Less than two weeks ago, Spain was hit by the worst terror attacks ever. The global terror seems to have entered Europe. We must be very clear about this – we are all potential targets. Terror can hit us anywhere and at any time. This is precisely the essence of terror: To spread fear.
The kind of violence and terror that Al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations perpetrate has no realistic political objective. Its utopian political objective is to reestablish the Caliphate and push Islam forward through a clash of civilisations.
The real aim of terrorism is to create fear and submission. Its aim is to destroy the core values that are the foundation of free, open and democratic societies.
That is why we are all under attack. We all share those fundamental values. We all face the serious threat of international terrorism. And we all have to understand and accept our responsibilities for dealing actively with it. We should never allow fear of the unknown to determine our lives. We should never allow terror to close our open societies.
[Fighting terrorism through the EU] Denmark supports a strong EU as the pivot of cooperation between Member States in the fight against terrorism. This is the heart of the Solidarity Clause of the draft Constitutional Treaty, which I hope we shall soon conclude. We support the proposal by the Irish Presidency to agree, at this week’s summit, to a political commitment to assume the obligations contained in the Solidarity Clause. This will be a strong signal that we are committed to come to the assistance of each other in response to new threats stemming from terrorism.
Building on the solidarity and cooperation of the EU, we must develop and implement concrete action to ensure high levels of security within Europe.
Since the terror attacks against the US on 11 September, we have taken a number of substantial steps, and we have further initiatives underway in our EU Action Plan on Terrorism in the context of the European Security Strategy. We must now ensure that all Member States fulfil their commitments. To further the process, an evaluation of national arrangements in the fight against terrorism will be presented already at the June meeting of the European Council.
Denmark strongly supports the Irish Presidency in bringing forward new proposals and ideas to the European Council this week. We must enhance efforts to prevent terrorist financing, strengthen our intelligence cooperation, improve transportation security, and ensure effective border control. Other ways of enhancing our internal security will be examined as well. If adopted, the draft Constitutional Treaty will provide further legal basis for the necessary measures to protect our citizens against the new terrorism.
But let us not deceive ourselves. Even by closer cooperation and coordination in the EU, we will never be able to eliminate all security threats to our societies without jeopardising the very values that we want to protect. We should take all measures required in order to protect our citizens and our societies. But we must do so under full respect of the very values we are striving to protect. The fight against terrorism must take place within the realm of the rule of law – not at the cost of it.
What we can do is to make sure that no terrorist finds a safe haven in this world. And just as importantly, we can engage in the truly global task of addressing the roots of terrorism. To do this we need a stronger global role for the EU.
Terrorism is only one example of the global challenges in front of us. No man is an island, John Donne has said. No modern country is either, we should add. The superpower stand-off of the Cold War has been replaced by much more complex threats and challenges: Climatic and demographic changes; uneven developments and poverty; failing states and civil wars; man-made disasters and humanitarian crises; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and I could go on.
My wish today is to outline how we can use the EU to meet the global challenges. I will use the fight against the root causes of terrorism to show how problems are often closely connected, and why our policies should therefore also be closely coordinated. To make a real difference, it is essential that we work together. The common values and the close cooperation of the EU put it in a unique position to promote the necessary joint action.
What we need is wise and far-sighted policies as well as effective instruments and capabilities.
[Policies to combat terrorism] One of the most important policy tasks at the beginning of this century is how to address the root causes of terrorism.
To prevent terrorists from recruiting supporters, we must address those political, social, and economic conditions in the world, which create a breeding ground for extreme fundamentalism and political radicalisation. We must work regionally and globally to spread security, stability and prosperity. We must change the developments, which drive often young Muslims into religious and political extremism. Otherwise we run the risk of allowing terrorism to develop into a permanent threat to international stability and security.
We must ask ourselves, what we can do to support the regions of the world left behind in the globalisation. What we can do to help these countries in meeting the challenges of reform that they know they are facing. What we can do to strengthen the forces that are struggling for democracy and development. What we can do to help them create a future with less despair and more prosperity, more development and hope for a better future.
In the first place and in particular, we have asked ourselves, what we can do to improve our political and economic relations with the Mediterranean and the Middle East regions.
The Danish government is working intensely on this task. In close cooperation with local partners, we are looking into their proposals for projects to support new developments. Already, we have a 14 million Euro grant a year for support of democratic reforms in individual countries. We are right now establishing a Danish-Arabic institute in Cairo. We are helping the Jordanians to establish an independent ombudsman. We are examining the possibilities for supporting the democratic forces in Morocco. Just to mention a few examples.
Both in the Mediterranean, in the Middle East and beyond, development assistance can also play a significant role.
Development aid is all about changes. Changes for the better. Through aid, we can give more people access to education. We can improve women’s rights and status in the society. We can improve the general living conditions and the opportunities for a good life. In short: We can give more people a better life and a new hope for a better future.
