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Wogau-Report on the European Security Strategy 2009

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Parliamentary Control of the European Security and Defence Policy

At a meeting of the European Security and Defence College in Brussels the Secretary General of the Kangaroo Group, Karl von Wogau, insisted that an effective parliamentary control of the European Security and Defence Policy is necessary and possible. This is in the first line the responsibility of the National Parliaments, but there is also an important role for the European Parliament.

Wogau contradicted those who say that Parliaments are too slow to fulfill this task effectively. The time which is necessary to initiate European civilian and military operations gives ample opportunity to Parliaments to get fully informed and to form an opinion based on a public debate.

Wogau referred to the operations in Tchad and in Congo where from the first discussions in Council to the start of operations at least six months had elapsed. This gave Parliament ample time to use its channels of information and to formulate a well reflected opinion. The most important means of information were visits in the countries concerned.

However, there are situations in which very rapid decisions are necessary. For example the crisis in Georgia which broke out suddenly in August in the Holiday season. In such cases Parliament should use a rapid procedure where the responsible Committee should deliberate in the morning and an enlarged presidency form its opinion on this basis in the afternoon.

When there is a direct aggression of the territory of the European Union, very rapid decisions can be necessary which can only be taken by the executive branch. However, when troops are to be sent into dangerous operations abroad, a careful evaluation of the situation and of our interests should be the rule.

© Karl von Wogau 2009
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