MEPs: EU must lead the future negotiations on Syria

The ALDE Group in the European Parliament urges High Representative, Federica Mogherini and President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, to take all the necessary steps to find a common EU position on how we should solve the situation in Syria. Following the failure of the UK, France and Germany to agree a common position on Syria, the President of the ALDE Group, Guy Verhofstadt, said: "It is unacceptable and disappointing to see that while Russia and China are increasing their military presence in Syria and as the US reconsider their approach, there is no leadership to be seen on the EU side, just divisions among different Member States." "Urgently, three steps are now needed on the EU level: 1. I urge President Tusk and HRVP Mogherini to come up with a common EU position which would enable the EU to lead international efforts for stabilisation of Syria. A common EU stance is a precondition if Europe is to avoid being side-lined and deal effectively with consequences of this crisis in its immediate vicinity. It's time the EU gets behind the steering wheel. 2. Based on a common position, the EU needs to lead the international community and initiate a process which brings global and regional powers together, towards a solution for Syria. The US, Russia, China and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran need to be part of a process, which motivates them to work towards a political transition in Syria and to give up the ongoing proxy wars on its territory. 3. This process must result in a future for Syria as a secular state without ISIL and without Assad. In addition to the diplomatic process the international community must prepare a military strategy which would allow for the progressive stabilisation of Syria and for the military defeat of ISIL." ALDE MEP, Marietje Schaake (D66), added: "It is high time the EU takes the diplomatic initiative to solve the brutal war in Syria. For too long the EU has failed to act. Meanwhile Russia and Saudi Arabia, but also Iran have strengthened their positions. The situation in which the EU faces the consequences of war in our neighbourhood, but is not at the table to stop it, must end. We are now forced to look at realistic options, none of which will be easy. We should not wait for the next crisis to build a stronger and more united Europe on the global stage. We are influenced by global developments, and must seek to influence global events." The MEPs will have a debate on the situation in Syria with the Commission and the Council, next week in Strasbourg, during the Plenary Session of the European Parliament.