Examination of Witnesses (Questions 199-216)|
Mr Maciej Popowski, Ms Daniela Dicorrado-Andreoni
and Mr Paul Clairet
30 JUNE 2008
Q199 Chairman: Mr Popowski, can I apologise
that we are a moment or two late in getting across. Trying to
be in two places at once is not even possible for Members of the
House of Lords. As you probably know, we are undertaking an inquiry
into the European Security Strategy in the light of the decision
earlier this year that it ought to be reviewed and its implementation
examined before the European Council came to consider it in December.
We were very anxious to discuss with people from the Development
Directorate-General the issues which affect you in terms of the
European Security Strategy. We have a number of questions which
my colleagues and I would like to discuss with you. I do not know
whether you have an opening statement you would like to make or
whether you would like to introduce your colleagues who are with
you so that we have a note about them on the record too.
Mr Popowski: Thank you
very much. Yes, I would like to introduce my colleagues. Thank
you very much for the invitation, first of all. It is interesting
for us to exchange views with you. My name is Maciej Popowski,
I am Director for horizontal matters at the Directorate-General
for Development. I am accompanied by Mme Daniela Dicorrado-Andreoni,
who is in charge of the security and development nexus, to put
it in simple terms. Paul Clairet, is an adviser in the Directorate-General
who is also dealing with issues of security.
Q200 Chairman: Thank you very much
indeed. We will certainly want to come back to some of the issues
which were initiated during the Portuguese Presidency and which
we find of very great importance, particularly the case studies
which you are now undertaking and the way forward you are working
on fragile states because that element is clearly one of the important
issues within the development of the Security Strategy. The original
Strategy was developed by the Council and we wonder how far it
really is an instrument for the Council or how far it is an instrument
which influences the whole of the external actions of the Union,
including those which come as direct responsibility of the Commission.
In particular, given that your Directorate-General does carry
out policy planning and draw up Country Strategy Papers, how far
are they seen within the context of the wider Security Strategy?
Mr Popowski: We very much hope that the
European Security Strategy is not only a Council instrument. The
Commission was involved in the elaboration of the original ESS
in 2003 and now we are closely associated with the process as
mandated by the European Council last year. Indeed, if we want
to be serious about an update of the European Security Strategy
we need to follow a comprehensive approach to security which goes
beyond the classical pillar structure of the European Union. We
really cannot act as if we are living in different worlds. From
our particular point of view, the Directorate-General for Development,
the most important issue is the link between security and development
which was captured in the original version, the 2003 Security
Strategy, and I have been using that very extensivelythat
is the originalstating that development is a precondition
for security. We would like to go a little further down the road
and elaborate on the concept that we need sustainable development
in order for security to be sustainable. Of course, security considerations
are being taken into account when we elaborate Country Strategy
Papers, for example. We do it in different ways. I can only quote
one important policy of ours, which is the Policy Coherence for
Development, a concept which was developed in 2006. The main rationale
of the Policy Coherence for Development is to make sure whatever
we do in different policy areas of the European Union, it does
not undermine the development goals as defined, for example, by
the United Nations in the MDGs. That applies to security as well.
In view of recent developments, let us say between 2003 and today,
the importance of the nexus of security and development has grown,
everybody can see that, and we need to engage in a comprehensive
approach to security, especially in Africa, which we have done
in Congo/DRC or Guinea-Bissau and to a lesser extent in Darfur,
but I am sure we are going to come back to the issue of Darfur.
Chairman: Thank you very much indeed.
Q201 Lord Hamilton of Epsom: Does
the European Security Strategy provide a coherent and well-balanced
assessment of the global challenges, threats and risks facing
the EU? Should the Strategy pay greater attention to the underlying
political and socio-economic sources of security threats in addition
to the symptoms?
Mr Popowski: The ESS has recognised that
a distant threat may be as much of a concern as those that are
near at hand. Originally the Security Strategy looked at the threats
as identified in 2003, but we are living in a rapidly changing
world and the map of threats has changed as well. We have this
cluster of fragile states, terrorism and regional conflicts, but
back in 2003 we were not entirely aware of the imminent threats
linked to climate change, food prices, oil prices. Migration was
covered in the original version, but the questions of climate
change, food prices and oil prices were not. That requires a new
focus and we have to look at security in a much broader way. The
original version of the European Security Strategy did not pay
enough attention to the question of insecurity in developing countries
because that is exactly where some of the threats may and will
originate from. In our internal discussions we spoke about the
security risk and security costs of non-achievement of the Millennium
Development Goals because if we fail to achieve them collectively
it might produce devastating results in terms of human security,
which I think will be the new focus of the revised Security Strategy.
