S&Ds: it’s time to end the veto in EU foreign policy

Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)  map on EU stars

On the occasion of the vote by the European Parliament today on its annual report on the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the Socialists and Democrats called on the member states to introduce qualified-majority voting in certain areas of EU foreign policy to speed up decision-making and eliminate situations in which one country blocks consensus. S&Ds also underlined their attachment to multilateralism and called on Europe to fill the vacuum left by the United States.
 
Knut Fleckenstein MEP, S&D shadow rapporteur and spokesperson for foreign affairs, stated:

“The annual report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) sends a clear message: major challenges that threaten the EU’s security should be met with a stronger EU diplomatic response and swifter action. To this end, we need to speed up the Council’s decision-making by switching from unanimity to qualified-majority voting in specific areas of the CFSP. For a start, the EU should resign from the unanimity rule in three areas of foreign policy: EU positions in the field of human-rights issues in international forums, decisions on sanctions, and on EU civilian missions. In these fields, there is often no time to find the lowest common denominator.
 
“In complex times, multilateral cooperation is the only way to respond to global challenges. The retreat of the US from the rules-based world order - e.g. US withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or their halting of funding for UNRWA and various UN agencies - shows that the US has developed from a security guarantor to a security risk. There is only one answer and it must be ‘Europe united’.
 
“The effectiveness of foreign policy is a question of the combination of joint soft power and credible hard power. Open dialogue, despite political differences, is key for effective soft power. In future, we need to continue to develop both: soft power and sufficient civilian and military capabilities.”

Note to editors:

As proposed by the Commission, the switch from unanimity to qualified-majority voting, including in EU foreign policy, does not require a revision of the treaties. The changes can be introduced through the ‘passerelle’ clause (article 48 of the Treaty on EU), which allows the extension of qualified-majority voting to new areas if the EU member states agree unanimously.