Lawmakers meeting during a plenary session in Luxembourg said members the European Union need to adapt a collective posture on the international stage given an evolving geopolitical landscape.
Elmar Brok, a German lawmaker serving on the European Foreign Affairs Committee, said EU policy is more reactive than proactive. When leading the diplomatic way on issues such as Iran, however, the EU has shown its ability to lead.
"Where Europe speaks with one voice, the world listens," he said in a statement published Thursday.
European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton led diplomatic efforts in Geneva, Switzerland, this month with Iran. A rare joint statement from Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif described multilateral nuclear negotiations as "substantive."
European leaders in September called for a united defense policy to ensure security for members of the bloc. European Council President Jose Manuel Barroso said in his State of the Union address last month a united front was the best strategy for the EU.
Brok said the EU needs to be "a global player instead of a global payer."