While the euro debt crisis is raising serious doubts about the EU's future, on the ground the Union is increasingly involving itself in military operations, an MEP has stressed, speaking at a conference on smart power' in Washington DC. "We have been developing hard power," Belgian Liberal Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck said at Johns Hopkins University, on 4 June, citing as evidence the 20 military missions the EU has deployed to Europe, Africa and Asia. While "this may come as a surprise to a US audience," the EU has more hard power' tools than ever, the deputy, who sits on Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), said. But the EU still needed the US to partner with in such missions because "we don't have the ambition to do it alone" and "we can't do it alone".


Turning to the global hot spot of the moment, Syria, there were divergent views on how to confront the Syrian government, which continues to ratchet up its brutal clampdown on the uprising against it. "No action is possible without the agreement of the UN Security Council," Neyts-Uyttebroeck said Europolitics. However, her co-panellist at the conference, Kurt Volker, US ambassador to NATO from 2008-2009, said "it is wrong that we look to the UN Security Council alone for legitimacy". The current US Assistant Secretary of State for International Organisation Affairs, Esther Brimmer, struck a more conciliatory note, saying "further action in the Security Council is needed" and "we will continue to engage Russia and others" on sanctions against the government. In the hard...

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