Letter: A common foreign policy for the EU

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Foreign Secretary makes a spirited defence of the Maastricht treaty ('Pillars of the Community', 4 October), but in this abridgement of a longer essay, he does not explain why the European Union (which will soon have 16 members) should have a Common Foreign and Security Policy, when defence is the responsibility of Nato (or the Western European Union) and security should be in the domain of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe.

He states his view that the most important aim of the Common Foreign Policy should be 'to bring stability and security to our neighbouring regions'. He includes Central and Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East but specifically excludes the Balkans. Where would he draw the stop-line around the too dangerous and difficult Balkans? Why is genocide acceptable in Bosnia, but not in Eastern Europe?

If the Common Foreign Policy is to stabilise the Middle East, how does he suggest that the reasonable aspirations of more than 20 million Kurds are to be accommodated? This large ethnic and cultural group is oppressed by the tyrannous regimes of Baghdad and Tehran and by would-be democratic Turkey. I question whether a Common Foreign Policy that avoids the more difficult problems in 'neighbouring regions' will be of much value.

Maastricht may have been the best treaty attainable at the time. Do we, however, want the economic strength of the European Union to be translated into usable power for defence and human rights? If so, all the European institutions will need recasting into a coherent power for peace and civilised humanity. Parallel institutions may well be needed for the Balkans and the Middle East, following the progress made towards a resolution of the Israeli and Arab conflicts.

Yours faithfully,

HYLTON

House of Lords

London, SW1

5 October

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