Miliband: EU must be prepared to use military power
· Bruges speech will call for zero carbon cars by 2030
· Proposal to extend market to Africa and Middle East
Patrick Wintour, political editor
Thursday November 15, 2007
David Miliband, the foreign secretary, will today enter the charged debate on Europe's future by proposing a build-up of continental defence capabilities, a new approach to cutting carbon emissions and the possibility of extending the EU single market to north Africa and the Middle East by 2030.
In a speech setting out the direction of Europe over the next two decades, he will warn the EU faces "a fork in the road", and risks falling back into an age of disorder if it makes the wrong choices, including rejecting the use of hard military power.
He will also make a strong case in favour of the EU retaining support for the principle of hard power, through the use of economic influence and military intervention abroad.
He will propose an EU defence capabilities review "to set out the challenge we face; and identify targets for the investment in equipment, research, development, and training necessary to make more of our armed forces".
The French president, Nicholas Sarkozy, has hinted that France is willing to rejoin Nato's military command if the EU acquired a greater capacity to deploy troops and manage crises. Miliband is not falling into line with the Sarkozy vision, but his remarks suggest a willingness to see if common ground can be found with the newly Atlanticist French.
Although the EU already has a European defence agency, and is currently operating in Kosovo, there is growing frustration that the EU has failed to punch its weight as a military power.
Miliband's speech comes ahead of the parliamentary battles on the new EU treaty, but is designed to show a modern pro-European case can be made inside government, arguing Europe can become a role model for the world, if not a superpower.
In a speech in Bruges today, where Lady Thatcher first threw down the Euro-sceptic gauntlet, he will set out where he believes Europe should go by 2030.
On environmental issues, Miliband will also propose an extension of the fledgling EU emissions trading scheme with the creation of an EU carbon bank to regulate the amount of carbon used. He will suggest that by 2030 all cars purchased in the EU should have zero carbon emissions. In another bold move, he will suggest that by 2030 "we should consider extending the single market beyond our immediate neighbours, and to the Middle East and north Africa". This extended free trade area would not be an alternative to EU membership, but complementary.
In an expression of support for Turkish membership of the EU, he will argue membership should be based solely on adopting EU rules, not arbitrary geographical limits or religion.
Miliband will argue that the EU has the potential to fill an increasingly dangerous vacuum in politics.
He will say: "Across Europe, people are feeling a divergence between the freedom and control they have in their personal lives, and the sense of powerlessness they face against the great global challenges we face: from preventing conflict and terrorism to addressing climate change, energy insecurity, and religious extremism. They are confident about personal progress, but pessimistic about societal progress."
He will argue the EU faces a choice. It can "focus on internal not external challenges; institutions rather than ideals. Face losing our hard power by not being prepared to intervene. Face losing our soft power by closing off further enlargement and a bolder near neighbourhood policy. The result: the return of protectionism; growing energy insecurity, division with the Islamic world; and unmanaged migration to conflict and inequality".
He will warn of a risk that instead of European rules shaping the world, "we return to power politics and an age of disorder". The alternative, he will say, is for the EU to become a model global power, drawing on the strength of the single market "the hard power of our sanctions and troops, the power of Europe as an idea and model - not to substitute for nation states but to do those things to provide security and prosperity for the next generation of Europeans that nation states on their own cannot deliver".
He will say that while nation states are too small to influence worldwide issues, and global governance is too weak, the EU is big enough to meet the new threats.