Schroeder sees powerful EU, UN
The German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, has said that the European Union will come to play a more important role in world affairs despite its divisions over Iraq. Speaking to the German parliament, he said the EU must speak with one voice in the future, and gave details of a new Franco-German proposal for a European defence and security policy.
[Yawn] Will someone please remind me why the EU must speak with one voice. And not just because Schroeder and his ilk say so. And must that voice speak in French, or German.
He said the European Union must have its own military capability - though it ought not to be in rivalry with Nato.
Double check that with Belgium/France.
At the same time, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has called for core groups of EU countries to press ahead with integration if EU-wide agreement cannot be reached. "Europeans must agree on more common ground within the EU treaties," Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer was quoted as saying by the business daily Handelsblatt.
[Yawn] Must again. Why must we? Has someone been bad?
"If that doesnât work, then - if necessary - a group of countries should go ahead as they did with the Schengen Accord, outside the treaties." He added: "Thereâs an old ground rule in the EU: No-one has to want to do things, but those who do want to must be able to."
Hang on, we must, but only if we want to? Is something being lost in the translation here?
The BBCâs Ray Furlong in Berlin says the German vision is one of a stronger Europe in the face of current US dominance.
No rivalry here then. Move along, please.
He said that more common ground had to be found, especially with countries closer to the US position on Iraq. "The degree of cooperation between [Germany and France] countries is one of the few welcome developments in the current situation," he said.
Gerhard, lashing yourself to a sinking ship is not something to cheer about.
"But it is equally clear that, without close cooperation with Britain and the other members, we will be unable to bear the international responsibility that is rightly expected of us."
If Germany canât bear taking responsibility for her own foreign policy, thatâs for Germany to deal with. There was plenty of disagreement within Europe over Iraq and itâs more than likely that there will be plenty more issues that we wonât agree on in the future. Think Europe must put on a united face because someone else expects it? Give us a break.
Mr Schroeder said the UN must have a monopoly on the use of force and that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction could only be dealt with multilaterally.
How longâs he got, again, TGA?
Then, he outlined proposals he has made with President Jacques Chirac of France for an enhanced EU defence and security policy. These include the prospect of common military capabilities, such as European units implementing UN peacekeeping operations instead of national armies, and closer co-operation in planning structures and the arms industry.
Besides being every federastâs Eurocorps wet dream, this presumably also means Europe trying to get away with an even smaller military than it already finances.
On foreign affairs, EU ministers should decide on many joint initiatives by qualified majority voting, he said - a shift away from national policy-making.
The EU: your nationâs local lobotomy service
Posted by: Bulldog 2003-10-15