EU must beef up security and defence, or face decline, say MEPs

23-11-2012 — /europawire.eu/ — The EU and its member states must be able to counter all possible security threats, and respond robustly to conflicts in its neighbourhood, said MEPs in votes on Thursday. They warn that reducing defence budgets and marginalising the common security and defence policy (CSDP) could lead to the EU’s strategic decline and insist that its security cannot be delegated to others.

The EU must respond to growing geostrategic changes and threats to global security and make full use of all existing means, including military ones, to secure peace and security for its citizens, MEPs said in a resolution drafted by Arnaud Danjean (EPP, FR) and adopted with 442 votes in favour, 92 against and 75 abstentions.

“The European Union cannot indefinitely delegate its security to others. The.economic crisis must not become a pretext to give up defence policy efforts. To avert an individual and collective strategic decline, European countries must use the CSDP and all its tools to buttress their own defence capacities,” said Security and Defence Subcommittee chair Arnaud Danjean (EPP, FR).

Lisbon Treaty provisions for enhancing of the CSDP must be acted upon swiftly, say MEPs. They also highlight the persistent lack of basic capabilities, such as air-to-air refuelling or reconnaissance drones, needed to carry out independent EU missions. In their absence, the CSDP’s credibility is at stake, as the Libya crisis showed, MEPs warn.

MEPs also advocate pooling and sharing capabilities among member states. They stress that building up Europe’s capabilities would help to consolidate its industrial and technological base and stem a loss of expertise in the defence field.

Robust cyber security strategy

In a separate resolution, drafted by Tunne Kelam (EPP, EE) and adopted with 454 votes in favour, 39 against and 96 abstentions, MEPs call for better coordination between the civilian and military initiatives at EU and national levels to protect cyberspace. Attacks in cyberspace constitute a major threat to the security, defence, stability and competitiveness of the EU, they say.

Mutual defence and solidarity clauses

In a resolution drafted by Ioan Mircea Paşcu (S&D, RO), MEPs urge EU member states to act, in line with the Lisbon Treaty’s mutual defence and solidarity clauses, to provide the same level of protection for all EU citizens. Member states should also prepare for crises that could be too big for them to handle individually, they add. This resolution was passed with 438 votes in favour, 53 against and 14 abstentions.

Climate-driven crisis and natural disasters

Climate change is the biggest threat to the global security, says a resolution drafted by Indrek Tarand (Greens/EFA, EE) and passed with 474 votes in favour, 80 against and 18 abstentions.  Climate change exacerbates natural disasters that are destabilising, especially for vulnerable states, so its potential impact on security should be factored into EU external policies, it warns.

Procedure: Non-legislative resolutions

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