Home page      My eu2003.gr      Help      Site map 
23/06/2006 11:31 Local Time 
The Presidency Meetings News Media Service EU/Policies Greece Athens 2004 Youth
www.eu2003.gr
Presidency News
Presidency news on Iraq
News from the Athens News Agency
This week
Interviews / Speeches
International Dialogue
Articles
Archives
Informal General Affairs and External Relations Council 2-3/5/03: Contribution on the issue of EU-USA Relations by Elmar Brok (European Parliament)

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS, HUMAN RIGHTS, COMMON SECURITY
AND DEFENCE POLICY
- THE  CHAIRMAN -


Brussels, 28 April 2003

Agenda for a New Transatlantic Relationship
The EU's To-Do List

INTRODUCTION:

The inability of the Europeans to define a common position with regard to the Iraq conflict has ruthlessly exposed the EU’s shortcomings:

 In the EU, recourse to intergovernmental action still gains the upper hand.
 It would be possible to continue to develop joint structures and institutions in Brussels dedicated to greater co-ordination; however, these will merely perform a decorative function unless the member states demonstrate the political will to pursue joint action.
 It is clear that common values that could serve to underpin a common foreign policy are missing in the case of both current and future EU member states.

As a result, EU behaviour in the context of international alliances, especially in the United Nations and NATO, is decidedly erratic.

The EU is facing its most serious crisis of the last decade. Now the all-important questions are: Will the EU be able to return to the integration track and develop a new dynamism and will it also be able to find back to a constructive partnership with the US?

In spite of the damage that has been done there is still both potential and necessity to develop a renewed transatlantic partnership for the third millennium.

 A STRONGER  EUROPE AS A CONDITION FOR THE SURVIVAL OF NATO

As recently reaffirmed by the EP, NATO remains not only a fundamental guarantee for Euro-Atlantic stability and security, but also the essential framework for coalition operations. Cooperation within the Atlantic Alliance continues to be of decisive importance for security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region and it is in the interest of the transatlantic partnership to strengthen NATO's capabilities and European defence. Therefore, in the aftermath of Iraq's war NATO must once again become the main framework for addressing security questions that affect all Alliance members. A strategy aimed at forming “coalitions of the willing”, mainly with countries outside the Alliance, must be forestalled.
The following questions must now be addressed among the partners:
- What purpose does the Atlantic Alliance serve?
- How should it be structured and what means should be placed at its disposal?
NATO reform initiatives must include:
- Military restructuring: This must take into account not so much new technologies but the way in which force can be exercised in a much more efficient and much less costly way.
- Institutional reform: Efforts in this regard should comprise the 400 committees as well as structures in Brussels more generally.

 ENHANCING CFSP AND ESDP  AS THE BEST WAY OF REINFORCING NATO

The US will only accept the EU as a partner in international affairs, if the Europeans will be able to develop their capabilities in the field of foreign and security policy. The EU therefore faces a threefold challenge:

 Coherent performance at home and abroad

The EU must not only meet political and economic expectations within the Union vis-à-vis intergovernmental decisions, but must also project an image of unity to the outside world, and especially to the only remaining superpower, the U.S. This is particularly important in areas in which different approaches to the issue of collective security seem to exist on both sides of the Atlantic, such as non-proliferation of weapons of mass-destruction, missile defence systems and the role of the United Nations and the Security Council. Balanced cooperation between the EU and the USA in the field of external relations is vital to solve the major conflicts in the world and to develop conflict prevention strategies, i.e. the positive results achieved in joint post-war actions in the Balkans.

  Strategic thought and action

The EU must overcome the present crisis concerning the formulation of a CFSP and begin to make a contribution to the development of strategic answers to global questions of international and security policy. A necessary precondition would be to define the vital political and security interests of the Union. These should be mapped out in a European Security Doctrine, which would take into account the National Security Doctrine of the US. This would also include the Union’s position on issues, which the U.S. seems to interpret differently. The two major ones are the legitimacy of the use of military force in the absence of a UN mandate and the concept of pre-emptive strikes.

 A decisive step forward towards a  genuine and autonomous CFSP

A Constitution can not compensate the lack of political will on the part of Member States, but it can create a framework in which a common will can be more efficiently created. Therefore, it should be a constitutional duty of all Members of the EU to define and observe the common interest in all foreign and security policy matters, and to subject all such matters to a common institutional process at the level of the Union, allowing for joint decisions and permanent consultations in the overall interest of the Union. The EU needs to recognise the indivisibility of its security. It needs to tackle the enormous duplication that exists in territorial defence. It needs to reform it's institutions (Council and Commission), establish the position of a EU Minister for Foreign Affairs, come to majority voting on non-military matters, pool its defence resources and reinvest the resources freed up thereby in those areas where a more urgent need exists. Therefore the EU also needs its own budget for security and defence policy.


 POLITICAL ISSUES FIRST IN THE AFTERMATH OF  11 SEPTEMBER 2001

Making pursuit of common global interests (spread of democracy, modern governance, open societies and markets, sustainable economies, freedom of expression, fundamental human rights and respect for the rule of law around the world) should be the central defining political purpose of the renewed transatlantic partnership. Furthermore, the concept of close linkage, whereby aspects of political, economic, and defence and security collaboration are closely tied together, remains a cornerstone of any future relationship.

Two possible initiatives seem of the utmost importance and are therefore strongly recommended:

(a) On the one hand, to create a long-term collaborative framework and Action Plan for the War on Terrorism. International terrorism must be combated firmly, not only by military means but above all by addressing the roots of the tremendous political, social, economic and ecological problems of today's world.

(b) On the other hand, to promote a Transatlantic Community of Action by developing collaborative strategy and action for, at least, the following cases: post-conflict cooperation in Afghanistan and Iraq; relations with the Arab world; the Middle East Peace Process; North Korea; infectious diseases; nuclear proliferation; and integration of Russia into the family of democracies.

 OVERCOMING THE THREAT BY ECONOMIC STRENGTH  AND JOINT ACTION IN THE FRAMEWORK OF A TRANSATLANTIC MARKETPLACE

The degree of transatlantic interdependence and the potential of future co-operation are nowhere more visible than in economic relations. Economically, Europe and the USA are the two most closely bound regions in the world.

Already, a large proportion of bilateral trade takes place free of any restrictions, but major exceptions remain, e.g. non-tariff trade barriers. This is why Americans and Europeans should agree on a continuous liberalisation initiative designed to accelerate the implementation of WTO rulings which, in the context of a renewed partnership, and as a long term objective, could even lead to the establishment of a Transatlantic Marketplace guaranteeing the free movement of goods, capital, services and persons. However, which seems more urgent now is to pursue the approximation of the Atlantic zone business and market conditions by developing joint actions at least in the following areas: financial services and capital markets; aviation; the digital economy; competition policy; the ethical dimension of trade; and the performance of regulatory systems.

 ACTING TOGETHER ON OTHER IMPORTANT GLOBAL CHALLENGES:

Developing solutions to global challenges – e.g. the environment, migration or social and ethnic conflicts - is not about preserving the power of security policy. Anyone who wants to make a real contribution requires partners and coalitions. Together, Europe and the United States represent the right critical mass. Therefore, responding in the same direction to important global challenges such as the issue of global warming (i.e. ratifying and implementing the minimum standards of the Kyoto Protocol) and the issue of global justice (i.e. the functioning of the International Criminal Court) are issues which certainly deserve preferential treatment in the reinforcement of transatlantic relations.

Finally, it seems particularly important to jointly re-assess EU and US development aid and humanitarian assistance strategies and instruments (including Bretton Woods institutions) focusing in particular on performance and complementarity.

 EXPANDING THE EXISTING DIALOGUE IN THE RENEWED TRANSATLANTIC PARTNERSHIP

First of all, the Annual EU-US Summit should be re-structured (as well as the process itself) in order to provide strategic direction and impetus to the transatlantic agenda. In addition, the political dialogue within the partnership should be enhanced at all levels. As far as the strengthening of the parliamentary involvement in the process is concerned, the following improvements should be introduced:

• given their respective competencies, especially in the field of trade and foreign relations,  the President of the European Parliament and the Speaker of the US Congress should be involved in EU-US Summits, when they are organised at presidential level;

• in addition, the political association with legislators (TLD) should also consist in a formal session with the Senior Level Group prior to each summit; this has only happened once under the NTA in Washington in May 1999;

• as a final step, the existing inter-parliamentary exchange should be gradually transformed into a de facto 'Transatlantic Assembly'

Moreover:

• the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue (TLD) should be fully activated and an early warning system should immediately put in place between the two sides;

• the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD), should reorganise its management structures, refocus its goals and streamline its activities, and the Transatlantic Economic Partnership (TEP) should be dramatically renewed;

