Press release – EU still not using its full potential to shape international politics, MEPs say

The EU has yet to exploit its full potential to shape the international and security environment, says Parliament in a resolution passed on Thursday. EU foreign policy must be proactive, credible and strategic and based on a shared vision of EU interests and values and a common perception of threats. It must seek to contain Russia and boost security and stabilisation in its southern neighbourhood.
“The EU is faced with a radically changed security environment. Russia has broken international law with its actions in Ukraine and undermined the European framework for peace. The recent terror attacks in Paris and Copenhagen demonstrate that conflicts in our southern neighbourhood affect our own security. The EU must counter these developments and improve its internal procedures and structures. This is the only way for us to uphold our democratic values and make a vital contribution to strengthening the international order,” said the EP rapporteur and chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Elmar Brok (EPP, DE).
“I welcome the proposal for a European army but demand that we now make use of the possibilities enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty, such as permanent structural cooperation, procurement and research, and pooling and sharing,” he added.
Protecting European values and interests and enforcing the political and legal order in Europe must be the EU’s top foreign policy goals, says Parliament in the resolution, which was passed by 436 votes to 145, with 64 abstentions.
Support eastern neighbours, contain Russia
 
The EU must give top priority to supporting those of its eastern neighbours that wish to draw closer to it, MEPs stress. They see investing in independence, sovereignty, economic development and the further democratisation of these countries as an important means to contain Russia’s ambitions. The EU must also reduce its energy dependence on Russia and ensure that its external energy security goals are in line with its internal energy policy aims, says the resolution. Energy security should be part of the comprehensive approach to the EU’s external action, it adds.
 
Boost security and stabilisation in the south
 
The EU should substantially revise its policy towards its southern neighbours, back it with adequate financial resources and do more to promote security, democracy, human rights and the protection of minorities and to confront religious extremism there, say MEPs.
Defence and security: more resources urgently needed
Parliament argues that a credible EU foreign policy must be underpinned by adequate defence capabilities in the member states and an effective Common Security and Defence Policy. Following the December 2013 European Council on defence, MEPs call for ambitious decisions to be taken at the June summit.
The EU should also play a key role in conflict resolution and help to strengthen the rules-based, pluralistic global political, economic and financial order, including respect for the rule of law and human rights, MEPs add.
 Additional information
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution