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"Europe in the World" – Speech by EUHR Solana

Summary: 17 September 2009, Boston – Speech by Javier Solana, European Union High Representative for the CFSP, "Europe in the World", at Harvard University Kennedy School

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to be back at Harvard.

The last time, we discussed whether the US and Europe, Mars and Venus, could be reconciled. The answer today is even more obvious than it was then. But we have new issues to grapple with and a new geo-political landscape. Again the question is what the US and Europe can and should do together.

Before we get to that, let me assess the changed context. Ours is a world in flux. One where everything is speeding up: politically, economically and technologically. The net result is growing complexity. There is no single narrative or template to guide us. Chaos and hypermodernity live side by side. Integration and disintegration co-exist. No wonder many of our citizens feel confused, even lost.

Against this background, we need to be flexible and principled at the same time. For our core values have not changed. Nor has our determination to preserve them at home and support them abroad.

What is really changing the world is globalisation. It is leading to deeper interdependence and, probably, to multi-polarity.

Globalisation is good. And anyway pretty much unstoppable. It spreads prosperity and makes us richer culturally. It brings people together across continents. Of course, it has a dark side too. It makes us more vulnerable to shocks and has brought new problems in its wake. It needs a human face.

Globalisation is our child, the child of our ideas. But we can no longer run the world as we used to. We have to adjust. It means new powers are rising while older ones are playing new roles. The financial crisis has shrunk the timeline. The need to reposition ourselves is not a challenge for the medium-term. It is an issue for today. In all this, there is a paradox. In previous times, if you won a political or ideological battle, you could expect more influence. This time, our intellectual and political victory requires us to share the leadership of the world with others. Our success at spreading markets, open societies and the desire for people to shape their own lives, means less power for ourselves. This adjustment should be embraced, not resisted.

To manage this globalised world, you need two things:

First, well-run states. Weak states are a nightmare for those living in them but also a problem for the rest of us. This brings me to the first big problem: creating well-run states requires functioning politics. And this is something that foreigners cannot provide; only the locals can. We can help. But it is ultimately their responsibility. At the same time, their failures rebound on us. This is the core dilemma for diplomacy in our democratic age.

Second, effective global governance. Maybe an awful term but a vital concept. Through effective global governance, we should avoid the risk of a world of multi-polarity without multilateralism. But here is the second problem: economics and security are global, whereas politics, and people's loyalties, remain local.

The problem of collective action was meant to be solved through international rules and institutions. But this post-1945 international system is under pressure. Both in terms of effectiveness and legitimacy. This is partly because we have new problems without institutions, such as migration. Or because problems fall between institutions, like the financial crisis.

It is also because the nature of power itself is changing. Power has shifted from governments to markets, NGOs, the media. These days, if you want to tackle international problems, negotiations among diplomats and other government officials are seldom enough. But the main reason is the power shift, roughly speaking from the West to emerging countries.

If people are to contribute to the solution, they have to help shape the strategy. The old maxim of "nothing about us, without us" has resonance. It is therefore logical that we talk so much about reforming the "Gs": G8, G8 plus 5, G 20. But also the UN Security Council; or IMF voting weights and so on.

In short, the consequence of the double power shift is that we need to mobilise wide coalitions and bring everyone on board. But the question arises: Who is responsible for what? Who defines the strategy? How do you avoid free-riding behaviour? This requires trust which in turn is done through agreed rules and good politics.

The European Union itself is a good example. It started as a peace project among Europeans.

Through enlargement we spread the zone of peace and stability. A big task for today and the future is to contribute to promoting peace and functioning politics around the world.

It is 10 years since we started doing foreign and security policy in the European Union in a more serious way. Not everything is perfect. But we are making a difference where it matters. We are promoting peace and protecting the vulnerable in the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere. More than 70,000 people, from soldiers to policemen to rule of law experts, have been deployed in more than 20 crisis management operations.

