Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Main aspects and basic choices of CFSP

Delivered in Plenary - October 22nd 2003

Mr President

This is an excellent attempt by Mr Brok to survey all the controversies and trouble spots of the world. The document has positive things to say on the wider Europe debate and new neighbours and, in particular, on the need to acknowledge the potential for full EU membership in future for those neighbours which are clearly European, namely Ukrane, Moldova and Belarus. Today I welcome to the Parliament Mrs Timoshenka, a Ukranian leader of the opposition.

It emphasises co-operation in the areas of security and defence, which is excellent, only to spoil it, in my view, by regretting the continued unanimity principle and calling for QMV in foreign affairs, which would imperil national sovereignty. It rightly calls for strengthened EU and G8 measures again the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, which is arguably the biggest threat of all.

However, I am less convinced of the need for an EU foreign minister or armaments agency and found the mini- defence union proposals of Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Germany purely a piece of post-Gulf war anti-American posturing, which undermines NATO and is laughable without UK military participation.

I also have concerns about the call for reforms of the UN. They are long overdue, but not if this means an EU seat replacing the UK's permanent seat. I have longed believed that there is a case to make for India as a permanent Security Council member and, possibly, also Japan and Brazil. I welcome the need for closer cooperation with Latin America in general.

I also have problems with including the ESDP in the Community budget, as defence policy is ultimately a marker of national sovereignty and can mean people dying for their country. It should therefore remain under national parliamentary scrutiny. Lastly, I have my doubts as to the necessity of a EUROMED Parliamentary Assembly and a EUROMED bank, which will be expensive. Besides, most of these countries are not true and fully functioning democracies with properly elected parliaments.