Implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy
Delivered in Plenary - 20 November 2013
As a Euro-realist, of course I accept the reality of the CSDP and the need to engage with it, although many in my own national political party are deeply hostile to the very concept. In my view, the CSDP must always remain subject to unanimity in the Council. I believe that constructive engagement is the way forward, partly because – as was pointed out in the debate – France insists on it as one of only two European major military powers and as a condition of rejoining NATO and its command and control structures.
One of my major areas of concern is the risk of duplication of effort in a climate of limited resources in the defence-spending sector, where concepts like NATO, smart defence and the CSDP’s pooling and sharing are being developed – rightly – to save on costs to national budgets. It is also important to avoid decoupling of the European Union’s defence efforts from those of the USA and Canada, with whom we are negotiating free trade agreements at the moment, and the TTIP hopefully in the future.
Nevertheless, I am convinced that EUNAVFOR ATALANTA has been a success story – and I drafted a report on this in the Horn of Africa for the Parliament last year – in fighting piracy. The EU training missions in Uganda and Mali have also been very helpful in the combat against Jihadi terrorism, but the jury regrettably is still out on certain civilian missions like EULEX in Kosovo. However, you can rest assured that we in the ECR will continue to take our security role with national parliaments and scrutiny over the CSDP very seriously in future.