The European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana has urged the United States to take the Union more seriously on issues such as Iraq. He also said his organization plans to compete with Washington in key areas such as trade and development. Mr. Solana made his remarks Tuesday in Budapest, shortly after American Secretary of State Colin Powell tried to shore up support for the U.S. policy in Iraq.
Speaking at the annual meeting of Hungarian ambassadors and other officials, Mr. Solana, wihout mentioning the United States by name suggested that the big military power seems at times out of touch with the international community.
Mr. Solana said the fight against terrorism that began after the September 11th-2001 terrorist attacks in the United States cannot be won by the military alone.
"I do not think that the big problems of the world today have to be solved militarily," he said. "If you think that terrorism is going to be defeated through military action you are mistaken. Because terrorism will not be defeated (by military action alone), but by the exchange of intelligence, information and cooperation* of like minded countries."
Mr. Solana said the United States should realize that while there were disagreements over Iraq, Europeans were among the first to serve as peacekeepers in Afghanistan after the overthrow of the Taleban regime, which was harboring the Osama bin-Laden-led terrorist organization.
The EU Foreign policy chief added the Union remains concerned about some of America's domestic policies and its lack of respect for international law.
"We disagree about the death penalty," he said. "We disagree about the International Tribunal(s). We disagree about all these things linked to multilateralism in which we believe and (in which) they believe less. And to a certain extend the big military power may probably think that it is not necessary (to have) the rule based societies. But for us we believe that the rule based societies are fundamental."
Mr. Solana's comments came just hours after U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told the same meeting he realized that the opinion polls in Europe are not very favorable towards the Bush administration's foreign policy.
But Mr. Powell predicted that the mood in Europe would change once democracy has taken hold in Iraq and elections are held there.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Solana suggested another way to improve TransAtlantic relations is when Washington takes the 25-member state Union more seriously.
Mr. Solana stressed that the EU, the world's largest single market, can compete with America in several areas.
"We want to continue to compete (in the area of) humanitarian aid. We want to continue competing and sharing, (in the area) of trade," he said.
Mr. Solana says it is time for both U.S. and EU leaders to realize that they need each other more than ever.
*(word corrected 30 July 2004)