EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CRITICAL OF CFSP
Gathered in plenary session in Brussels on May 27, the European Parliament approved the 1997 report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) presented by Tom Spencer (EPP, United Kingdom), Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Security. A somewhat critical report, it reproves the Council for having so little recourse to the political instruments provided by the Maastricht Treaty - common action and positions - and for continuing to prefer declarations which are of no real interest since a majority are sadly mere rhetoric, translating approbatory or disapprobatory opinions. Of the 16 Joint Actions approved in 1997, compared with 21 in 1996, only five were entirely new, the others pursuing actions already undertaken.
Parliament also deplored the absence of a common position on such "crucial problems" as human rights in China. MEPs also regret the Commission's failure to make "full use of its right to present proposals to the Council". Finally, the Spencer report notes a "hiatus between EU foreign policy and its activities in the commercial field". Council President Robin Cook refuted this assertion. The Foreign Secretary acknowledged there was a time when there may have been some antagonism between human rights and commercial interests but claimed it is now a proven fact that countries failing to respect democracy are sanctioned by the financial markets, concluding that Europe now finds itself in a position to defend both its values and its prosperity.
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|Date:||Jun 3, 1998|
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