Mesdames, Messieurs, chers amis,

Nul besoin de vous dire la joie de vous retrouver cette année. Désormais, en septembre, après le rendez-vous "diplomatique" new-yorkais de l’Assemblée Générale, il y a le rendez-vous "stratégique" parisien de l’Institut. Et j’en remercie très chaleureusement Nicole Gnesotto.

Le moment aujourd’hui est particulier. Différent de ce que nous aurions pu espérer. C’est un fait.

Beaucoup d’encre a coulé. Beaucoup d’analyses ont été développées sur les raisons profondes des "non" aux referenda en France et aux Pays-Bas. Je ne vais pas m’attarder là-dessus. Mais - vous vous en doutez - je regrette cette impasse institutionnelle. Ne serait-ce que parce que l’Europe que nous connaissons n’est pas celle du Traité de Rome. Le pacte fondateur qui unissait les Européens depuis 1957 devait être consolidé. Des solutions s’imposaient. Deux Etats membres les ont écartées pour l’instant.

Au-delà de ces consultations référendaires, le financement de l’élargissement a rendu plus ardu le débat sur les perspectives financières de l’Union européenne. Le climat politique s’est fait moins serein.

Les difficultés de la croissance économique en Europe n’y sont pas étrangères. Et ces mêmes difficultés d’alimenter à leur tour les interrogations des opinions sur le bien-fondé de l’élargissement.

Sommes nous à nouveau en crise ?

Permettez moi de ne pas rentrer dans le rang. De ne pas céder à l’autodénigrement.

L’Europe n’a pas des perspectives de croissance à deux chiffres. Bien sûr : elle reste au tout premier rang des zones de la planète les plus prospères ! La vie n’y est pas toujours facile pour tous, mais elle y est en tout cas plus facile pour tous que nulle part ailleurs dans le monde ! De ce point de vue, le voeu des pères fondateurs a été réalisé.

L’élargissement a un coût. Economique et politique. C’est évident. Mais il reste notre plus formidable réalisation stratégique. En termes de développement économique : les entreprises des 15 ne cessent d’applaudir à l’élargissement à 25. Et en termes de stabilisation politique : la chute du Mur de Berlin aurait-elle eu la même fin heureuse sans la perspective de l’élargissement ?

Je veux le répéter inlassablement : l’Europe est le modèle le plus abouti et le plus vaste d’intégration politique fondé sur le droit et les libertés ; l’Europe est le premier fournisseur d’aide au monde ; elle en est aussi la première puissance commerciale. Voilà de quoi être respecté, sollicité et écouté par nos partenaires !

J’en viens à la question particulière du Traité constitutionnel. Il ne m’appartient pas de vous dire pourquoi Français et Hollandais ont voté de la même manière pour des raisons différentes. Ce n’est pas mon rôle de spéculer ni sur cela, ni sur les étapes à suivre maintenant.

Ce que je peux vous dire en revanche, c’est que les problèmes pour lesquels la Constitution proposaient des solutions et des outils, demeurent, y compris dans le domaine de l’action extérieure.

Les exigences de cohérence entre les instruments politiques, économiques et militaires, les exigences d’une représentation plus efficace de l’Union, les exigences de professionnalisme dans l’action diplomatique, n’ont pas faibli. Loin de là.

Le monde devient moins sûr. Or il ne nous laisse pas le temps de songer à transformer éventuellement nos mentalités ou d’envisager de renoncer progressivement à nos égoïsmes nationaux. Nous n’avons plus le temps de ne pas être audacieux. Nous n’avons plus le temps de manquer de souffle et d’idées.

Les questions pressantes d’un monde exigeant restent là - et bien là. En même temps, aucun problème n’est à la mesure d’un seul acteur. Plus que jamais, cette déclaration contenue dans la Stratégie de Sécurité de l’Union européenne reste valide. Plus que jamais les Européens doivent poursuivre la mutualisation de leurs compétences et de leurs ressources amorcée depuis 1999.

Je vais même plus loin : je suis personnellement convaincu que la Politique Etrangère et de Sécurité Commune (PESC) a son rôle à jouer dans la reconquête des opinions publiques en faveur du projet européen.

L’action internationale de l’Union peut maintenant avoir une influence positive sur la dynamique intérieure de l’Europe, sur les perceptions des citoyens, sur leur ambition de construire ensemble, sur leurs inquiétudes également. C’est ce que j’appellerai la légitimation par l’action. Même quand le débat d’idées nous sépare, la poursuite de nos intérêts, l’affirmation de nos valeurs nous rassemble.

