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Why the EU needs a shared foreign policy; LETTERS.

IN his column on May 10, Rob Davies claimed that the UK Government had renounced the right to control its own foreign and defence policies when it signed the Lisbon Treaty in 2009.

In support of this claim, he quoted a clause from the treaty which states that the Union''s ''competence'' [ie ability to act] covers all areas of foreign policy and all questions relating to the Union''s security. If he had read on, he would have found that in reality, the Lisbon Treaty''s aim is the achievement of an ever-increasing degree of convergence of Members States'' actions in the fields of foreign and security affairs.

The EU is to conduct foreign and security policy by...

strengthening systematic cooperation between Member States in the conduct of policy. That means maKing efforts to increase the common ground between the independent foreign and defence policies of individual member states.

It does not mean renouncing those policies. The UK did not renounce its independent foreign and defence policies when it signed the Lisbon Treaty, any more than when it signed the North Atlantic Treaty sixty years earlier and became a member of NATO. The belief that there was a need for the EU to develop internally shared elements of foreign and defence policy grew out of the EU''s failures, in years gone by, to react effectively to major international crises, even when they were on its own doorstep.

Remember Bosnia? Remember Kosovo? In both instances, individual EU member states'' mutually contradictory foreign policies resulted in their being unable to agree joint action on the political and humanitarian disasters that were unfolding in Eastern Europe. It was left to the United Nations and NATO to step in, belatedly, to bring the conflicts to an end. The hope is that now the EU has its own foreign policy organisation, it will be able to achieve faster agreement between member states on how to try to deal with external crises that are liKely to affect EU countries.Wyn Hobson Tal-y-bont, Bangor
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUPR
Date:May 18, 2011
Words:335
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