Finns call for reform of EU defence and human rights enforcement

Posted: 11/14/2010
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland Press Office
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11 November, 2010

In the view of Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, the European Union needs a new approach in its foreign policy. During the speech delivered at the London School of Economics on 11 November, Stubb expressed his concern over the EU’s declining influence in the world, where there are more competing actors, goals and values than in the past.
The EU must react to changes in the playing field of foreign policy, the foreign minister said. In the end it is a question of whether the EU will in future have a significant role to play in a multipolar world order, Stubb stated.
According to Foreign Minister Stubb, the EU now needs a dignified foreign policy based on listening, dialogue and mutual respect. In the course of his speech, Stubb presented three "commandments" for this new dignified foreign policy.
The first "commandment" is that the EU must put its own house in order. "We have to live up to our own standards, be it on trade policy or human rights," the foreign minister said.
The second "commandment" is that the EU must speak with one voice. The EU is the world’s largest economy, but in international politics its position is too weak, the foreign minister contended.
The Lisbon Treaty offers the Union a chance to take on a world role compatible with its economic weight. This requires that full support is given to the EU’s common representatives: Herman Van Rompuy, Josê Manuel Barroso and Catherine Ashton, Stubb stressed.
The third "commandment" Foreign Minister Stubb presented is to speak softly and carry a big carrot. The EU must adapt to a situation where European norms and values cannot be universally dictated to others. We have to strive to genuinely respect our partners and try to understand them without abandoning our own values, such as promotion of democracy and human rights. We must proceed from monologue to dialogue, Stubb stated.
Minister Stubb ended his speech by saying: "I am convinced that by fulfilling the three ‘commandments’ we will create the conditions for both a more influential EU and also a more effective world governance."