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EU foreign and security policy: Government responds to Committee's report

25 April 2016

The EU External Affairs Sub-Committee has received a response from the Rt Hon David Lidington MP, Minister for Europe, to its report, Europe in the world: Towards a more effective EU foreign and security strategy, which was published on 16 February 2016.


The Committee has been investigating the effectiveness, strengths and weaknesses of the EU's foreign and security policy, in anticipation of the new strategy to be published by the European Union's High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy by June 2016.

The Committee's report concludes that the EU needs to concentrate on tackling insecurity and instability in its immediate neighbourhood, and not overstretch itself trying to fix too many problems at once. It emphasises that the responsibility for foreign policy rests with the Member States. The aim of the new strategy must be to provide the framework within which they can operate collectively to tackle threats to the security and stability of the Union.

The response

The letter from the Minister for Europe thanks the Committee for its "welcome and valuable contribution to the debate" on the new EU Foreign and Security Strategy. The Government agrees with the Committee that "it is Member States that are the driving force in EU foreign policy" and that "membership of the EU amplifies the UK's influence on the world stage."

Responding to the Committee's conclusion that "the EU has not demonstrated a credible commitment to Turkey's accession, nor has it defined an alternative relationship", the Government reiterates its view that Turkey's EU accession process "remains the most effective mechanism for continuing reform in Turkey." It notes that the review “presents an opportunity for the EU to consider the strategic relationship with Turkey”.

The Government agrees with the Committee that the southern neighborhood should be a focus of the new strategy: “the EU must act to address the underlying causes as well as the symptoms fueling migration and extremism and radicalisation.”

On the eastern neighbourhood, the Government describes the Committee's view that the West's relations with Russia are led by the US as “an over-simplification”, and emphasises that “the EU has been at the forefront of the response to Russian actions in Ukraine.”

Further information

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