Blue card questions:
– Charles TANNOCK MEP, Conservative Party, ECR Group
– Ioan Mircea PAŞCU MEP, Socialist Group (S&D)
• Debate: Situation in Syria
Statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
I represent a group that is against military action in Syria. We’re against it not because we’re pacifists. We’re against it not because we don’t care about the awful things going on there.
We’re against because we think there’s some pretty poor thinking going on.
This idea that somehow the rebels are the good guys and Assad are the bad guys really is over-simplifying a situation where of course we know that Al-Qaida have significant representation amongst those rebel groups.
And of course we’ve seen it all before. An endless series of military adventures over the course of the last 10 to fifteen years, one of which of course – notably, in Afghanistan – is still going on and is not achieving any of its original aims.
And I was worried when I heard the Americans telling us to begin with, it was about punishing Assad, and then within a week it was about regime change, a position that I know the noble Baroness herself supports.
We think firing a thousand criuse missiles in is likely to make an unstable situation even worse than it is now.
But of course, Baroness Ashton, in a sense, you’re sitting pretty, because as the highest paid female politician in the world, luckily, you got a non-job. Because the EU, thank goodness, hasn’t yet got a foreign policy, and as a result of that what we saw two weeks ago in the House of Commons was a nation state democracy standing up and saying something.
And as a direct result of that vote in the House of Commons we have not gone to war in Syria, we have entered a period of negotiations, and Assad has a chance to prove to all of us whether he is a good man or a bad man.
I don’t know how this will play out, but at least, Mr Verhofstadt, there is a chance of peace. And I know that you represent the kind of political class that believe that global influence can only be achieved through bombing. Well luckily, unlike extrem EU nationalists like yourself, British democracy has proved that through nation state parliaments we’ve actually made people re-think.
Mr Chairman, I have to say, as somebody that has been here now for 14 years it’s very ironic that the view that I represent was called extreme but you can see the extreme militarists now. Thank you.
Video source: EbS (European Parliament)
• EU Member States:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom