Prominent Europeans call for change in approach to EU foreign policy

Today, we pubished an open letter signed by more than 60 prominent Europeans, all Council Members of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), calling on the new EU leadership team, who will take over in late 2019, to understand the challenge that confronts them and receive the tools they need from EU governments to change Europe’s approach to foreign policy. 

Signatories include current and former foreign ministers, prime ministers, presidents, members of national parliaments, ambassadors, journalists, authors, and other prominent experts including Carl Bildt, Timothy Garton Ash, Douglas Alexander, Emma Bonino, Miroslav Lajcak, Norbert Roettgen, Javier Solana, Marietje Schaake, and others. Full list here.

The signatories call on the new leadership to:

  • Set out on a quest for strategic sovereignty for Europe. This should have economic and financial elements (coping with secondary sanctions, the role of the dollar, payments systems, investment screening, technology regulation), security and defence elements (promoting greater European responsibility and resistance to conventional and hybrid threats including cyber) and political diplomatic ones (exploring how Europeans organise and reach out to others on multilateral issues).
  • Re-operationalise European security and defence. Europeans should take more responsibility for their security and become a better partner for the United States by strengthening the European pillar in NATO and taking over responsibility for missions in the Balkans and Africa. They must also consider innovations such as a European Security Council in order to – among others – engage the UK after Brexit.
  • Build a stronger link between EU institutions in Brussels and national governments on foreign policy. If EU foreign policy is to be effective, it cannot just rely on a single HRVP to carry the political burden. The HRVP should be backed by deputies from the Commission covering key regional issues and task core groups of national foreign ministers to support him.

These steps help renew the EU and show its citizens that Europe can be the first line of defence in an increasingly uncertain world.

Source: European Council on Foreign Relations 2019 23 07

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