In its foreign and defence policies, the EU has to be united and assertive, while its member states must take responsibility, say MEPs.

No single EU member state can provide, on its own, an efficient response to today’s global challenges, warn MEPs on Wednesday in two annual resolutions, one on foreign policy, the other one on defence.

In the resolution assessing the state of play on the EU´s common foreign and security policy (CFSP), MEPs note that the world is facing a global power shift, with geopolitical competition becoming a leading trend. They express their full support for new Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s decision to transform the European Commission into a ‘geopolitical Commission’.

Team up with like-minded partners

MEPs point out that the EU has to switch from a responsive to an anticipatory approach. Teaming up with like-minded EU strategic partners, in particular NATO and emerging countries, is essential to defend the global rule-based order.

“The recent events in the Middle East proved again that multilateralism is more challenged than ever. With the beginning of a new political cycle, there is an urgent need for a stronger, united and proactive European Union. The role of the European Parliament should therefore be reinforced as an important pillar of the Common Foreign and Security Policy”, said rapporteur and Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee David McAllister (EPP, DE).

MEPs reiterate their support for the Eastern Partnership , and call for a credible EU enlargement strategy in the Western Balkans.

The resolution was adopted with 454 votes for, 148 against and 102 abstentions.

Uncertain and unpredictabile security environment

In the annual resolution on common security and defence policy (CSDP), adopted with 364 votes for, 266 against and 77abstentions, MEPs warn that armed conflicts provoking massive population displacement, jihadist terrorism, cyber attacks, hybrid threats, the weakening of disarmament efforts, energy insecurity and climate change, all make the European Union’s security environment uncertain and upredictable.

MEPs note that some global actors (the United States, China, Russia) and an increasing number of regional actors (Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia) are seeking to assert power through a combination of “unilateral diplomatic posturing”.

EU needs strategic autonomy and strengthened capabilites

The European Union has been slow to react and adapt to this new international context, warn MEPs. In the area of defence, insufficient investments, lack of capabilities but above all, a “political reluctance to implement the robust provisions provided for in the European treaties” hampers the European Union’s ability to play a decisive role in external crises.

“As Europe is facing tremendous security challenges, in a highly volatile international context, the European Union and its member states must take responsibility. In full respect of alliances and partnerships, Europe must assert its strategic autonomy and strengthen its capabilities in order to be a real actor and not a spectator,” said Rapporteur Arnaud Danjean (EPP, FR).