Mr President,
Minister Struck,
General Schneiderhahn,
dear Generals,
dear friends,

I am delighted to be able to be with you this morning and mark this occasion full of historic significance. Today we are celebrating three anniversaries: the foundation of the Bundeswehr and your entry into NATO 50 years ago and the 15th anniversary of German unification.

I want to pay tribute to Germany’s enormous contribution to European security and stability over these years, through your active participation in both NATO and the European Union. I remember well from my time as Secretary-General of NATO, how Germany played a crucial role in the many crucial decisions that we took over that period: NATO enlargement, the NATO-Russia founding act, the Partnership for Peace - and the very first calls to act militarily, in Bosnia and, later, over Kosovo.

For a long time Germany represented what some call the Verdichtung Europas. It is a good term to express how all characteristics and developments, good and bad, that typified Europe could be found in a condensed way in Germany, or even in a single city: Berlin. The German people had to wait a long time before their goal of national unity was realised. It was Richard von Weizsäcker who, as German President, coined the apt phrase that the German question would remain open as long as Brandenburger Gate was closed.

Ending the forced separation of Germans from Germans was a triumph but also a call to duty. You have worked hard on integrating the Eastern Länder and two different societies into one democratic state. You have likewise taken up the challenge of integrating the armed forces of two former adversaries into one service, firmly anchored in NATO and the EU.

Since unification and with the enlargement of both the EU and NATO, Germany has moved from Europe’s frontline to its centre. With that position comes responsibility. It is Germany’s strategic role and obligation to promote the unity, security and stability of the whole of Europe as much as it is to serve the cause of security and justice around the world.

I would like to talk this morning about the EU’s growing stature as a global security actor, and Germany’s role in it.

Since the mid-1990s, the European Union has made massive progress in framing and implementing an increasingly credible foreign policy. Since 1999, we have also made huge strides in developing a comprehensive capacity for crisis management. These two developments have slightly off-putting labels: CFSP and ESDP (As you know, nothing in the EU, nor in NATO for that matter, happens without an acronym).

But while the label may be uninspiring, the content is. Foreign and defence policy is probably the area where the Union has advanced most in recent years. And such progress is all the more relevant as it takes place in a fast-moving environment which has altered the very nature of international security.

Our work on CFSP and ESDP has been driven by two fundamental factors. First, they complement the original purpose of EU, which was to put an end to war in Europe through integration. Europe, as Germans know well, experienced the horrors of the 20th century to a degree unmatched

anywhere else. It was no surprise that after 1945 an exhausted continent was ready to try a radical new idea: building a zone of peace through institutional integration and the voluntary pooling of sovereignty. What was a surprise, even to the founding fathers, was how successful this project has turned out.

The watchwords of this European journey have been simple: deepening, widening and reform. Each element depended on the other for success - and still does today. From coal and steel, via atomic energy to the single market, Schengen, the euro and defence. From six, to nine, twelve, fifteen, now twenty-five and soon twenty-seven. We have come a long way and achieved a great deal. It is worth saying so, especially in this period of uncertainty.

Originally, foreign and security policy was deliberately excluded from the remit of the European Community. These were tasks for nation-states individually. For those countries that were members, NATO enshrined the primacy of the transatlantic link. But through the years, and sometimes through the hard school of failure, we learned that Europe had to take on a more active role in the area of security. That was also the consistent message from our American friends.

With war breaking out in the Balkans on our doorstep, we realised that we could not remain an island of tranquillity in a sea of instability. In particular, we learned that different foreign policies among European states could be a source for conflicts. The Balkan dramas proved that there is a high price to pay for hesitation and internal political divisions. They drove home the message that diplomacy with nationalist extremists is of little use if not backed up by robust crisis management capabilities - and the determination to use them. In short, if you want a credible EU foreign policy, you need a credible defence policy too. And that is what we have been building up since 1999.

The second reason for CFSP and ESDP is a more familiar one: if you act together you can have more influence. For what is each of us, acting alone, capable of achieving? Divisions among Europeans all too often translate into strategic irrelevance. We can already see the contours of an emerging international order where new powers such as China, India and others will play leading roles. Time is not neutral. Unless we Europeans club together, future historians may conclude that, at the beginning of the 21st century, Europe’s moment came and went.

In the past five years, we have developed what we lacked and needed: a set of civilian and military capabilities; new structures and decision-making mechanisms; plus the experience of joint operations and exercises. As a result, the EU is now in a position to play a role that matches its responsibilities.

