Parliament adopted a resolution repeating its insistence that the costs of European security and defence operations be financed through the Community budget and that Parliament be consulted in advance on decisions on such missions. MEPs expressed their dissatisfaction with the annual Council report on the main aspects and basic choices of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The Council report, they said, was totally unsuited as a basis for a dialogue between Council and Parliament, as it was insufficiently clear on priorities or on the financial implications.
The EU's security interests, MEPs said, are best served by identifying tensions, preventing potential crises if possible and resolving conflicts in good time beyond its immediate external borders. Thus, the EU's main interests lie with the Western Balkans, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, the Southern Caucasus, the Southern Mediterranean and West and East Africa, and the Middle East. For the enlarged EU's new neighbours, new options for partial integration should be developed.
Parliament called for a study to be carried out into a rapid response budgetary mechanism and, ultimately, the creation of a Community defence budget. Meanwhile, Parliament should at least receive an overall estimation of how much CFSP spending goes to a particular region or conflict.
MEPs pointed out that the credibility of Europe's foreign and security policy will also depend on the quality of its military capabilities and on a readiness to deploy them as a last resort. They called for the EU to increase its defence capacities by having a 5,000-man force permanently available for rescue and humanitarian operations from 2004, and by developing a capability within Europe for conducting operations on a scale such as during the Kosovo conflict by 2009. They restated their view that the UN Charter is the "decisive political and legal basis" for international relations and the guarantee of peace and international security. They also stressed that the UN system should be radically reformed, pointing out that the EU and its present and future Member States are the largest financial contributor.
However, Parliament added that the international system is also crucially dependent on the quality and reciprocity of relations between the EU and the US as equal partners, which should therefore be strengthened as well as rethought. The US and Europe should reinvigorate their strategic debate, with special attention to questions of how the reconstruction of Iraq should proceed and how the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction can best be prevented, arms exports and the proliferation of conventional arms be controlled, the issue of impunity be addressed (by the International Criminal Court, for example), and repressive dictatorial regimes and dysfunctional states be dealt with. MEPs welcomed the measures taken by the EU in the international fight against terrorism, but called on all bodies involved to uphold civil rights and freedoms and to treat personal data responsibly.
A future European Foreign Minister should be a Vice-President of the Commission and the administrative departments within the Council and the Commission should merge into a single foreign office within the Commission. MEPs criticised the proposed retention of the right of veto in foreign and security policy.