Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

No-fly zone highlights failure of common EU foreign policy

18th March 2011

Prime Minister David Cameron and President Nicolas Sarkozy are to be congratulated for their strong leadership in securing agreement on a no-fly zone over Libya, Charles Tannock MEP, European Conservatives and Reformists group foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, said today.

Dr Tannock, who was one of the first people to call for a no-fly zone, lamented the abstention by Germany and said that the EU had categorically failed to find a strong united response to a tyrant on its own doorstep.

He said:

"David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy have shown significant international leadership in securing a Security Council Resolution. Now the hard work starts to enforce it.

"I deeply regret Germany's abstention which undermines the EU's defence of human rights and democracy in our Southern neighbourhood. This is a victory of global leadership for some European countries, but a categorical failure of EU foreign policy.

"Italy should be congratulated for granting access to its Sicilian air bases and Norway and Canada have already promised warplanes. This has become a coalition of the willing, of nations willing to put their own people and assets to use to defend civilians from their own despotic leader. Such a decision cannot have been taken lightly.

"It is reported Egypt has started to supply arms to the rebels. Lebanon are to be congratulated also for promoting the Arab League's views on the Security Council.

"NATO and the Arab League must now put in place a military strategy to protect Libyan civilians.

"Gaddafi needs to get the message. He cannot be left to revert to type, to support terrorism against the West, and to continue attacks against his own people. He and his sons must go now, hand over power to the TNC and leave the country.