To deal effectively with current international challenges, the EU needs to act on the global stage with one voice, say MEPs in a report adopted on Friday.

The EU should develop its leadership role by taking the lead in strengthening multilateral partnerships on global priorities, in particular the United Nations. It should lead in protecting and promoting democracy and human rights globally, says the 2021 annual report on the implementation of common foreign and security policy (CFSP).                              Guided by international law, the international community should be able to deal effectively with global challenges such as climate change, pandemics, the energy crisis and terrorist threats, and the influence of malign authoritarian actors, stress MEPs in the report. They also express regret that China and Russia prevent the UN Security Council from condemning oppressive regimes for their actions, hamper a united international response to different crises, and prevent the implementation of G7 decisions at UN level.                    Deeply concerned by the continuous democratic backsliding and human rights setbacks in an increasing number of third countries, the report highlights the need for the EU to defend and promote democracy globally through its own example, including by ensuring strict compliance with the principles of democracy, human rights and rule of law in all EU member states.                                                                                                                  In the report, MEPs recognise that technology, connectivity, and data flows are an important dimension of the EU’s external relations and partnership agreements and have significant geopolitical implications. They welcome the “Global Gateway” initiative presented by the Commission, which aims to invest in digital networks and quality infrastructure with partners around the world.                                                                                          The report underlines that EU foreign policy needs to have its own instruments on foreign affairs, human rights, and security and defence. MEPs welcome the ongoing Strategic Compass process as the starting point for making progress towards a European Security and Defence Union and for the strategic sovereignty of the EU.                                    MEPs stress that the EU needs to improve its visibility and decision making, and make full and more effective use of its hard and soft power instruments, including by introducing qualified majority voting for decision-making in EU foreign policy.

Rapporteur David McAllister (EPP, DE) said: “For the EU to become a geopolitical actor, our foreign and security policy must be more effective and impactful. Numerous events in 2021 revealed that we must strengthen our capacities to effectively deal with current international challenges, which include growing instability, the rise of authoritarianism and disinformation. The developments of the 21st century call for more, not less, EU action on the global scene.”                                                                                                            The report was adopted on Friday with 46 votes in favour, 9 against, and 11 abstentions.