Pourquoi ? Le simple bon sens impose à lui seul deux réponses directement liées aux débats actuels :
- oui, la croissance et la prospérité de l’Union sont aussi fonction de la stabilité que l’Union est capable d’assurer à sa périphérie et plus loin, si besoin avec ses partenaires ;
- oui, la sécurité intérieure des citoyens est directement liée au niveau d’engagement de l’Union. Engagement dans la règlement de conflits qui nourrissent la folie terroriste ou tout autre type de menaces. Mais aussi engagement pour lutter contre la pauvreté ou les nouvelles pandémies, protéger l’environnement.

Au-delà, le potentiel d’entraînement de la PESC tient également aux acquis indubitables de ces dernières années. Or ces acquis, personne ne songe à les remettre en cause.

L’Union dispose maintenant de structures et de procédures permettant de préparer et de mettre en oeuvre des décisions en temps réel. A force d’opérations et de missions, les Européens ont acquis des réflexes et une expérience solides. Sans l’expérience des missions en ex-Yougoslavie, en Géorgie, au Proche-Orient (je songe à la mission EU COPPS - European Union Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support - en Palestine), la dimension civile de la Politique Européenne de Sécurité et Défense (PESD) n’aurait pas les développements que l’on connaît. Le succès des premières opérations militaires, autonomes comme Artémis en 2003, ou en liaison avec l’OTAN comme en Bosnie, ouvrent la voie à de nouvelles opérations toujours plus ambitieuses. Aujourd’hui la mission à Aceh ouvre la perspective à une politique nouvelle en Asie. Et ainsi de suite.

Deuxième acquis : une capacité de gestion de crise unique. Ni purement civile, ni purement militaire, mais simplement globale. Tout n’est pas encore parfait. Mais là encore sachons agir avec pragmatisme.

Troisième acquis : une doctrine. Ni plus, ni moins. C’est-à-dire une certaine vision du monde fondée sur des intérêts communs et la volonté de les défendre, en bonne intelligence avec chacun de nos partenaires. Tel est le sens de la Stratégie de sécurité mise au point en 2003.

So, let us draw strength and self-confidence from what we have accomplished in recent years. For we have a daunting agenda in front of us.

I would like to use this encounter with Europe’s strategic community to focus on three key regions : the Balkans, the Middle East and Africa which, for different reasons, deserve a closer look. Then, going beyond next year’s agenda, I want to offer some reflections on the changing nature of the international system, on effective multilateralism and the need for partnerships.

2006 will be a crucial year for the Balkans. Ten years after Dayton and with a new generation of political leaders at the helm, the region has made good progress. But we still face substantive political and security challenges. The importance of continued EU engagement cannot be overstated. More than any other region in the world, this is a European responsibility. Simply put, we cannot afford to fail.

The issue which will put the whole Balkan region at the centre of our strategic agenda is the Kosovo status process. We can expect, on the basis of Kai Eide’s review of standards, that negotiations will begin later this year. To say this will be a delicate process is an understatement. Not only do Belgrade and Pristina hold diametrically opposing views. Both also lack a stable political leadership, able to take tough decisions.

When approaching the Kosovo conundrum, we should base our strategy on three fundamental points. First, it is impossible to solve the Kosovo question without considering the implications for the whole region. We need a comprehensive approach so that all the pieces of the puzzle do fit together - regionally and beyond.

The second point is that this will not be cheap. Our engagement will continue to require substantial European resources : money, people and especially an expanded commitment in the area of security : in Bosnia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and, increasingly, in Kosovo.

The third point to make is that our Balkans strategy rests on a fundamental promise. Provided the countries of the region advance on the path of internal reform and regional reconciliation, we said that we would assist them to their ultimate destination : entry into the Union. That was the commitment we made in Thessaloniki. Croatia is now close to a major leap forward in this respect, but we need the rest of the region to follow suit. Both with respect to Kosovo and in its own right, we need to ensure that Belgrade advances on the European track. The same is true for former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia - despite the stalemate there over police reform.

Maintaining the European membership perspective is the only way we will have real leverage over local leaders so that they take the tough decisions that are needed. It is the only way to achieve the stabilisation and integration of this region, in which we have such an enormous political and moral stake.

