Some 120 people from about 15 European countries participated in the colloquium organised last weekend at the European Parliament in Brussels by the Union of European Federalists (UEF) in cooperation with the “Cercle fédéraliste européen”, on the topic “Europe’s global mission is to win the peace”.
The role of Europe in the world and the prospects of a European Security and Defence Policy were debated.
In his keynote speech, Wim van EEKELEN, Chairman of the Defence Committee of the Dutch Senate and former Secretary-General of WEU considered that the objective of peace could only be achieved if all the instruments were used in a coherent way. However steps forward in defence were not always accompanied by sufficient progress in the field of foreign policy, because the 15 Member States - and the 25 even less – did not share the same views. Moreover the efficiency of the institutions as established by the Convention’s draft in European Foreign, Security and Defence policy could be questioned. According to Mr van EEKELEN, more optimistic outlooks would only be possible in this field if the European governments « accept the consequences of what they want».
Mr Armand DE DECKER, President of the Belgian Senate and newly elected Chairman of the WEU Assembly declared himselfin favour of a federal defence pillar that should be prepared by a better organisation of the current intergovernmental system. He suggested the use of the method of convergence criteria for European military efforts especially in terms of investments. Defence Ministers should define a European concept for a common investment plan and national parliaments should vote on defence budgets in a European framework, no longer in strictly national cenacles.
UEF Vice-President Sergio PISTONE, Professor of History of European integration at the University of Torino, stressed that the federal unification of Europe would lead to the strengthening of the UN and would overcome American hegemony in favour of a multi-polar system. According to him, a constitutional commitment should limit Europe’s sovereignty in the field of security and defence in favour of the UN and provide in this framework the availability of armed forces for crisis management and international police purposes.
Notes to editors
- The UEF is an independent and non-governmental, supranational organisation, dedicated to the promotion of a federal Europe.
- The Cercle fédéraliste européen, chaired by Fernand HERMAN, invites every month personalities to speak on European topics.