We are in the midst of what is generally called a ”mini-plenary” week. In other words a plenary session in Brussels.

Today we had a long debate on the EU’s common foreign and security policy, otherwise known as CFSP.

The Union’s foreign policy supremo, Javier Solana, and Commissioner for external relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, outlined key issues for 2006.

I listened attentively and thought that I had heard it all, until legendary ”Red-Danny”, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, supported the use of nuclear power, albeit in Iran…Oh well…

I raised three issues in my intervention:

1. Foreign policy is one of the key issues for the EU in years to come. We are a superpower in trade and aid, but rarely to be seen in other issues on the world scene.

2. If we want to influence world affairs we must have a common European defence, speak with one voice and increase the CFSP budget. Without institutions and money there is no common policy.

3. We must focus on the constitution. Many good things are already in the pipeline: the defence agency, a solidarity clause on terrorism and the battlegroups. Others should follow as soon as possible, preferably when the constitution has entered into force: a president, a foreign minister, security guarantees, a diplomatic service and closer consultation between the EU institutions.

Institutional turf wars get us nowhere. If we want results, we must cooperate.

PS. Had lunch with Anthony Teasdale who works in our political group. Always nice to talk to people who share an academic interest in European affairs. Anthony has written a great EU textbook for Penguin publishers. Worth getting it, if you do not have it.