Let me turn now to the Middle East. Together with the Balkans, this is the theatre where we will have to be more engaged next year - both diplomatically and on the ground. The key task is to seize the opportunity that Gaza disengagement represents ; make a maximum effort to ensure its success ; and use it as a springboard for a return to political negotiations and the implementation of the Roadmap.

The stakes are high. The leadership on both sides is under serious pressure. Both sides need Gaza disengagement to work, with important elections looming next year, and so do we.

For the Palestinians this is a chance to win over the sceptics, in Israel and elsewhere, that they can actually run their own affairs in a responsible manner. If they rise to the occasion, it could provide them with the much-needed hope and reassurance that they are on their way to full statehood across the occupied territories.

For Israel, the logical priority is to ensure that Gaza will not become hostile territory from which terrorists launch attacks on neighbouring communities and the rest of Israel. Events in the last few days and hours have reminded us that this will not be easy.

And for us Europeans, this is a chance to show that we are ready, not just to offer political support, but to commit resources and take political risks to make progress in this most intractable conflict.

As you know, the EU and its member-states have long been the largest donor to the Palestinians, giving both € 500 million annually in emergency support and medium-term assistance to institution building projects. There is also special money for the disengagement process.

But we are offering more than money. We are also assisting the Palestinians in the area of police and security reform. Through training, equipment and financial support, the EU and the memberstates are helping Palestinian police forces to increase their operational capacity and transform their organisational set up. A core unit of EU advisers is already deployed in Ramallah and Gaza city. Plans are underway to turn this EU COPPS mission into a formal European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) mission by January.

These steps, all of which are co-ordinated closely with the US and others in the Quartet, present tangible evidence that the EU does not just say it wants disengagement to succeed : we are prepared to step up our engagement to make that happen. That is the best way to promote the ideas we have for the peace process beyond Gaza. And it is fully in line with the broader vision I have for the EU’s international stance : engaged and result-oriented.

Africa is the third region I’d like to touch on. It is striking how the threats identified in the Security Strategy - terrorism, failed states, organised crime, proliferation and regional conflicts - all manifest themselves in Africa. More than that, we can see how these different threats are all inter-connected. Africa therefore is a textbook example of why we need comprehensive strategies - and why we need a better output of our policy mix of trade, aid and security measures.

Let us start with the security element. We all know that endemic insecurity is the main reason why parts of Africa are going backwards. Overall, the number of wars in Africa is going down. But for many Africans, their daily existence is characterised by warlords, militias and rebel groups. Conflict always hurts the vulnerable and it remains the biggest obstacle for development. More than that : functioning politics is a pre-condition for development.

With insecurity widespread, it is no surprise that our traditional development policy has so far failed to make a decisive impact. Our moral engagement with Africa is not in doubt. Still, some figures illustrate the scale and urgency of the problem. Over the last 50 years, sub-Saharan Africa has received more than $1 trillion in aid, or more than $5,000 dollars in today’s terms for every man, woman and child on the continent. And yet today many African countries are poorer than they were 50 years ago.

Africans want and deserve a better deal. At the December European Council we should adopt a new strategy for Africa. I would like us to use that opportunity to frame a new paradigm. Let us develop more creative strategies for conflict prevention, crisis management, good governance, trade promotion and human rights protection. Let us make a reality of our oft-stated aim of policy coherence. Only then will we have the conditions in place for a long-term development strategy to work.

The current WTO Round is a good way to illustrate what I have in mind. Let us remember that it is called the Doha Development Round. Its basic rationale is to enable developing countries, notably in Africa, to integrate into the global economy. Doing so should enable them to reap the benefits of increased trade, investment and the use of new technologies. That in turn will help to break the cycle of poverty, war and disease. But there is also another side to it. If we integrate our development and security prisms, we will also begin to see a successful conclusion of the Doha Round not just as an economic or political issue, but also as a security imperative.

In practice, we are getting better at removing the Chinese walls between different policy communities. The African Peace Facility of € 250 million, paid out of the European Development Fund, is a good example. Operationally, we are getting better too at building security capacity at regional and local levels. This is what we are doing in the Democratic Republic of Congo with EU SEC (on security sector reform) and EU POL (on police). And it is what we are trying to with the African Union in Sudan, despite the well-known difficulties. But we cannot be satisfied with the impact we are making today. We still need to be more creative and push the policy integration further. If we do, we could make a real difference.

