Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

EU diplomatic service means constitution by stealth

26th May 2005

A vote by the European Parliament in favour of an EU diplomatic service - a provision made in the European Constitution, which has yet to be ratified by more than half of EU Member States - is another example of the EU adopting the Constitution by stealth, Charles Tannock MEP, the Conservative foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, said today.

His comments came as MEPs looked likely to vote overwhelmingly today in favour of a report setting out the nuts and bolts of how such a service would operate. Dr Tannock said that establishing an EU diplomatic service to implement the EU's foreign policy on the world stage would seriously undermine Britain's independent foreign policy.

Dr Tannock said:

"This time next week the Constitution could be dead in the water. It seems absurd that the EU is pressing ahead with the details of this idea without waiting for democratic approval of it by the citizens of Europe. If the Constitution is torpedoed, an EU diplomatic service would have no legal basis and all the enthusiastic work done to bring it about will have come to nothing.

"This would also appear to be part of a contingency plan to salvage some aspects of the Constitution in the event that it fails to be adopted democratically.

"An EU diplomatic service is one of several ideas to boost the EU's standing in the world at the expense of countries like Britain"
, he said.

Dr Tannock also drew attention to a vote by the foreign affairs committee of the Parliament earlier in the week which called for a seat for the European Union on the United Nations Security Council.

He said:

"This has long been a dream of EU federalists. It would take us a step closer to a United States of Europe and would erode Britain's independent foreign policy.

"Far from strengthening Europe, a seat for the EU on the UN Security Council would weaken Europe and prove to be unworkable.

"We support the reform of the UN and possible enlargement of the Security Council to other regional powers but not at the expense of our ability to conduct our foreign policy in our interests. Britain has a global role and reach. An EU seat on the Security Council threatens to reduce us to spectators and we will oppose it vigorously."