, Parliament’s support, following prior consultation rather than notification after the fact, is crucial if consensus is to be reached. There is therefore no major difference between what we are hearing from the Council and the Commission regarding the guidelines. Yet not even great chefs, not even the very best chefs like Bocuse or Alain Ducas, are capable of making decent omelettes if they do not have enough eggs.

On the other hand, in addition to unity between the European institutions, it is nowadays crucial to guarantee strategic partnerships with the main partners, the most important of which is a transatlantic partnership, followed by strategic partnerships with Russia and China, and on the next level with India, Brazil, Indonesia and Pakistan. This aspect is vital in view of the international issues at stake, such as money laundering and drug-trafficking, but in order for it to become a reality, the resources must be there via the various strands.

Another question, Mr President, that Mrs Ferrero-Waldner briefly touched upon is that of immigration. The ageing population in the EU means that in the coming decades there will have to be a significant amount of immigration, from both the South and the East. We will have to monitor this situation, both actively and proactively, and will need domestic policies enabling us to host and integrate these immigrants in a suitable way, and to control our external borders more effectively, given that the enlargement altered the borders that were there until recently.

As for the most contentious issues in this debate, I wish to say that we see eye to eye on both Palestine and Iran. We must be cautious and prudent, but must also stick resolutely to our principles. Under no circumstances must we waver on the principles that have always guided us, and, specifically on this issue, the principles that have been in place since the beginning of the 1990s. We must also engineer some room for manoeuvre on the other side. ‘Firmness’ and ‘caution’ should be the watchwords in this debate on Iran and the Middle East. As regards Kosovo, a key element for many years when it comes to the Balkans, we continue to emphasise that territorial integrity must be maintained and that minorities must be respected. Unless these two principles are upheld in Kosovo, we will have great difficulty in achieving any kind of stability in the region.

Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, energy security is of course a technical question, but it has also become a political question, because, while demand continues to rise, the trend in the coming years will be for supply to level off. Consequently, tension will rise and I would suggest that as the major countries do with their vital supplies, we could carry out a thorough, inclusive study on the possible scenarios and the strategies for addressing those scenarios. If we do not do this, a number of surprises lie in wait.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Martin Schulz, on behalf of the PSE Group. (DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the account that Mr Solana has given us of the way 2006 has started is a sobering one. In essence, what Mr Winkler had to say stressed the current presidency’s view that there are hard times ahead of us this year, and Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner, for her part, said much the same thing. There are, then, challenges for us to face.

Europeans must be aware that what Mr Solana, Mr Winkler and Mrs Ferrero-Waldner have set out is none other than the neighbourhood policy of the European Union, on whose doorstep lie the crisis regions that they have described. They are at a critical stage in their development, and there are risks inherent in that which threaten every single citizen of this Union of ours; there is no other way of putting it.

If one turns from that to consider Mr Brok’s description, in his report on the current state of European foreign policy in the hands of the executive institutions, of the instruments available to the institutions themselves and to us in this House, one finds that an equally sobering account.

More than ever before, the European Union’s foreign policy is a core element in European policymaking, and it is worth noting, as Mr Brok rightly points out, that it is one that the people want and support. Let us, though, be honest with ourselves: we do not have enough of the instruments that a European policy requires in order to be effective and faithful to its task, and so we in this House must insist on improvements being made in this area.

Let us take Ukraine as an example: a year ago, we all saw how effectively we can act when we are present on the ground with all our capacities bundled together in the persons of Javier Solana, the High Representative of our Union, empowered to speak and act on behalf of all of us; the Polish President, Mr Kwasniewski, as the head of an immediately adjoining state, with good opportunities for exercising influence in the country and with constant backup from other Heads of Government, who can in turn influence other stakeholders – the Russian Government, for example – through the European Union – these men helped to bring the Orange Revolution to a peaceful conclusion. A year has now gone by, and today we hear, from Ukrainian visitors to this House, that many of the things achieved over the past year are again at risk and are being rolled back. I do not need to add to the description of the threat presented by the energy situation, by which, of course, Ukraine is also seriously affected.

How, actually, is it possible that what we celebrated with such enthusiasm a year ago should now – within the space of a year – be rolled back in such a way? This is something we have to think about, and Mr Winkler is right to say that we have to do so in the context of the financial perspective, for it is quite unacceptable that the Council should, every time it meets, broadcast to the world our need to undertake international commitments, and then make cuts in the funding that such commitments require.

(Applause)

One thing that is perfectly clear, then, not least in terms of the financial situation, is that we have to commit ourselves to what is needed to bring what stability we can to the Middle East. Hamas must indeed renounce violence, but the EU must also keep its word, and we have to talk to Hamas if we are not to make the mistake that was made in Algeria of not recognising a legitimate election. We have to be clear in our own minds about that, for our keeping our word is another contribution to peace. If we do that, we can also demand that the others – Hamas in particular – move towards democracy, and in that I hope that we will succeed.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Graham Watson, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, a common foreign and security policy that promotes Europe’s values in the world and brings peace and security to our neighbours is what Liberals and Democrats strive for. But it is what Europe’s leaders are manifestly failing to provide.

Acting together, our Union could have used its leverage to promote democracy and stability. Instead, its policies have given tacit support to tyrannies like Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. We never demanded that diplomacy depend on releasing democrats like Egypt’s Ayman Nour; or, in Asia, on the right to a free return to his country for opposition leader Sam Rainsy, now in exile while we fund the dictatorship of Hun Sen.

Mrs Ferrero-Waldner, Mr Solana, why are you surprised at the Palestinian poll? The European Union has peddled promises of democracy, peace and human rights in Palestine while our development aid has fed Al-Fatah, whose members now burn images of one of our prime ministers and peace negotiations have got nowhere. Far from being a key player, Mr Solana, the consequences of Europe’s failure are plain for all to see.

Israel, undeterred, builds a wall around East Jerusalem in violation of its roadmap obligations and international law. The Palestinians, tired of slow progress and shameful social services, turn to Hamas at the ballot box. And now the prognosis is worse than ever. After demanding democracy, some EU leaders talk of shunning one of the only democratically elected governments in the Arab world! Of course, Hamas must renounce violence and commit to a two-state solution. But so must Israel. As Leila Shahid, the General Delegate for the Palestinian Authority said today: ‘It takes two to tango’.

The Commissioner has spoken of policies based on human rights, the rule of law and democratic principles, but where is the emphasis on those fine things when pragmatism devoid of principles is so often the order of the day?

A global drive for peaceful conflict resolution would be a major counterweight to the heavy-handed US approach; it would assure Europe’s security, prosperity and global repute; and it would also give us far greater leverage over micro-states like the Maldives or the Seychelles, whose governments abuse human rights despite being almost totally dependent on our aid and trade. That is why Liberals and Democrats believe that the time has come for an accountable, properly funded and values-driven European foreign policy. According to Eurobarometer, it is a desire shared by 70% of our citizens.

