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Last Updated: Friday, 20 June, 2003, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
EU hardens foreign policy

By William Horsley
BBC Europe correspondent

Javier Solana at the EU summit near the Greek city of Thessaloniki
Solana wants a more assertive EU foreign policy

The European Union has endorsed the outline of a new and more assertive foreign policy doctrine for the enlarged EU of 25, which will come into being next year.

The EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, wants global security threats to be tackled by what he calls "pre-emptive engagement" backed by increased military capabilities.

His recommendations are intended to form the basis for a formal and comprehensive foreign and security policy.

The policy is based on the concept of effective multilateralism.

Its aim is to counter threats from global terrorism and from unstable or unpredictable regimes.

Javier Solana explained what that would mean.

Paying the price

"If we really want to defend what I call the efficient multilateralism we have to be prepared... and [if] some countries may not comply with the rules, we have to be prepared to act," he said.

"That doesn't mean only act militarily, it means we have to be able to act with conditionality, we have to be able to act to put restrictions on maybe even the manner in which humanitarian aid is given, the main way in which trade is done," he added.

The policy paper says states which violate international norms should realise there will be a price to pay in terms of their relations with the EU.

It also appears to align European policy more closely with that of the current US administration, saying that trans-Atlantic relations are irreplaceable as a foundation for world security.

The BBC's Stephen Sackur
"Another milestone on the road to the EU's first constitution"

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