SUDAN WATCH: Darfur, Sudan: European Union still an international actor despite French "No", says Solana

Monday, May 30, 2005

Darfur, Sudan: European Union still an international actor despite French "No", says Solana

Brussels, Mon May 30 AKI report:

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, says that despite the French No vote and even without a new constitution, the EU will continue to be a player on the international stage. Commenting on the results of the referendum in France, where voters rejected the new constitutional treaty, Solana staunchly defended the union's role. "I don't think anyone will be surprised if I say that I am disappointed with the result. This is a difficult moment, and the meeting of EU heads of state and government on 16-17 June will be an opportunity for leaders to analyse the situation together," Solana said.

"Life goes on, and the world has not come to a halt," Solana continued, adding that "the EU will continue to operate as an actor on the international stage".

Referring to the aid and peacekeeping commitments of the EU in Darfur, Congo and Bosnia, he added: "the Union will continue to be committed in all these issues, it will continue to work around the clock in exactly the same way".

Solana argued that all this is perfectly possible without the approval by member states of the new constitutional treaty, because "the EU was already an international player even before it began talking about the constitution".

The charter would "help us to coordinate better and be more effective" in its existing role, he added.

Solana stressed that the EU diplomatic service - still in its infancy and forseen under the new constitution - will see the light of day in any case. "There is no reason to doubt that sooner or later the EU will have its own diplomatic service and everyone must get used to the idea".

In conclusion, Solana strongly cautioned against "psychological paralysis" as a result of the French setback; "that would be the worst result of all," he said.



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