The EU cannot afford to become a symbol of weakness or decline

EU leaders would be failing their citizens’ hopes and interests if they let uncertainty over the Lisbon Treaty weaken Europe’s fledgling foreign policy. A statement signed by 44 ECFR members

“Europe’s citizens and leaders know that the world will not pause and wait for Europe to resolve its internal debate about better institutions. The threat of a nuclear Iran, the risk of war in the Middle East, the fight against extremism in Afghanistan, the challenge of climate change and the plight of Africa all require a stronger Europe better able to promote peace and prosperity. The new administration in Washington will need a strong European partner to reaffirm the Atlantic Alliance and restore its moral prestige. Europe’s place in the world will be challenged if the Union indulges in self-doubt and paralysis.

We are profoundly convinced that, notwithstanding disagreements about institutional reform, Europeans do not want their continent to become a symbol of weakness and decline in the 21st century. It remains vital that the European Union finds ways to speak to the world with one voice and reaffirms its commitment to the enlargement process, which should not become hostage to the EU’s internal debates. The European Union’s leaders would be failing their citizens’ hopes and interests if they let uncertainty over the Lisbon Treaty weaken Europe’s fledgling foreign policy or if they shirk the challenge of making it stronger.”

Signed by:

Martti Ahtisaari, Finland
Marek Belka, Poland
Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, Poland
Svetoslav Bojilov, Bulgaria
Emma Bonino, Italy
Marta Dassù, Italy
Jean-Luc Dehaene, Belgium
Gianfranco Dell’Alba, Italy
Pavol Demeš, Slovakia
Tibor Dessewffy, Hungary
Andrew Duff, United Kingdom
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, Denmark
Brian Eno, United Kingdom
Joschka Fischer, Germany
Timothy Garton Ash, United Kingdom
Bronislaw Geremek, Poland
Anthony Giddens, United Kingdom
István Gyarmati, Hungary
Diego Hidalgo, Spain
Michiel Van Hulten, Netherlands
Wolfgang Ischinger, Germany
Gerald Knaus, Germany
Caio Koch-Weser, Germany
Ivan Krastev, Bulgaria
Miroslav Lajčák, Slovakia
Mark Leonard, United Kingdom
Alain Minc, France
Nickolay Mladenov, Bulgaria
Dominique Moisi, France
Andrzej Olechowski, Poland
Dick Oosting, Netherlands
Mabel Van Oranje, Netherlands
Leoluca Orlando, Italy
Cem Özdemir, Germany
Diana Pinto, France
Andrew Puddephatt, United Kingdom
George Robertson, United Kingdom
Albert Rohan, Austria
Renato Ruggiero, Italy
Daniel Sachs, Sweden
Giuseppe Scognamiglio, Italy
Aleksander Smolar, Poland
George Soros, Hungary/US
Andre Wilkens, Germany

This statement was published on the Letters pages of The Guardian, ABC and Dnevnik on 25 June, 2008.


The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. ECFR publications only represent the views of their individual authors.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

We will store your email address and gather analytics on how you interact with our mailings. You can unsubscribe or opt-out at any time. Find out more in our privacy notice.