Mr Solana, Liberals and Democrats object to Parliament’s views being ignored or disregarded on matters of global importance. We want to see less of you on television and more of you here in this Chamber. And we are tired of Council secrecy and its disregard for Parliament’s right to prior consultation on policy priorities. Those rights are enshrined in Article 21 of the Treaty and in the 1999 Interinstitutional Agreement.

We are facing many grave challenges: to democratise our Near Neighbourhood, especially former Soviet republics currently at the mercy of Russia’s energy politics; to ensure that the elections in Belarus are free and fair; and to ensure that the referendums in Kosovo and Montenegro do not end in violence.

The role of foreign policy must not end there. I understand that selling arms to China is back on the Council’s agenda, yet China has still not recanted the Tiananmen Square killings, nor released, after 16 years, all those jailed. So we demand an assurance from you, Mr Winkler, that the Austrian Presidency will not lift the Union’s arms embargo.

(Applause)

Most pressing is the question of Iran. The IAEA board of governors meets tomorrow to decide whether to report Iran to the Security Council. Stopping Iran building nuclear weapons must be our aim. That is why Europe must commit to respect the IAEA’s findings due in March. But making progress towards the disarmament of the current nuclear powers, in line with the commitments we have made, is the strongest and most convincing message we could possibly send. A Europe which learns to use its muscle as a force for good is truly a force to be reckoned with.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Daniel Marc Cohn-Bendit, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. (FR) Mr President, Mrs Ferrero-Waldner, Mr Solana, Mr Winkler, ladies and gentlemen,

(DE) Mr President, Commissioner, Mr Solana, ladies and gentlemen, the present situations in Palestine and Iran are indeed difficult, and I envy nobody who tries to intervene in them. The only chance that the European Union has, I believe, is to spell out the facts and avoid all ambiguity; we must be unambiguous. Hamas’ 1988 charter is indeed appalling, and those who read it can do no other than shudder, but Hamas is now in elected office, and, in dealing with it, we must make it clear that foreign policy and relations with Israel are not in Hamas’ hands, but in those of President Abbas. He is the one to whom we must at last give a chance; we must, once and for all, tell Israel to give him a chance to prove that there is a policy other than that espoused by Hamas. If we fail in that, then we will lose.

There must be no ambiguity in our attitude towards Hamas, not only as regards the peace issue, but also as regards fundamentalism. There is the risk of a fundamentalist society coming into being. The only way we can have any credibility, though, is if we do not mince our words when talking to Israel either. There is no future for the Palestinians in being conquered and occupied; that is something that Israel must come to understand; this is a policy area in which it needs a change of approach. A wall that stands as a symbol of conquest is not the sort of wall that makes for safety.

(FR) When one considers our history – your own history for example – from the moment when you demonstrated against NATO right up to the moment when you were its Secretary-General; when one considers my own history, when one considers Mr Fischer’s history, one says to oneself that it is important never to give up hope that people can change, and that applies to Hamas.

(DE) But we cannot simply wait and see what happens. This change is necessary to our own security, and we must compel Hamas to make it. We can do that only if the Israelis and the Palestinians really grasp the fact that, where the European Union is concerned, there is no debate: the right of Israel to exist is no longer a matter for discussion, and we no longer regard discussion of it as acceptable.

(Applause)

The right of the Palestinians to a state is no longer a matter for discussion, and we no longer regard discussion of it as acceptable. The two are inseparable, and if we can get that accepted as a fact, we will be able to do something even in this problematic situation.

The position as regards Iran is no different; it, too, has a right to the secure supply of energy. As a Green, I am not in favour of nuclear power, but we cannot have a situation in which some states will use nothing else, while, at the same time, telling the Iranians that they may not use it; that is immoral, nothing but immoral. By all means, let us say ‘no’ to the atom bomb, but then we must offer Iran, too, security for its territory, for that has been its great fear ever since it was attacked by Iraq. That is our task – clarity and security will see us through.

 
  
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  Francis Wurtz, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. (FR) Mr President, Mr Solana, Mrs Ferrero-Waldner, Mr Winkler, I should like to seize the opportunity, rare as it is, of Mr Solana’s being present in this Chamber to touch on one or two aspects of the common foreign and security policy that are particularly problematic for my group. I will base my remarks in particular on the Operational Programme of the Council for 2006, since that is the most recent background paper. What can be observed?

Firstly, the disproportionate importance accorded to the military dimension of the CFSP. It is with outright greed that the Programme lists one by one the catalogues of forces, the rapid response operations, the battle groups, the European Defence Agency and the strategic partnership between the European Union and NATO. The 25 thus have the impression that they are playing with the big boys, but their self-importance is illusory and misplaced.

On the other hand – and this is my second observation – the large open wounds in some of the most sensitive regions in the world, wounds that specifically require some political creativity from Europe in the face of the irresponsible approach of the US leaders and their allies are, for their part, sidelined in the CFSP agenda. Thus, in the Operational Programme for 2006, it is the case that, in 14 pages of text, the Near East is disposed of in less than two and a half lines used to reveal to us, and I quote, that: ‘The European Union will continue its efforts to implement the road map’. There is not a single word on the Israeli leaders’ choice of a unilateral strategy, which clearly runs counter to the spirit of the road map and to any peace process. Iraq, for its part, warrants three lines, but there is no mention whatsoever of the war nor of the catastrophic Bush strategy, which lands us all into a tragic deadlock.

This brings me to our main criticism, which I already had the opportunity to voice in this very Chamber in June 2003 at the time of the publication of your report on the European security strategy – which is still in force, Mr Solana. The report gives an apocalyptic description of the new threats without once analysing their root causes, and it is with sheer disbelief that one reads - I quote - that ‘by working together, the European Union and the United States can be a major force for good in the world’.

So what is your assessment, Mr Solana, of two years of implementation of this strategy? Has the world become a safer and fairer place? To my mind, a good yardstick against which to judge this is the case of the Near East, to which I am now going to turn my attention.

While we are on this subject, allow me to point out to our fellow Members the presence, in our galleries, of Mrs Leïla Shahid, Palestine’s new delegate-general to the European Union, whom I should like warmly to welcome.

(Applause)

Even before the Palestinian elections, I had called for Parliament’s agenda to include the issue of the European diplomats’ harsh but accurate report on Jerusalem, which the Council kept secret so as not to affect its relations with the Israeli authorities.

