Europe chooses new safety strategy

At the last European Council of the Dutch Presidency a new strategy was presented for the EU’s external policy. As holder of the Presidency, the Netherlands has pressed for just such a joint European security strategy. ‘The geopolitical security situation in Europe has changed dramatically over the past few years,’ said foreign minister Bert Koenders. ‘This strategy gives a fresh impetus to the EU’s foreign policy, with an emphasis on security and resilience. If member states act in concert, like members of an orchestra, we can accelerate Europe’s responses to world events and boost the impact of our diplomatic engagement.’

‘The Dutch government has actively lobbied for a new European security strategy to be put in place rapidly,’ the minister went on to say. ‘Now the EU is doing something to meet this need and setting priorities for our external policy. Enshrined in the strategy are the values on which the EU is based, including human rights. It also contains, at the Netherlands’ urging, provisions for the further development of the Common Security and Defence Policy. The aim is to respond better to current threats. It is now up to the member states to translate this strategy into action. The Netherlands will work to ensure that agreements are made in the near future about a timetable for implementation.’

The need for an effective response to the Union’s political and security context has become more urgent, and not only as a result of the referendum in the United Kingdom. ‘Turning inward is not an option in this interconnected world of ours,’ the minister cautioned. ‘In these turbulent times the EU needs to have a shared vision of Europe’s role and position in the world, and act accordingly. The government will continue to work with unstinting dedication to ensure our joint commitment to protect the values, interests and security of the EU and its citizens.’