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11 mai 2011

Socialists and Democrats leader Martin Schulz today welcomed the announcement by EU foreign policy chief Cathy Ashton that she is to open an office in Libya to prepare for elections after the demise of the Gaddafi regime.

Mr Schulz criticised EU governments for taking a nation-based approach to Europe’s foreign policy challenges.

In a wide-ranging Strasbourg debate on the EU’s foreign, security and defence policy, Mr Schulz rejected criticisms of high representative Ashton as « inspired by people are only thinking about their national foreign policies. »  

He welcomed Baroness Ashton’s announcement that she is to open an office in Benghazi and denounced arms sales to the Gaddafi regime by Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Belgium.

Said Mr Schulz:  « The kind of credibility that Europe needs is in helping to build democracy — as we are in opening an office to support civilian initiatives and prepare for elections. »  

Speaking in the debate, S&D security spokesman Roberto Gualtieri stressed the need for a community approach with greater capacity for rapid and efficient action.

S&D member of the foreign affairs committee Maria Muňiz called for rationalisation of EU representation in the world with closer cooperation between the external action service and the Council presidencies.


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