As the Deputy is aware, the European security strategy was adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003. The aim of the strategy is to enable the EU to bring a holistic approach to international security issues, drawing on the full range of instruments available to the Union, including development co-operation and humanitarian assistance, trade relations, diplomatic and political means, and civilian and military capabilities for conflict prevention and crisis management which are being developed under the European security and defence policy, ESDP.
The Government has welcomed the overall approach of the European security strategy. It is fully consistent with Ireland's own perspective through its embodiment of a comprehensive approach to security, including both military and non-military means and its recognition of the need to address not only the symptoms of insecurity but also the underlying causes, which include poverty, injustice and under-development.
As Presidency, Ireland is working with High Representative Solana and the Commission on the implementation of the European security strategy. This work will focus on the four areas outlined by the European Council for initial action. These are effective multilateralism with the UN at its core, the fight against terrorism, a strategy towards the region of the Middle East and a comprehensive policy towards Bosnia-Herzegovina. Preparatory work is already under way in each of these areas and operational conclusions on our plans for implementation were adopted at the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 26 January. The intention is to report to the June European Council on progress in the implementation of the strategy.