Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2002-04-09-Speech-2-148"

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"Europe can only play a leading role on the world stage if it is prepared to pay a high price for doing so. Unfortunately, this is still not the case. Its own inability leads to frustration and even to open humiliation, as we have seen in the recent mission to Israel, for example. The political price that has to be paid for more effective policy is a reduction in the amount of say that individual nations have for the sake of greater European unity. Decisive foreign policy cannot only be based on economic clout and generosity with euros. The Middle East conflict proves how limited the influence of Israel’s key trading partner and the largest provider of aid to the Palestinians actually is. Without the development of credible European defence, Europe remains a yapping puppy that is allowed to frolic alongside the American bulldog. In this context, the rapid reaction force is a necessary precondition, but it is not meeting the mark by a long shot with regard to all the Petersberg tasks and the fight against terrorism. Europe continues to lag behind in comparison with American military power, and we will not be able to catch up without a substantial increase in defence expenditure. And if we do not want this for political reasons, then fine, we should also accept the consequences. It is high time the rapid reaction force became operational. As it happens, a sound draft about cooperation between the European Union and NATO, which Turkey can endorse, is ready in Macedonia. Unfortunately, Greece continues to throw spanners in the works. In any event, Europe will remain autonomous in its decision-making. Unless we standardise and rationalise our resources, a European defence will never get off the ground. National egotism and commercial interests have for too long got in the way of creating a defence industry. If Europe is not prepared to pay the political and financial price for credible defence, it should stop complaining about its trivial role in the world, otherwise we will continue to yap without being heard."@en1

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