• Other  transatlantic dialogues such as the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD), the Transatlantic Labour Dialogue (TALD) and the  Transatlantic Environment Dialogue (TAED) should finally become effective and coherent;

 DEFINING CIVIL SOCIETY AS AN ANCHOR

Besides the importance of political and economic relations on the top level, the ties between the civil societies on both sides of the Atlantic will remain the basis for the transatlantic relationship. But the network that was built up after the Second World War has lost over the last years its spirit and speed. The old ties are getting more and more fragile. Clear indicators are for instance the lack of interest of American politicians in European affairs. In order to avoid that the relations will be driven by a lack of understanding and knowledge on both sides, the EU must support - even financially - the exchange of young leaders from relevant parts of the society (politics, economy, media, art) to guarantee that mutual understanding between partners can grow and can be developed from generation to generation.

 THE RECONSTRUCTION OF IRAQ AS A FIRST CASE STUDY OF A RENEWED TRANSATLANTIC PARTNERSHIP

As a matter of priority, the EU must develop an agenda for Iraq in order to demonstrate its ability to provide a comprehensive approach to the US plans for reconstruction of the country, based on the following guidelines:
 The transition process should be overseen by a Multinational Task Force under the auspices of the UN and include domestic actors at the earliest possible stage.
 The establishment of an inclusive and accountable political system in Iraq requires first and foremost the distribution of the oil revenue among several centres of power.
 An effective approach to Iraq's problems requires a regional dimension. Iraq should be integrated gradually in a security system which includes Iran and other Gulf states and, at the same time, create a free trade zone with its Arab neighbours to the West with whom it shares important economic and cultural ties.
 Cohesive action by the EU and its member countries requires basic agreement on long-term goals in order to be effective. A common EU approach on Iraq may kick-start a more comprehensive approach for the Middle East. The impact of EU policies and institutions on long-term transformation and democratisation processes, especially in Southern and Eastern Europe, is well documented and generally acknowledged. The Union's approach of fostering structural change through trade liberalisation, transnational communication and regional integration, based on the success of its own model, is well established. Europe may not be a superpower, but it certainly is a project.


CONCLUSIONS


  FIRST OF ALL, THE UNION MUST PUT ITS OWN HOUSE IN ORDER:


1. The EU will only be recognised as partner if it can accompany its economic strength with a strong position in external relations. This requires:

• extension of QMV (qualified majority voting) in the Council also to services in external trade;

• QMV in Foreign and Security Policy and enhanced cooperation in defence policy as well as stronger military capabilities - complementary to NATO.

 The goal must be to make the EU and its Member States so interesting as partners that the Europeans have to be included in the strategic planning within and outside NATO and not only be called upon to follow suit.

 A PROJECT FOR A TRANSATLANTIC MARKET PLACE IS THE BEST WAY OF STRENGTHENING THE  POLITICAL DIALOGUE

2. The EU and the USA have treaties and agreements with almost all states in the world, but not with each other.  As NATO is no longer sufficient as the unique common institution, a new common framework has to be created in economic and trade policy - without endangering the multilateral institutions - in order to solve questions of dispute but also to further common interests:

• EU/USA relations need a project, which will enhance the political discussion.  The proposal for a Transatlantic marketplace could be such a project even if not immediately to be achieved,

• TABD has to be organised in such a way that enterprises may serve also as reinforced bridging elements.

 A BIGGER IMPLICATION OF THE CONGRESS AS A FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENT TO ENHANCE THE WHOLE TRANSATLANTIC PROCESS.

3.    From this point of view,

• Only with a wider implication at all levels of the Congress, the EP and national parliaments will it be possible to really enhance the whole process. It has therefore become urgent now to seek and develop new formulae for doing so. For example, the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue (TLD) must be strengthened at early stage of legislation.

• Commission and Council must start an information campaign in Congress. An EU/US Treaty for a Transatlantic Marketplace would involve Congress.


 The issue by issue approach will only have success if an overall framework is an essential part of the strategy. Experiences of the last decade show that new questions arise faster than old ones are solved.  The present mechanism does not have the right psychological effect to keep the peoples of both sides of the Ocean together.

E. B.

Chairman

 


 Search
How to search

Calendar
All months

European Council, Thessaloniki 2003
Games
GYMNICH 2-3/5/2003
Informal European Council - Signing of the Accession Treaty
the official website of the European Year of People with Disabilities
 Citizens' space
Forum
E-vote