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Politics & press news – Embassy 2 – November 2007

Hard-headed policy

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for "hard-headed internationalism" in the first foreign policy speech of his premiership.

Speaking at the Lord Mayor's Banquet, the Prime Minister said international institutions created in the post-war period were no longer "fit for purpose" and proposed ideas for "the architecture of a new global society".

On UN reform, he suggested the creation of a more representative Security Council which would include states such as India, Brazil, Japan, Germany and an African state.

However, during a foreign affairs debate on the Queen's Speech, Foreign Secretary David Miliband dismissed outright the suggestion that the UK and France should forfeit their seats in favour of an EU seat at the UN.

The Prime Minister also called for earlier intervention in crises – such as Burma, Darfur or Pakistan – and proposed a standby UN 'civilian force' ready to act to rebuild civic societies, following intervention in places such as in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In a proposal directed at Iran, he called for the creation of a 'nuclear fuel bank' to discourage countries from enriching uranium, which could be used for non-peaceful purposes.

Noting Britain's leadership on Climate Change, the Prime Minister called for a UN-sponsored post-Kyoto global climate change agreement and urged the IMF and the World Bank to finance low carbon economic growth in developing economies.

The Prime Minister also called for a comprehensive agenda for a "Global Europe", a theme which the Foreign Secretary picked up in a speech to the College of Europe in Bruges.

Mr Miliband said Europe should be a "model power not a superpower" and put forward proposals for a more open EU, by expanding to include Turkey and the Balkans, as well as freeing up trade and extending the European Free Trade Area to North Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

This, he said, would help developing economies of Africa, thereby easing migration to Europe, while bringing about better understanding between Europe and the Islamic world.

Miliband also called for Europe to improve its military clout to respond more speedily to crises and appealed to states to remove blockages that were preventing them from fully collaborating on EU, UN or Nato missions.

He went on to urge Europe to continue its lead on combating climate change, by becoming an "Environmental Union" by agreeing a timetable to reduce vehicle emissions, by developing Carbon Capture and Storage technologies and by expanding the EU carbon trading scheme.
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