35. The IGC needs to ensure that the EU improves
communication and handling of its foreign policy. The current
process of developing a Constitution for the Union is an opportunity
for evaluating how the EU should deal with the US. Many individual
Member States rightly place great value upon their own bilateral
relationships with the US and it would be neither desirable nor
realistic to expect these to be abandoned. Member States should
however recognise that on an increasing number of issues their
interests are well served by having the Union act as one, and
that arrangements for this need to be more effective. The proposed
EU Foreign Minister would create a single point of contact for
the US when dealing with the EU as a whole.
36. NATO should not be treated as a last resort
or a disagreeable necessity. EU members should recogniseas
should the USthat NATO is the principal and most systematic
forum for EU-US consultation on security and defence issues, and
accordingly the best setting for transatlantic co-ordination and
37. If an EU Foreign Minister position is
established, arrangements should be made for the occupant and
supporting staff to have ready access to deliberations in NATO.
38. The European Union should make a special
effort to improve the clarity, force and cohesion of its collective
voice on foreign affairs in Washington. The embassies of Member
States need to make a determined effort to co-ordinate the presentation
and dissemination of policy and information on the Union. The
United Kingdom Embassy is well placed to take a lead.
39. The European Union, collectively or through
Member States, should put more effort into spreading knowledge
about the Union across the United States.
40. Parliamentarians should consider what
more they could do to enhance understanding. We are aware
that there are numerous efforts already made in this regard, both
from within national Parliaments and in the European Parliament,
in addition to the work of such institutions as the North Atlantic
Assembly; the British-American Parliamentary Group is another
example of how Member State parliamentarians can form close relationships
with the US Congress. At the same time, we recognise the limitations
imposed by the multitude of demands upon Parliamentarians.
The priority given to the organisation, preparation and co-ordination
of transatlantic Parliamentary dialogue requires renewed attention.
41. We make this Report to the House for debate.