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Speeches, 10/10/2013

Speech by Foreign Minister Tuomioja: Common security and defence policy – visions of the future

“The Future of European Security and Defence” – Seminar at The Europe Hall, Representation of the European Commission in Finland, on 10 October

Speech by Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja: Common security and defence policy – visions of the future

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a privilege to speak to you today on a subject of great actuality, the future prospects of European security and defence, and the role the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) plays in this. Finland has consistently supported the further development of the CSDP.

The preparations of the December European Council have raised general interest in questions regarding European security and defence. The timing of the forthcoming discussion between the Heads of State and Government is very opportune. The debate is a chance to discuss the future prospects and role of the CSDP as well as European security and defence at large. It is an opportunity to decide on further goals – an opportunity that should not be missed. We should make the December meeting a milestone that will create further momentum within the EU in these questions.

Today, I will largely focus on the future of CSDP. This being said, we very much aim for results in all the areas to be discussed in December – in fostering capability development as well as enhancing defence cooperation and the internal defence market. In essence, the issues are very much interconnected.

Multidimensional security challenges and expectations towards the EU to assume more responsibility for security require strong political commitment and consistent efforts by European governments. As the increasing influence of Asia redefines the global power structures, Europe needs to find the political will to set its priorities in the global context and develop its capabilities respectively. No member state can face the multifaceted security challenges alone. We need more cooperation, coordination and common will.

In parallel, the financial crisis has affected European defence budgets and budget constraints are going to persist in the foreseeable future. We need to find solutions that ensure European capabilities by generating synergies and enhancing cooperation between Member States. One of the most pertinent questions is how to make European defence markets more efficient. We need to develop technologies with both civilian and military benefits. Innovative and competitive research and development activities will widely benefit Europe – also by contributing to its security.

In order to take the CSDP and defence cooperation forward with ambition and determination, these questions need to be tackled at the highest political level. Finland is fully committed to do so.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

One can argue that the CSDP has so far been a success story. Although some stress that the level of ambition has not always been high enough, it is true that within only a decade, the EU has successfully launched a range of crisis management operations and missions with a wide geographical scope. Operational experience has been acquired with over 30 different operations and missions in both military and civilian crisis management. Currently the EU is deploying 7000 civilian and military personnel. This significant contribution is producing sustainable results. There is still much to do, but I do argue that regarding the CSDP, the glass is certainly at least half full rather than half empty.

EU crisis management operations and missions have both protected and projected European values and interests. They have also demonstrated the member states' commitment to enhance the EU’s role as a security provider and have had a significant impact in restoring stability and supporting state-building, strengthened societies and improved ordinary people’s lives. At the same time, crisis management activities have increased the perception of the EU as a global actor.

Finland has been a strong supporter of the CSDP since its very beginning. We have contributed to nearly every military operation and civilian mission of the CSDP. Finland’s contribution reflects our long-term commitment to international crisis management as a significant dimension of our foreign policy. At present, there are over 500 Finnish soldiers and civilian experts in international crisis management operations.

The EU has been a pioneer in civilian crisis management with a focus on police activities and strengthening the rule of law and good governance. Currently, Finland is the biggest contributor to civilian missions of the EU in relation to our population, with well over a hundred experts abroad. Finland wants to be an active participant and forerunner in civilian crisis management also in the future. National capacity building, in both quality and quantity, remains an important objective for us. We are also committed to make EU civilian crisis management more effective by developing coherent planning and exit strategies as well as financing and procurement.

Crisis management activities do not take place in a vacuum: they are instruments that serve and support a global policy and a common political objective. I would like to highlight a few successes of the CSDP operations and the Finnish contribution to them.

The EU has demonstrated its capacity to act rapidly in crisis management. The EU Monitoring mission in Georgia was established within months after the conflict in August 2008 with over 200 experts. During 2005-2006 the EU-led monitoring mission successfully monitored and supported the peace process in the Indonesian province of Aceh.

EU engagement through several different operations and missions in Democratic Republic of the Congo is a good example of comprehensive action. Activities have included reforming the national police as well as providing expertise in the reform of the defense sector. In addition to police and criminal justice experts, the EU has sent experts in cross-cutting aspects of Security Sector Reform such as human rights, dialogue with civil society, protection of children in armed conflicts and gender equality.

The EULEX mission has played a significant role in supporting Kosovo’s efforts in developing its rule of law, policing, judicial reform, corruption and war crimes. EUNAVFOR Atalanta has had an impact on the fall of piracy in the Horn of Africa. The operation has been highly successful in performing its main objective, protecting vessels delivering food aid by the World Food Programme to displaced persons in Somalia. With the significant drop in piracy, the food security in the region has improved.

