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Anförande vid RAND Europe

Anförande i Bryssel, Belgien

Let me first of all apologies for the fact that I am in a hurry. This is the fate of the Presidency of the European Union.

Always things to be done. Issues to be handled. Positions to be coordinated. Calls to be made. Meetings to be had.

I am coming from a very successful meeting in Stockholm between the European Union and Australia.

Together with Foreign Minister Smidt, and assisted by Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner and others, we reviewed the broad scope of our relationship.

I am heading for dinner in Sarajevo, well, dessert, with US Deputy Secretary of State Steinberg as well as Commissioner Olli Rehn and the leaders of the eight most significant political parties in Bosnia.

And in between it is a true please to be able to be here with RAND Europe as it establishes a more permanent presence in the very hearth of the politics of the European Union.

I had the honour of serving some years on the Board of Trustees of the RAND Corporation,in fact the first non-US person ever to do so.

RAND can be described not only as the first think-tank of the modern world, but in all probability also as the finest.

And I remember arguing for RAND to extend its reach also to Brussels in order to establish better links between the policy environment here and the other policy environments, notably in the US, were RAND has a significant presence.

I was, and remain, confident that this will be of great benefits to all concerned.

My two other meetings today well illustrate some of the challenges we are facing in terms of the development of our common European foreign policy.

We are reaching out in increasingly, both broad and deep, strategic dialogues to all corners of the world.

Earlier this week we had a summit meeting between the EU and Brazil in Stockholm, President Lula da Silva should be back in his country by now.

And we have such larger summit meetings with the United States, India, Russia, China and the Ukraine in the pipeline for the next month or two. One with South Africa is already well behind us.

In a time of profound global challenges there is no shortage of subjects that we must address together.

Climate change, the long-term also security implications of which should by now be clear to all of us. The world needs an agreement in Copenhagen, and the European Union is certainly in the vanguard of the efforts to make it possible.

Restarting the process of globalisation after the unprecedented financial and economic crisis during the last year or so.

The risk for a deep-frozen global economy and an overheated Mother Earth do indeed require strong political leadership.

Preventing the further proliferation of weapons of mass destruction , facing not only the opportunity of the NPT Review Conference next year but also the more immediate challenges of Iran and North Korea.

And handling the numerous regional issues that, if not managed, will have security implications for us alls.

On all of these issues the European Union has an important role to play. On all of these issues we are a central part of the global efforts.

One of the most striking things to me since returning to active politics as Foreign Minister three years ago has been the demand for Europe to be present in the rest of the world, as a voice, as a partner, as an actor - and the supply/demand mismatch that we still have as a consequence of institutions geared to another world.

The Lisbon Treaty, which I am confident will come into force soon after having been approved by parliaments or in referendums in all the 27 member countries - will undoubtedly give us better possibilities of addressing this supply/demand mismatch.

But the better hardware of better institutions will not be enough.

Of critical importance is the software of policies without which these institutions are as dead as dead hardware can be. It is the continuous evolution and updating of our software of policies that is critical to whether the European Union will truly be seen as the rising global power it truly is.

If my first meeting today was connected to this task, our rapidly growing global presence, my second meeting is related to a task that could be seen as even more fundamental.

On September 1st leaders meet at Westerplatte by Gdansk in Poland to remember the first shots 70 years ago of what become the Second World War. That war took Europe into a long nightmare of wars, destruction, genocide, oppression and division that did not truly end until the momentous months two decades ago when that Soviet empire that extended right into the hearth of Europe came crushing down.

And month after month we are now remembering what happened during that year of the modern European revolution culminating in that night on November 9th when the Berlin wall ceased to divide and it only become a matter of time until the entire edifice of socialist regimes would disappear. Before these events, Europe was the centre of the challenges we faced together.

A generation of politicians had lived through the one Berlin crisis after the other. Tank stood against tank at Checkpoint Charlie. And the security policy of the West often boiled down to nuclear exchange scenarios and force ratios around the famous Fulda Gap.

