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EU Relations

Volume 493: debated on Monday 8 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with (a) the European Commission and (b) his counterparts from other EU member states on the EU’s (i) policies and (ii) strategies for promoting democracy. (278079)

For the EU, democracy is both a core value and an essential aspect of internal and external policies. There is growing agreement among EU member states on the need to develop an EU consensus on democracy that sets out the EU vision. The aim of the consensus would be to implement existing EU policies on democracy more effectively, focusing on consistency, coherence and co-ordination in the use of the instruments available to the EU. It would bring about change in as much as EU activities will be designed and implemented in ways that support democratic processes and strengthen democratic principles. The consensus would also clarify the EU’s position and make it more visible so that not only third countries, but also EU citizens, know what we mean when we talk about democracy and the principles and values that sustain it.

The UK is working with the Czech presidency of the EU along with other EU member states, the Council Secretariat and the Commission to draw up this coherent EU approach. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has played an active role in the EU working group and will support the upcoming Swedish presidency in working towards Council Conclusions in November 2009 with the aim of developing an EU consensus.