Resolution on the European Union as a power for peace

The XXI UEF Congress, held in Vienna from 30 June to July 2, 2006,

Reaffirming peace as the precondition for social and ecological justice, freedom, democracy and human rights and as the fundamental value of the European Union, which has enabled the European people to enjoy more than 60 years of prosperity and freedom;

- welcoming Guy Verhofstadt’s visionary plea for setting up the United States of Europe;

- considering the importance for the European Union to urgently become a credible and capable international actor able to build peace and security in its own neighbourhood, addressing potential threats, wherever and whenever they may occur in full respect of European and international human rights standards as well as strengthening the international order, notably the UN, via effective action through effective multilateral structures thus overcoming the American unipolar world order;

- recognising the consistent support levels established over a ten-year period of public opinion surveys, which have shown that more than 60% of EU citizens are in favour of a common EU foreign  policy and more than 70% in favour of a common security and defence policy;

- acknowledging the evolutionary development of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) in particular since the adoption of the European Security Strategy (ESS) by the European Council in December 2003 and the fact that the comprehensive approach advocated in the ESS is already being actively pursued globally as demonstrated by the scale of civilian, military and diplomatic EU instruments currently being applied to bring stability to different regions of the world, from the Western Balkans and the European Neighbourhood over the Middle East and Africa to South East Asia;

- underlining that all actions and measures undertaken in the framework of the Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) are to be exercised in strict adherence to international law and with respect to the principles of the UN Charter;

- stressing the need for further enhancement of European capabilities both in the different priority areas of civilian crisis management (police, rule of law, civilian administration, monitoring, support for the offices of the EU Special Representatives) and in the area of military crisis management, in particular the capacity for rapid response and the conduct of autonomous EU operations;

- recalling the decision of the European Council in Göteborg (June 2001) to give the highest political priority to improving the effectiveness and coherence of the external action of the EU in the field of conflict prevention and the need for an increased level of awareness and concrete knowledge on the long-term economic, ecological, political and development benefits of conflict prevention both in Member States and the EU institutions, thus contributing to stronger policy coherence between external trade, development, environmental and security policies; in this respect, particular attention needs to be given to a fair access of all states to energy and water resources;

- commending the important contribution by European civil society, notably European peace building and conflict prevention NGO’s to the overall EU action in this field;

- regretting the delays in setting up the European External Action Service, as foreseen by the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe due to the problems in the ratification process;

- welcomes the European Commission’s proposals on “Europe in the World” presented by President Barroso to the European Council in June 2006 as a first sign of a more pro-active role of the Commission in the field of external action;

- expresses its concern over the role of the General Secretariat of the Council in the area of ESDP, which acts more and more like a second “Commission” reducing the role of the Presidency and the political control by the Member States;

- rejects the proposals presented by the High Representative/Secretary General in his letter to the European Council in June 2006 which would further reduce the role of the Presidency, the Member States and the Commission in crisis management and place civilian crisis management under military operational control;

- urges the European Commission to make full use of its right of initiative in all areas of external action and undertake immediately the necessary efforts to increase the capacity of the Union to safeguard the interests of its citizens, contribute to peace-building and conflict resolution and speak with a single voice in the world, in particular through a single seat in the UN Security Council;

- stresses the need for the European Union to further develop its capacity to act in preventing violent conflict and actively contribute to the resolution of crisis situations,

- underlining the urgent need for a European External Action Service, fully integrated in the European Commission and headed by a Vice President of the European Commission as European foreign minister,

- supporting all initiatives to build up the foundations of a European External Action Service, and a European foreign minister already before the entering into force of the European Constitution, for example by appointing the Commissioner for External Affairs as High Representative/Secretary General of the Council after the end of the mandate of the current  High Representative (“double hat” approach);

- asking for the establishment of a European civilian peace corps, a European gendarmerie and police force and federal armed forces  - eventually replacing the national armed forces - to strengthen the operational capacities of European Security and Defence Policy, take over the responsibility for defending and protecting the EU borders and at the same time make efficient use of limited public resources;

- underlines the important role of the European Parliament in ensuring democratic control of external action on the European level and giving a more open forum to publicly discuss European Security and Defence Policy and;

- mandates the incoming Federal Committee and Executive Bureau to seek close cooperation with relevant civil society organisations, notably European peace building and conflict prevention NGO’s, in promoting these ideas.