- Establish more strategic relations with like-minded partners
- Counter attempts to weaken and divide the EU
- Call for qualified majority voting instead of unanimity in some foreign affairs areas
The EU should demonstrate its leadership in international affairs by being more autonomous, more assertive, and more united, state MEPs in the annual report.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call for Europe, which must strengthen its strategic autonomy and sovereignty to defend its interests and values, warn Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs in their annual report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy.
The EU needs to work closely with its allies and establish more strategic cooperation with third countries based on trust and mutual benefit, MEPs conclude. In the report – adopted by 48 votes in favour, 10 against and 11 abstentions – they stress the EU’s worldwide role as a reliable partner, a mediator in conflict resolution and a leader in promoting multilateral frameworks.
Move from unanimity to qualified majority voting
First and foremost, the EU needs a stronger and genuine political will on the part of member states to jointly agree on and promote EU foreign policy goals, such as conflict prevention and peace agreements, and to counter third countries’ attempts to weaken and divide the EU. MEPs call on member states to urgently debate the possibility of moving from unanimity to qualified majority voting, at least in selected areas such as decisions on human rights issues and sanctions. This would be a significant step in strengthening the EU’s influence on the global scene.
They support an EU-wide debate to consider new ways of working such as a European Security Council, stressing the need to formally establish effective means and institutions to enhance the coherence and influence of the EU’s foreign and security policy.
Commitment to enlargement
MEPs call for the EU to assume its strategic responsibility in the EU neighbourhood and act more quickly and assertively to mediate and peacefully resolve ongoing tensions and conflicts, as well as prevent future conflicts. They reiterate their commitment to enlargement as a key transformative EU policy supporting the European perspective for the Western Balkan countries.
The rapporteur David McAllister (EPP; DE) said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is a potential geopolitical game-changer. Therefore, we call for a stronger, united and assertive foreign and security policy to step up the European Union’s leadership on the international stage. The EU ought to promote and defend a rules-based international order, which guarantees multilateralism, democracy and human rights, together with like-minded democracies and partners.”