These missions are important. They save lives. They bring stability. But they are also an expression of Europe's ambitions and identity. We do crisis management the European way. With a comprehensive approach. In support of international law and agreements. And in close co-operation with partners such as the UN, NATO, the African Union and others.

Of course, by far our most important international partner is the United States. President Obama has set a new direction for US foreign policy. This has been welcomed around the world. And in Europe, in particular. The reasons are obvious. Europeans welcome his inclusive leadership; the genuine consultations; his principled pragmatism.

New policy lines have been defined. On the Middle East including Iran; on Afghanistan-Pakistan or on Guantanamo, or today's important statement on missile defence. There is also a greater orientation on Asia, and China in particular. This is not entirely new, but the trend has become clearer. This too is a consequence of the power shift.

The rise of China and its integration into the system is arguably the most important trend in global politics. How this unfolds will shape the world of our children. We understand the importance of your bilateral relationship with China. Most international issues require America and China to pull in the same direction. But there can be no simple G2 running the world. That would betray the key principle of inclusiveness. The European Union has to be there. It deserves to be there.

The transatlantic relationship has been changing. The days that it was primarily about security in Europe are, thankfully, long gone. It is now a partnership for action around the world. This in turn requires two things: First, a shared strategy, which means a US willing to listen; and second, resources, which means a Europe able to act.

We welcome the US commitment to working with the European Union. But in a way, it is up to us to prove the added value of working with Europe. Both because of what we can offer, collectively.

And because of who we are and what we stand for. There are many issues that require a close EUUS partnership and clear results in the months ahead. Together we have the will and resources to do so. The Middle East is an obvious example. George Mitchell is in the region. I was there a couple of weeks ago. We will meet over the week-end. We are working together to create a new dynamic for peace. Allow me to repeat my thinking: A basic ingredient for success is a real mediation. The parameters for peace are defined and well known. The mediator has to set the timetable too. If the parties are not able to stick to it, then a solution backed by the international community should be put on the table.

After a fixed deadline, a UN Security Council Resolution should proclaim the adoption of the two-State solution. This should include all the basic parameters: borders, around those of 1967, refugees, Jerusalem and security arrangements. It would accept the Palestinian State as a full member of the UN, and set a calendar for implementation. It would mandate the resolution of other remaining territorial disputes and legitimise the end of claims. The Arab countries, through the "Arab Peace Initiative", have to get actively engaged.

Along with the Middle East, let me focus on three other issues: Afghanistan; Russia; Climate Change. And, of course, I will be happy to answer questions on any subject.

We all know why we are in Afghanistan. Our security needs a functioning Afghan state. The obstacles to that are also clear: a growing insurgency; the corrosive effect of drugs; and high levels of corruption. We need a new "Compact", or "Contract", with whoever leads the new Afghan government. This "Compact" should clarify the commitments of both sides, and should make greater Afghan ownership and accountability clear.

The US is more deeply engaged than we are. But as the EU we are making a useful contribution: with aid, people and a willingness, under the right conditions, to do more. Security is a precondition for development and building a state. Europeans have deployed 30,000 troops - more than they ever did in Bosnia. Everybody agrees we need enough competent Afghan security forces, both army and police, to control the territory. So we need to train them.

Our European Police mission (EUPOL) mission focuses on civilian policing. Its aim is to train the trainers. It has made good progress, as recognised by Afghan and US partners. We will continue this and where possible expand. But above all, we must realise that there really can only be a political solution. This means more emphasis on reconciliation. This will be a big task for the next Afghan government. It has to find jobs for the foot soldiers of the Taliban and make political deals with the middle ranks. I believe that if we send the right people, who know the culture and history, to the right places, we could make a real difference.

Let me turn to Russia. The starting point must be that no real security is possible in Europe without US engagement and without Russia finding its proper place in the overall European order.

