Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

European external action service

Delivered in Plenary - 21st October 2009

Mr President

As the Union seeks a broader role in international affairs, it arguably should have the tools to project our common values throughout the world, providing, of course, there is unanimity in all 27 Member States.

But how will that role develop? Where will its limits be? We in the ECR Group believe, as an anti-federalist body, that foreign policy must ultimately remain the preserve of our individual Member States. It is therefore of concern to us that the Lisbon Treaty, if it becomes law, appears to set in train a series of developments that could end up undermining that prerogative.

The proposed European External Action Service must complement and not compete with or undermine Member States’ bilateral diplomatic activity and must draw its authority mainly from the Council and not from the Commission. Parliament must exercise its rights to scrutinise the EEAS and shape its budget. Given that there is much talk about EU embassies in the Brok report, I would like the Commission once again to repeat the assurances it gave me a year ago that EEAS missions or delegations will not be called embassies. To call these missions embassies would compound the fear that the EU is seeking all the trappings of a sovereign state.