Examination of Witnesses (Questions 240-245)|
Dr Javier Solana
30 JUNE 2008
Q240 Lord Hannay of Chiswick: The
trickiest one of all to do without Lisbon, of course, would be
Russia. That is the one where the lack of an overall European
Union approach which factors in some of the foreign policy issues
as well as all the economic policy issues is undoubtedly one of
the things that enables the Russians to divide and rule, but of
course it is much trickier because it is not an emergency situation
like Afghanistan, Macedonia and so on.
Dr Solana: (The answer was given off
Q241 Lord Hamilton of Epsom: Can
I just come back on the United States. I feel really that it does
not make any difference who wins the presidential election, the
Americans are going to cut back on their defence expenditure,
they have got serious financial problems, they may undergo major
economic recession, their foreign adventures have been mixed to
disastrous, so we are going to have a post-Vietnam time, I think,
when they are going to be rather drawing back and much more cautious
about foreign adventures. How do you think the EU plays into all
that? You must have been thinking about that.
Dr Solana: Yes, a lot, not only thinking
but talking to them. I think the test for us is going to be Afghanistan.
They may have differences on Iraq but in Afghanistan they have
a bipartisan policy. Whatever is done there, it involves both
the European Union and NATO, we both have a responsibility. That
is something where we should give signals of maintaining engagement,
helping to find a solution together which will be very, very important
for our strategy. If we do it properly that will allow us to go
Q242 Chairman: Secretary-General,
we have taken a good deal of time but we have one last question
if we might be allowed another couple of minutes. One of the things
which we have learned in the last day is although perhaps in London,
Paris, and I do not know about Madrid, but in the larger countries,
because there are capacities for developing security strategies
on their own maybe the Security Strategy does not play as large
a role as it should, and there are a number of other Member States
who do not necessarily have the inherent capacity to develop security
strategies to get a broad overview. Here, as an educational function
in creating an environment, we have got the impression that the
Security Strategy already has played a rather important role and
it would be interesting to hear from you whether you could confirm
Dr Solana: That is true. I do not want
to exaggerate but I think the fact that it was a straightforward
document and was readable has helped a lot for different actors
within the Member States to talk about it. We have maintained
the idea of seminar in different capitals which creates the dynamics
for debate inside different countries and we are going to continue.
We will have a seminar in Paris at the EU Institute. Others in
Warsaw, and Rome. It is, important to keep on discussing these
matters without necessarily having a commitment to get conclusions.
Everybody has their own conclusions but we do not write down conclusions
or paragraphs. Ideas, yes. That is good because it mobilises the
security community in different countries.
Chairman: I was at the seminar that was held
in Warsaw at the end of last week and having been originally involved
in the creation of the WEU Institute I am very proud of the way
that Institute is playing an important part in the development
of the European security culture collectively.
Q243 Lord Hannay of Chiswick: I think
you have answered my question, but just for completeness could
I say that there is this astonishing contradiction between the
fact that everyone who sees it agrees that the European Security
Strategy is a good document that has been useful to a lot of people
and so on, but if you go outside a very small charmed circle nobody
has ever heard of it. At the same time, when Eurobarometer goes
round and asks people what they would most like to see the European
Union providing them, security comes right at the top. Somehow
or another in all the agonising after the Irish referendum, much
of which is about the same question, the disconnect between the
elites and the electorate, I do think we are going to have to
come up with some kind of answer as to why it is we cannot do
better at telling people about these security issues and what
the European Union is trying to do about them.
Dr Solana: One thing that is much more
delicate but we also have to tackle is national security.
Q244 Chairman: Yes.
Dr Solana: Not only external security
Q245 Chairman: That is why the French
White Book was very important and why, in a sense, we need to
incorporate some of those ideas perhaps into the review of the
Security Strategy. Secretary-General, as I think you know, our
Sub-Committee really appreciates the time you are always prepared
to give us. We hope that our reports are better because we have
the chance to discuss these things with you.
Dr Solana: Thank you very much.
Chairman: We wish you well. Life has become
a little more complicated because of events on the other side
of the Irish Channel, but there are lots of tasks still ahead
of you and we wish you well with what is going to be an interesting
Presidency. We wish all those well who are involved in the task
of making sure that we have an even better European Security Strategy
in the next few months. Thank you.