Where are we with this matter today? Like a number of my fellow Members, I have just returned from Palestine, where we were observing the legislative elections. We were all pleased and moved to observe the exemplary way in which the ballot was held there, the festive atmosphere in the streets, despite the occupation, and the way in which we, as foreigners, were welcomed. This pride in being able to show the world the Palestinian people’s ability to build its democracy is a major asset for the future that the election result must not have us forget. The same is true of the Palestinians’ desire to make peace with neighbouring Israel and to have two peoples and two States, which were subjects that featured in all of the conversations we were able to have. Anyone who took the risk of starving these women, men and children, or indeed of radicalising them, by cutting off their vital aid, would therefore be shouldering a heavy responsibility. Instead, let us count on the aspirations for democracy and for a just peace, which very much have the upper hand in today’s Palestinian society and which any Palestinian authority will have to take into account. It is the very future of the partnership between the two regions that is at stake.

As for the election result, let us be careful not to analyse it purely from an internal Palestinian perspective. Certainly, the popular rejection of Fatah is genuine. Any hegemonic power tends to become divorced from society. Yet, how can one fail to see that the Palestinian Authority has above all lost its credibility with the citizens because it has not succeeded in improving their lot or in offering them new prospects due to the blocked peace process? After the high hopes of ten years ago, the feeling is now one of extreme exasperation in the face of the continuing occupation, the development of settlements, the construction of the wall, the ‘targeted’ assassinations, the arrests, the detention of prisoners, the daily violence and the worsening living conditions as a result of the territories being sealed off. As for the Palestinian State and as for Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority is seen as having accepted a great deal and as having obtained very little.

What should be done, then? There is no doubt that, as you said, Mr Solana, we should put pressure on Hamas to stop the violence and assassination attempts. What are you saying to the Israeli authorities, though? I have heard nothing on this matter. We also need clearly to show that, as far as we are concerned, there is no ‘variable geometry’ version of international law. Like any State, Israel has a duty to comply with the Security Council resolutions. It also has to follow the recommendations of the International Court of Justice. It has to implement its obligations under the road map.

In that context, Mr President, it stands to reason that, now more than ever, the attitude to be adopted with regard to our diplomats’ report on Jerusalem is this: we must publish it straightaway, implement its recommendations and, more generally, finally choose a real alternative to President Bush’s strategy, which has failed in the Near East and, beyond, in the Middle East. Let us be alert to the cries of alarm rising up from societies on the verge of despair.

 
  
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  President. I imagine that all of the speakers are aware that there is an item coming up on our agenda specifically relating to the analysis of the situation in the Middle East, the result of the Palestinian elections and whether or not this report to which Mr Wurtz has referred should be published. You have chosen to organise the debate by dividing it up in this way. I imagine that you are aware that you are effectively changing the agenda and discussing points which we are due to discuss later.

 
  
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  Bastiaan Belder, on behalf of the IND/DEM Group. (NL) Mr President, when, exactly one week ago, I was observing the Palestinian elections on behalf of this House, one giant banner, in particular, caught my eye. It was in Ramallah, and it depicted Ayatollah Khomeini together with Hamas leaders Yassin and Rantisi. The political message is crystal-clear. Rather than striving towards settlement or peace with the Jewish state, we should tear out its page from history, for that is what Khomeini called for, and, according to the present Iranian President Ahmadinejad, those are words of wisdom.

Combined with the nuclear aspirations of the Mullahs’ regime in Teheran – the peaceful nature of which is very much a matter of doubt – this makes for a particularly touch challenge for the Western world, the EU, and the US. The historian Dan Diner’s comment on the Palestinian parliamentary elections was that ‘with Hamas in Ramallah, Iran has moved much closer towards Israel’, and he was right. According to recent reports from Teheran, many pro-Western Iranians consider this development to be the gradual victory of barbarism over civilisation. I sincerely hope that the European institutions, far from sharing this sense of resignation, will make a firm stand for Israel’s right of existence and consequently for our own civilisation.

 
  
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  Inese Vaidere, on behalf of the UEN Group. (LV) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to draw the attention of the Council and the Commission to four issues where rapid and consistent action is necessary within the framework of the common foreign and security policy.

The first priority is the Neighbourhood Policy. Firstly, the way forward for Russia and Ukraine. We ought to take into account the fact that at the moment Russia does not have good relations with any one of its neighbouring states, since relations are formed not on the basis of mutual respect and advantage, but by making itself felt through economic or energy sanctions, and by refusing to sign the agreements that have been prepared concerning borders. At the moment Russia is blocking the export of Ukraine’s food products. I therefore urge Mr Solana and the Commission to take immediate action to encourage the lifting of this blockade, and at the same time to remind Russia that such action is in clear conflict with the requirements of the World Trade Organisation, which it has declared a wish to join.

Secondly, the gas supply crisis in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia was like a wake-up call for Europe, showing that these supplies are not secure, that supply diversification is necessary, as is coordination between the European Union’s energy and security policies and the Member States.

Thirdly, in this context we should mention the agreement concerning the North European Gas Pipeline, in the construction of which the former German Chancellor has obtained a post, giving rise to concerns about political corruption. By not evaluating this event from their own viewpoints with sufficient consistency, the European institutions are diminishing the confidence of EU citizens, and, incidentally, preventing us from speaking about combating corruption elsewhere in the world.

Now, I would like to mention another region — China. At the moment China is in a phase of rapid development and it is ready to give high priority to entering into cooperation with the European Union. If our dialogue with China does not become more earnest and constructive, it may turn to closer relations in another direction.

Finally, in relations between the Council and Parliament we would like to see not just consultation, but that the European Parliament’s opinion is actually taken into account, especially in relation to so-called ‘speaking with one voice’.

 
  
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  Philip Claeys (NI). – (NL) Mr President, the fight against terrorism must be one of the priorities of the common foreign and defence policy. The report is quite right to draw attention to the importance of respect for human rights and civil liberties. I would like to take this opportunity of expressing my total and unconditional solidarity with the Danish Prime Minister, who is currently under enormous pressure to take action against the cartoonists who had the temerity to depict none other than the prophet Mohammed.

Islamic countries, including Turkey – which is an EU candidate country – demand apologies and sanctions, and even insist on a boycott of Danish products. Prime Minister Rasmussen is more than right when he claims that there is no democracy without free expression of opinion. The Council, Commission and Parliament should stand united in the defence of our liberties. If they fail to do so, then it is hardly worth our while even talking about a security and defence policy, for there will be nothing whatever left to defend.

 
  
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  Bogdan Klich (PPE-DE). – (PL) Mr President, earlier today Mr Solana stated that the European Union needs to be a global actor. Consolidation of the common foreign and security policy is therefore required and the constitutional crisis is certainly not helping matters. Cohesion cannot, however, be achieved entirely through common institutions. It is achieved mainly through common political will. A great deal will therefore depend on the personal actions, good judgment and creativity shown by Mr Solana and Mrs Ferrero-Waldner in the course of this year.

