Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honour for me to be the keynote speaker at the 10th Anniversary of your Institute. I congratulate you wholeheartedly and wish you every success also in the future. Institutes such as yours play an important role in deepening understanding and promoting active interest in global foreign policy challenges and issues.
Security is a topic very close to us all. The provision of peace and security for its citizens is – or should be – a basic function of every state. However, interpretations of security and ways to achieve it vary, often causing great grievances between and within societies. In a globalising world, we all are more and more dependent on each other, which leads to closer cooperation between states than ever before. In this speech, I will try to outline how the European Union is developing and responding to new challenges and how we in Finland see security in today’s world.
Looking back, a lot has happened in ten years’ time. The newly independent states in the Western Balkans and in the former Soviet Union have unfortunately not developed without difficulties. We have witnessed many armed conflicts and even war both inside and between countries, with great losses and human suffering. Both old and new threats have escalated, especially terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but also issues such as ethnic intolerance, environmental threats, pandemics, drugs, cross-border organized crime and uncontrolled migration. At the same time, international awareness of these problems has increased, too, and perhaps even the will to address them.
In Europe, the European Union has been able to simultaneously expand and deepen its integration. Looking back, it is actually a small wonder how far the EU has come in ten years both in its internal workings as well as in its outlook. Of course, the road has not been without difficulties, which have been sometimes clearly visible also to the outside world.
Finland became a member of the EU in 1995. The Treaty of Maastricht had just been concluded, establishing the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU. One of the reasons behind the treaty was the aftermath of the break up of ex-Yugoslavia, where the EU found itself regrettably inadequate.
That traumatic experience gave the Member States the will to develop the crisis management capabilities of the EU, culminating in the so-called Helsinki Headline Goal of 1999. There the EU committed itself to a course to be able to respond to future crises roughly the size and type of that of the Western Balkans. This involved a military crisis management force of about 60,000 soldiers. What for example Finland actively advocated was also the development of the EU’s civilian crisis management capability.
During the new Millennium, we have seen devastating terrorism and other crises which have given security problems a whole new dimension. The challenge posed by international terrorism and crises in different parts of the world have called for appropriate responses also from the EU – both civilian and military.
Security- and defence-related activities and exchanges of views in the European Union in the past few years have focused on the very concrete and practical questions about developing our joint resources and capabilities in this field. The EU is rightly expected to bring something new and added value to international politics, partly because it is not a state but a unique kind of actor, partly because of its particular set of strengths and instruments and, finally, because of its belief in a rules-based order, which grows out of the history of European integration as a peace project.
The basis for the work is formulated in the European Security Strategy, approved in December 2003. It is a concise document of only 14 pages. It describes the global challenges that the EU has to address, such as poverty, diseases, malnutrition, lack of security, economic failure and also the key threats, including terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional conflicts, state failure and organised crime. According to the strategy, the EU’s strategic objectives are to address the threats, build security in its neighbourhood and establish an international order based on effective multilateralism. And finally, it sets out policy implications for the EU.
According to the Security Strategy, the EU needs to be more active in pursuing its strategic objectives. It also needs to be more capable, more coherent and work in close cooperation with partners. These principles apply to the full spectrum of instruments for crisis management and conflict prevention at the EU’s disposal, including political, diplomatic, military and civilian, trade and development activities.
In the field of capability, the EU has made great progress in the last few years and the process continues. It has identified shortfalls and ways to address them both in the military and civilian sectors. At the moment, an especially topical question is the development of a rapid reaction capability, involving both decision-making structures and procedures and actual military forces to be used based on the so-called Battle Group Concept. Equally important is the development of rapid civilian crisis management capabilities for example in the field of rescue services, the rule of law, civilian police and administration.
In this context, it should be reaffirmed that the Union is, first of all, equipped for addressing the root causes of conflicts and preventing violent conflicts. The Union is not and will not become a military great power, but it can become an effective actor in conflict prevention and crisis management. This involves, not only or even primarily, military crisis management but also economic cooperation, aid, civilian crisis management and so forth.
