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EU common foreign and security policy in dire need of a peaceful approach


11 May 2011


Global Europe

"In many areas, the EU's foreign policy has failed: in the Arab world, in Afghanistan, in dealing with the Palestinian problem and the conflicts in our eastern neighbourhood", GUE/NGL Chair Lothar Bisky told Catherine Ashton, responding to the EU's High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) on the main aspects and basic choices of the EU in this field.


The problem, he said, is how to get 27 national decision-making bodies to agree to a truly common EU line on CFSP.


He identified "double standards and thinking in military terms" as having contributed to this failure. "This house cheered when the UN Security Council decided to take military action in Libya," he said, "but what do we do for the civilian populations in Gaza, Darfur? How do we protect the right to a life in dignity for the 1.4 billion people living on 1 dollar a day?" he asked.


He said the revolutions in Arab countries had important demands in common: a demand for justice; for the distribution of wealth within their societies, for democratic participation in political decision-making and international relations. "The EU must address these demands."


"We need to work jointly for the development of international law, not its unilateral interpretation and enforcement!" Lothar Bisky concluded.


Takis Hadjigeorgiou (GUE/NGL, Cyprus) told the High Representative that she was "hostage to the major decisions taken by the big member states" and applauded the critical position that European leaders in the European Parliament have against their own governments. He went on to question, however, whether they would do what they accuse their governments of not doing once they become governments themselves. "We in Europe are bombing some of these states in Africa while selling them the weapons they are using against their own people."


He called for a foreign policy based on peaceful principles, "a demilitarised foreign policy". He said we need to disarm Europe and called for a nuclear weapons free planet. MEP Hadjigeorgiou evoked the dozens of journalists being held in Turkish jails and the fact that half of Cyprus is still occupied by Turkish troops. "We have to see now, in Cyprus, what we saw late in the Arab countries" he concluded.


"The words you used on the existence of a Palestinian state following the inter-Palestinian reconciliation are very important," Patrick Le Hyaric (GUE/NGL France) told Catherine Ashton, stressing that "this is a key political development. Hamas has accepted the Palestinian Authority as an interlocutor for the first time and a transitional government has now been tasked with organising elections."


He asked the High Representative what the EU was going to do to support this progress and how it was going to champion this development at the UN? He also asked her what the EU intended doing to ensure that Israel hands over tax revenue to the Palestinian state.


Responding to a question from the floor on the Freedom flotilla, MEP Le Hyaric explained that it is an action by "European civil society to call for the lifting of a useless and provocative blockade that imprisons the people of Gaza".

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20 - David Lundy +32 485 50 58 12

gabrielle.kavanagh -

European United Left / Nordic Green Left

European Parliamentary Group



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