European parliamentarians discuss how to bolster EU’s role in conflict prevention and resolution

March 25th, 2013 - Pat Breen

Members of the parliaments of EU Member States and the European Parliament met in Dublin Castle yesterday and today, 24 and 25 March, to discuss how the EU Member States can play a more coordinated role to assist conflict prevention in trouble spots in Africa and the Middle East. The Conference was also updated on the European Council on Defence 2013.
The Interparliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) was opened by the Ceann Comhairle, Sean Barrett TD and was jointly chaired by Pat Breen TD, Chair of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade and by David Stanton TD, Chair of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality. Delegations from the parliaments of EU candidate countries and European NATO countries which are not in the EU were also in attendance as observers.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Pat Breen TD says: “ It was an immense pleasure and honour to welcome parliamentarians from across the European Union and beyond to Dublin Castle. Yesterday evening the Conference benefitted from an insightful address by Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. We heard her stress that it was imperative that the collective EU approach to security and defence was more coordinated and efficient.
“ This morning Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore cited the European Union’s unique credentials as a maker and builder of peace and pointed to its work in exporting stability to its immediate neighbourhood. Referring to the challenges in North Africa and the Middle East, he said that a priority of the Irish Presidency was to progress the European Union’s capacity in the area of peacebuilding and peacekeeping.”
Chairman of the Justice, Defence and Equality Committee David Stanton TD says: “ In what was an innovative conference structure, delegates broke into workshops earlier this morning to consider a European approach to two pressing challenges. The first discussion centred on how the experience of the Horn of Africa can inform a Comprehensive Approach to the wider continent, with the second workshop exploring a role for the EU in the Middle East Peace Process. The outcomes of both workshops flowed into an enlightening plenary session this afternoon.
“ We also held an interesting debate with the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, on the European Council on Defence 2013. We heard him argue that, in today’s rapidly changing world, European values and interests are being continually challenged and that we need to be able to respond to those challenges. Minister Shatter put forward the case for a robust Common Security and Defence Policy, to be deployed to help protect those around the world who are vulnerable, defenceless and in need of security.”
Photos, footage of the conference, and speeches are accessible via www.parleu2013.ie