Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

European Security Strategy

Delivered in Plenary - 10th March 2010

Mr President

The Lisbon Treaty is now a legal reality in the international order, even if it lacks popular democratic legitimacy because most EU citizens, including Britainís, were denied a vote in a referendum. Nevertheless, the ECR Group and British Conservatives are committed to positive engagement and to moving on within the new institutional framework.

We would like to see a similar approach from the Member States and the Commission. It is deeply ironic, in my view, that the first major institutional development under Lisbon, namely the creation of the European External Action Service, threatens to push the EU back towards the very introspection and bickering that Lisbon was supposed to have eradicated. Undoubtedly, the creation of the EAS must be subject to debate and consensus about who does what and does it best, but the CFSP foreign policy elements must remain firmly within the Council.

But we also need strong leadership, in theory enabled by the Lisbon Treaty, to forge a lasting vision for Europeís diplomacy in the world. We look to you, High Representative Ashton, to seize the initiative and to assert the authority and leadership provided to you by the treaty, to knock heads together if necessary and to chart the way forward. We will support you in your efforts if you can show that you are up to the daunting challenge.

The EU has had many years to think about this Service, so this muddling through and hesitation that we currently see does no credit to the EUís ambitions to play a global role in foreign policy through the CFSP.

There are more general points. The Albertini report, which I support strongly, sets out the Unionís foreign policy priorities and rightly endorses the EU membership aspirations for the Western Balkan countries, particularly Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro, for which I am rapporteur.

But it also mentions the transatlantic alliance and NATO, which we believe are the cornerstones of the EUís foreign security policy. It rightly emphasises the EUís responsibility for resolving the frozen conflicts, particularly in Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh in our immediate neighbourhood, and good relations with Ukraine.

But, finally, Taiwan is also mentioned as an important partner for the EU and it should also be enabled to participate actively and fully in international organisations, according to the EUís policy and the ĎOne Chinaí policy.