NATO: “territorial defence of Europe” and “peace-making” ?
The Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union
The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) is the organised, agreed foreign policy of the European Union (EU) for mainly security and defence diplomacy and actions. CFSP deals only with a specific part of the EU’s external relations, which domains include mainly Trade and Commercial Policy and other areas such as funding to third countries, etc. Decisions require unanimity among member states in the Council of the European Union, but once agreed, certain aspects can be further decided by qualified majority voting. Foreign policy is chaired and represented by the EU’s High Representative.
The CFSP sees the NATO responsible for the territorial defence of Europe and “peace-making”. However, since 1999, the European Union is responsible for implementing missions, such as “peace-keeping” and policing of treaties, etc. A phrase that is often used to describe the relationship between the EU forces and NATO is “separable, but not separate”: The same forces and capabilities form the basis of both EU and NATO efforts, but portions can be allocated to the European Union if necessary. Concerning missions, the right of first refusal exists: the EU may only act if NATO first decides not to.
Photo: Chief of Staff of the so called ‘Free Syrian Army’ Gen. Salim Idris addresses the media after he discussed the situation in Syria with Guy Verhofstadt, right, at the European Parliament in Brussels, March 6, 2013. Verhofstadt pleads for supply of heavy weapons to Idris but a number of reports indicate that Verhofstadt lies and that the weapons were already delivered…
“Territorial defence of Europe” and “peace-making”...
Brussels, April 26th, 2013
Verhofstadt about Syria: ‘The weak position of the European Union makes me sick. The European Commission knows what needs to be done, so they should go ahead and use every means possible, including less orthodox ways if needed. The time for peace talks is over, we need action now. If the UN doesn’t react, then NATO should.’
Verhofstadt became president of the Flemish Liberal Student's Union (1972–1974) while studying law at the University of Ghent. He quickly became the secretary of Willy De Clercq, who was at that time the president of the Flemish liberal party (Party for 'Freedom and Progress', PVV). In 1982, at age 29, he became president of the party. In 1985 he was elected into the Chamber of Deputies, and became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Budget under Prime Minister Wilfried Martens. Because of his economic views and his young age, he became known as "Baby Thatcher". Another nickname from that era is "da joenk", a Brabantian dialect expression meaning "that kid" (in a pejorative sense, referring to his rather iconoclastic and immature style).
After a failed attempt to form a government in November 1991, he resigned and disappeared from the political scene, only to return to the party's presidency in 1997 with a 'less radical image'.
Partly because of a food scandal that broke out just before the elections, his party became the largest party in the country, and he was appointed Prime Minister on July 12, 1999, the first liberal to hold that office since 1938.
Following the 2003 general elections, Verhofstadt formed his second cabinet.
In the regional elections of June 13, 2004, his party lost votes.
Since then, Verhofstadt has been faced with internal crisis after crisis.
In 2004, Verhofstadt was suggested as a candidate to replace Romano Prodi as the next President of the European Commission. He was the choice of the former French president, Jacques Chirac, and Germany's
ex-chancellor, Gerhard Schroder, but his candidacy was opposed and rejected by a coalition led by Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi.
After his premiership he took up the seat of Senator to which he had been elected in 2007.
In the 2009 European Parliament election, he was elected a member of the European Parliament for the term 2009–2014 and has been put forward as the possible candidate for replacing José Manuel Barroso as the president of the European Commission by a coalition of greens, socialists and liberals.
On July 1, 2009 he was elected President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group in the European Parliament.
Verhofstadt is also a member of the Club de Madrid, an organization of more than 80 former statesmen. The group works to promote ‘democratic governance and leadership worldwide’.
On April 2, 2012 Verhofstadt Verhofstadt replaced Etienne Davignon who was for many years chairman of the audit committee of Sofina and a member of the remuneration and nomination committee.
Davignon joined the Belgian Foreign Ministry, in 1959, and within two years had become an attaché under Paul-Henri Spaak, then-Minister of Foreign Affairs. He remained in Belgian government until 1965. In 1970, he chaired the committee of experts which produced the Davignon report on foreign policy for Europe. On 27 October 1970, in Luxembourg, the Foreign Ministers of the Six adopted the Report, which 'seeks progress in the area of political unification through cooperation in foreign policy matters'.
Davignon later became the first head of the International Energy Agency, from 1974 to 1977, before becoming a member of the European Commission, of which he was vice-president from 1981 till 1985. From 1989 to 2001, he was chairman of the Belgian bank Société Générale de Belgique, which is now part of the French supplier Suez and was not an arm of the French bank Société Générale, but a Belgian institution. He is now Vice Chairman of Suez subsidiary, Suez-Tractebel.
As chairman of Société Générale de Belgique, he was a member of the European Round Table of Industrialists. He is the current co-chairman of the EU-Japan Business Dialogue Round Table, chairman of the Paul-Henri Spaak Foundation, president of the EGMONT - Royal Institute for International Relations, chairman of CSR Europe, chairman of the European Academy of Business in Society and was chairman of the annual Bilderberg conference from 1998 to 2001.
Davignon is the chairman of the board of directors of Brussels Airlines, which he co-founded after the bankruptcy of Sabena. He is also a member of the board of numerous Belgian companies, and is the chairman of the board of directors and of the General Assembly of the ICHEC Brussels Management School.
On 26 January 2004, Davignon was given the honorary title of Minister of State, giving him a seat on the Crown Council.
On April 2, 2012, when Guy Verhofstadt became a Board Member of the Brussels-based, Brussels-quoted Sofina holding, Etienne Davignon leaved the governing body of Sofina after 27 years. Sofina's Board of Directors decided him to grant the title of Honorary Director.
Davignon is a crucial member of the Strategic Advisory Panel of The European Business Awards. He is a member of the Cercle Gaulois and a member of the Advisory Board of the Itinera Institute think tank. He is also President of the Brussels-based think tank Friends of Europe.
Photo: Guy Verhofstadt, MEP and President of ALDE Group; Mr Jacques Delors, Founding President of ‘Notre Europe’ and Etienne Davignon.
June 15 2012 – US holds high-level talks with Syrian rebels seeking weapons in Washington:
February 23, 2013 – In Syria, new influx of weapons to rebels tilts the battle against Assad:
February 24, 2013 – Syria. Saudis supply heavy weapons to so-called ‘moderate rebels’:
March 28, 2013 – Saudi heavy weapons supply to Syrian rebels breaks up Arab summit in uproar: