Examination of Witnesses (Questions 220-239)|
Dr Javier Solana
30 JUNE 2008
Q220 Chairman: A sub-strategy.
Dr Solana: --- another document that
develops an action plan. The same has to be done for energy security
and on other issues, for instance on climate change where we already
have a document.
Q221 Chairman: A very good document.
Dr Solana: We have to keep updating that.
If possible, we want to have it as action documents attached to
keep the dimension of the document as it is. My fear, and you
will know why I say this, is if we go through paragraph by paragraph
we may have a paragraph from each country or something like that.
If we want to do something which is significant I will try to
avoid as far as possible countries putting in phrases that they
Q222 Lord Hamilton of Epsom: Can
you gloss over Russia? Russia is going to be a bone of contention,
is it not, it is going to divide rather than unite?
Dr Solana: The problem we will have with
Russia is how to balance Russia as a strategic partner and Russia
as a neighbour. That is the balance that has to be struck. We
can debate and come to an agreement on that, but to put it in
written form is very difficult. We are seeing that in just about
every issue that comes to the table that is Russia related. Russia
is an important actor in international affairs and at the same
time we have the problem with the neighbourhood. Another problem
that you will know of very well is the structural situation in
Russia today. I came from Siberia on Thursday or Friday where
we had the first formal meeting with President Medvedev and the
day after we sensed some of the consequences or reactions, some
positive but others not so positive. This is going to be a tricky
point to handle. These are the issues that we have, plus how we
deal with Georgia or Moldova, which is more of a neighbourhood
Q223 Lord Hannay of Chiswick: Thank
you very much, Secretary-General, for that splendid overview.
Just to say at the outset that I think most of us who have been
looking at this for about two months now have enormous sympathy
with your intention not to fundamentally change the 2003 document
and certainly not to turn it into a kind of Christmas tree on
which everybody hangs the thing that they most like and it becomes
ridiculous. There is very strong support for that approach. On
the other hand, listening to the various briefings we have had,
it does strike me that, whereas the 2003 document arrived at a
particular conjuncture when relations with the United States were
very bad and it was seen as a way somehow of restoring a more
healthy attitude and showing the United States that we were not
going to remain divided on every issue as we had been divided
over Iraq, I am not sure that the same trick can be played a second
time because the circumstances are rather different. As you say,
there are other issues like what we, the EU, are going to do about
Russia or China that have somehow got to be mentioned, although
not obviously described in this document. Surely there has to
be a stated intention by the 27 to do better than they have done
in the past, to have a proper strategic partnership and not just
a ragbag of every odd EU issue that happens to come up. It would
be very interesting to us to hear how you think that circle can
be squared. We are not suggesting you should put the strategy
towards Russia into the document because then the question will
be, "What about your strategy towards China, ASEAN"
or whatever it is. Could I mention one point that I find very
interesting, which is the concept of effective multilateralism
which I am sure is going to be sustained and it must be one of
the bedrocks of European foreign policy, but things have happened
since 2003, for example the "Responsibility to Protect",
or rather it has been written down on paper but it has not happened,
to be more exact, in Darfur or wherever you like to think about
it, and we are seeing the agonies going on over Zimbabwe as another
example of that. I wonder whether it would not be a useful thing
to at least ensure that the European Union in the future addresses
that in a bit of a less black and white way which has managed
to create great tensions for the developing world without actually
getting any protection for anyone, and to try to have an approach
to that, because I think the Europeans probably have got something
to say on that. They are not a military resort at any price group,
quite the contrary, in fact it is very difficult to see them producing
military resources somewhere in Africa or Asia at all. It would
be good if that could be brought within the scope of the next
Dr Solana: I have taken note of three
or four points. It is true that 2003 was a very specific moment
in our common history, but this is over and we are going to have
an election in the United States by the time the Strategy is approved.
I am trying to see how much we can put ideas together that could
be found in this document and also in a document from the United
States that will be done at around the same time or a little bit
after. We have been in touch with both teams and their sympathy
towards some of these ideas is very strong. I do not know if there
will be an administration in place by then which is able to discuss
formally, but to have a sense of where things are going, a sense
of direction, would be very good. Let me go to effective multilateralism
for a moment. I was very surprised in 2003 that the words "effective
multilateralism" were used by no-one but today, wherever
you go, in Russia, in China, ASEAN, America, the world "multilateralism"
comes up and always accompanied by "effective", which
is something we helped to coin. The type of terminology that we
are able to coin is very important. If we could find that here,
it would be very good. There is no doubt that documents of this
type are going to be written in the coming period of time. In
as much as we can find common language on important issues that
would be very good. Climate change is a perfect example. This
is the first problem to which a solution has been found by everybody.