The Danish government has made substantial efforts to examine exactly how we can use development assistance in the fight against terror. The result is a new action plan, and we have decided to back this plan by a grant of 19 million Euros over the next three years.
When working with Europe’s neighbours to the south and the south-east, we need to be clear that we will not succeed, if we from the outside try to change their ways of doing things. We have to engage in a dialogue. We have to improve existing contacts of cooperation and establish new ones building on reform activities already in progress in the region. This goes not only for governments, but also for companies, organisations, institutions and even persons of cultural significance.
[Working together to make a difference] But to really make a difference, we must ensure a concerted international effort.
Through the EU, we can pool our efforts and achieve results that far exceed the possibilities of any individual Member State. We must use not only diplomacy and dialogue mechanisms of the EU, but ensure a systematic integration of all other policy areas – trade policy, development assistance and eventually also the crisis management operations.
The European Security Strategy foresees special efforts towards different regions. Work is already well under way preparing the basis for a Strategic Partnership with the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The aim is to establish one comprehensive framework, connecting all existing instruments. The core implementation of this strategy will be partnerships with the countries of the region, building on mutual interests and benefits, differentiated between the different countries and focused on their specific needs. The partnerships offered to the region will be based on values such as democracy, equal rights and rule of law.
Many solutions to the global challenges must be found within the framework of the UN and the WTO. The EU must contribute to improving the international legal system and commitments that should be the basis for fighting terrorism on a global scale. And the EU should be in the forefront of the efforts to ensure better conditions in the world?s developing countries, not least when it comes to promoting a free and fair world trade.
We need to work also through bilateral cooperation. In particular, meeting the global challenges requires further strengthening of the transatlantic ties.
After the attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001, Europe declared our full solidarity with America in the fight against terrorism. Since then, we have achieved a vital cooperation on a number of fields, both abroad and in our homelands. Today, after the March 11 attacks in Madrid, I am convinced this cooperation will only be strengthened.
A stronger EU is a precondition for the necessary transatlantic cooperation. We know that the global challenges in front of us will increase. And we know that the global weight of the West will decrease. Only a strong Europe together with a strong USA can find the necessary solutions and take responsibility for forming a just and sustainable world order based on our common values.
Transatlantic cooperation is indispensable in the WTO negotiations, where we must work for fairness in the world trade in order to help the developing world to better economies and social development. And transatlantic cooperation is indispensable with regard to the Middle East Peace Process and the implementation of the Road Map. In spite of the recent events, the EU and USA must bring it home to the parties that only negotiations can finally create a viable peace and a two-state solution. We can all agree on the fundamental aims of supporting development and prosperity in the Middle East region. On this basis, we should be able to let the different thoughts and initiatives work together in a fruitful and complementary manner.
[Strengthening the institutions and instruments of the EU] The peoples of Europe rightly expect the EU to deal with the global challenges in front of us, including terrorism.
We must address the roots of terrorism and create the prosperous and democratic neighbourhood that we need. We must ensure rapid reaction and credible follow-up to emerging crises. We must prevent new conflicts from erupting by proactive interventions.
But we will only achieve results if we work together. If we can take proactive decisions. If we have the necessary instruments and capabilities.
Let me highlight three concrete measures that we should take in order to strengthen the global role of the EU.
Firstly, Europe must speak with one voice. Our partners must receive the same messages when they meet us as the EU and when the meet us bilaterally. And the foreign policy tools of the Council must be coordinated with the tools of the Commission.
Making 25 or more nations plus a European Commission speak with one voice is not the easiest job. But there are ways to make the job easier. The first important element in a stronger global role for the EU, that I would like to emphasise is the introduction in the draft Constitutional Treaty of a new Minister or Representative for Foreign Affairs.
The Minister will combine both the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the Council and the external relations of the Commission. And he will provide the EU with a much-needed single interlocutor abroad. He has a phone number! I would clearly assume, also, that the Minister would participate in high-profile diplomatic initiatives, such as trilateral visits to Iran by UK, France and Germany.
It is important to stress that the EU Minister for Foreign Affairs will not replace or take over the foreign policies of Member States. On the contrary, the draft Treaty makes it clear that the Common Foreign and Security Policy is conducted by the Member States and that the Minister should remain fully accountable to the Council.
In a globalised world, national interest is often not served best by national action, but by international action. That goes for big countries as well as small countries. Take the common trade policy of the EU as an example. The positions of the Member States differ with regard to their willingness to liberalise trade. But we have all recognised the advantages of conducting a common trade policy. That is one way of strengthening the EU’s voice on the global scene.
