Europe's foreign policy chief has called on the Irish EU Presidency to implement the bloc’s first joint security strategy.
Speaking in Dublin on Jan. 8, EU chief foreign policy officer, Javier Solana, pushed Ireland -- traditionally a neutral country in security matters -- to implement the European Union’s security strategy. EU leaders agreed to the document, which outlines the major threats to European security, during last month's summit in Brussels. With its focus on terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional conflicts and organized crime, the strategy has been described by Solana as "a new strategic approach" for the EU’s foreign policy. "It will fall to Ireland to put the strategy into practice," Solana said. But with polls showing Ireland as having the lowest level of support for common defense policy, the matter is a delicate one for the Irish presidency. In an effort to counter accusations that the common security strategy represents a militarization of the EU, Solana said "the EU is not a military bloc – it has not been and it will not be." Solana also denied that the EU was trying to compete with the U.S. in terms of power and military strength. Instead he emphasized the need to "develop a strategic culture that fosters early, rapid and when necessary, robust intervention." (EUobserver.com)