No single country can find a solution alone. It is a good moment
to try to coin terminology and if necessary to be more specific
on where we are heading with other countries. This has been done
already with the United States. We will have a meeting before
the end of July to look at these issues and the big questions
on the agenda today and see how much we can co-operate together
and use terminology together. I would not say with the new administration
because we do not know what the new administration will be, but
think-tanks, people we know are important in the building up of
concepts, et cetera. On effective multilateralism, it is very,
very important that we keep on talking about that. To my mind,
we have two big challenges on that issue. One is Doha and the
other is Copenhagen. They are not a year from now, Doha is tomorrow.
It seems to me that a big effort has to be made, not only because
it is beneficial to the economic situation to have trade agreements
but because if we do not get that it will be very difficult to
get Copenhagen. The countries with emerging economies, if we talk
to them, the Chinese, Indians, Brazilians, et cetera, they are
waiting for more than a gesture; but a reality. I think it will
be much easier to do it in Doha, for them to see or feel we are
credible and we will engage, we are taking them seriously, than
to engage them on climate change where the sacrifices, the problems,
may be much more difficult to handle. If we do not get something
on Doha it will be much more difficult to get them engaged on
climate change. For us, climate change is fundamental in that
we are the catalytic motor or engine of the climate change deal.
We should not forget that Doha is a Development Round. This is
the essence of Doha. So we cannot be ungenerous when we are talking
about the Round. But due to the political situation and the crash
in the economy the reflections of some countries, even Member
States, are a little bit more conservative. I am worried about
that. Whatever dynamics we may create, even in the writing of
this document, it is very important that we believe in effective
multilateralism. If the WTO fails, what is left on effective multilateralism?
We have a really important decision to be taken there. The third
thing is our relations with others. In 2003 we said a lot about
countries and institutions and from there we have had experiences
which are a little bit deeper such as with the African Union.
It is very important not only to say it but to construct more
on African Union co-operation. Yesterday I was talking with the
new President of the African Union, and after the meeting at Sharm
El Sheikh, we exchanged views and talked about it, and it is important
that is reflected and is done. It has to be reflected in a much
more important manner, ASEAN, the African Union and other groupings
of countries, and at the same time we have to do it. We have challenges
there which are very, very important. The last thing I would like
to say is on "Responsibility to Protect". This is a
very dear idea for us, but not so dear for others. The problem
we have had with other countries is that they see everything through
that potential prism that signifies military action and you cannot
discuss that with Egypt; for example, it is impossible. Responsible
sovereignty is terminology we have to begin to use and possibly
link it with climate change. You do things in your own countries
that have repercussions outside, for instance through CO2. If
you put the two things together, what you do in your country may
be dangerous for others and what you do in your country influences
others. If we have a responsibility to protect and responsible
sovereignty in a package that may be easier together. Let us see
how we can put that into the debate. Let us see if we can make
some headway in that direction.
Q224 Lord Anderson of Swansea: No-one
will be against effective multilateralism, even the incoming US
administration, whoever it is. No-one will be against responsible
sovereignty. No-one will be against capabilities, although people
will not deliver on capabilities. No-one will be against the MDGs,
although we note that the actual amount spent by most of our European
partners has decreased over the past year. Do you not see a problem
of moving from declarations to implementation? Do you realistically
think that rallying around what is a grand concept is going to
persuade any country which is currently falling behind on its
military side or in terms of its aid contribution to alter its
conduct one whit?
Dr Solana: I am an optimist, otherwise
I would not be here.
Q225 Lord Anderson of Swansea: So
Dr Solana: When I look back I find things
that go in that direction, although you might say not in the rhythm
required. When you see that we have already been engaged in more
than 20 operations in the world. They may not be huge operations
but to have the European Union acting in peacekeeping operations
is helping. Some are military, some are civilian. We have been
in Indonesia. It was a small operation that came after the tsunami
but helped to get the bilateral agreement implemented, together
with some ASEAN countries. Sometimes they are little things that
can bring the added value. It is true that much more should have
been done, but what has been done was not cheap. If this conversation
took place a month or two months ago I would have been much clearer.
