The European Security Strategy: where next? – seminaari, Finlandia-talo, Helsinki, 25.2.2004

Our activities and exchanges of views in the European Union on security and defence issues in the past few years have focused on the very concrete and practical questions about developing our joint resources and capabilities in this field. This is most welcome because one of the weaknesses of the EU has traditionally been that we are long on the speeches and principles but short on the practical requirements of implementing our fine principles.

It also needs to be said that the Union’s foreign and security policy should not be determined by its instruments. On the contrary, instruments ought to be developed on the basis of our needs and goals. I want to stress that the new defence articles, on which we have reached preliminary consensus in the IGC, cannot in any way be construed as leading to a militarization of the Union or as an indication of a striving to become a military great power. That is neither a realistic, a necessary nor a desirable goal for the Union.

The newly adopted Security Strategy is not a revolutionary document. However, it crystallizes in a very useful way the European approach to the security threats Europe is facing at the beginning of 21st century. It enables us to evaluate the policies and objectives of the EU and to pursue a global and comprehensive security policy, building on the Union’s strengths. This approach, which is confirmed in the Security Strategy, should be followed up with effective and innovative measures.

The Security Strategy is, among other things, an answer to the challenge of the transatlantic relations, which are in many ways indispensable for the Union. The better the Union knows what it wants for itself and for the world, and the more consistent it is in its policies, the better it is able to achieve the ”effective and balanced” partnership with the United States.

The EU-US relationship is a two-way street. There are differences of views not so much about objectives as about means of addressing security threats which are reflected in the European Strategy. They are not issues that should cause any kind of transatlantic conflicts but rather items which need to be addressed in the continuing transatlantic dialogue. It is up to the Europeans to engage the United States in the multilateral framework envisaged in the Union’s strategic outlook. The transatlantic relations are a forum for the politics of a new kind of power.

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 institutional and communitarian 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.

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 EU Strategy, an isolated country or a marginalized group may cause security problems.

Globalisation places a special requirement on leadership in international politics and on the accountability of leaders in domestic politics. The task is to improve the functioning of democracy in both domestic and international institutions. Finland has launched an international process co-chaired by my Tanzanian colleague to address the issue of reforming the way international institutions make decisions and, more broadly, finding better ways for governments, business and civil society to engage in a dialogue on 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 Union and the Member States. We are all engaged in bringing development cooperation and security policy closer to one another. We are all supporting good governance and sustainable development, thus eliminating the root causes of conflicts.

The most central objective in the Security Strategy is a legal and security order, which is 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 properly made it clear that its improving crisis management capability will be put primarily into the service of the United Nations.

Few issues would be 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 speak of 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 take upon new tasks and operations in the future.

To the effect it is necessary to look anew at the question of justified self-defence in front of an imminent threat or at the problem of mandating humanitarian and other interventions, the Security Strategy correctly recognizes the problem. The European Union should 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.

The European Union’s capability in crisis management is a major part of the implementation of the Security Strategy. On both the military and civilian sides, the work is underway in a well-planned and programmed manner.

In this context, it should be reaffirmed that the Union is, first of all, equipped for addressing the root causes of conflict and preventing violent conflicts. The Union is not and will not become a military great power, but it can become an effective force in conflict prevention and crisis management.

A crisis management capability is an indispensable part of the role outlined for the Union in the Security Strategy. The pending Constitutional Treaty will provide additional instruments and guidelines for addressing new threats, such as terrorism through the solidarity clause. The agreement on the assistance commitment is another step in making the Union a more unified and credible and, consequently, effective actor.

The task of making the Union a more coherent and consistent actor has been with us for a long time. The Security Strategy includes several useful suggestions to that effect. The Constitutional Treaty will bring new helpful elements. Most importantly, the Union will have to learn by doing. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Union will shortly be employing all of its instruments simultaneously. The coordination of various Union institutions, policies and representatives will be an important test case.

Finland was among those who stressed the continued primacy of the enlargement of the community of stable democratic societies in a wider Europe and beyond. It is in our national security interest and in the interests of the EU as a whole. The mission that was adopted after the Cold War must be completed.

Developing and implementing the strategic partnership between the Union and Russia is a key 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 the strategy towards Russia. They are all strategic tasks in their own merits, they are not hostage to each other, but the success of each of them is vital to a stable and prosperous future Europe.

Finally, a few words on the white paper on security and defence, which we are currently preparing. The EU Security Strategy provides a natural reference point for us, both in its analysis of the security environment and in its determination of the line of action. It is clear that the more intellectual energy, and the more political and material resources the Member States devote to shaping and implementing common policies as a Union, the larger part the Union occupies in the conduct of their national policies.

The Union is a continuing process even as an international actor. What is particularly new in the adoption of the Security Strategy is that it tries to find answers to, and in many cases succeeds in addressing, such basic issues of peace, security and welfare as form the essence of a nation-state’s world view and security strategy.

Another aspect of the European Security Strategy should be noted in this occasion. It is a useful instrument for the Union to present itself to other actors; what it is and where it is heading. Consequently, it should be used for engaging parliaments, professional elites and citizens in dialogues with governments on the basic principles and practical courses of foreign and security policies.