War in Ukraine: MEPs want EU to push ahead with foreign policy commitments
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War in Ukraine: MEPs want EU to push ahead with foreign policy commitments

In response to Russia’s war in Ukraine, Parliament calls for the Versailles Declaration to be implemented more quickly through a step-change in EU Foreign, Security and Defence policy.

In a set of recommendations to EU member states and Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell, adopted on Wednesday, Parliament sets out its vision for the future of the EU’s Foreign, Security and Defence Policy, drawing on the deep and long-lasting geopolitical consequences of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Building on the EU’s recent resolve and unity, MEPs demand genuine progress in implementing the roadmap recently agreed by EU Heads of State or Government, as set out in the Versailles Declaration and the European Council’s conclusions of 24 and 25 March.

The recommendations were approved by 438 votes in favour, 65 against with 94 abstentions.

The support to Ukraine must continue

The recommendations call on the EU to provide, without delay, weapons to Ukraine in line with the needs expressed by the country’s authorities, notably via the European Peace Facility. Additionally, MEPs want Ukraine to be granted EU candidate status as a clear political signal of solidarity with its people. They also support the investigation into war crimes committed in Ukraine, including by calling for a special United Nations Tribunal.

Push towards the EU’s strategic autonomy

While noting that the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine threatens the very foundations of the global multilateral order on which the EU’s Foreign, Security and Defence policy is built, Parliament pushes for strengthened EU cooperation with like-minded partners around the globe, especially with transatlantic NATO allies. This is needed in order to maintain the strongest possible unity in defence of the rules-based international order.

To complement such cooperation, Members say the EU’s strategic autonomy must also be an overarching aim of the EU’s Foreign, Security and Defence Policy. Such autonomy is crucial to be able to act alone when needed and with partners when possible, to weigh in on the international stage. Urgently investing in and developing credible military capabilities for an enhanced European defence system, counteracting economic coercion and ensuring other aims of strategic importance for the EU, including food sovereignty and reduced energy dependence are key to building this autonomy.

To cement its role as a capable actor, the EU must be ambitious in the field of defence and operationalise the proposed Rapid Deployment Capacity, say MEPs. In addition, the European Union needs to do more to adapt to a changed security environment, including by strengthening its defences against cyber and hybrid attacks, introducing qualified majority voting in the Council to make certain foreign policy decisions easier, including when it comes to personal sanctions regimes, and make swift progress in establishing the EU’s Defence Union.

Quotes

“The unprovoked and unjustified military aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine requires the European Union to be strategic in the face of the unprecedented challenges caused by these horrific events. We must take decisive steps in 2022 to strengthen our foreign, security, defence policy by implementing the concrete actions laid down in the Strategic Compass. The adoption of the sixth sanctions package against the Russian Federation was yet more proof that the decision-making process in the Council should be revised. What we need is real political will to decide on foreign policy through qualified majority voting. This would increase the effectiveness of our common EU foreign and security policy. The European Union has to equip itself urgently with the means and tools to respond to global strategic competition and complex security threats”, said co-rapporteur and Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee David McAllister (EPP, Germany).

“In the face of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, we must face facts: European security is threatened, and we have now entered a new geopolitical era. In this context, we must now make our European defence a reality within the framework of the Strategic compass, and we must act now, and quickly: create a rapid reaction capability, strengthen our mutual defence, accelerate military mobility. On top of that, we must deliver military equipment more quickly to support Ukraine more effectively. We must also replenish the depleted stocks of military equipment Member States are supplying to Ukraine, by coordinating our investments, increasing the budgets of the European Defence Fund, the European Peace Facility, and starting joint procurement… It is our security and that of our continent that is at stake”, said co-rapporteur and Chair of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence Nathalie Loiseau (Renew Europe, France).

Source: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20220603IPR32161/war-in-ukraine-meps-want-eu-to-push-ahead-with-foreign-policy-commitments