In particular, there has been progress in three key areas: doctrine, operations and capabilities. I’d like to touch briefly on each of these three.

We Europeans share interests and values. But we also have a strategic outlook in common. In recent years, we have developed a sense of EU doctrine. In the European Security Strategy, our strategic identity card if you like, we have set out how we look at world, what our objectives are and how we intend to achieve them. The scarlet threads running through the Security Strategy are effective multilateralism, the need for partnerships and a comprehensive approach to promoting security.

For the EU, the defence component has always been part of a broad approach to confronting insecurity and managing crises. This stance fits with the new strategic environment. These days, the biggest threats often arise from frail or failing states and from non-state actors, such as terrorist networks, criminal gangs or Janjaweed-style militias. We have moved beyond clearly demarcated front-lines, with armies facing each other. Instead people are at risk everywhere, including in our own city centres. Of course this is a world of great opportunities for increased freedom and prosperity. But it is also one of unpredictable perils.

Dealing with this dynamic security environment has required a paradigm shift. Because the new threats are diffuse and complex, they defy traditional ways of operating. They call for agile and multi-faceted responses. In principle, the EU has it all. A wide panoply of instruments: from trade, aid, visa bans, diplomacy to civil and military crisis management tools. But also an acute awareness of the need to act plus the staying power to remain engaged for the long-term. More than other actors, the EU can bridge the worlds of diplomats, soldiers and development experts. But we have to deliver on our potential. We must ensure coherence across policy areas and over time.

In the Balkans and elsewhere, we have learned that there is no simple sequencing of military first and civilians later. The strictly military phase of crisis management is never as short as one thinks or hopes. And the stabilisation and reconstruction efforts are never as civilian as one wishes. Thus we need both civilian and military tools from day one. The concept of comprehensive planning is all about this civil-military interplay. It is popular these days in strategic circles, even if it is hard to put into practice. But for the EU, because of our origins, it comes relatively natural.

ESDP is all about enabling Europeans to address the new security challenges effectively. It is not about substituting NATO. We all recognise NATO’s indispensable role and we all agree on the need for a complementary, not competitive, relationship between the EU and NATO.

Nor is ESDP about militarising the Union. The same principles that were the foundation of the European project still guide us today. But all of us know that to promote peace, law, justice and democracy around the world, we need a Europe that takes its responsibilities seriously. We need a Europe that is willing and able to act.

A shared strategic outlook has been a key component of ESDP’s success. But thankfully it has not been limited to that. It was also the basis for the deployment of several EU missions. At present, the EU is conducting no fewer than seven operations simultaneously, on four continents.

In the Balkans we have three missions. One is EUFOR, the EU’s military mission in Bosnia- Herzegovina. It is the most extensive and hence most important mission the EU is currently handling. In addition we have two police missions: Proxima, in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and EUPM in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

We have had an autonomous mission too: Artemis in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Following its success, we decided to mount a police mission there, called EUPOL Kinshasa. We also have a second, complementary mission in Congo, called EU SEC, to assist the Congolese authorities in the area of security sector reform. Elsewhere in Africa, we are helping the African Union in Sudan/Darfur, with a large support package including financial, planning training and equipment support for AMIS II.

A relatively new element in our crisis management toolbox are our so-called ’rule of law missions’. We have just finished one in Georgia and started another in Iraq.

Finally, since mid-August we have deployed a mission in Aceh, in Indonesia, to monitor the peace agreement between Government of Indonesia and the Aceh rebel (GAM). This Aceh mission is interesting, remarkable and important at the same time. Interesting because the EU was probably the only organisation that could mount this kind of mission, at such short notice. Remarkable because it shows that something good - a peace accord ending a 30-year conflict - can come out of a catastrophe like the Tsunami. And important because it is an excellent occasion to strengthen our co-operation with ASEAN countries. The Aceh mission demonstrates, far better than any declaration could, that the EU is committed to promoting peace and stability around the world, not just in our backyard.

Taken together, these missions highlight the operational value of ESDP. Surely there are more to come. For example, plans are underway to turn our support and training efforts for the Palestinian police into a formal ESDP mission by January. There is also the possibility of the EU doing more in the area of police in Kosovo.

So, the days that European defence could be dismissed as all talk and no action are long gone. More importantly, these ’real world’ experiences allow us to integrate the ’lessons learned’ into our evolving defence planning and doctrine.

