The beauty of European foreign policy is not its uniformity but its flexibility

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Publication Date 22/11/2001
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Since 11 September, it has become fashionable to mock the European Union for its foreign policy failings and this crescendo of criticism reached new heights after Tony Blair's recent Downing Street dinner for "VIP" states.

German daily Handelsblatt opined that the "institutional chaos of EU foreign policy can hardly be surpassed," Spain's ABC questioned the competences of those running the EU's external policy, while Belgian paper Le Soir said any hope the terrorist attacks would boost the creation of a European army were "swept away in just two hours" by the bigger member states.

Leader writers often overreact, but rarely so incoherently. There is nothing wrong or unusual about small groups of states meeting to discuss issues of common concern. Indeed, the EU's defence policy as it currently exists was born out of a mini-summit between the British PM and his French counterpart in St Malo.

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