Thursday, 16 November 2023
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
83. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his position on maintaining the requirement for unanimity on European Council Foreign Policy decisions; and if he intends to oppose efforts to undermine that requirement. [50514/23]
Ireland is open to looking at ways to improve the implementation of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). We believe it is important that we continue to explore ways to make the EU run as effectively as possible, delivering benefits for all its citizens.
Article 31 (3) of the Treaty on European Union (commonly referred to as the passarelle clause) states that the extension of the use of Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) in matters of EU Common Foreign and Security Policy would have to be agreed unanimously by the European Council. In certain limited circumstances, as outlined in Article 31 (2) of the Treaty on European Union, there is already scope for the Council to act by QMV in matters of EU Common Foreign and Security Policy. We can see the value of using QMV for decision-making in certain limited circumstances where it would make decision-making more efficient and where the treaties make allowance for it.
However, we also see great value in the single, united voice of the EU 27, in particular in terms of projecting a coherent voice on the international stage. Above all, it is crucial that QMV is not be seen as a way to avoid debating issues where there is no consensus. It is important that we continue to work to foster solidarity and unanimity among all Member States.