Mrs Ferrero-Waldner has also promised a special communication the European Union’s energy security energy. In addition, Mr Brok’s report refers to the need to draft a strategy for energy security. In fact, these are only half-hearted solutions/stop-gap solutions. What the European Union actually needs is for us to set ourselves the goal of creating a genuinely common policy on energy security. Only then will it be possible to prevent situations like the one that arose two years ago, when Russian suppliers held Belarus to ransom or the one at the beginning of this month when Russia was blackmailing Ukraine. Central European Member States were also affected. Do we really want to be subjected to blackmail of this kind in the future and do we really want to freeze like people are freezing in Georgia right now? The only alternative is a common European Union energy policy.

Another point I would like to make is that our policy towards Russia should be modified. There is scope for criticism of the lack of progress in certain areas. Two of the latter are referred to in Mr Brok’s report, namely problems concerning human rights and arms reduction in the Kaliningrad region. The list should actually be much longer, and include a common solution to regional conflicts, notably in Transnistria and the Southern Caucasus, along with the whole Kaliningrad package.

 
  
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  Pasqualina Napoletano (PSE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, as Europeans we have to respect the outcome of the free vote in Palestine and encourage those elected to form a government that chooses the path of negotiation, recognises Israel and renounces violence, as President Abu Mazen himself has indicated.

The outcome of the vote also reflects the suffering and humiliation of daily life under occupation, squeezed between checkpoints, wall and settlements, and at the same time it rings out as a severe criticism of Palestinian politicians. The unilateral withdrawal from Gaza has itself weakened the position of President Abu Mazen, for obvious reasons. That therefore gives rise to two compelling needs: not to abandon the prospect of a negotiated peace, and to call on both parties to renounce any actions that might jeopardise peace.

I therefore agree with the clear conditions that you, Mr Solana, have set the Palestinians. In the same spirit, however, I ask you: do you have no objections to make to Israel, which has never accepted the idea of operating within the roadmap? This debate has started in Israeli society. In addition, Hamas itself has shown its ability to respect a negotiated truce for an entire year. I believe that Israel should put a stop to the settlements and avoid taking any steps to annex East Jerusalem.

On the subject of financial aid, I agree with you absolutely: it is essential to prevent collapse and to assess the situation as it unfolds. In the same spirit, I should like to put a question to you, Mr Solana, as well as to the Council and the Commission: do you not think we should put pressure on the Israeli authorities to stop blocking the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinians? Since it is Palestinian money, I feel that in the current situation the Israelis are adding fuel to the fire.

 
  
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  Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck (ALDE). – (NL) Mr President, I thought my speaking time had been extended by one minute, but you many want to check this out while I am talking. Mr High Representative, Commissioner, Mr President, at the beginning of this debate, we were given a breathtaking overview of the events of the past 30 days. I should like to congratulate Mr Solana and Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner, as well as the presidency, for their unrelenting commitment to dealing with the disasters that have struck and all those painful events. I should also like to join in congratulating the EU’s election observation missions in general and those who have been active in the Palestinian regions in particular, for their job must have been particularly difficult.

I think that we could draw two lessons from the summary which Mr Solana presented to us. The first lesson is that the European Union can only be effective when united. I was therefore delighted to hear the day before yesterday that the General Affairs Council had reached a unanimous decision in connection with the conditions under which further financial support could be granted to the Palestinian Authority. I was also very pleased to hear that the four parties had held an emergency meeting that very evening. Imagine the implications if one Head of Government had stated one thing, another Minister had said something else and a third Prime Minister had brought a different message altogether.

It is obvious that this would have been very pernicious, but that did not happen, and I hope that things are going to stay that way. Needless to say, we need unanimity across all the dossiers. Sufficient funds must also be made available. I am not as confident as the Commissioner that provision will be made for this in the financial perspectives 2007-2013. Like her, I would like to stress that sufficient flexibility must be displayed. Finally, I agree that, insofar as the High Representative, the Commissioner and the President-in-Office of the Council involve Parliament in their activities on a regular basis, they will be able to count on our continued support.

 
  
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  Angelika Beer (Verts/ALE). – (DE) Mr President, further to Mr Solana’s reference to the Balkans, I would just like to take the opportunity of saying that we give our wholehearted backing to his efforts in a place where we bear direct responsibility for peace in Europe; this is something that nobody else can shoulder for us, and we must credibly and undeviatingly develop the region’s European perspective.

I would like to congratulate you on the decision you took on Monday evening, in which you successfully brought together the very diverse things that are being said in Europe about Iran. I would appeal to all, while going down the road thus set out, to leave plenty of room for diplomatic manoeuvre and negotiation. The prospect of the Iranians’ meeting with China and Russia now going ahead is good news, but we must not lose sight of the fact that the decision as to whether the red line has been crossed and world peace put in jeopardy is for neither Mr Schüssel nor Mr Steinmeier to take, but for the United Nations and nobody else.

We cannot control the situation on our own, and it is difficult, when dealing with a hate preacher such as Ahmadinejad, to keep looking for new ways to make him see reason – the reason that is part of the European security strategy that you have set out, which is founded upon non-proliferation. We know that, if the situation in Iran were to escalate, it would be an enormous threat to the things that it is in our interests to defend – the prevention of nuclear weapons ending up in Iranian hands, the reduction of the threat to Israel and more security for it. I therefore hope that we will find a peaceful way forward, difficult though that task may be.

Let me say, in my capacity as chair of the delegation, that there is another voice in Iran. I will not let diplomatic relations …

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Gerard Batten (IND/DEM). – Mr President, yesterday marked the death of the 100th British serviceman killed in Iraq. These brave men made the ultimate sacrifice of giving their lives for their country. But they were betrayed. They were sent to war on the basis of the lies and fantasies of Prime Minister Tony Blair. This happened for one simple reason: Mr Blair and the Labour government have no conception of what constitutes the British national interest.

Now Mr Blair wants to embroil the British nation in yet another lie and fantasy. That lie is that Britain’s national interest lies in something called a European common foreign policy.

Yesterday also marked another significant event. In London, Mr Javier Solana spoke on the Palestinian issue on behalf of the European Union. He did so in the de facto role of the European Foreign Minister. This is despite the fact that the European common foreign policy should be dead and buried because of the rejection of the European constitution. This is a clear signal that the Labour government is surrendering control of foreign policy to the European Union.

Chancellor Bismarck once famously remarked that the whole of the Balkans were not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. Well, the whole of the European common foreign policy and the planned European army is not worth the bones of one single British serviceman or woman.

 
  
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  Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis (UEN). – (LV) Mrs Ferrero-Waldner, Mr Solana, ladies and gentlemen, today’s debate concerns the need for a more open, more effective and more responsible European Union common foreign and security policy. We can be satisfied that, in recent years, much positive work has been achieved in the advancement of Europe’s civil military force.

