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Our Working Group on External Policies influences the European Union's foreign and security policy. It prepares reports on how European funds are spent and supports the European Parliament in decisions about international agreements. It has led EU efforts in securing the EU’s external borders, pushing for and actively working towards the creation of a European Defence Union and visa liberalisation. The Western Balkans are also a priority for us. We want to bring them into the EU fold through encouraging reforms to ensure the rule of law, fight corruption and to ensure an independent judicial system.
To take a global leadership role on foreign policy issues, the EU must continue to strengthen its ability to speak with one voice, including moving from unanimous to majority decision-making on foreign affairs issues.
We firmly believe that Europe must continue to actively advocate human rights, democracy and the fundamental principles of the EU in all EU policies that have an external dimension, such as development, migration, security, counter-terrorism, enlargement and trade.
Europe should continue to strengthen its security and move towards a true Defence Union. We also need to prioritise energy security in Europe and prevent energy being used as a political tool.
The transatlantic partnership, a longstanding pillar of post-WWII peace based on shared common values and interests, is facing an important number of challenges and disruptions in the short term, but the long-term fundamentals remain strong and the cooperation between the EU and the US, as like-minded partners, remains crucial. As does an open and multilateral system of free and fair trade.
We want the EU to continue its commitment to eradicating extreme poverty by 2030, with the EU remaining the lead global development assistance provider. The EU must prioritise assistance to countries with a record of good governance and respect for democratic principles and human rights.
We are aiming to build a global trade system that is as open and fair as possible; one that would allow Europe to both build political links and create new jobs in its exporting industries.
We want to see Europe continue to build free and fair trade agreements that safeguard Europe's high standards in the areas of consumer, environmental, social and data protection, like those with Canada or Japan, as a way to open markets, spur growth, alleviate poverty and create opportunities for Europeans.
The EU must continue building tailormade partnerships in the European neighbourhood based on 'more for more', strengthening democratic processes and the rule of law. We must also help stabilise these regions and bring them closer to Europe, withstanding Russia's continuous attempts to destabilise our neighbours and restore its influence over former Soviet countries.
Enlargement has been one of the EU’s success stories. We should continue to judge each candidate country on its own merits while paying attention to the full respect of the Copenhagen criteria and the EU’s integration capacity, which it must strengthen.
We stand by the Thessaloniki commitments, especially in South East Europe, where we want to create the right preconditions for enlargement.
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