That is the Commission's point of view which was an input from
the European Commission to the discussion adopted by the College
of Commissioners some two weeks ago, and I am sure Mme Ferrero-Waldner
touched upon that. That has to be mainstreamed in the discussion
so that the more distant threats, but also those clearly linked
to the poverty and development dimension, which means the use
of human security, are discussed.
Q202 Lord Hamilton of Epsom: You
talk about the map of the threats and things changing over these
five years, but there is a slight risk, is there not, that if
you revise it then things change again so it becomes irrelevant
again. Surely you want a very broad document which covers everything.
Everybody we speak to says how wonderful the existing one is.
Is there not a risk that if we add more and more things on to
the next one it will mean more means less and it will be less
effective? Surely the problem is implementation rather than what
we put in the Strategy?
Mr Popowski: I fully agree. The problem
lies in the implementation because the original Security Strategy,
to which I am very attached because in my previous incarnation
in the Council I did take part in the elaboration, has stood the
test of time but it can be improved and there we have to differentiate
between the analytical part which needs some fine-tuning and the
implementation part which is a different issue. There is room
for improvement. When we look at what we have done over the last
few years, we can say that we have achieved a lot, not because
we had a Security Strategy but because we were forced by circumstances.
For example, the EU-led operations, ESDP operations, in Africa
and elsewhere, perfectly fit the framework of the Strategy but
in a way they were forced upon us by circumstances. If we continue
this discussion we must look into the implementation issue more
thoroughly than before.
Q203 Lord Anderson of Swansea: I
imagine that the temptation for your Directorate is to include
as much as possible of the development agenda within the European
Security Strategy. Clearly there is quite a large part of the
MDGs which are outside the immediate focus of security. Yes, the
Maghreb is relevant and, yes, the Caucasus is relevant because
their insecurity impacts on us directly as Europeans. It is less
so in respect of, say, Congo or the Pacific Islands where there
are resource interests and our interests are more marginal. How
do you draw the line? Clearly some things have to be excluded
which are within your own Directorate's remit that are not directly
relevant to the Strategy which affects security.
Mr Popowski: That is a good point but
we need to draw a distinction between the development approach
and the geographical approach. We know that the structure of the
Commission is quite elaborate, I would say, and our DG is responsible
for development and policies in our relations with the African,
Caribbean and Pacific States. We are not responsible for the Caucasus
or Central Asia. From the development point of view some of these
countries are developing countries, so if we talk about development
considerations or the MDGs it is not only limited to Africa as
far as the approach is concerned. If we speak about the Millennium
Development Goals, these concern all the developing countries
worldwide. We are not going to integrate our development policy
fully into the new version of the European Security Strategy,
but we would like to concentrate especially on the people-centred
approach, human security, where the link with some development
issues and Millennium Development Goals is very close.
Q204 Lord Anderson of Swansea: You
would accept that Congo, for example, is relatively marginal to
a European Security Strategy?
Mr Popowski: Congo is quite crucial to
the security of the African Continent.
Q205 Lord Anderson of Swansea: On
that basis you can enlarge it indefinitely, I suppose, have all
of Africa within this Security Strategy.
Mr Popowski: We have a European consensus
that Africa is quite crucial. We have our
Q206 Lord Anderson of Swansea: Not
Mr Popowski: Of course it is crucial
from the security point of view. If things go wrong again in the
Congo it can, and I sure it will, have a knock-on effect on Europe
as well. That was why we decided to get engaged operationally
in the Congo a few times. We have mounted two military operations
and we are there with our policemen and military advisers in order
to help the Congolese reform their security sector because we
see it as a potential threat to the security of the Continent
and if we want to be a responsible global actor we have to take
that into account.
Q207 Lord Hannay of Chiswick: That
leads rather helpfully, I think, into a question I would like
to ask you. What you have been saying about the interconnections
between development policy and security is of course common ground
to all Member States because they all signed the Outcomes Document
on the UN Summit of 2005 which actually said that, so bringing
that more clearly into focus in the European Security Strategy
should not be a major development. One thing that has arisen since
2003 is the concept of the "Responsibility to Protect"
which has been subscribed to by all our Member States. What I
wanted to ask you was whether you thought that the review of the
Security Strategy and its implementation could or should identify
this as an area where the European Union should be able to make
a contribution? So far the "Responsibility to Protect"
has remained a pretty dead letter, it has proved very difficult
to implement. My question really is whether the European Union
should be indicating that in the period ahead it would try to
identify ways in which a much wider view of the "Responsibility
to Protect", which is, I think, closely connected to your
reference to human security, should be taken.
Mr Popowski: Absolutely true. I fully
agree with your assessment that we have not gone far as far as
the implementation of the Council's "Responsibility to Protect"
is concerned. That was why we decided internally to concentrate
in our thinking on the human security aspect, which is linked
to the underlying assumptions of the concept of "Responsibility
to Protect" and the concepts which were the basis of the
Secretary General's report on Freedom from War and Freedom
from Fear, for example, that are the root causes of many of
the threats we are currently discussing. We see that the root
causes of the current threats, the most imminent ones, lay not
so much in the rivalry between states and ideologies but in physical
and psychological pressures on populations in developing countries.