Unfortunately, however, the report by Mr Brok shows up too many still unresolved deficiencies and problems with the CFSP. There are serious difficulties inherent in adopting decisive positions regarding Europe’s Common Security and Defence Policy (ECSDP) and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). These policies suffer from a serious lack of resources, and emphasis is also placed on the need for democratic parliamentary control. These are only a few of the current issues relevant to the subject of today’s debate.

So we, the European Parliament, ought to be able to change things for the better, and this includes demanding appropriate policy coordination in order to ensure intensive dialogue between the European Parliament and the Council on these issues. We know that this is not easy, but it is a question of the European Parliament’s institutional influence and development. The clear backing from Europe’s citizens for joint European security actions imposes a duty on the European Parliament to expand its institutional influence and participation in decision-making. Security will only increase if the messages from Mr Chirac, Mr Solana or Mrs Merkel or decisions taken in the spheres of weapons of mass destruction, combating terrorism or energy are predictable, and do not take an unprepared European Parliament unawares.

 
  
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  Jan Tadeusz Masiel (NI). – (PL) Mr President, a common foreign policy might have prevented the energy crisis in Eastern Europe. It might also have meant that Poland’s concerns about the construction of the Russo-German gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea were taken into account, and Poland’s interests recognised as being the interests of the whole of Europe. The citizens of the European Union and indeed of the world expect us to have a common foreign policy and to defend the weak, with or without a European Constitution. Israel cannot therefore be permitted to monopolise foreign policy in its part of the world. Hamas will happily renounce terror and violence when a Palestinian State is created, thus reducing the terrorist threat in the world. Like Mr Cohn-Bendit, I am against nuclear weapons, but I cannot understand why Israel is allowed to possess an atom bomb whereas Iran is not.

 
  
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  Geoffrey Van Orden (PPE-DE). – Mr President, when I hear the litany of crises and problems that confront us, I am alarmed that so many think that the answer to these problems is more European Union. The EU’s foreign policy ambitions and pretensions now reach into every area, from defence to immigration to energy supply, and we see few positive results from this. I would prefer a more modest approach, with the European Union focusing only on those areas were it can genuinely add practical value through humanitarian and development assistance, electoral observation and the like.

I would also say that in these dangerous times when new forces have emerged that threaten the very nature of our free societies, we need more solidarity among the democracies and less EU self promotion. The lessons of recent years show that where the Western democracies are divided, their interests are damaged. The enemies of democracy will exploit these divisions for their own purposes.

I have just returned from participating in the electoral observation mission in the Palestine Authority areas and East Jerusalem. The election results were a cry from the streets. You rightly say that the precise makeup of the new government of the Palestine Authority areas will not be clear for some time, but it will undoubtedly reflect the new-found power of Hamas. It is indeed vital that we do not provide support to that government unless it forsakes violence, recognises the right of Israel to exist and positively engages in the peace process.

In the past I have expressed concern about the nature of EU financing and the adequacy of safeguards to prevent misuse of our funds. These concerns will now multiply. Not only must we ensure that financial assistance is transparent and cannot be used to support terrorism and extremism: there is also a crying need to ensure that our money is used more effectively so that it is of direct benefit to the Palestinian people.

Finally, let us put more effort into ensuring that there is no difference in approach between the Europeans and the United States. We have a common interest in peace and stability in the Middle East.

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Jan Marinus Wiersma (PSE). – (NL) Mr President, we have listened with great interest to Mr Solana’s speech, particularly the first part in which he listed what had happened over the course of January. I hope that this will not set a trend for the rest of the year and hope that, each month, we will see new elements constantly being added to the foreign agenda. What stood out for me were the observations he made, particularly at the beginning, about the situation that has come about in Europe following the problems involving the gas supply to Ukraine and other countries.

I think that one effect of what happened at the beginning of January has been to push energy policy up our list of priorities. I have drawn a few conclusions from those recent events. First of all, I have to conclude that we may not have organised ourselves very well as consumers, because our energy supply is so vulnerable, too vulnerable, if you ask me, since the effects of an unexpected energy shortage can be nothing short of devastating. Secondly, I have noticed that some Member States are more vulnerable than others, which somewhat contradicts the notion of solidarity that we nurture in the European Union.

There are certainly countries in our immediate vicinity that are vulnerable – that much has become apparent – and the question of mutual solidarity, not least among our neighbours, is clearly an issue. This is also a technical matter, of course. We can invest in better and more diversified means of providing ourselves with energy. The third point I would like to make, which is actually the most important one, is that energy supplies and access to them are being deployed as political weapons, in this case against Ukraine, but also against Moldova and, in some respects, against Georgia as well.

We have issued warnings about this in the past. The Russians have threatened to do this before and I think that, in this respect, we have to come down hard on them, for that is unacceptable. We too must ensure that we do not become dependent on Russia to an extent that we no longer dare say anything to Russia and keep quiet because we have become too dependent.

I should like to make one final remark about this year’s agenda. This agenda sets itself. The European Union cannot ignore its responsibility. I will, above all, ask the Council and Commission to reconsider the question of how it is possible, following such a success in Georgia, but before that in Serbia, and in Ukraine, that things are now at risk of going the other way again. Have we made mistakes? I think that this, too, is something we should analyse.

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: MR FRIEDRICH
Vice-President

 
  
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  Bronisław Geremek (ALDE). – (PL) Mr President, I should like to point out that, as it considers its common foreign and security policy, Europe would do well to review its guiding principles. I believe that where security and consequently peace are concerned, it is essential for Europe to adopt the concept known as human security. This involves tackling issues such as how best to cope with major diseases, starvation, infringements of human rights and attacks on democracy.

In my view, another key element of security policy the Union ought to have in place is a policy on energy security. I should like to point out that Europe has so far failed to take into account the fact that energy supply could become a tool for an imperialist policy. What is at stake is not a shortage of gas or oil, but the use of huge energy resources as a means of implementing an imperialist policy. As I see it, this is a major challenge for Europe to which we have so far failed to respond

 
  
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  Georgios Karatzaferis (IND/DEM).(EL) Mr President, I have read the report and listened to Mr Solana carefully. I am not certain if they primarily serve Europe's interests. I have a feeling that we are continuing to serve American interests and that is a problem. They are dragging us into enmity with Russia, hostilities with China and the same with Iran.

We must not get caught up in the American mindset. We must learn to say 'no' to the United States if we want to have a substantial foreign policy which, of course, I do not understand can be common to Sweden and Greece, Cyprus and Estonia, given that each State has such different issues to address.

Mr Schulz said that there is a threat to the underbelly of Europe. Yes, there is a threat. Τurkey's 'casus belli' against Greece constitutes a threat. The constant, daily infringements of Greek airspace by Turkish military aircraft constitute a threat. The wall in Nicosia constitutes a threat. The wall in Jerusalem constitutes a threat. Can we therefore say that all the occupying forces should leave the countries they are in? That the occupying army should leave Cyprus, that Israel's occupying army ...

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Zbigniew Krzysztof Kuźmiuk (UEN). – (PL) Mr President, many issues have been raised in the course of this debate on the European Union’s common foreign and security policy. As I see it, three types of security are required if all Europeans are to feel genuinely safe.

I shall begin with energy security. The whole Union is much troubled by the subject, as are individual Member States such as Poland. There seems to be no desire to take common action in this field. Germany enhanced the security of its own energy supply by signing an agreement with Russia for the construction of the northern gas pipeline. Unfortunately, Germany’s action did much to undermine the security of Poland’s energy supply. The Union has so far failed to respond to this situation, although it is abundantly obvious that Russia is using the supply of raw materials for energy as an important tool with which to influence other countries’ policies. Russia’s decision to shut off gas supplies to Ukraine and Georgia has shown just how effective this tool can be.

I shall now move on to food security. The security of our food supply is based on the common agricultural policy but unfortunately this policy is coming increasingly under attack. Finally, I would like to mention physical security, which is now under much greater threat due to terrorism. There can be no meaningful common foreign and security policy without significant progress in the three areas I have highlighted. I trust Mr Solana and Mrs Ferrero-Waldner will bear my remarks in mind.

 
  
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  Alojz Peterle (PPE-DE). – (SL) It is clear that the political situation around the world, from country to country and region to region, does not accord with our values, aspirations and expectations, nor is it becoming calmer or more democratic. At the same time, however, we are getting explicit requests for more Europe from various parts of the world. In Mongolia they say the European Union is our third neighbour. And when I visit the Balkan states, Latin America, Transcaucasia or Central Asia, I hear the same thing – more Europe.

Yet while numerous partners want more Europe, we often find ourselves involved in our own unproductive concerns, and we are forgetting the fundamental ideas of Schuman and the other fathers of Europe in our desire to build more Europe with less money. It does not surprise me that our partners and our citizens do not understand the jargon about the various pillars of our policy, but they can sense precisely when we are united and when we are divided and ineffective.

The experience with energy supply has taught us that national policies alone will not bring either greater internal security or greater external influence. I have the impression that even now the course of events demands more common policy than the already ratified Constitutional Treaty would bring about. If we truly wish to play a key role in the Balkans, in the east of Europe or elsewhere, we must find ways of expressing our common foreign and security policy more robustly. Something that would certainly contribute to this is a greater regard for the role of the European Parliament, which has shown itself to be a dynamic and responsible player.

 
  
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  Hannes Swoboda (PSE). – (DE) Mr President, I can virtually carry on where Mr Peterle left off, for if, as you, Mr Solana, have said, many in Europe are bidding us to take action, then the time for action really has come.

Let me give just two examples of what I mean. I am not rejoicing in the sufferings of others when I say that the great American initiative for the wider Middle East has, in fact, collapsed, and that the intervention in Iraq has done nothing to improve matters. The inadequate and hesitant support for the peace policy and the peace initiative in the Middle East helped Hamas to victory in the elections; I mention only in passing the fact that Fatah itself must bear much of the blame for this. As for Iran, we all know that more involvement on the part of the USA in security policy would play an important part in persuading Iran to refrain from developing its own nuclear weapons. Now, then, is the time, for the European Union – working with the USA rather than in opposition to it, which would be absurd – to clearly define what a comprehensive foreign policy in the Middle East might be like, including everything from a determined peace policy to support for civil society in the individual countries.

The second example is that of energy policy. As has already been said, we, being a major consumer, need to present a more united front on the world market; we need to mobilise and form coalitions with other consumers. We have seen precisely what happens – in Iran, for example – when we do not make common cause with them. If Russia starts to make its energy policy an instrument of nationalist policy, then we must make our own – or at least part of it – more European.

Commissioner, we await the report with eager anticipation. This is an issue that I asked you about as long ago as your appointment hearing. It is of the utmost importance that we should now have this report in our hands and be able to say out loud that, while we need our national energy policies, they must be supplemented and extended by a strong European energy policy which is also an essential instrument of foreign policy.

 
  
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  Anneli Jäätteenmäki (ALDE). – (FI) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the EU’s role as an international player is an important one, and it has strengthened in recent years. The EU achieves results the gentle way, by which I mean through negotiations, discussions, persuasion and crisis management. This is sometimes a slow process, but it creates a firm basis for lasting solutions and for a viable society. In its foreign policy, the EU stresses the importance of democracy, and we want to take that forward. In this connection, I would like the EU to emphasise more strongly that without literacy there can be no democracy, nor can there be democracy without respect for women’s rights. We should therefore do more to ensure that children, young people and women in different parts of the world know how to read. This will create a lasting basis for democracy, peace and respect for human rights.

 
  
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  Mirosław Mariusz Piotrowski (IND/DEM). – (PL) Mr President, the rejection of the Constitutional Treaty in the French and Dutch referendums (or referenda) has meant that the whole document is now no longer relevant. It is proving very hard for some people to come to terms with the disappearance of a concept that has been promoted for so many years. The common foreign and security policy was an important part of the aforementioned Treaty, but I would like to remind you it was rejected unequivocally. We are therefore amazed to note that efforts are being made to refer to a document that is entirely meaningless and as good as dead. Mr Brock’s report is an example of this approach. It makes a laughing stock of the House and tramples the democratic principles advocated by the European Community underfoot. The requisite period of reflection following the demise of this Treaty should not be devoted to getting specific chapters of the Constitution adopted through the back door. The time should be used instead to reassess common action at an international level and to place greater emphasis on the importance of issues such as energy security and the threats posed by epidemics and terrorism.

 
  
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  Janusz Wojciechowski (UEN). – (PL) Mr President, the European Union is actually blest with one effective security policy, and that is the common agricultural policy. For many years now this policy has guaranteed food security for the Community as a whole and for its citizens, nations and countries. Food security is vital to them all. Europe has now satisfied its hunger, but it has an unfortunate tendency to forget how this came about and thanks to whom. The common agricultural policy is under attack and has become a testing ground for irresponsible reforms such as the reform of the sugar market, as a result of which Europe is soon to become dependent on the rest of the world for sugar supplies. Protection of European agricultural markets is being phased out, as our farmers are all too aware. In Poland, the fruit producers are the ones who have been most affected.

Ill-considered cuts in the common agricultural policy will result in the collapse of food security, which is crucial to security in Europe as a whole. There is still time to prevent this happening, but the political approach to agricultural issues must change. Banners carried by Polish agricultural workers’ organisations often feature slogans referring to the part food production played in the long struggle for Poland’s independence, as well as their willingness to fight. As we debate and decide on agricultural matters we should always remember that it is the farmers who feed and defend us, and that they are the real guardians of Europe’s security.