Greater coherence is one of the goals of the new Constitutional Treaty of the EU to be signed on October 29 this year. Improved coherence is expected to be achieved, for example, by nominating a longer-term President for the European Council, as well as by an EU Foreign Minister with a European External Action Service.
Working with partners means all the countries and organisations, but especially the United States, Russia, the UN and NATO.
The EU-US relations is a two-way street. There are differences of views not so much about the objectives as about the means of addressing security threats, which are reflected in the Security Strategy. They are not issues that should cause any transatlantic conflicts but rather items which need to be addressed in the continuing transatlantic dialogue. We should all seek to engage the United States in the multilateral framework envisaged in the Union’s strategic outlook. NATO is one important expression of the transatlantic relations.
Developing and implementing the strategic partnership between the Union and Russia is a central task. The Strategy does not provide practical guidelines but makes clear the importance of values and norms for the common future of this relationship. The practical challenge is with us every day, as the Union pursues its European agenda: enlargement, security and stability in the neighbouring regions and implementation of its strategy towards Russia. They are all strategic tasks in their own merits, but the success of each of them is vital to a stable and prosperous Europe. Success in building the relations with Russia and solving both acute and frozen conflicts in our common neighbourhood is therefore not a zero-sum game but an enterprise to everyone’s benefit.
Next, I would like to explore some thoughts on how I see the linkage between security and globalisation. Even if globalisation is primarily about technology, development and welfare, it is also a security issue. Globalisation can be taken advantage of by means of participation and engagement. On the other hand, as recognized in the European Security Strategy, an isolated country or a marginalized group may cause security problems.
Globalisation imposes a special requirement on leadership in international politics and on the accountability of leaders in domestic politics. Democracy should be strengthened and improved in both domestic and international institutions. Finland has launched an international process, co-chaired by me and my Tanzanian colleague, to address the issue of reforming the way international institutions make decisions and, more broadly, finding better ways for governments, businesses and civil society to engage in a dialogue about their common future and to come forward with concrete, implementable proposals. To put it in another way, we aim at building bridges between economic and social forces behind the World Economic Forum – Davos- and the World Social Forum – Porto Alegre.
The connection between globalisation and security should be better addressed with the instruments at the disposal of the EU and its Member States. We are all engaged in bringing development cooperation and security policy closer to one another, as well as supporting good governance and sustainable development, thus eliminating the root causes of conflicts.
The most central objective in the Security Strategy is the establishment of legal and security order, based on effective multilateralism. This is where the Union can make its greatest contribution to the world and where it can expect to bring the greatest benefit for the Union itself and for the values it represents. In the long run, multilateralism is also the only sustainable way to combine security and development in a more equitable world.
The United Nations and the Security Council are at the core of the multilateral order, and their central position should always be supported and recognized. However, effective multilateralism is an even more demanding objective, because it calls for a reform of the world organisation and assurance of an effective and just decision-making by the Security Council in preventing, managing and resolving conflicts. The Union has effectively made it clear that its improving crisis management capability will be put primarily into the service of the United Nations.
Few issues are more important for multilateralism than the legitimacy and legality of the use of force whether by nation-states or the international community. The Security Strategy makes no immediate headway on the question of mandating interventions. It is understandable, as there are different experiences and national policies among the members themselves, not to mention the sensitivity of the issue at large. We would have wanted the Security Strategy to be unambiguous on the issue that is under such a pressure today, in particular as the EU is likely to assume new tasks and operations in the future.
To the extent it is necessary to look anew at the question of justified self-defence before an imminent threat or at the problem of mandating humanitarian and other interventions, the Security Strategy correctly recognizes the problem. The European Union will continue to be in the forefront of such a discussion. The Security Council is called upon to uphold its responsibility for international peace and security. If new interpretations of international law are called for, the Security Council is the proper forum for doing so.
I was pleased to hear that Secretary-General Annan put so much emphasis on the rule of law in his speech at the UN General Assembly two weeks ago. As he said, the vision of “a government of laws and not of men” is almost as old as civilisation itself. Yet, the rule of law as a mere concept is not enough, laws must also be enforced, both internally and externally. I believe that a world more fair is also a world more secure.