That can have very grave consequences when oppression and poverty
are key factors, but also loss of dignity, for example, or deprivation
of human rights. The EU policies should be definitely focused
on that. We have done some conceptual work on the issue of fragile
states and our approach and assistance to fragile states. We have
also addressed the issue of the security sector reform, which
is linked to it, and a comprehensive approach to security. In
the OECD it is being called a whole of government approach and
we call it a comprehensive approach. Basically, if we want to
establish governance in a fragile state and improve the living
conditions of the population we need to be comprehensive, we cannot
just go in, do something and pull out because the results would
not be sustainable. That is very much our philosophy in continuing
the discussion on the Security Strategy.
Q208 Chairman: Is there a risk of
what is sometimes rather unkindly called stove piping, that if
we are thinking about fragile states and the interaction between
development, security and good governance, one really does need
to have the ideal of the Union's holistic approach and yet the
institutions of the Union do not always ensure that that is as
successful as it could be?
Mr Popowski: I am afraid we are not there
yet. Of course there is stove piping. There are parallel chains
of command and that is why you have to see quite a number of people
in Brussels today and not a single one.
Q209 Chairman: That is what we are
doing, which I am afraid is why we were late.
Mr Popowski: We do what we can. When
it comes to objectives, we really converge. We have a complicated
institutional set-up that we have to overcome sometimes in order
to deliver the best results. Within the Commission, which is only
one side of the story, we try to make best use of the Policy Coherence
for Development in the sense that we are really coherent in what
we do. That is the Commission's concept, of course endorsed by
the Council, but we cannot impose it on other players, Member
States on the Council, but when it comes to improve objectives
we are singing from the same hymn sheet. I do not know whether
you would like to add something to this?
Ms Dicorrado-Andreoni: The split between
the focus on the situations of fragility and the security and
development matters, on the other hand, was a split that caused
some discomfort even in the European Commission because it is
difficult to draw a line. The Council Conclusions asked us to
focus in a stove piped way on two areas which are connected and
difficult to make a distinction between. What we tried to do was
in the implementation of the Council Conclusions to have an approach
first of all on scrutiny of the situation focusing on country
situations and we split the world quite artificially into countries
which we would consider from a security and development nexus
perspective and countries which we would consider under situations
of fragility knowing that at the end of the day, and even during
the process, we are keeping track of who is doing what on the
other side. Even the decision on what country to choose for each
of the two clusters was done in complementarity. We insisted on
having South Africa under the security and development. Why South
Africa? Because South Africa is not a real developing country,
it has achieved security situations according to some standards
but it has specific security issues and we wanted to know better
how to go about it. Another implication of these two studies that
we tried to gain out of this exercise was, as Mr Popowski said,
to go for the comprehensive approach which for us is seen from
the point of view of the EU-wide approach involving Member States,
committing what each Member State is doing in "case studies"
countries and how to pull together both what we do on this side
and what is done on the side of Member States. If this belongs
to the security and development nexus or a fragility of situation
is quite irrelevant for the purpose of implementing the concept
which is integrated into the Country Strategy Papers and the Regional
Strategy Papers, a focus of attention which is fully integrated
with everything that is done on trade, infrastructure, education,
health, et cetera. I have to add that we do not only have these
case studies on fragility, security development, we are not waiting
for these studies to bring guidelines, guidance or action plans,
we are putting into Regional Strategy Papers the very few focal
sectors that we are requested to select. An important focal sector
includes political dialogues, security issues, governance, so
that the attention of our desks, delegations of Member States
when we discuss about how to strategise with the regions or country
is focused in terms of analysis and implementation on security,
its wide-ranging implications. Today security is a word which
is used so much, even to define stability. Either we go back to
defining stability for what it is, but if we start talking about
the European Security Strategy we have to take on board everything
which has been indicated as security strategic objectives.
Q210 Chairman: Could I just follow
that up. One possible outcome from the December discussions would
be to have the Security Strategy with relatively small changes
but, linked to that, a decision from the Council on the actions
in which one ought to try and develop action plans in order that
there can be more effective implementation of the Strategy in
the future. Would that seem to you to be a wise approach?
Mr Popowski: We need to do something
about implementation. We were very proud to adopt the Security
Strategy in 2003 but it was not operational. In the discussions
among experts and some of the authors of the original paper a
clear conclusion that is emerging is we lack this operational
dimension. Of course, we cannot write it into the paper because
it would blow up the whole intellectual construction. Action plans,
whatever we call them, could be a way out just to have an idea
how we would like to implement and mainstream security considerations
into different types of policies we are going to implement.
