Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Diplomatic danger

Daily Telegraph - May 27th 2005

Sir

The European Constitution has been ratified by fewer than half of the EU's member states, and may yet have died a death by this time next week, but its supporters are trying to implement it by stealth, regardless.

The vote by the European Parliament on the details of an EU diplomatic service is a case in point. The constitution provides for such a service, which would help the proposed EU foreign minister to implement a common foreign policy. This would be seriously detrimental to Britain's independent global role and reach. Perhaps this is part of a contingency plan to rescue some aspects of the constitution in the event that it runs into the sand. It must be admitted that a common service has considerable support from smaller EU member states who enhance their foreign policy role and save on their budgets. But the constitution's collapse will leave an EU diplomatic service with no legal basis.

Since the Prime Minister is such a keen proponent of Britain's independent foreign policy, I hope he will kick this misguided initiative into touch for good when Britain assumes the EU presidency.

Charles Tannock
Conservative Foreign Affairs Spokesman
Brussels