And then everything, suddenly and for many against expectations, disappeared, changed and a fundamentally new reality started to appear. It was a new Zero Hour for Europe.

And in much the same way as after the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century or after the First World War in the early 20th century we had to build a new European order of peace and prosperity. It was the wisdom of the statesmen of those years that made it possible to do so on the foundations of the institutions that had held the line and built a new prosperity in the decades before the European Community and the Atlantic Alliance.

In essence, we went from preventing war through a policy of military deterrence to preserving peace through a policy of economic and political integration.

The two decades that have passed since the European revolution of 1989 were indeed decades of nearly miraculous success, even taking into account the horrendous decade of war in the Balkans.

Out of a less ambitious and smaller European Community evolved the far more ambitious and far larger European Union, with its today 27 members and 0,5 billion citizen representing the largest integrated economy of the world and its by far largest trading entity. The EU also contributes around 60 per cent of total global development assistance.

The developments of the past two decades has thus seen the transformation of Europe from the critical problem in terms of global security of the 20th century to the crucial partner in meeting all the diverse challenges of the 21st century.

And it is on this we are determined to build in the years ahead. We all know that the credibility of the European Union on the wider global stage has been dramatically enhanced by our successes during the past two decades, enlargement and the Euro the two most obvious.

But it should be equally obvious that our future weight and credibility on the global stage to a large extent will be a function of how we handle to coming challenges related to the peace and prosperity of our own part of the world.

The future peace and prosperity of all of Europe is not yet as secure as we wish it to be. Our Europe remains work in progress.There is little doubt that enlargement so far has strengthened both our Union as such and the prospect for peace and prosperity in our part of the world.

A Europe of Six or of Twelve or of Fifteen or even Twenty-five would obviously have been a much weaker Union , and our Europe a less stable part of the world.

I belong to those who firmly believe that the membership perspective for all of Europe remains a fundamental force for stability and a powerful incentive for necessary internal reforms in neighbouring countries able and willing to join the Union.

The most immediate tasks ahead in these respects are those associated with the approx 100 million people of South-eastern Europe that are now knocking on our door.

We have come a long way since the brutal wars in the Balkans that really stretched from Slovenia in 1991 to FYROM in 2001 , a decade of brutality that left scars on all of us. And for the first time I feel that the forces of integration are becoming stronger than the forces of disintegration in the region.

But this needs to be maintained and supported.

Unfortunately we have also seen the build-up of different blockages in the region. Difficult each one of them , and together putting the entire momentum of integration into doubt.

In Sarajevo tonight and tomorrow we will urge the leaders of Bosnia to stop blocking their possibilities of advancing towards membership in the European Union as well as Nato.

The rest of the region is moving ahead , and Bosnia should not allow itself to be left behind. Together with the United States we will seek to initiate a process that will allow Bosnia to catch up with the rest of the region in joining the rest of Europe.

We have already seen Croatia and Slovenia removing their blockages. I hope we can see progress on the issues that are blocking Serbia. There should be the possibility of progress also on the name issue blocking the progress of FYROM.

Our approach is an ambitious one, but if you don't try, the only thing that you can be certain of is that you will achieve nothing. And achieving nothing in this part of Europe includes a substantial risk of start sliding backwards.

It is thus my hope that we within the coming months will be able to make a transition for all of the region to a new, more demanding and more important phase of European integration. Together with the Balkans, Turkey's EU accession constitutes the strategically most important issue in the field of enlargement.

It is no secret that there are different views of whether Turkey should become a member of our Union or not. I consider this discussion not only natural but fundamentally also healthy.

We need a vigorous and open public discourse on all of the major challenges facing our Union.

For me, it is obvious that a Union that includes also the demographic dynamism and economic potential of Turkey will be a stronger Union, and a Union that can truly demonstrate that it is committed to overcome all the prejudices of the present, will be a significantly more credible voice in the rest of the world. Already we see how Turkey has developed into the second most important strategic partner of our Union on a wide array of the most acute challenges we are facing.

