Thursday

18th Jan 2018

EU foreign policy expected to enter 'new era'

The European Parliament is seeking to bolster its role in the bloc's common foreign and security policy (CFSP), with senior MEPs saying it is time for Europe to become a "player and not just a payer" on the world stage.

Polish centre-right MEP and head of the foreign affairs committee, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, says that EU foreign is moving "from one era to another" with the new Lisbon Treaty, due to kick in next year.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Is there enough money to back up a broader EU foreign policy? (Photo: wikipedia)

The proposed new EU foreign minister and diplomatic service as well as the possibility for a group of member states to move ahead in defence cooperation mean foreign policy is "one of the most innovative parts of the treaty."

The fact that Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, will for the first time be present at the MEPs' annual debate on CFSP on Wednesday (4 June) is in itself a "turning point," said the Pole at a briefing on Tuesday.

Euro-deputies will today debate a report that sets out principles for the EU's foreign policy - such as respect for human rights - calls for certain issues to be prioritised and says that the CFSP budget from now until 2013 is "insufficient."

"Either we have to beef up foreign policy financially, or we have to rethink whether we really want to be a global player," said Mr Saryusz-Wolski, who next week will travel to Paris to discuss the issue with the incoming French EU presidency.

"We ask why is nothing ready, prepared for the events that will happen if the treaty [comes into force], and we haven't had an answer," he said.

"We are asking this question also: do you have any hidden reserves? What's your view? How to finance the new set up? No answer."

Democratic oversight

The report also calls for parliament to be given greater democratic oversight over the area, which to date has remained firmly the domain of member states.

It suggests that the foreign minister "regularly" appear before MEPs and that the parliament be "fully consulted" on who the foreign minister should be, as well as what the diplomatic service should look like.

Deputies are also urging the future EU foreign minister to inform the parliament before any "common actions" are taken.

"If we start sending soldiers into danger, it is up to the parliament to give its blessing," says Mr Saryusz-Wolski.

The report also takes a more long-term view of the future of common foreign and security policy, with the head of the foreign affairs committee urging the bloc to stop acting like a "fire brigade" rushing to put out emergencies here and there and to think more of the "long-term strategic interests of the Union…20–30 years ahead."

EU army

Mr Saryusz-Wolski, who believes the union will gradually develop its own army, says it is no longer enough that the bloc exercises its traditional role as a soft power.

"Too often we spend money without any conditions being attached. I am against Europe being a payer and not a player," he said.

But he admits there is a "fear" in the parliament that the foreign minister and the new permanent president of the European Council may add to the trill of voices of on the EU stage all claiming to speak for Europe and may not turn Europe into a player.

The potential for overlap between the two posts – starting in January - and for rivalry with the European Commission president is high.

Debates on the posts are expected to start in earnest in autumn and be wrapped up by December.

In time-honoured EU fashion, balancing who wins the posts will have to involve the consideration of a series of factors, including nationality, whether a candidate comes from an old or new member state or a small or big member state, and the person's political hue.

EU seeks to extend Morocco fish deal, despite legal opinion

An EU court advisor says an EU fish deal with Rabat should be scrapped due to the Morocco-annexed territory of the Western Sahara. The fisheries agreement is set to expire in July but the European Commission want to renew it.

US warns on flare-up in Ukraine 'crisis'

Fighting in Ukraine escalated to "hellish" levels not seen since February amid warnings of a humanitarian catastrophe in the run-up to Christmas.

News in Brief

  1. Catalan parliament elects separatist speaker
  2. Czech government resigns
  3. MEPs back tighter export rules on cyber tech
  4. Annual eurozone inflation at 1.4 percent in December
  5. EPP group calls for 'European Netflix'
  6. Ex-MEP Goulard slated for senior French bank post
  7. Luxembourg speaks out in support of Palestinian state
  8. Danish fishing communities to be hit hard by Brexit, says report

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other Border Regions on How Countries Can Work Together to Generate Growth
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  4. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  5. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  6. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  7. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  8. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  9. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  10. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted
  11. European Jewish CongressChair of EU Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism Condemns Wave of Attacks
  12. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% Plastics Recycling Rate Attainable by 2025 New Study Shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties