MEP: EU must play more active part in fight against IS

Member of the European Parliament, Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66), wants the European Union to show more leadership in acting against the terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS). Today, the European Parliament will debate the situation in Iraq and Syria. Schaake: "The European Union does not seem to have a clear strategy for solving the crisis in Syria and Iraq. We donate large amounts of money for humanitarian aid to refugees, and rightly so, but we are severely lacking political initiative. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is invisible and while President Obama assembles his military coalition, the silence from Brussels is deafening." European Leadership More European Leadership could contribute to solving this crisis, Schaake says. "Europe is known for its diplomatic strength and its capabilities in solving conflict. That makes it even more painful that there have been no European initiatives to bring the warring parties in Syria to the negotiating table or to bring the different groups in Iraq together to formulate a political solution for an inclusive government in the country." Broad plan of action Schaake warns that IS is not the only problem the Iraqi population faces. "Even if the international military coalition is able to effectively combat IS from the air, this will not provide a solution to the fundamental social and political problems in Iraq or the continuing war in Syria. A broad plan of action for the whole region is needed, which involves all relevant players. Although relations may be strained, we cannot afford to keep countries like Russia and Iran out. Without them, there will be no sustainable solution to this crisis."