Strasbourg, 10 March 2010
I am delighted to be with you to discuss the big questions on Europe's international agenda.
Let me begin by thanking Mr. Albertini and Mr. Danjean for their excellent reports. You have underlined the number, range and urgency of the challenges we face.
From strengthening the rule of law in Kosovo to working with the emerging powers to share responsibility for global governance. From promoting peace in the Middle East – and I join US Vice President Joe Biden in condemning the Israeli decision to build 1600 new houses in East Jerusalem –, to providing shelter to the surviving victims of Haiti’s earthquake. From dealing with proliferation problems such as Iran, to devising effective answers to "new" challenges such as energy, climate and cyber-security.
Europe is going through a phase of building something new. Where people have to adjust their mental maps and institutions have to find their new place.
Doing so is messy and complicated. But also exciting. For it is impossible to over-state just how important this moment is.
Right now we have a chance to build what many across Europe – and many in this House – have long wanted: a stronger, more credible European foreign policy.
Of course the European External Action Service will be key to deliver this. We have to build a system that is robust; that will enable us to deal better with the problems of today and new problems that will arise tomorrow.
For years, we have been trying to frame and implement comprehensive strategies. But the structures and systems we had, made this difficult. With the Lisbon Treaty and the EEAS we should be able to achieve this.