At the moment, European countries have more than 70,000 troops deployed on various peace support missions around the world, in EU and other contexts. These 70,000 men and women do a fantastic job. But they need the right tools to succeed. Through the Helsinki Headline Goal and the European Capabilities Action Plan (ECAP), we have been working hard to step up the modernisation of European armed forces, especially in the areas of technology, deployability and inter-operability. We have made some progress, but clearly more work remains to be done.

We need all member-states to make the right defence spending decisions to address the critical shortfalls that we have identified together. The reality is that all member-states are struggling to maintain their existing level of commitment. And no one is really keen to take on new tasks. It is striking that Europe has more than 2 million men and women in uniform. But we find it hard to deploy more than 5% of our combined forces - despite the evident need to send more troops to distant trouble spots. We all know that the way forward lies in pooling of resources, task sharing and specialisation. So little output - €180 bn per year between us - suggests we are not spending enough on our defence budgets, and certainly not on the right things.

The European Defence Agency has been set up to improve this input-output ratio. In essence, the EDA is about ensuring that we have the tools to do the job, and spend our money on the right things
- what tomorrow’s operations will require, not yesterday’s. And it is about the member-states addressing the challenge together. The logic is operational, and it is economic. Europe’s crisis management operations will be multinational, with different national contingents required to work together more closely than ever before. It does not make sense for each contingent to bring along different guns requiring different ammunition, different vehicles requiring different spare parts, and different radios which cannot talk to each other.

The EDA exists to help member-states address this challenge. It is focusing its efforts on solving critical European shortfalls, such as in Command, Control and Communications, intelligence; or strategic air reconnaissance. The scattered landscape in Europe on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles demands a collaborative effort. This week the Agency’s Steering Board will launch an initiative to look for new approaches to solve the shortage of Air-to-Air Refuelling. On the European Defence and Equipment Market, Ministers are preparing a decision, hopefully to be taken by late November, to open up their nationally protected defence industries for competition on a voluntary basis.

The Defence Agency has great potential to get more capabilities for Europe’s armed forces. But it will not happen by itself. The Agency will be nothing unless it enjoys the commitment and support of all participating Member States. So, it needs your ideas and your energy. It needs your willingness to move from analysis to decisions, from decisions to investment, and from investment to delivery of real capability.

I would like to end with some remarks about role of Germany and the Bundeswehr. For what is true for the Defence Agency is also true for ESDP generally. The progressive development of ESDP will be one of main projects of the EU in coming years. The call for the EU to act to is already there, every day. It can only increase.

But for ESDP to succeed, we need Germany’s full support. You are of course a significant contributor to many ESDP operations. You have been with us when we launched our first autonomous mission, Artemis in the Congo. Today, just under one-sixth of EUFOR soldiers are Germans. You are also taking part in our missions in Aceh and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Moreover, Rainer Schuwirth was the very first Director-General of the EU Military Staff, where he did an outstanding job. Colonel Reinhard Linz is the first-ever EU military liaison officer to the African Union where he is contributing a lot to the EU’s support efforts to the AMIS II mission. And another German, Brigadier General, Heinrich Brauss, is heading up the new Civil-Military cell. Its purpose is to maximise our core strength, that is the interplay between our different crisis management instruments right through comprehensive planning and faster decision-making.

So you have sent some of your most talented people, to our operations and to Brussels. But a great nation like Germany, conscious of its responsibility for European and international security, should always examine whether it can do more. Collective ambitions and common objectives need resources to be realised. So when we decide together that a particular EU operation or other effort is called for, I very much hope that Germany, like other member-states, will make the necessary resources available. This means money, it means equipment and it means people.

Let me conclude. For me, ESDP is a means, not an end in itself. But it has a clear rationale. There is a growing number of crises on our doorstep. We live in a world where events in faraway places affect our security and interests. And the complexity of today’s threats means that only collective and comprehensive efforts will work. No country can do this on its own. Nor will a strategy relying only, or even mainly, on military tools.

All these factors point to the same conclusion: Europeans need to work together and we need a comprehensive approach to tackle threats to our security.

The EU started as a peace project. And in many ways it still is. Promoting peace and co-operative security is exactly what we are doing in the Balkans, the Middle East, in Africa and elsewhere. The EU will always favour negotiation over confrontation. But all of us also know that to secure peace and protect the vulnerable, it is sometimes necessary to intervene and, in extremis, to coerce.

I want to congratulate you on 50 years of Bundeswehr and NATO membership, and 15 years of a united Germany. There is much that you can be proud of. And there is a lot more that we can achieve together.

Thank you very much.


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