Speech by Mr. Erkki Tuomioja, Foreign Minister of Finland: "European Security and Defence Policy - a Finnish view", in Bertelsmann foundation, 18th May 2001
Mr. Erkki Tuomioja,
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
"European Security and Defence Policy - a Finnish view"
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to address this distinguished audience of security policy experts, and I wish to thank you for the invitation to do so. In my presentation I will touch upon Finlands views on the development of the Common European Security and Defence Policy and its implications for us as member of the European Union.
Finland approaches the development of the ESDP from a very pragmatic point of view. Our support for it is a consistent continuation of our European policy.
It is important to strengthen the ability of the Union to act for peace, stability and security in Europe and also globally. Finland’s active participation in developing the EU’s crisis management capabilities is integral to our efforts of promoting national and international security. This is a core element of membership in the European Union.
The Common European Security and Defence Policy laid the foundation for the Union to bear fully its responsibilities in international relations. Finland has accepted without reservations the obligations and responsibilities included in developing the ESDP as a member of the Union. Being militarily non-allied does not pose any hindrances for full and equal participation in executing the CFSP.
According to the decisions made in Helsinki, Feira and Nice, crisis management encompasses all Petersberg tasks. It is not a foundation for a common defence. The EU is not building a European army. All member states participate on an equal basis in crisis management tasks, which are decided upon unanimously. The Union’s crisis management operations are also open to third states who wish to and are capable of contributing resources. With this the Union affirms its preparedness for openness and comprehensive cooperation.
Finland and Sweden had already in 1996 proposed that the Union treaty should include the Petersberg tasks. In St. Malo France and the United Kingdom took the steps necessary to concretize the vision of developing the Union and assuming its responsibility for the security of our continent. When the Union enlarges, the new members are acceding to an organization that has significantly expanded the boudaries of its security political activities.
Simultaneously, this evolution has necessitated a dialogue with the United States and Russia. The new US administration is defining its views on the ESDP and at the same time revising its global strategies.
The development of the ESDP coincides equally with the development in EU- Russia relations. This relation is central for development of Europe and in overcoming divisions and preventing the occurrence of new ones.
Nato will remain the cornerstone of European stability and security. It is also clear that the Union does not intend to compete with Nato. Only Nato has the means and resources to conduct a demanding military operation. The EU will engage when Nato as whole or especially the United States decides to remain outside a crisis management task.
With the framework of principles and structures of the ESDP now mostly in place, the practical implementation of the concept lies now ahead. The real added value and significance of the ESDP will emerge through the responses of the Union to the challenges posed to it. It is essential that the ESDP can be declared operational in the argeed timeframe.
Bosnia and Kosovo were turning points in the thinking of European leaders. The need for EU crisis management capability became clear. The Union needs military means for this purpose. All instruments at the EU’s disposal, political, economic and humanitarian should be mutually reinforcing.
The Union uses all its instruments as a primary actor in European stability policy in order to promote democracy, political and economical development, conflict prevention and the rebuilding of infrastructures. With the completion of the ESDP-project military crisis management is added to its tools.
Emphasis on military means does not diminish the value of civilian instruments, on the contrary. During the Swedish Precidency major steps have been taken in outlining the capabilities and resources of enhanced civilian crisis management. The Union is building a comprehensive reserve through a Capabilities Conference in the field of Police. The four priority areas chosen in Feira, police, rule of law, civil administration and rescue will all improve the Union’s readiness for a comprehensive approach to crises.
The common security and defence policy is intergovernmental cooperation. Decisions concerning military crisis management are made unanimously in the Council. It is essential that these decisions are made in a unified manner taking into account the Union’s institutions and pillars. The Commission also has a central role in EU’s stability-, humanitarian asisstance- and reconstruction policies. It has a natural role in civilian crisis management and also in providing early-warning information and crisis situation assessments. The Commission should be an integral part of developing the ESDP.
The ESDP does not create a European army or make the EU a military alliance. The inclusion of military capabilities to its toolbox brings a new set of means to the Union. It requires new flexibility and and sensitivity.
The creation of military crisis management capabilities should however not reduce the transparency and efficiency of the Union’s decision-making. Public scrutiny should not be limited more than the requirements for ensuring the safety and security of the personnel and the whole operation will demand.
The Helsinki Catalogue is the core of military crisis management capabilities, i.e the troops put at the disposal of the Union. The materialization of these capabilities is the ultimate measure of the success of the ESDP, especially in the eyes of outside observers. The aim of declaring the Union operational within two years is an ambitious, but realistic, goal.
Now, the Force Catalogue comprises an impressive amount of troops and equipment. The members of the Union have committed themselves to creating an entity of 60.000 troops with extensive equipment in all three defence branches, that can be sustained in an operation for a period of one year. This should be achieved by 2003.