Finally, let me end with some more conceptual observations. Being a group of strategic analysts, I imagine that you would also like me to offer some reflections on the concept that lies at the core of our common doctrine : effective multilateralism.

I am pleased that in the global market of political ideas, the concept of effective multilateralism has been a great success. But if we are honest, we must admit that it is sometimes proving a hard sell in practice. The threats identified in the European Security Strategy are steadily becoming more acute. At the same time, the capacity of the international system to address these risks falling behind. The world is not necessarily becoming more dangerous. But it is becoming more complex and insecure - and harder to manage.

If I look at the world, I am struck by 2 paradoxes :

Paradox 1 : the intellectual strength and attractiveness of the West - of open markets, human rights and constitutional democracy - is assured. But our relative political influence is weakening, while our physical vulnerability is increasing. Paradox 2 : the need for collective international action to tackle globalised insecurity is widely accepted, including by the second Bush administration. But such collective action is hard to organise in practice – and especially at the speed in which solutions are needed in today’s world.

We have what analysts call the multilateral system, of international organisations including the UN, the WTO and NATO and international regimes, on non-proliferation or the environment. That system is struggling in a less auspicious climate. It is struggling in terms of effectiveness, legitimacy and relevance. There are some worrying indications : the failure of the NPT review conference in May ; the limited scope of the UN reform package ; the stalemate inside the WTO ; the poor prospects for a post-Kyoto deal on global warming.

For good reasons we Europeans see multilateralism as more than ’just a method’. For us, it is a way of ensuring a sense of international order, of building trust, of combining effectiveness with legitimacy. It is the best manner to manage conflicts of interests and, more than that, prevent them from emerging in first place. As Einstein said : intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.

But the international system is changing and ‘democratising’, with new powers from the developing world emerging. This is mostly beneficial - and unavoidable anyway. But there is a cost : the multilateralism which Europeans grew up with, is gradually disappearing. With multilateral action blocked, or at least slower in coming, bilateralism and ad-hoc alliances are proliferating. Such initiatives are often necessary and sometimes useful. But bilateralism and ad-hoc groupings do not build long-term trust.

What do to ? My answer is clear : we must stick to our principles and convictions. But we must acknowledge that this is a more complex world and that new players need to be brought on board. Thus we should focus on forging new ’bargains’ - on development policy, on energy security or global warming.

When we push for multilateral regimes, our bona fides should not be in doubt. Perhaps we should make a greater effort to explain that our support for Kyoto and its follow-up is not about protectionism. Perhaps we should be prepared to mount a stronger defence of international humanitarian law, which sometimes looks like an endangered species. Perhaps we should attach a greater priority to unblocking the Doha Development Round, to break down the North-South divide. Saving multilateralism is about persuading others. But it is also about looking critically at our own positions.

Time is not neutral in this respect. We should realise that in 20 years time, it will be harder to convince giants like China, India and others that a rules-based international system is in their interest too. By 2020, the world’s population will have reached close to 8 billion. Some 56 out of every 100 people will be Asian. Only 5 will come from western Europe and 4 from the US. The West, if we can still call it that, suddenly will look a very small place.

The second part of a European response should be to embrace and mobilise the potential of the new ‘regionalism’. Everywhere, we are seeing regional organisations grow up, in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Increasingly, clubs like the African Union, ASEAN and Mercosur are trying to fill the gap between ad-hoc bilateralism and ’traditional’, global multilateralism. Not all regional clubs deserve our unqualified support. But on the whole, they are a force for progress. And they are natural allies for our campaign for effective multilateralism.

If so, should we do more, with political and financial incentives, to promote such regional integration ? And should we stimulate regional security co-operation in regions, such as the Gulf, which are over-armed but under-institutionalised ? My answer is a clear yes.

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It is time to conclude. I have given you my thoughts on the political situation of today ; on our agenda for the next year ; plus some wider thoughts on the geopolitical landscape of tomorrow.

Let me end where I began. With the need to avoid paralysis, to be pragmatic and result-oriented. The outside world will not wait for the EU to get its act together. And the call for the EU to act is there, every day.

We have the instruments plus a shared vision of the world. We also have significant operational experience. What we need is self-confidence, not risk avoidance. Some say that ships are safest in the harbour. But that is not where ships are supposed to be.

Réf : S308/05