Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ten Years Gone - ESDP Swan Song From Javier Solana, Not Led Zeppelin

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, left, is welcomed by Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey before the signing ceremony of a peace deal between Turkey and Armenia in Zurich, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009. The Turks and Armenians are to sign an accord establishing diplomatic ties in hopes of reopening their border and ending a century of acrimony over their bloody past. (AP Photo/Keystone/Christian Hartmann, Pool)

Ten Years Of European Security And Defense Policy

Commentary By Javier Solana

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The year 2009 is a landmark year for the European Union’s role in the world. It marks ten years of European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), during which the EU became a global provider of security, making a real difference to people’s lives all over the world. At the same time, we are on the threshold of a new era when the Lisbon Treaty enters into force and provides fresh impetus for our external action.

In ten years, we have deployed 20 operations on three continents to help prevent violence, restore peace and rebuild after a conflict. From Kabul to Pristina, from Ramallah to Kinshasa, the EU is monitoring borders, overseeing peace agreements, training police forces, building up criminal justice systems and protecting shipping from pirate attacks. Thanks to our achievements, we are receiving more and more calls to help in a crisis or after a war. We have the credibility, the values and the will to do this.

The EU was ahead of its time in 1999. The comprehensive, multi-faceted nature of our approach was novel. And the EU remains the only organization that can call on a full panoply of instruments and resources that complement the traditional foreign policy tools of its member states, both to pre-empt or prevent a crisis and to restore peace and rebuild institutions after a conflict.


The ESDP first cut its teeth in the Balkans. When the Yugoslav wars broke out in the 1990’s we watched as our neighborhood burned because we had no means of responding to the crisis. We learned our lesson and organized ourselves, acquiring a set of capabilities coupled with decision-making procedures and a security doctrine. In 2003, we prevented a fresh outbreak of hostilities in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia through our diplomatic efforts and then deployed Operation Concordia. In 2004, Operation Althea took over from the NATO peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Today, we are still deeply engaged in the Balkans, fighting organized crime and building up the institutions of law and order. For example, EULEX Kosovo is the largest EU mission to date, with some 2,000 staff, working in the police and judicial system and in mobile customs teams.


Last year, we showed how rapidly we could mobilize when we deployed a monitoring mission to the Caucasus in less than three weeks to help defuse the crisis between Russia and Georgia, following the EU-mediated peace agreement. As a member of the International Quartet, the EU is deeply engaged at diplomatic level in the Middle East peace process and the moment an agreement is reached between the Israelis and Palestinians we will be ready to help implement it on the ground. We already have a mission in the West Bank helping to build up the Palestinian civil police and criminal justice system. In Somalia, we are considering security-sector reform measures to complement EUNAVFOR Somalia and the humanitarian aid and political support that we are already providing.

To respond to the growing calls to help tackle regional and global security challenges, the EU must improve the efficiency and coherence of its external action still further. We currently have a gap between our ambitions and our resources which must be addressed. Clearer priorities and more sensible budgeting decisions are needed. And we need to strengthen our civilian and military capabilities and boost their funding in order to back up our political decisions.

The EU’s unique, joint civilian-military approach must be further developed to make us yet more flexible. Our capacity to deploy rapid reaction forces also needs strengthening. In the second decade of ESDP, the Lisbon Treaty will put all this within the EU’s grasp.

Click here for entire article at the Lebanon Daily Star

Javier Solana is EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). THE DAILY STAR publishes this commentary in collaboration with Project Syndicate © (www.project-syndicate.com).


By extension, "swan song" has become an idiom referring to a final theatrical or dramatic appearance, or any final work or accomplishment. It generally carries the connotation that the performer is aware that this is the last performance of his or her lifetime, and is expending everything in one magnificent final effort.

Keep your eye on the ball with pertinent Global Governance issues like this by subscribing to the monthly newsletter. The next Act is quickly opening! - Johnny

No comments: