WAR ON IRAQ: EU Rows over Iraq `Are Not the End to a Common Foreign Policy' Euro-MP Glenys Kinnock Argues That Current Divisions over the War in Iraq Will Not Harm the Long-Term Ambitions of the European Union

Article excerpt

Byline: Glenys Kinnock

MANY believe that the run-up to war in Iraq seriously threatened attempts to build that elusive European Union Common Foreign and Security Po

i cy.

It is ironic that Europe's divisions over the Iraq crisis came a time when the Convention on the Future of Europe was mapping out a constitution intended to convince our citizens that the EU has relevance and importance in their everyday lives.

However, the outbreak of war should not necessarily mark the end of the hope that we can forge that common foreign policy. European unity was, after all, founded upon the conviction that peace and stability on our continent could only be guaranteed if we build common positions.

There have always been disagreements between member states, and with the US. However, it should not be assumed that when there have been disagreements between countries of the EU that this irreparably weakens the understanding that we have a shared interest in collaboration and co-operation on everything from consumer rights to environmental protection, global trade rules and civil liberties. Post-war Europe has built an understanding that multilateralism and strong international institutions, backed by in-ternational law and global rules create stability on our own continent and in the wider world.

Europe has, after all, led on a Code of Conduct on Arms, on the International Criminal Court, on Kyoto, and in Johannesburg on sustainable development. There is, for the first time, a European police force operating in Bosnia, and an EU military operation is in place in Macedonia. Member states do share a position on building peace and security in the Middle East, and have taken a strong position on governance, human rights and the rule of law across the world.

Efforts to tackle terrorism have been implemented under the Justice and Home Affairs pillar, and we know that unless we have international co-operation, our efforts won't succeed. …