 
  
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  Alexander Stubb (PPE-DE). – Mr President, I have been listening attentively and I thought I had heard it all, but when I heard Daniel Cohn-Bendit supporting nuclear power – albeit in Iran – I must say I was a little shocked. Who says that Joschka Fischer changed? I think ‘red Danny’ has changed a little himself!

I will take an institutional perspective and make three points. The first is that CFSP and defence are key areas for us in the future. We are a superpower in trade and in aid, but we are very often nowhere to be seen in CFSP and defence. Something needs to be done and I disagree with Mr Piotrowski. The first thing we need is a constitution.

The second point I wanted to make was that we need three things: firstly, we need a common defence – we need the security guarantees that the constitution would give us. Secondly, we need to speak with one voice. For that we need a President and a Foreign Minister. Thirdly, we need to increase the CFSP budget. All of those should be packaged into one. If we get some political will behind it, I think we just might get a common foreign and security policy.

The third point is that we really need to start thinking about the different elements of the constitution and look at it in two parts. There are things that we are already implementing, such as the European Defence Agency, the battle groups and the clause on solidarity with terrorism. But there are things that we need to start implementing as quickly as possible when the constitution enters into force. Those issues include a President, a Foreign Minister, an external relations service and prior consultation with the European Parliament.

The final point I wanted to make is that instead of sticking to the institutional battle between the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament in CFSP matters, we need to get ready, put our working clothes on and do it together.

 
  
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  Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (PSE). – Mr President, I could almost feel my good friend Mr Solana’s pain when you outlined what happened in the first month of this year, imagining that if the rest of the year is going to be like the first month, then it is not going to be easy! But I have another point to make.

I think that what you said in essence is that the world in 2006 will once again be confronted with a fundamental choice: the choice between pre-emptive wars or pre-emptive policies. I am in no doubt that what you are saying and what is clear as a result of your experience, is that in 2006 we need pre-emptive policies. The essence of the values of this European Union when it comes to foreign policy is pre-emptive policies. When we look at the instruments which the Commissioner so nicely referred to, it is fair to say that yes, maybe it is the most difficult choice, but yes, it is also the choice which, in historical terms, has shown success. We need to remember that at this difficult time.

I want to say to you, Mr Solana, that in Palestine right now there are so many who are taking the lead in the wrong direction and therefore the poor people in Palestine need to have a strong European voice. What you said is correct: we need patience, we need wisdom and we need balance. I was so happy to hear you say that we should not be those who just make Palestine bankrupt, because you and I know that there will be others who will ensure that this will not happen – Iran, Egypt and others. This is not our case and therefore I trust you. We will be on your side ensuring, together with the Commission and President-in-Office Winkler, that Europe will ensure open doors and dialogue and, hopefully, open doors once again over the next three months.

 
  
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  Marek Maciej Siwiec (PSE). – (PL) Mr President, I am grateful for everything that has been said on the subject of Ukraine. However, we must keep our eye on the ball. Events in the next two months will determine whether the fruits of the Orange Revolution will be able to ripen fully, or whether they will fall to the ground unripe. Ukraine needs much more Europe over the next two months. It is vital for the European institutions to make themselves felt there. We must have a constant dialogue with Ukraine’s leaders and society. A pro-European front has to be created in Ukraine.

There is unprecedented Russian involvement in the events currently taking place in Ukraine. Gas has been used as a weapon. A new constitution is to come into being, and the next parliament will decide if Ukraine is to go full steam towards Europe or go its own way, as it so often has in the past. We must encourage the leaders of political parties fighting to be represented in the parliament to form a strong pro-European front, so we can count on a good partner for the next four years.

 
  
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  Helmut Kuhne (PSE). – (DE) Mr President, the implication of Mr Wurtz’s question to Mr Solana as to what had improved in the last two years is that decisive improvements in the state of the world are in some way within the power of the European Union to decide upon and bring into effect. Those who wanted to see a multipolar world with the might of its only superpower reduced can hardly be surprised that this is the case. What some Members have said tends to reflect their Eurocentric views and their disappointment at our place in this multipolar world. I can do no other than bid them welcome to a world that has, alas, become no more pleasant for being multipolar and for being home to burgeoning new powers on a global and regional scale.

We Europeans are far from that badly off in this situation, and I join with those who have congratulated Mr Solana on reaching, with China and Russia, a joint decision on the issue of whether to make Iran’s nuclear ambitions a matter for the Security Council. While I can only hope that that bears fruit, I am far from dissatisfied with the present approach.

 
  
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  Libor Rouček (PSE).(CS) In his opening remarks, Mr Solana alluded to certain events that took place last month and to certain challenges facing Europe, including the dispute over gas supplies from Russia, the elections in Palestine and the situation in the Middle East, the gloomy situation in Iraq, the crisis concerning Iran’s nuclear programme and the unresolved status of Kosovo. All of these events and problems have one common thread: no European country, not even the very biggest, can handle such problems alone. In other words, if we are to solve these problems we need to combine our strengths and to develop our common policies on foreign affairs, security and defence. This is what politicians from many countries want, and, as previous speakers have said, what the people of Europe want, too.

Mr Brok’s report, on which we shall be voting tomorrow, refers to progress in the area of common foreign and defence policy, but also mentions a number of problems such as Parliament’s inadequate involvement in the process of drawing up foreign policy. I should therefore like to call on the Council to abide by Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union and always to consult Parliament at the start of the year on its progress and plans, rather than simply presenting summaries from the previous year.

 
  
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  Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the Commission. Mr President, let me come back to a few questions that have been mentioned.

The most important issue, as many of you have said, is that today we need a stronger Europe in foreign policy. In order to get a stronger Europe in foreign policy we have to work together. We have to work together particularly on those topics that are now very topical. One of them mentioned by many of you was that of energy policy. As I have said before, we are working on that at the moment. That means, of course, that we should have a better conducted energy policy, if not a common external one. I know we have to head for this at the very least, and we already have quite a lot of valuable instruments with which to do so, including political dialogues and specific energy dialogues. Then there are multilateral dialogues: we have to bring in OPEC; we have to speak more with OPEC and with the Gulf Cooperation Council.

As I said, the strategy of diversification will be crucial for all of us. We have to look into the integration into the European energy market of the energy markets of our neighbouring countries, following the example of the South East European Energy Community, for instance. We also have a lot of financial instruments to encourage energy topics to come together. The security of energy supply, as I have mentioned before, is crucial. Therefore I can promise you that we are working on it and as soon as the communication is out, we will come back to that.

As Mr Rasmussen mentioned, it is also very important to see pre-emptive diplomacy. That is crucial. I agree with that. Of course, such diplomacy sometimes needs patience. You cannot eradicate poverty from one day to the next; you cannot work on all the different kinds of crisis management or even post-crisis management and have a change immediately. For that we need a sustainable and cohesive way forward.

