Speech by the European Union High Representative... Javier SOLANA (Paris, 10-30-08):"This [financial] crisis has confirmed that globalisation remains the dominant force shaping
...the crisis has demonstrated - once more - the need for stronger global institutions. ... From the UN and the G8 to the regimes and institutions dealing with the big issues of our time: nonproliferation, energy and climate change, migration. Hopefully, the obvious need to deepen cooperation in the area of finance will act as a catalyst for these necessary wider reforms....
We better not see this as the Western powers inviting the others for coffee after our discussions. We need all relevant players 'present at the creation' of the new system, to use Acheson's famous phrase....
What about the consequences? The core answer is that the crisis is accelerating the power shift from the West to the East. This is true both in terms of material resources and ideological 'pull'. The bad debts are in the West, the surpluses in the East - even if the pain is everywhere. It is striking that a number of capital injections into our troubled banks are coming from Asia and the Gulf.... The West needs the rising powers - and hence to get used to sharing power with them.
Too often we discuss these issues in terms of integrating the new powers into the global system we devised. But we better prepare for the new powers having their own ideas on how the system must be run and reformed.
It [the crisis] does not mean that the "old" agenda has gone away.
Take climate change. It remains the biggest global challenge we face. But rather
than seeing this as a potential victim of the crisis, I prefer to underline the
upside. ... In terms of climate change,
energy policy, antipoverty,
inflation - but also our foreign policy.
We need to change our mental map....
Concerning the United States, we are on the eve of crucial elections. Europeans
and Americans alike,
seem keen to begin a new chapter.... What we need to do now is formulate an agenda for action ...
Beginning with Israel-Palestine. ... It is urgent to, finally, bring this conflict to an end, through
persistent engagement. Then there is Afghanistan, with elections looming.... How can we best
support the two
governments, in Afghanistan and Pakistan.... Iran is not far behind, where the case for a determined and more creative effort, building on the twotrack approach, is compelling....
From Sudan to Lebanon, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and beyond: we have long
agreed with the
US what must happen. What we have learned is that we need to bring other players... and
define solutions together. From China to Russia, from the African Union to Arab League, from the UN
to the OSCE....
There are few international problems that can be solved without Russia; and almost nothing against Russia.... We count on Russia to uphold international standards and the commitments it has made voluntarily, also inside. Rational means we should control our rhetoric - also when they don't. ...
With Russia we also share a continent. That is why we have no interest in a
Russia which feels insecure.
In Western Europe we learned, the hard way, that security is best based on trust rather than power. [That's foolish when dealing with Communism!]
Of course, the Georgia conflict is a big set back. It has strengthened the fears
of Russia's neighbours.
But at some point we have to start again. One obvious place to re-start would be the arms control and
transformation is historic.
It will truly change our world. And it is all the more impressive as it's only
30 years since the end of the
Cultural Revolution. ... But
today China has as many workers in the industrial sector as the entire OECD
world put together....
China has reserves of more than $1.8 trillion - not insignificant if others are mired in deficits and debts.... Nor is its transformation without its problems. Think of the environmental damage, the costs of social
exclusion and the absence of political freedoms....
India is the biggest "swing" state in the system. It is phasing out its G77 mindset but has not yet replaced this with a clear alternative. It is a very robust democracy which we should engage. But questions remain over its stance on climate change. ...
Let me turn to the state of Europe. ... Without the euro, the financial crisis would
have created chaos on
currency markets. Second, let us be clear: Europe has responded well to both the financial crisis and the
political crisis of Georgia....
I like to end with some thoughts on how we should play our cards in a more complex and less
"Western" world: If this world is moving to a system of continents, the answer from Europe should be obvious. We need a greater sense of urgency and realise that a credible European Union foreign policy is not an optional extra....
One area where Europe can and must take more initiatives is in developing new
rules and institutions
for a more complex and unstable world. If we don't stand up for multilateralism, who will? For us,
multilateralism is "less than a religion" but more than "just a method". If so, then it's up to Europe to
be creative in terms of ideas and generous in terms of making space at the reformed institutions we
If this is a world of turbulence and opposites then we need more targeted, bespoke solutions, not "off
the shelf" strategies. In some respects, Europe's niche and added value is the very fact that it has a feel
for complexity. One of the things that Europe can do is get beyond totalising theories like the war on
terror and get into the differences between China and Russia, between Hamas and Hezbollah, between
Iran and Syria.
Above all, we should try harder to shape the agenda, not only react. It is true that almost no
international issue or problem is discussed these days without the EU present. But being present is not
the same as shaping the agenda. We still spend too much time on who in Europe will say something
instead of what we will do. Process is not the same as progress.
We need to think more in terms of where we want to be in 6 or 12 months time; what levers we have
and what price are we prepared to pay. To achieve this kind of step-change in our foreign policy, it is
obvious that we need the Lisbon Treaty. We need it for the greater coherence and leadership it will
provide. There is simply no way around it.
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