I may have doubts today because I know some of the questions on
the Treaty of Lisbon are on defence, which at the end is capability.
We have structured co-operation. We know what it means, structured
co-operation is about capabilities. In a way this is a good criterion,
that if you want to belong you have to contribute. I do not know
how this is going to be handled after the referendum. If that
is kept in the Lisbon Treaty that is one step that is very important.
On capabilities, I think some of the countries that are opting
out now will opt in. Denmark, for instance. That is because a
new climate has been created. Otherwise why would they want to
change? With all the caveats, the economic crisis et cetera, we
have seen the document by the French which is an interesting document
because it goes in the direction of effectiveness. It is important
also that France is moving into NATO which has consequences for
a much better relationship between the two organisations on transatlantic
matters. There are some things which are coming which go in that
direction, not dramatically but slowly and clearly in the right
Q226 Lord Anderson of Swansea: On
climate change, do you think there will be agreement on specific
measures to help developing countries respond to climate change?
If so, what is the range of help which you think the Union can
Dr Solana: You ask me if I think it will
be possible I say, yes, it is possible. Is it going to be easy?
No, it is not going to be easy. It is going to be a very difficult
agreement to make binding because with important countries like
China or India it is very difficult to get binding objectives.
But we have to continue fighting for that. In the European Union,
which is leading the catalytic effort to get an agreement, we
have to put things on the table which are important. Your Prime
Minister has made some statements in the same direction. The objective
has to be to make it binding but at the same we will probably
have to be much more aggressive on amounts per capita. Maybe we
can find an agreement. The United States have said very clearly,
and President Bush told us very clearly the other day, that without
engagement from China and India they will never sign. I do not
think it is impossible but it is difficult and we will have to
do a lot on technology transfer, be constructive on intellectual
property laws and maybe touch on something there. It will require
a lot, but it is not impossible.
Q227 Lord Hannay of Chiswick: Could
I just ask you a question about enlargement because I think the
2003 Security Strategy somewhat took enlargement for granted,
which was reasonable enough because the European Union was about
to increase its numbers and we had already begun to go down the
road towards opening negotiations with Turkey, Macedonia and Croatia,
and given certain undertakings at Thessaloniki to the other countries
in the Balkans. It seems to me that everyone from one side of
the political spectrum to the other accepts that the prospect
of enlargement, which could one day come to include, let us say,
the Ukraine as well, is something that is absolutely crucial to
any European Security Strategy. A European Security Strategy which
said, "The 27 Members of the European Union, that is the
end, line drawn, no more", would be a completely different
Security Strategy from the one that says there are a number of
countries out there who will ultimately become members if they
can accept the responsibilities of membership and conform to our
criteria. Most of us would argue it is a better Security Strategy
and that the other one saying, "27, that's it", is a
disastrous European Security Strategy with all sorts of damaging
implications, particularly in the Balkans but also with Turkey.
At the moment, not only is the Turkish situation very fraught
both for internal Turkish reasons and also because of the attitude
of the incoming Presidency, but people are starting to throw around
rather loosely talk about "No Lisbon, no further enlargement",
which strikes me as highly irresponsible because if we have to
continue on the basis of Nice plus some pragmatic efforts in the
direction pointed to by Lisbon we could certainly not say "no
enlargement" without damaging the Security Strategy. I wondered
if you could say how you thought you could get round that. On
a final, quite different issue, can you factor in what is becoming
quite a big element in the American election campaign, which is
the move back towards multilateral nuclear disarmament and how
Europe can fit into that.
Dr Solana: (The answer began off the
record) On nuclear disarmament, that is a beautiful question and
I think we have an opportunity here. We have an opportunity with
the new administration. You know there are bipartisan efforts
in that direction and we are co-operating with them. How do we
deal with it? That will depend very much on how it is looked upon
by the UK and France. If you help I think we can do a lot on that
issue and create a climate which will be a catalyst for disarmament.
I was in Geneva on Wednesday at the UN Conference on Disarmament.