The EU – and Finland – condemns terrorism in all its forms and irrespective of its stated aims. As the Secretary-General Annan put it, ”no cause, no grievance, however legitimate in itself, can begin to justify such acts” as happened in New York, Madrid, Beslan and elsewhere.
We all have a duty to do whatever we can to prevent such acts from happening and punish those responsible. The EU has improved both its internal cooperation and the cooperation with partners in various fields and is ready to carry on. What is especially important is the low-key, practical, everyday cooperation in the financial, judicial, intelligence and law-enforcement sectors. But also in the action against terrorism we should not resort to means that do not respect the rule of law and human rights, because that would inevitably erode the basis of our societies.
It is also clear that we can never eradicate terrorism by using police and military means only, no matter how necessary they are in fighting this kind of crime. We must also tackle the root causes of terrorism, including the deprivations, poverty, humiliations and lack of perspective associated with continuing, unresolved conflicts, which also constitute a breeding ground for extremism, fanaticism and even terrorism.
The Finnish Government has recently submitted to Parliament a white paper on the development of our Security and Defence Policy. It is no wonder that most of the recommendations are very much in line with the European Security Strategy. In addition to what has already been said, I would like to mention a few points.
We estimate that since the previous report in 2001, Finland’s neighbouring areas have become more stable along with the enlargement of the European Union and NATO, the deepening integration in the European Union and the transformation in Russia. At the same time, however, the broader international situation has become increasingly challenging for Finland. Global problems, development crises and regional conflicts have become increasingly significant also for our security. This trend is expected to continue.
Membership of the Union, which is based on solidarity and mutual commitments in all areas, serves to enhance Finland’s security. We support the Union’s enlargement process, neighbourhood policy and the development of justice and home affairs as principal factors promoting security in Europe.
Finland contributes towards strengthening the EU’s common foreign and security policy and participates fully in developing and implementing the common security and defence policy. We are developing our capabilities and readiness to participate both in the EU’s civilian crisis management activities and military crisis management operations, including rapid response forces.
We believe that well-functioning transatlantic relations are important for both European and international security. Our partnership and cooperation with NATO will continue to develop side by side with respect for our military non-alignment. Cooperation needs to be implemented in a spirit of global responsibility, shared basic values and respect for international law. We are continuously monitoring the reforms taking place in NATO and how its international role will develop. Applying for membership will remain a security and defence policy option for Finland also in the future although we do not see any reason to exercise it in the foreseeable future.
Finland will actively participate in international cooperation to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to enhance arms control. We will promote the implementation of the EU’s weapons of mass destruction strategy bilaterally. National readiness to control exports, among other things, will be improved further and we will participate actively in arms control and disarmament arrangements applying to conventional weapons, such as small arms and light weapons. Finland will accede in 2012 to the Ottawa Convention on the prohibition of anti-personnel land mines, and destroy its land mines by the end of 2016.
In addition to significant long-term development cooperation, we give separate assistance for shorter-term prevention and after-care of crises. Finland lays stress on the importance of human rights policy as a security-shaping factor and emphasizes in particular the rights of women, children and minorities.
We will be active also in preventing environmental threats. The principal areas of interest that we will be engaged in are predicting the impacts of climate change, protecting the Baltic Sea, preparing for risks associated with accidents in neighbouring areas and increasing the safety of international shipping in the Baltic Sea, especially the Gulf of Finland. We will remain active also in other fields of international environmental cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A Government Minister certainly finds it a somewhat trickier task to predict the future than does an academic researcher. I am, however, fairly confident that also the political role of the European Union will grow in the next ten years to resemble more its economic significance.
Although the EU will not become a military might, the wide range of its instruments and capabilities will be an important security factor in the globalising world. Conflicts and problems may persist, but what is crucial is whether basic issues such as human rights, the rule of law, fair economic development and environmental problems can be addressed. There we all need to work closely together.