A majority of the EU members have of course for decades worked closely together in military affairs as Nato members. Others – like Finland – have gained extensive experience of close cooperation with Nato through the PfP and participation in two Nato-led peace support operations, the SFOR and KFOR in the Balkans. Equally, Finland’s active participation in United Nations peace-keeping has given us valuable experience from various international conflicts and international crisis management efforts.
Finland has participated in UN peace-keeping since 1956. About 40.000 troops have served in different missions. In our system, the troops are voluntary reservists who are given training in the specifics of peace-keeping. In choosing these troops their civilian profession has played a central role to ensure the variety of skills needed in various operational tasks. Today this is of increasing importance when taking into consideration the expanding role of the troops in not only crisis management but also humanitarian and reconstruction tasks in the field. I am proud to say that the Finnish troops have gained a good reputation for their ability to interact with the civilian population in different operations. As a result of this tradition, Finnish troops always strive to build confidence with the local population and build bridges – sometimes literally – between the hostile and distrustful population groups. This important interaction is always done without compromising the state of readiness of our troops. In this kind of peace building, the line between military and civilian crisis management is a line drawn in the sand.
Our own history of neutrality has for its part sensitivitized Finnish peace-keepers for the needs of the surrounding civil societies. On the other hand, Finnish troops have rapidly adjusted to the requirements of more demanding peace support tasks and the ensuing closer cooperation with other nations in the operation. Based on this, Finland is well prepared for participation in EU crisis management operations.
At present it is difficult to say what kind of operations the EU could or would execute. Neither is it possible to say when such a need would arise. Until we are facing a crisis situation, the discussion and preparations remain on a theoretical level. In the end, it is the actual situation which will determine the requirements for action.
According to the decisions made the Union should be able to also conduct the most demaning Petersberg tasks. Member states still have somewhat differing interpretations of what these tasks might be. In our view, a precise definition at this point is not necessary. Moreover, all members take their sovereign national decisions on participation in an operation. In Finland’s case, the law requires that the operation is mandated by the UN or the OSCE.
Nato remains the primary provider of military security in Europe and the lead organization in crisis management operations. The EU does not intend to compete with Nato. Based on the independent decisions of both organizations, the EU adjusts its action in relation to Nato’s decision to act in a crisis or not. The EU prepares itself to get engaged in situations where the United States does not wish to interfere. A military operation, however, will only be a part of the activities undertaken. A shared goal of resolving a crisis will help to find a division of labor between different actors and organizations.
It is envisaged that the EU will, on the basis of Nice decisions, be able to carry out limited but important tasks such as the protection of civilian lives, the ensuring of the delivery of humanitarian aid or restoration of law and order in cooperation with the host state. Evacuation operations could also be conducted. When the arrangements for assured access to Nato resources will be agreed upon, the Union aims at being able to conduct a military operation on the scale of KFOR, with the mandate to separate the conflicting parties and facilitating the negotiations to find a peaceful solution to the dispute.
A lot of work remains to be done before the Union can declare itself operational. The goal is, as I already mentioned, set for 2003, after which the development of the troops and their equipment will naturally continue.
While creating military crisis management capabilities for the Union, it is necessary to maintain the role of the Union as as a cooperative and open partner in Europe in various fields of activities.
When the Union enlarges, some technical adjustements might have to be made to the TEU. Reinforcing the Union’s decision-making processes and capacity to act is however central to the credibility of the Union and its crisis management role. It is equally important that the political justification for the EU’s actions in crisis management is ensured. Close cooperation with the United Nations in order to develop the framework for humanitarian intervention and peace- keeping is essential.
All decisions concerning crisis management operations will be made unanimously. Participation remains a national decision. Countries outside the EU are also welcome to contribute. It would, however, not be very productive in terms of credibility, if the crisis management troops of the Union were to be selectively from only a few member states.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The basic driving force behind the ESDP is to strengthen the Union as an international actor. Its credibility and through this its authority will grow only by real capabilities and efficiency.
Finland has greatly benefitted from her cooperation with Nato through the PfP in developing her crisis management capabilities to be put to the Union’s service.
The interim structures are becoming permanent, and they are preparing to start work on a full scale in the near future. We are of course pleased with the election of the Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces, General Hägglund, to chair the Military Committee.
Our troop contribution to the Headline Goal comprises of 1.500 troops and a mine layer. We have the prerequisites to participate in different types of operations. A pragmatic solution to EU-NATO cooperation issues is the best one in order not to duplicate unneccessarily work or structures. There has to be coherence in the development of forces both within NATO and the EU. In matters concerning EU crisis management, equal participation of all EU members must be assured.
The year 2003 is a real benchmark in the ESDP-project. Creating crisis management capability and being prepared for crisis management tasks is an important goal. While there is no need for a European army or collective defence within the Union, it is of real importance that the Union will for its part be able and willing to prevent and resolve future crises as a responsible actor within the international community.