Migration is another very important new topic on foreign policy. Again, we will all have to work together with the countries of origin, with the transition countries, with the European Union to find the right way of balancing out an internal and an external policy.

The fight against terrorism; the fight against drugs: all of that will take us many years, but these battles will increasingly have to be fought from a united front. Weapons of mass destruction; the support for democracy, the rule of law and free and fair elections: this is all mentioned in our neighbourhood policy, so of course we will also take that very seriously. We have a positive incentive on that in our Barcelona programme, for instance, but we also need every support so as to be able to make real progress with this policy.

Strategic partnerships with major powers, such as trans-Atlantic relations; relations with China, India, Brazil; and the very good relations with Latin America: these are all important because here we have the possibility to work together in a multilateral framework, also working with the United Nations, as has been said. Of course, it is also is important that we are able to combine the work for our common values in the multilateral strategy.

The neighbourhood policy is an important part of the security strategy, because we really try to export stability by working together with Ukraine, the Southern Caucuses and the Mediterranean countries. Therefore we have high aspirations to make Europe safer; we know we have many challenges ahead, but I do not see another way forward other than trying to enhance all our instruments and work for a common Europe built on common values together with the world.

 
  
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  Hans Winkler, President-in-Office of the Council. (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, Mr High Representative, ladies and gentlemen, although I am unable, in the short space of time available to me, to revisit in detail all the many issues that have been mentioned in this debate, there are a few points I would like to address which I, as a representative of the Council, regard as important.

The High Representative was the first to say – and many of you echoed him – that there is a global demand for European foreign policy. It is also something that matters to the European public, and we – that is the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament – must join together in working to meet that need; as Mr Watson said earlier, we must build the European Union on a foundation of values, and that is very obviously and specifically the case in foreign policy, where we have to be exemplary if we want to bring peace and stability to the world. I can only agree with that wholeheartedly and assure you that the Austrian Presidency, like the presidencies that preceded it and those that will follow it, is committed, during its six months in office, to the values of the protection of human rights, to the fundamental freedoms, and also, to echo what Mr Geremek said, to what is generally termed ‘human security’ – the striving for health, the campaign against weapons and rearmament.

The European Union’s foreign policy is a peaceful one; we are not, in that sense, a military power. Pre-emptive diplomacy is the essential thing. Within our commitment to multilateralism, we endeavour to act in line with the United Nations Charter and in accordance with international law. That is the only way we can maintain our credibility in the eyes of the world.

I would like to comment briefly on some of the issues that have been raised. In response to the many speakers who mentioned energy policy, I would like to add to what was said by Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner. It goes without saying that the Commission is playing a quite essential and important role in this area, and the Council Presidency is working in very close cooperation with it. The issue of a European energy policy will be a quite central one at the European Council in March, for which the British Presidency has already laid the foundation stone. We want to continue what it has started. Reference has also been made in this debate to the security of energy supply, which is a quite crucial issue, which involves the diversification of energy sources and networks, as well as the reduction of one-sided dependency on energy suppliers and networks and, in particular, the support for, and active promotion of, renewable energy and alternative energy sources. This is, of course, a matter to which we will devote our attention.

Russia has been mentioned again and again in this context; the European neighbourhood policy in general terms and the European policy in relation to Russia are both of quite fundamental importance. Russia is an important partner, and, in maintaining a dialogue with it, we need to highlight the values of which I have spoken; it goes without saying that human rights are another issue that needs to be raised with Russia, and they are, in a very wide-ranging dialogue. I do believe, though, that we must be aware of the fact that Russia is just as important a strategic partner for the European Union as is the United States.

I am most especially grateful to Mrs Beer for raising the subject of the Balkans, as did Mr Solana in his introduction. The Austrian Council Presidency will, over its six months in office, be regarding the Western Balkans as having the utmost priority in the interests of the stability of the region and hence in the interests of peace and stability in Europe.

Something else said on the subject of European foreign policy was that we should concentrate primarily on our own neighbours. That is what we are doing, and it is important that we should do so, but there is, in today’s world, no crisis or situation that does not also touch upon the interests and stability of the European Union; that is what makes the European Union a global player, and that, too, is why it must equip itself with the resources needed to perform that role. Today, the High Representative is tireless – in the truest sense of the word – in jetting around the world in the service of peace, and he does so in the interests of a credible European foreign policy, in our own interests, and also in the interests of stability and peace in Europe.

I would now like to address an issue that is of particular importance to the general public and is also among the priorities for the Austrian Presidency of the Council. By that I mean the protection of European citizens in third countries, for which, as recent events and crises have already demonstrated, we in the European Union bear responsibility. The Austrian Presidency of the Council wants to help make consular cooperation better organised to protect citizens when they are abroad and also to equip it with the proper resources.

Finally, let me turn to what was said about China. The only thing I want to say about the arms embargo is that there is at present, as you will be aware, no consensus in the Council on this. The issue is not on the agenda, but, quite apart from how this decision may turn out, it is a matter of principle for the Council and for European foreign policy that there will be no increase in the quantity of arms exported to China.

 
  
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  Javier Solana, High Representative. Mr President, I just want to close very briefly, because much of what I said in general terms was a repetition of what we think. We are trying to repeat in different words what the majority of people think about the foreign policy of the European Union. I would prefer, instead of going through a litany of topics every time we meet, that we try to concentrate on some of the topics and go deeper. At the end of the day we have gone through the all the world’s problems in two hours or so, with I do not know how many speakers. We want to make this debate useful. For that I thank Mr Watson for his good recommendation that I appear less on television and come here instead. I promise you that every time I go on television I will call you beforehand, so you can take note of how much time I spend on television and how many hours I spend here! So take note of that!

But having said that nicely and kindly to my good friend, I would like, if possible, to organise a debate so that we can go deeper into the topic, which is very important. I shall try to concentrate on a small number of topics, which are very important.

We can talk about common foreign policy, but if we fail, it will not be common foreign policy. We may as well just close down if we fail. Look at the Balkans: if we are not ready and willing to get the Balkans right, we can talk about Iran, we can talk about whatever you want, but we will fail, and I do not want to fail. Therefore, you will always find me working. That is what I am trying to do and that is what I will continue to do.

Thank you for the kind words some of you said about my work. Thanks also to those who do not appreciate it. I would also like to thank Leïla Shahid for the kind words she has said about me over the last few days when I defend, and as she should defend, the position of President Abu Mazen, whom we should try to help as much as we can. I think he is the most important person we should now support.

On the other issues let us see how things happen. In the coming hours we will probably have some very important decisions to take. I will be ready and willing, if time permits and you are ready to come, to make a statement to explain if something of great importance happens. Mr President, I leave it to you. If you want to take it up, do so. If you do not, then do not.

(Applause)

 
  
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  President. The debate is closed.

The vote will take place tomorrow.

 
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