The need to strengthening the forces of continued European integration illustrates the necessity to come to a solution of the Cyprus question.

Perhaps the single most important political process in Europe will be the talks bringing unity to the divided island. Two decades after the end of the division of Europe it remains shameful that we still have a European capital divided by walls and barbed wire.

But building the conditions for peace and prosperity in our part of the world goes beyond South-Eastern Europe.

During the recent year we have launched a far more ambitious approach of our immediate neighbourhood than we had in the past , with first the Union of the Mediterranean last year and then the Eastern Partnership earlier this year. In their different ways these are polices of high strategic significance for Europe.

The countries of North Africa and the Middle East will see a rise in population that will equal two Egypt's approx 160 million people during the next two decades or so.

With their young populations, they will experience either a huge demographic dividend as they open up their societies and economies, creating huge opportunities for all of Europe or they will risk despair and destruction if these new millions don't see any hope for their future.

We have a tremendous stake in their future, and we must engage more deeply with each of them in trying to shape it.

To the East of our Union there is the vast region with its 12 very different countries between us and the borders of China the 80 million people of the six Eastern Partnership countries, the 140 million people of Russia and the nearly 60 million people of the five countries of Central Asia. Their importance can also be illustrated by the fact that their Southern neighbours are Iran and Afghanistan.

A recent report by the European Council of Foreign Relations described the situation in this area in rather bleak terms:

"Politics is a toxic mixture of authoritarianism and stalled democracy, ongoing secessionist tensions continue to stoke fears of violent conflict, and the economic crisis is wreaking havoc throughout the region."

Again, it is obvious that we have a stake in their future -and that we must engage more deeply with each of them, based on their own priorities and their own wishes.

That our relations with Russia have deteriorated over the conflict with Georgia - and most notably over Russian unwillingness to stand by the agreements made at the very end of that conflict is obvious. Equally obvious is that there is some confusion over the course that Russia itself wishes to take.

But we must persist in getting Russia truly involved and embedded in a rules-based European and global order - along with all others. And we must not let up our efforts to convince them that nothing will bring more security to Russia than relationships with all their neighbours - including the smallest ones - based on true friendship and thrust.

That this is very much in the interest of all of Europe should be obvious to all of us.

Strengthened global relationship as part of a an emerging new architechture of cooperation when it comes to handling the global challenges , and a continued responsibility for securing the peace and prosperity of our own part of the world.

Dialogue with Brazil and Australia, engagement in Bosnia and the Balkans. Other challenges also calls for long term focus and strategic vision.

Our relationship with the entire Muslim world fits well into this category - our immediate neighbour not only on the map but increasingly also across the street back home.

From a European perspective few long-term issues are of such importance.

That is way our engagement for reform and reconciliation, peace and prosperity, across the Middle East has always been steadfast. A two-state solution between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean has been European policy for decades.

That is why we have been seeking a dialogue with Iran over all the issues on the agenda for years, notably the nuclear one, and why we welcome that the United States has now joined these efforts.

We have no illusions that this will be easy, but we have no illusions concerning the consequences of not even trying.

And that is why we are so heavily engaged also in Afghanistan, failure to secure order between the Hindu Kush and the Indus would have very far-reaching implications for global security for years to come.

In many ways the world today is more demanding, more difficult and in key areas also more dangerous than just a few years ago.

The days are hopefully gone when we discussed the global challenges in antagonistic terms and now should be the time for effective multilateralism in its real sense.

I believe that the global leadership now must give a clear answer to all those of our citizens who demand more of integration and more of joint action.

We need to regain institutional capacity for global growth. We need to agree on measures strong enough to combat global warming.

We need closer cooperation to promote peace, good governance and open societies on a global scale. We do not lack knowledge to achieve this, we do not lack the strength.

The risk for a deep-frozen global economy and an overheated Mother Earth do indeed require strong political leadership.

The question is whether we have the political will.

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