The Parliament (Link) - Martin Banks (May 24, 2011)
Germany’s foreign minister says Berlin is “fully committed” to the EU having a seat on the security council of the United Nations.
The comments by Guido Westerwelle in parliament on Tuesday will cause a stir in some member states, notably the UK and France, Europe’s only two permanent members of the UN security council.
Addressing the security and defence subcommittee, Westerwelle admitted that Berlin’s view represented a “problem” for those who are opposed to the EU having a permanent security council seat.
“We know that two EU member states are permanent members of the UN security council and that they do not want to give up their seats,” he said.
“This makes for a difficult situation but Germany’s goal is for the EU to become a permanent member of the UN security council.”
He also told the committee that, in addition to the EU, Germany wants to have a UN security council seat itself. At present, it is a “temporary” member.
Westerwelle was addressing the committee on the objectives and experiences of Germany’s membership of the security council.
He told the packed meeting that Africa and Latin America were not represented on the security council while Asian countries were “dramatically under-represented.”
He added, “As one of the biggest members of the UN, the EU ought to take more responsibility.”
He told members that the UN had to free itself from its current “paralysis” otherwise it would “lose its significance” in the world.
He said the UN urgently needed reform, adding, “This is not about obtaining more weight for the EU, or Germany, but about rebuilding the UN’s architecture.”
His remarks come after MEPs recently backed calls for a UN security council seat for the EU.
UK Liberal Democrats were among those who voted for it, while the Tories voted against.
UKIP said such a move was the ‘next step’ towards Britain being deprived of its permanent seat – an accusation dismissed by the EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton.
Writing in the latest issue of Parliament Magazine, the UKIP leader Nigel Farage said, means that the EU will have its own foreign policy. If it does so, the UK and other member states cannot properly have a voice at the UN, for the conceit is that the EU will be talking for us.
“There can be no such thing as a “British foreign policy” if there is an EU “common foreign and security policy.” †