I was asked to speak by the Member States and I will give you
a copy of my speech. It created a certain impact because nobody
has revitalised the situation. Ban Ki Moon was there six months
ago. We have an opportunity to do something along that line and
I am very optimistic about McCain's and Obama's teams. I think
it will be possible not only on the numbers but on the posture,
and the two things have to be done. That will put us in a much
better position for dealing with Iran.
Q228 Chairman: 2010?
Dr Solana: The Review Conference in 2010
of the Non-Proliferation Treaty will be quite an important event
Q229 Chairman: It is something which
we have raised also in London.
Dr Solana: It would be good if you could
Q230 Lord Hannay of Chiswick: Public
statements by the British Government are pretty helpful so far,
there have been two or three speeches now.
Dr Solana: There are two things. One
is the principle, and I agree that you are moving in that direction
very rapidly. The other is, is the European Union the place where
we can talk about this? I think it should be. We need to create
a positive climate and that is the other part on which you have
to help a little bit.
Q231 Lord Hamilton of Epsom: Going
back to the Security Strategy, it calls on the EU to be more "active,
capable and coherent". To what extent do you think the EU
has actually delivered on this commitment and should part of the
Strategy be revised or strengthened? I think you have somewhat
answered that in terms of thinking it should be pretty minimalist.
Dr Solana: That phrase in the text relates
also to the Lisbon Treaty even if Lisbon Treaty was not yet conceived.
If the Treaty were to be ratified and implemented there is no
doubt that it would be easier to be done, no doubt about that.
Q232 Chairman: One of the important
areas I would like to come on to is that threats and challenges
increasingly are not coming from enemy states classically, but
because of fragile states which implode and, therefore, create
a lot of problems in a whole variety of ways for us, unstable
states which spread. Here there are some questions because quite
clearly if this is to be effective it needs the potential of the
European Union to bring together instruments which are able to
work in the security, governance and development areas and can
work effectively together. Yet we all know for a number of reasons
there is too often what might be called stove piping with things
operating separately without sufficient co-ordination. As far
as this business of stabilising fragile states, which is critical,
and during the Portuguese Presidency there was an important initiative
taken, how far can we learn lessons both from the ESDP missions
and is there something here which ought to be reflected in some
way without too many changes, it is already implicit in the Strategy,
by some development in the Strategy?
Dr Solana: We have lessons learned from
that not only from our own activity but from the activity of others.
Q233 Chairman: Of course.
Dr Solana: We can develop from some of
the lessons that can be described or detailed. With the Lisbon
Treaty, the co-operation among institutions, it will be much better,
or at least the possibility will be much better. For that purpose,
for dealing with fragile states, all the elements, development,
security elements, economic, trade, et cetera should be put together
in packages. The Lisbon Treaty can help a lot to do it properly
and in a better co-ordinated way, I have no doubt about that.
All of these things are inter-related. The consequence of the
Strategy in a way was the Treaty and the implementation of the
Treaty would be the next step. I would be optimistic in that direction
if everything goes well.
Q234 Chairman: I am not sure we should
start too soon working out how we manage some of these problems
if we do not have a Lisbon Treaty. You referred earlier on to
the situation in Macedonia and, of course, the fact we have made
so much progress in Macedonia is owed to your own personal efforts
at an earlier stage. One of the other interesting things there
was that we did have double-hatting between the Special Representative
Dr Solana: We have two double-hatted
Q235 Chairman: Now in Addis as well.
Dr Solana: It is a fantastic achievement
really. We have Macedonia and the African Union incorporated with
a lot of difficulties. We have tried very hard to do it in Afghanistan
Q236 Chairman: I have heard.
Dr Solana: I very much hope that we will
be able to do it. That is one step before the implementation of
the Treaty, but it goes in that direction, the direction that
the Treaty contemplates.
Q237 Chairman: Even next year, if
we were to move in Bosnia-Herzegovina away from
Dr Solana: Bosnia will not be difficult.
Q238 Chairman: There again, the logic
is to have a single
Dr Solana: The problem with Bosnia now
is not because of the countries which are not in the European
Union but who would like to maintain a broader international representative.
If not, by now we could have appointed somebody from the European
Q239 Chairman: I hope that we will
not have to fall back on these other ways of doing it if the Treaty
goes through but, nonetheless, as a Committee some time ago in
responding to the document Europe in the World we tried
to take up some of these points.
Dr Solana: It is very good that you keep