Q211 Lord Anderson of Swansea: Action
plans would have the benefit of flexibility without any modification
of the basic text.
Mr Popowski: I would say so, yes.
Q212 Lord Anderson of Swansea: Presumably
they would need to have timelines as well, dates within which
various elements should be implemented.
Mr Popowski: Preferably. I fully agree
that we should not engage in that kind of exercise every three
or five years whenever we see there are new threats emerging.
We need to have a framework but also some policy instruments on
how to implement what we have agreed upon at a strategic level.
Q213 Lord Hamilton of Epsom: I think
we are really talking about the same thing. Would you extend these
action plans to cover Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, for
Mr Popowski: When it comes to geographical
coverage, I would say so. The Security Strategy must have a global
outreach. No security threats emerge from the regions we are responsible
for in the Commission, but we need to have the same strategic
and comprehensive approach to them and take the security considerations
as outlined by my colleague into our programming work.
Q214 Lord Anderson of Swansea: Clearly
there are some problems which impact more directly on the interests
of Europe. No doubt there will be a development policy in respect
of Belize or Guyana, but things which go wrong there will not
impact directly on our security interests. Do you accept that
Mr Popowski: I am afraid it is natural.
We cannot be present everywhere and cannot do everything, nobody
can, and that is not going to change in effective multilateralism.
We need to continue to work on the basis of a global network of
interlocking institutions and that will remain the backbone of
our approach to security. In terms of operational engagement,
for example, we need to be selective.
Q215 Lord Anderson of Swansea: Clearly
there is a corpus of experience since 2003 and the Union has learned
not to crawl but not to run either, somewhere between the two.
To what extent do you see a development of crisis management capabilities
woven into the new document?
Mr Popowski: We have a separate track.
In the whole process of capacity development the Member States
and the European Defence Agency are working on the Capacity Development
Plan. It has to be covered one way or another. That is a crucial
point, of course. We are trying to redefine our strategic interests
in the Security Strategy but it has to be implemented and for
that we need the capabilities, both military and civilian, and
that is still the weak part. We talk about great projects, a Strategy,
but when it comes to an operation there is always the same conclusion,
we are lacking helicopters and policemen. It has never been any
different. I went through that when I was working in the Council
in the Political and Security Committee. Every time we were planning
an operation we always faced the same difficulties. It has to
be addressed, but I do not think we need to go into details of
capability development in the Security Strategy. We have to maintain
these parallel tracks.
Q216 Lord Hannay of Chiswick: Following
up your line that the European Union cannot do everything everywhere,
presumably in the area you are responsible for, for instance in
the Pacific, the primary institution which deals with security
in the Pacific is the South Pacific Forum really with the fragile
states there. Could you say something about what the European
Union and the Commission does to co-operate with them? For example,
in the Caribbean presumably there are other international organisations
like the OAS and CARICOM which have greater capabilities. In Africa,
of course, there is the African Union and all the sub-regional
and regional organisations. Do you feel that the European Union
and the Commission are making an effective contribution to these
regional and sub-regional organisations? Could we be doing more,
or should we be doing more?
Mr Popowski: We have the ambition to
do more because we believe that the regional organisations play
a crucial role. We see it in the context of effective multilateralism.
You mentioned the African Union, which is the key partner for
us on Africa and, as you know, we have adopted a joint EU-Africa
Strategy. The African Union is a key partner to implement that.
We are very focused on the African Union because it is a comprehensive
organisation which has continental ambitions. We offer a lot in
terms of capacity building, for example, especially when it comes
to security policy. I will mention a genuine European instrument,
the Africa Peace Facility, which was developed in order to help
Africans manage peace support operations like the one in Sudan,
in Darfur. That was the first African driven operation and, regardless
of the outcome, it was the first genuine attempt at mounting and
conducting an African operation with very important support from
the European Union, mainly from the Africa Peace Facility which
will continue under the tenth European Development Fund because
it is being financed from the Fund. Other organisations are crucial
as well: in Africa it is ECOWAS or SADC, and the fora in the Pacific
or the Caribbean. I do not deal with them directly so I do not
want to dwell on that, but perhaps we are not at the same level
of intensity of relations as with the African Union but the African
Union is a key partner in implementing our strategy.
Chairman: Mr Popowski, I do apologise first
that we were late and, secondly, we are going to be called away.
Can I just say we have very much appreciated having the opportunity
to have this meeting. Can I just say something which I hope will
not be misunderstood. One of the things which we all do agree
on in the United Kingdom as far as the European Union is concerned,
although we disagree about some other things, is we are all advocates
of enlargement and it does give us particular pleasure to see
people from the Member States now playing such an active part
in the Commission and helping us work together to solve problems.
I hope you will accept that. I am very pleased to see you here
playing such an important part in DG DEV. Thank you very much