“The world is changing rapidly and we need to move beyond focusing exclusively on security threats to also view our global responsibility,” Bildt wrote in an article in the Dagens Nyheter daily on Monday.
“We want to start work on a European Global Strategy,” he added via his Twitter feed.
In practice the initiative means that foreign policy institutes in the four countries will be commissioned with developing a framework document for a universal European foreign policy in time for the spring 2013.
“It is about starting to take a more holistic approach to how Europe and the European Union should relate to the rest of the world. What are the principles to be defended? What are the interests to be safeguarded?”
While Sweden’s foreign minister recognised that Europe is currently battling with its own problems, he challenged the union members to look beyond European borders.
“That summit after summit is now dedicated to one’s own problems is inevitable, but we must not forget our responsibilities and our opportunities in a world which is changing at a furious pace.”
Bildt explained that the group of four (of a total of 27) EU member states involved in the initiative, represents a broad spectrum of the EU project.
“What unites us is a strong belief in Europe, and the need for a coherent and vigorous European foreign policy,” he wrote.
“Together, we four foreign ministers want to give new impetus to Europe as a peace and freedom union in a world which is also in the midst of crisis and which is seeking our voice and our leadership.”
Peter Vinthagen Simpson