The Slovenia Times

EU Urgently Needs Proactive Foreign Policy



Foreign Ministry State Secretary Bogdan Benko, who stood in for Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec, pointed to the different aspects of the EU's foreign policy while noting that "the biggest security challenge is located in our neighbourhood".

He wondered if the EU will be able to be the regional initiator of security, although he assessed that since the Lisbon Treaty the EU's foreign policy has been successful.

Benko pointed to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's role in talks with Iran and the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, as well as the EU's increased security role in Africa.

He still feels the EU can do more, especially when it comes to preventing conflicts and reacting to crises.

"It sometime seems that the EU foreign policy has no strategic plan, including in the cases of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Ukraine. Therefore it is important to prove our credibility and do what we promise."

Former European Commission President Franco Frattini called for a more proactive attitude of the EU in the regions that are of strategic importance to the bloc. He feels the EU should contribute more to stabilising Libya, Northern Africa and the Mediterranean.

As regards Ukraine, Frattini believes that the EU showed an example of good practice when the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland visited Kiev and managed to secure a truce and an agreement on early elections.

He feels the Europeans could play an important role in Ukraine moving closer to Europe without undermining relations with Russia.

Chair of the Slovenian parliamentary Committee for EU Affairs Jožef Horvat on the other hand questioned the effectiveness of a joint foreign policy, pointing out that member states are not always successful in the search for joint position or at least consensus on key foreign policy issues. He pointed to Kosovo as a point in case.

European Parliament Vice President Gianni Pittella meanwhile said in a video address that a key task should be support for democratic values and human rights around the world.

The international conference, which is organised by the Slovenian Pan-European Movement under the auspices of the European Parliament and the Foreign Ministry, will continue during the weekend.


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