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Breakfast with Frost
Sunday 13 July, 2003 , BBC Breakfast with Frost Interview with Javier Solana EU Representative For Foreign Affairs

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

Javier Solana
The EU has tried to create a, common, foreign security policy

PETER SISSONS: Javier Solana, former secretary general of Nato is supposed to be in charge of Europe's foreign and defence policy. The critics, of course, doubt that such a thing exists or ever will, after the leading members of the EU so spectacularly failed to agree a common position on Iraq. Well Javier Solana is with us now in the studio, welcome, thank you for coming in.

JAVIER SOLANA: Thank you.

PETER SISSONS: An article in the Financial Times magazine began this week "Javier Solana is supposed to be in charge of Europe's common foreign and defence policy, yet he has no ministry, no embassies and no army. Worst of all, he has no common policy to promote." What are you for?

JAVIER SOLANA: Well we, we in the European Union, we've tried, we've tried for a common foreign security policy. That was, the job was created about three years ago, so it is a very short period of time, and I think in this short period of time we have got great success.

We have a structure now for decision making, we have taken important decisions in the Balkans, we have participated in a very active manner in the peace process in the Middle East, we have crisis-managed in the operations in Bosnia, we have an operation in Macedonia, we have forces now deployed in Africa - we'll be tomorrow in Africa to ... the forces ... to help the political solution, so it is a lot of activity from the European Union.

But the European Union does not have a single foreign policy in the European Union sometimes the countries disagree on some issues. Iraq is one example but this is a question that is more related to the disagreement in the Security Council rather than a disagreement in the European Union.

PETER SISSONS: You make a very good case but the whole notion of a single foreign policy failed its most demanding test of Iraq.

JAVIER SOLANA: No, you I wouldn't say that is so. I think it would have been better to have a common position on Iraq but as I said before the countries on the Security Council, there are members which are permanent members, there are two other members who were not permanent members and it was not a possibility for those four members of the Security Council that belongs to the European Union to have a common position.

But it is a problem for them, not a problem for the European Union. It's at this point, it's a subject which is beyond the European Union and the scale of the Security Council of the United Nations.

PETER SISSONS: But can you, hand on heart, say that there can be any common ground at the moment, when France and Germany are at odds with the UK over Iraq, Germany is falling out with Italy over these Nazi jibes from Berlusconi and everyone really is left standing by America's power and its determination to use it when it's in America's interest to do so?

JAVIER SOLANA: I think that the examples you have put are examples that do not prevent it [the EU] to have a foreign policy and a foreign security. I, again, if you look what has been done in this period of time, the short period of time, in common policies vis--vis the Balkans, common policy vis--vis the Middle East, common policy on deploying forces in Afghanistan, deploying forces in the Balkans, deploying the forces even in Africa.

As I said before, I mean it was something unthinkable a few years ago, today it is a reality. Okay, have we finished and constructed the building? No, we still have a long way to go. In the conventions that decision will be taken - and I hope it will be approved later by the government - and it will be the possibility to continue working in that direction. In the European Union some of the policies and the decisions which are taken, it takes a long time to be applied to the fullest.

We are not a country, we are a collection of countries that have to put to their futures in common; that the European Union always when it has the determination to achieve, to reform a new policy, we will finally achieve it.

PETER SISSONS: Looking at the Iraq war which caused such divisions, no weapons of mass destruction have been found and it looks likely that none will be found. Do you still think the war should not have been fought, that France and Germany stand vindicated?

JAVIER SOLANA: I think that today one has to look not at whether the war was done properly or improperly but what is the situation in Iraq now. There we don't have a dictator now and in Iraqi, as we heard this morning, a new provisional government is going to be established that will lead the country to a democracy. That is what I would like to see. I would like to see the reality of today and the possibility of the future of that country. Then we, the Europeans, are committed to help but we are committed to reconstruct, to reconstruct Iraq.

PETER SISSONS: The cause of the war surely, whether or not the public were misled about the reason they were going to war, does that not still count with you? I mean Hans Blix is saying that it is a mistake to talk of 45 minutes deployment.

JAVIER SOLANA: I have considered all these things, I think about them, I have my personal opinion but politically it is important now for the people of Iraq to continue recuperate in freedom, to continue recuperate in stability and to have the possibility of incorporate that country into the family of nations.

PETER SISSONS: Let's pass on about ...

JAVIER SOLANA: No. We have to do both things. We have to do both things at the same time. To concentrate and in time to solve the problems of Iraq and at the same time analyse the situation and, you know, not to make mistakes if any mistake has been made in the past that which is more important for politicians is to do at this point to continue trying to give to the people of Iraq what they deserve.


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