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Syed Kamall: EU leaders should not duck the tough calls

25 March 2015

Syed Kamall: EU leaders should not duck the tough calls

The March 2015 EU summit was meant to demonstrate the strength and resolve of the EU. Instead it demonstrated a weakness of will, Syed Kamall MEP, leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, said today in a debate with Council President Tusk and Commission President Juncker.

The March 2015 EU summit was meant to demonstrate the strength and resolve of the EU. Instead it demonstrated a weakness of will, Syed Kamall MEP, leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, said today in a debate with Council President Tusk and Commission President Juncker.

After Greece and the eurozone were not mentioned in the outcome of the summit, he pleaded with Tusk: “Show that you have the will to stand up to Russia, Show that you have the will to take tough decisions about the euro, And show that you have the will to provide solutions.”

He said:

“This was a summit meant to demonstrate the strength and resolve of the EU. Instead it demonstrated a weakness of will.

“I take no pleasure in saying this, for my group wants to see the EU encouraging cooperation in dealing with issues affecting people right across the EU.

“Not kicking the can down the road.

“On energy union, we secured a commitment to the proposals put on the table. But the detail was put off until another meeting. We need to demonstrate how we are going to encourage diversification of energy sources, better interconnections and energy security so our countries no longer have to rely on unpleasant regimes in the Middle East or Russia.

“On Russia, we welcome the decision to give Minsk a chance. But we have been far too slow in responding to Russian propaganda. And have we forgotten Crimea? What message is the council giving to Russia? It seems that the EU is saying to Russia: Invade first, negotiate second.

“And this was a summit that was supposed to focus on the economy. But the most serious issues holding back our economies – the eurozone and Greece – do not feature once in the Council Conclusions. This major issue was relegated to a late night discussion with a select few leaders. All 28 countries have a stake in the euro’s future. So why was Greece not discussed in the Council. I am told that this was because the Council President, though that the issue might be ‘a little bit too hot’. I have to be fair that Mr Tusk is a servant of the council and have to reflect the decisions of the leaders.

“Mr Tusk, I have to ask, if European Council meetings are not going to discuss the most pressing issues of the day because an issue is considered ‘a little bit too hot’ then what is the point in having a council meeting?

“Our plea to you and the Council, Mr Tusk is: show that you have the will to stand up to Russia, show that you have the will to take tough decisions about the euro, and show that you have the will to provide solutions.Nothing should be too hot for the council table.”

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