In addition to traditional operational crisis management operations, the EU also provides military training for fragile states. Since 2010, the EU Training Mission Somalia has trained over 3000 Somali soldiers in Bihanga, Uganda. Activities will be gradually transferred to Mogadishu as the security situation allows it. There, the mission will train and mentor the defence ministry and general staff headquarters. This will also increase Somalia’s ownership in improving the security structures.

The challenges continue. For example, the EU border management mission in Libya aims at improving and developing the security of the country's borders. Although the work of the mission has just begun, we have full confidence in its success in the hands of Mr Antti Hartikainen, who is the Finnish Head of Mission.

Finland also contributes actively to the broader development of CSDP. We fully support the tendency towards missions aiming at the capacity building of local and regional partners. We must support our partners – regional organisations and countries – so that they can take the responsibility for preventing and managing crises on their own in the future. The EU should also set a good example in increasing the role of women in crisis management and further the objectives of resolution 1325.

Finland has consistently supported efforts to make the EU’s comprehensive approach a reality. The EU’s biggest advantage as a crisis management actor is the wide toolbox at its disposal. We should maximise its potential and strive for tangible results. A truly comprehensive approach, using all instruments from military and civilian crisis management to political dialogue, from development aid to trade, will ensure that the EU makes a sustainable difference in crisis areas. The EU instruments should complement each other and produce results in a coherent and mutually reinforcing manner. In addition, the different CSDP operations and missions should be better coordinated regionally.

In our view, the EU Battlegroup concept includes all the elements and possibilities for ensuring the rapid response capabilities of the EU. Unfortunately, its potential has largely remained unused so far due to the lack of political will. The Battlegroups could serve several goals at once: they are an operational and a transformative tool, as well as a tool for interoperability. We need to look at solutions that improve the flexibility of their use and fill the gaps in the Battlegroup roster, solutions that develop advance planning and increase their use in training and exercises.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

In spite of all the successes of the CSDP in the past, clearly some challenges remain.

Decision-making processes and setting-up new missions and operations needs to be accelerated. We should strive for a more rapid, effective and efficient CSDP with a strong ability to deploy. Capability shortfalls both in military and civilian dimensions are a reality that we need to work on.

Challenges remain in qualitative military capability development and the improvement in the areas such as interoperability and deployability. It is good to recall that already the Helsinki Headline Goal set the target of up to 15 brigades or 50,000-60,000 persons to be rapidly deployed and sustained. That was the level of ambition in the beginning and ever since a key question has been how to translate the level of ambition into capabilities. In civilian crisis management missions, we must address gaps in personnel with specialised profiles.

We also need to strive for EU crisis management structures with a permanent planning and conduct capability – headquarter capabilities - of operations. This is integral in strengthening the EU’s credibility as a crisis management actor.

The EU must continue to develop its foreign and security policy instruments to be able to respond to changes in our security environment. The CSDP should have a role in developing EU responses to emerging security challenges such as cyber, energy and maritime security questions. We urgently need to work on these issues.

We need to develop our long-term vision of the future of the CSDP. What do we want from this policy? Is the focus of the CSDP in operations far away or in our immediate neighborhood? The cooperation with NATO and the UN is of utmost importance and could yet be improved. In the Finnish view, we must define the strategic priorities and enhance coherence in the Common Foreign and Security Policy so that the CSDP adequately and visibly supports these priorities. The Commission’s commitment is also needed. In our view, the EU needs a new foreign and security policy strategy which identifies priorities and interests.
Political will and true European leadership are needed for developing visions of the future of CSDP. It is excellent that we are moving ahead as EU28 without creating new division lines, but cooperation in smaller groups such as NORDEFCO and Weimar can also bring added value. The EU must be able to perform coherently and act decisively as a security provider. This means protecting interests and values and making a genuine contribution to international security. Europe must participate in international efforts in setting up a model of global and regional governance and cooperation.

Global power shifts force us to take greater responsibility of our own security, both in the conventional and in a broader sense. In addition to a strong CSDP, we need to use all our policies and instruments in a coherent manner. This will help in building a comprehensive concept of security covering challenges such as climate change, energy scarcity, population growth and migration, organised crime and cyber attacks, which all impact the global security environment. Furthermore, the EU must concentrate on building sustainable security and spreading stability. Only responding to threats to our security is not enough.

Finland is fully engaged in fostering a serious and broad debate about this in the coming months. We hope that the December European Council will take this discussion a significant step forward and set goals for developing European security and defence in both the medium and long-term.




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Updated 10/10/2013

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