The second element in a stronger global role for the EU is to make sure that our policies are backed by powerful financial instruments. It is my hope that we can agree to a substantial increase in the resources available for external relations in the new budgetary framework of the EU from 2007-2013. To create the peaceful and democratic environment that Europe needs, a central priority must be to back our partnership with neighbours – both inside and outside Europe – with significant financial means. Our aim should be to support changes in our new neighbouring regions East and South of Europe. We must create stability and prosperity around us, not least by promoting democratic developments and good governance based on human rights and the rule of law. This requires financial instruments at both the level of EU and Member States themselves.
The effect of our financial instruments can be further increased by adding high-level political clout and coordination. One of the instruments is the distribution of portfolios in the Commission. Of course, it is up to the President of the Commission to decide on the internal organisation of the Commission. But I would welcome if a new European Commissioner for democracy, good governance and respect for human rights would be appointed in the new and enlarged European Commission. Such a new position would be able to put the combined financial means of the Union to effective use – in close cooperation with other Commissioners with external responsibilities as trade, investment and assistance, and under the lead of a new Minister for Foreign Affairs.
In an area such as the Wider Middle East, a Commissioner could more easily work with both grass roots and governments without being accused of promoting political or economic interests of specific Member States. At the same time it would provide a contact point for the necessary transatlantic cooperation to promote democracy and human rights in the Wider Middle East.
The third element in a stronger global role for the EU will be to further develop the crisis management capabilities of the EU – the manpower and hardware of the Union, so to say.
The combination of civil and military capabilities is where the EU truly provides added value in crisis management. The Balkan conflicts clearly showed that diplomacy and trade sanctions do not always suffice. Sometimes, more powerful means are needed to stop suppression and ethnic cleansing, as we have just seen it again in Kosovo. The EU must be able to act also in a more robust way to create stability and prosperity in regions stricken by armed conflict. Obviously, we should always work in close and constructive cooperation with NATO.
[European values and the need to unite] With almost a quarter of world output and some of the world’s highest living standards, the EU has a global responsibility. But we also have a clear interest in finding solutions to the global challenges facing us. In a globalised world, instability abroad also has consequences at home. Terrorism is the obvious example. Others include spread of organised crime, influx of refugees and illegal immigration.
To meet the global challenges, Europe must stand united. This is the essence of enlargement. The main driving force in the process, both in the old Member States and in the acceding countries, is our common ambition of creating One Europe, whole and free, based on our common values.
Fundamental European values are based on tolerance and humanity. Tolerance – in the sense that we respect and support diversity among people and among nations. And humanity – in the sense that we insist on human dignity and the freedom of the individual.
These values have historical roots in classical antiquity and Christianity. But they are not for Romans or Christians alone. They were influenced by the Renaissance, the Humanist movement, and the Enlightenment. They led in turn to the development of democracy, the recognition of fundamental and human rights, and the rule of law. And – as a fairly new development in comparison – they have been the basis for the past 50 years of close and peaceful European co-operation that has replaced centuries of war making between European powers. An achievement that qualifies no less as a common European value today.
By insisting on our common values and by engaging in an ever-closer co-operation, the EU has become a pole of stability on our continent. The wish to join the European community of values played a significant role in the consolidation of democracies in Spain, Portugal and Greece after years of dictatorship. It has been and still is a powerful driver of reforms in the acceding countries.
And it goes beyond the approaching enlargement on 1 May. In Cyprus, there are still reasons for optimism that one of the last remaining and most obstinate dividing lines in Europe will be overcome. One of the reasons for optimism is the active involvement of the Turkish government, which knows that a solution will help it in its aspirations towards the EU.
In Turkey itself, profound democratic reforms have been initiated since the EU decision in 1999 to grant Turkey the status of a candidate country. The Copenhagen Criteria make a difference. What we demand from countries that wish to join the EU is that they share our common democratic values and are ready to open up their markets to European competition.
In the case of Turkey we will apply exactly the same standards as for other candidate countries – no more, no less. We cannot bend the political criteria – and Turkey agrees with this. Reforms must be implemented – not only for the sake of Membership but for the sake of the Turkish people. For instance in the area of torture and ill-treatment and the role of the military. The Danish Government will therefore study the Commission’s progress report carefully. The report will be the last major task for the outgoing Commission.
The differences between our neighbours – both to the East, to the South and to the South-East – call for differentiated approaches from the EU’s side. But the unifying principle must be the common values that are the hallmark of Europe. Of stability, security and prosperity. And of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
The EU is in a unique position to make a real difference in the world on the basis of our common values. But whether we will be able to translate our economic weight into political influence will depend on our ability to enhance our cooperation and develop effective instruments for joint action.
Madrid showed in a tragic way that our core values are under attack. Madrid showed that we have a responsibility to join forces and act together. Only by acting together will we be able to defend our fundamental values – in Europe as well as globally.