Puheenvuoro Conference on Enhancing Cooperation between Civil Society and EU Civilian Crisis Management -konferenssissa, Helsinki, 27.9.2006

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Mr. Erkki Tuomioja

Conference on Enhancing Cooperation between Civil Society and EU Civilian Crisis Management, 27-28.9.2006



I am honoured to open this conference on Enhancing Cooperation between civil society and EU civilian crisis management. The Civil Society Conflict Prevention Network (KATU) and Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) have done good work – which started already two years ago – to make this conference happen. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland joined in a year ago and soon after the EPLO became the fourth partner. Now the hard work is done: the ideas have been developed in workshops that have brought together both the representatives from civil society and from EU institutions and member states. Furthermore, Catriona Gourlay’s background paper ”Enhancing Cooperation between Civil Society and EU Civilian Crisis Management in the Framework of ESDP” sums up the ideas and outlines recommendations on how to take those ideas further.

The last 15 years have seen a change in the nature of conflicts. The number of conflicts has multiplied, the number of people affected by the conflicts has grown dramatically and the issues have become more complex.

Difficult crisis situations require multi-dimensional answers. The EU is unique in having a wide range of instruments designed both for long-term and for short-term action. Long-term instruments include i.a. development co-operation, trade, arms control, the strengthening of human rights and rule of law and environmental policies, as well as regular political dialogue. On the other hand, humanitarian assistance and various political measures enable the EU to react immediately on a particular crisis.

In addition to this wide range of tools, our answer has also been to develop both military and civilian measures to address crises. I am proud to say, that Finland, along with Sweden, was among the first EU member states to promote the need to complement the more traditional military crisis management with civilian aspects. Ever since, Finland has been promoting a comprehensive view of crisis management. We see comprehensive crisis management operations, combining both the military and civilian instruments, as our challenge for the future.

The EU has recognised the need for enhanced civil-military coordination in the field of planning, management and conduct of EU crisis management operations. The UK, Austria and Finland presented a non-paper on Enhancing EU Civil Military Coordination in June 2005. Building on the work carried out during the UK and Austrian Presidencies, the Finnish presidency has proposed to examine how EU’s comprehensive approach to operations can be further enhanced through better information sharing and management between EU actors in the field.

Civilian crisis management is one of the priority areas on our ESDP- agenda. We are deeply committed to enhancing the EU’s crisis management capabilities and are ready to explore ways of further improving cooperation with other international organisations, such as the UN, the OSCE, Council of Europe and other groups of countries that are active in this field.

It is important to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of our crisis management policy, and it is evident that the importance of crisis management as a tool of common foreign and security policy will continue to grow. It seems that a truly global approach to crisis management and conflict prevention is increasingly important. A comprehensive approach means that civilian and military action is considered and planned coherently and in parallel in order to ensure the most effective response.

The exchange of views with NGO’s and civil society has an increasing role in developing comprehensive crisis management.

The European Union has developed civilian crisis management for seven years, since its conception at the Helsinki Summit of 1999. Progress in this field has been steady and much has been achieved in a relatively short period. Civilian crisis management has been, and is expected to be, the fastest growing area within the ESDP. It is important to continue to develop civilian crisis management priorities and tools, especially in the field of police, rule of law, civilian administration, monitoring and support to EU’s special representatives. We should continue to study the needs and identify ways to strengthen EU’s capacities and instruments also in the field of human rights and democracy, SSR and DDR. The Aceh Monitoring Mission is a good example of the results that the EU can achieve when different instruments are combined.

We launched our first operation three years ago in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and currently the Union has 10 ongoing operations worldwide. They range from training and mentoring to executive missions.

The Civilian Headline Goal 2008 has been designed to make EU’s action more effective by standardising the procedures and ensuring available resources when they are needed. The Civilian Headline Goal 2008 is a tool to adopt the same systematic approach in civilian crisis management as has been used in military crisis management. By the year 2008 the EU will have the capability to launch complex operations in a short preparation time and in good coordination with military crisis management and if needed, to run several demanding operations at the same time. Civilian Response Teams are a part of the civilian headline goal. The aim is to get them operational in the end of this year. CRT’s are groups that can be deployed on fact finding missions to get accurate information in crisis situations or to temporarily strengthen EU’s other instruments in the crisis area.

Crisis management cannot be achieved without including the views of civil society. The European Union acknowledges the importance of civil society in its Action Plan for Civilian Aspects of ESDP that was agreed in 2004. The Action Plan states that ” NGO and civil society views in relation to the general orientations of EU civilian crisis management are welcome. NGO experience, expertise and early warning capacity are valued by the EU.” What we are doing now, at this conference, is to look into ways of further deepening the discussion on our common interests.

Civil society and non-governmental organisations have been approaching the same issues and problems of crisis management from another point of view. The NGO’s and civil society organisations have their natural counterparts in the host country’s civil society. A lot of the work the NGO’s are doing takes place in the field and thus provides a valuable input to the overall approach of international organisations and governments. The Aceh Monitoring Mission is a good example also in this respect: it was the first EU civilian crisis management operation to include a focal point for civil society.

One can often hear criticism that multiple actors in conflict prevention and crisis management tend to concentrate only on their own field of expertise and ignore what others are doing. In many cases better cooperation and coordination between all actors in the field would bring clear benefits. Enhancing that cooperation will save time and effort for all actors, and the final beneficiaries are the people affected by the conflicts.

May I conclude by congratulating you all for the good work done so far and wish you a successful conference.

Thank you.