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President Dr Drnovšek in Salzburg on common European foreign policy

Salzburg, 05/23/2003  |  press release

Today, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Janez Drnovšek, as part of the 10th Meeting of Presidents of Central European States in Salzburg, participated in the second part of the plenary discussion dedicated to the role of Central Europe in an enlarged Europe. Today’s talks between the presidents were dedicated primarily to issues related to the definition of the common European foreign policy. In his address, President Drnovšek stressed the importance of these issues and called for cautiousness in developing the instruments of such a common European foreign policy. The Iraq crisis has shown that differences in European stances can be very wide and that there exist traditional links between countries, such as that between the United Kingdom and the USA, and these will continue to exist for the foreseeable future. It is, therefore, probably not wise to expect that some countries, for example, the United Kingdom, will be changing their foreign policy positions or that they will consent to being constantly out-voted in the decision-making system by qualified majority voting. This would cause unnecessary tension which would not be constructive for the EU. Therefore, Dr Drnovšek was of the opinion that Europe needed to dedicate itself to the further building of common links, in particular with regard to the internal market. In connection with the common European foreign policy, Dr Drnovšek said that dialogue and the exchange of opinions must continue in order to achieve a convergence of positions. In no way can solutions be adopted by force in such a context, since it would not be wise to constantly out-vote any Member State in this field. In Europe, the fact has to be accepted that the United States plays a specific role on the international scene. After all, America has a different history while the EU is a relatively young grouping in which otherwise old nations and states come together on new foundations. This is an additional reason why patience needs to be exercised in mutual relations, since historic differences that have taken centuries of European history to form cannot be overcome overnight. Together, we must learn how to face crises such as that in Iraq so as to avoid tensions at the highest levels between the EU Member States. In short, we have to learn how to live with our differences, reducing them in the process. Dr Drnovšek concluded his address with a thought that the common European foreign policy had to be built gradually, with the EU introducing the instruments of this policy in such a spirit.
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