Since the end of the Cold War we in the West certainly made mistakes and missed opportunities. But Russians also have to ask what they have contributed to the prevailing mood of distrust, especially among their neighbours. Shared security requires a shared mindset. An agreement on principles and a willingness to abide by them in practice.

George Kennan wrote in his Long Telegram, explaining why the Soviet Union was not supportive of the new global institutions, that: "Soviet power is impervious to the logic of reason…[but] highly sensitive to the logic of force." Today, Russia is very different from the Soviet Union in the wake of World War II. So too is Europe. That is why we want to believe that it is the logic of reason that drives the Russian leadership. And that is why we want to explore President Medvedev’s idea of a new European security architecture and the enviroment created by the US ‘reset’.

We welcome the "reset" including the new direction on non-proliferation and disarmament. By year's end there should be a follow-on to START, with reduced levels of strategic nuclear arsenals. The world will be better for it.

As the EU we work well with Russia on many global issues, like the US does: on the Middle East, Iran, Somalia. But, unlike the US, we also share a continent with Russia. Hence the EU’s relationship to Russia is every-day business: from energy security to migration to the environment. Dealing with Russia has sometimes been difficult for us. This is logical given the different histories of EU countries. But what matters is not how a discussion begins but how it ends. And the EU has ended up with a united position on the "Medvedev proposals" and on Georgia.

President Medvedev himself recently commented on the reasons for Russia's failure to modernise: the endemic levels of corruption and the need to have a more open, democratic system with the rule of law.

Because of our post-modern DNA, the EU is not well-placed to respond to something that might look like ‘great power politics’. The US probably finds that easier. There is no alternative to cooperation with Russia on a wide range of issues. The best way to do so is through agreed rules. Whether on broader security or on energy.

A third area where close US-European co-operation is needed is climate change. Every time the scientists come back to us, their findings are worse. This is a planetary crisis. It is urgent. And we need to take our responsibility. I am pleased that more than anyone else, the European Union is showing leadership in tackling climate change. Both with a robust set of policies at home and in pushing the international community to act.

In terms of policy, we essentially need two things: to find the right incentives to stimulate for green investments; and to address the global justice dimension. I am concerned that, on issues such as non-proliferation, this is being cast as a North versus South problem. You created it, you solve it. Yes, the rich created the problem. And yes, the poor are the most vulnerable. But this is a problem that cannot be solved without everyone contributing. In a way, it is a problem for everyone that half of all the people that were ever alive are alive today.

All this makes a comprehensive deal in Copenhagen essential. We need ambitious targets and well functioning cap and trade systems. Plus money for developing countries to help them reduce their emissions and cope with the inevitable. On targets, I welcome the latest commitment by Japan (minus 25% by 2030). And I hope that the US will follow suit. We realise that domestic political circumstances are difficult. But if the US does not move, China and India won't either. And we have to break this "mutual suicide pact".

A generous and credible deal on financing is not only a part of a larger deal; it is a way to get it. I know it may sound impossible in the middle of such a serious economic crisis. But it is the other way around. Investments in green technology will be key to overcome the crisis. I am not dreaming. It is feasible. The EU is committed to paying its fair share. Next week in Pittsburgh at the G20 we will see how much everybody is willing to contribute.
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There is a new mood in US-European relations. But also a daunting agenda: the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, Eastern Europe, non-proliferation and disarmament, energy and climate. All different and all difficult at the same time.

The way to solve these problems is by good politics. What do I mean? For me, good politics involves patience, empathy, integrity and creativity. It is about re-establishing trust. About focusing on the future not the past. The wider horizon, not the narrow. Good politics requires an ability to charm, move, mobilise, persuade and cajole.

Dear friends, some see a world full of growing, intractable problems. I see a world of negotiable conflicts and new opportunities. If we apply ourselves and practice good politics, we can solve the conflicts and seize the opportunities.

Thank you very much.

  • Ref: SP09-071EN
  • EU source: Council
  • UN forum: 
  • Date: 17/9/2009


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