Speech by Günter Gloser, Minister of State for Europe, on the 6th German-Korean Forum, Munich, 18 October 2007

18.10.2007 - Speech

Speech for the discussion forum on security issues and integration processes
6th German-Korean Forum, Munich, 18 October 2007

- Translation of advance text -


Mr Hong,

I found the speech you have just given on your country's experiences with cooperative security very interesting. Security and prosperity through cooperation is also an important topic for us here in Germany and Europe.

And that is what I want to talk about now: European integration, of which the Federal Republic of Germany has been part since the 1950s and for which it is continuously striving.

We have demonstrated this commitment of the European integration process most noticeably since German reunification. Nobody knows better than the Korean people what it means to suffer the fate of division. We Germans were fortunate enough to be able to overcome the division of our country in 1990.

German reunification had a specifically European dimension. During the drafting of the Unification Treaty, it was clear to all players in the two German states then still in existence that unity would not succeed without a European perspective, without being incorporated in the process of European integration.

The Preamble to the Treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic on the Establishment of German Unity states that the aim was “seeking through German unity to contribute to the unification of Europe and to the building of a peaceful European order in which borders no longer divide and which ensures that all European nations can live together in a spirit of mutual trust”.

Seventeen years have since passed, and what seemed visionary at the time is now everyday European reality. Our ongoing joint efforts within the group of Member States have been instrumental in achieving this.

However, the European integration process has also acquired a completely new profile thanks to globalization. We know that individual nation states can no longer resolve the key issues of the future single-handedly. This realization has prompted us as Europeans to formulate new common goals. The European Union Member States are determined to pool their strengths and jointly tackle the central challenges of the 21st century within the framework of the European Union.

Here in Berlin in March 2007 at the meeting of the 27 Member States we expressed this common view of our identity in a joint declaration which states, “We are committed to the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the world and to ensuring that people do not become victims of war, terrorism and violence. The European Union wants to promote freedom and development in the world. We want to drive back poverty, hunger and disease. We want to continue to take a leading role in that fight.”

Within the framework of the European Union, therefore, the Europeans are taking a united stand against the key political challenges of the day. Today the EU is well positioned to play a pioneering role in energy and climate policy.

Both issues, energy and climate policy, also dominated the EU Summits with the United States and Russia as well as the G8 meeting, which included the emerging economies in connection with the UN climate conference in Bali this December.

Another major EU policy area is the development of trade relations. We want to ensure that the ongoing Doha Round is successful and make the most of the window of opportunity that will be open until the end of the year.

Moreover, we Europeans perceive a common responsibility in dealing with the increasing numbers of immigrants coming into our countries. Within the context of the EU we are working on a joint strategy providing for dialogue with immigrants' countries of origin and transit.

If we speak of Europe's role in politics, we automatically talk about its common foreign and security policy. One of our declared goals is that we in Europe want to work to strengthen peace and international cooperation as well as respect for human rights and fundamental liberties.

To take just one example, each year as part of its non-proliferation policy the EU funds concrete initiatives and thus supports the work of the IAEA and the fight against small arms proliferation.

Or let us look to Kosovo. As the representative of the EU, Ambassador Ischinger is currently holding talks on the status of Kosovo with one representative each from the United States and from Russia. The European common foreign policy is now the daily bread of German diplomacy.

The name “common foreign and security policy” hits the nail on the head: the EU also pursues security policy. This has only really acquired momentum in recent years, for external security was for a long time not an issue with regard to European integration. For the Western European states this was rather the genuine task of the transatlantic alliance, NATO.

Although some EU states would like gradually to shift the accents in this area slightly, as far as Germany was concerned, external security was largely guaranteed by the Pax Americana of the post-war order. Parallels with Asia and Korea ought to be visible.

The groundwork for a separate European security and defence policy was laid only after the collapse of Yugoslavia, above all with the armed conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as in Kosovo. We Europeans were particularly disturbed by these first hotspots on our doorstep after the lifting of the Iron Curtain.

This about-turn demonstrates a quality which applied to the entire history of European integration: Europe always has been able to clear hurdles when foreign policy challenges confronted it with difficult decisions.

Thus, in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks and the dispute surrounding the Iraq war in spring 2003, the EU adopted the European Security Strategy in December 2003. This sets clear strategic guidelines for the common foreign and security policy.

Since then the EU has emerged as a well-regarded player in international crisis management. In the last eight years, 16 successful missions have been conducted, 10 of them in the past year. The EU is involved in numerous trouble spots.

Allow me to mention a few examples:

Europeans are currently assisting the Bosnian, Congolese, Palestinian and, most recently, the Afghan police forces. Europeans are training Iraqi justice officials. In Bosnia and Herzegovina the EU is establishing security for the people in the Western Balkans with its largest military operation to date.

And it was EU soldiers who last year played a most decisive role in ensuring the peaceful nature of the first democratic elections for 40 years in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This mission involved troops from several Member States, and it was the first autonomous EU mission of its kind to be organized from the headquarters in Potsdam. The EU thus provided support for the United Nations peacekeeping force, MONUC. The EU continues to be active in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, supporting military reform and, as I already mentioned, police training.

Europe's commitment is gaining increasing recognition and approval in a shifting web of security-policy relations. In the observation mission in Aceh, Indonesia, in which European advisors supported the implementation of the peace agreement, the EU was the only international player to be accepted by the conflicting parties as a neutral “third party”. Nobody else would have been able to assume this responsibility in this concrete situation.

The forum organizers asked me to focus specifically on European experiences with cooperative security. I have cited several examples of missions. Germany has always attached importance to paying equal attention to the development of both civilian and military assets. The systematic expansion of civilian capabilities remains a central concern for us. However, further development of military capabilities is just as vital.

We are convinced that only by placing equal weight on developing both pillars
– military and civilian – of the European security and development policy can we be successful.

We consider it essential that conflict resolution, peacekeeping and support for reconstruction are coordinated. The EU can do this through its own integrative approach. Of course, we aren't perfect, and we have to learn afresh with every new crisis, but I get the impression that this learning process has now come on in leaps and bounds and is continuing to do so.

We are currently concerned about the situation in Sudan, to be more precise, in Darfur, and the upcoming mission in Chad. The situation in Darfur remains problematic. As this also impacts on the situation in Chad and the Central African Republic, the United Nations has called upon the EU to launch a military operation to establish security for the Darfur refugees in Eastern Chad and the North of the Central African Republic and to allow those who have been displaced within the country to return to their villages.

I mentioned earlier that in the coming months we will continue to be heavily involved with the issue of the future status of Kosovo. The solution to this issue, whatever form it may take, can only be implemented politically if it is backed by a broad international presence. The EU has expressed its willingness to provide this support and consequently faces the largest and most demanding civilian mission Europe has ever had to mobilize.

All this shows that the EU has evolved into a well-regarded player in international crisis management. European security policy is, only a few years after it came into being, an integral part of European and international policy. Today the EU's success in the area of security policy is acknowledged, and the EU is capable of achieving stability beyond its own continent.

European integration has led to 50 years of peace between the states which shared in it. It has been a decisive factor in boosting the economic prosperity of the European continent. Today we can see the high level of interest many other world regions show in the European model. We don't intend to dole out advice, but we do want to stand by our global partners and join forces to safeguard peace and stability throughout the world.

Thank you for your attention.

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