Speech by Mr Jukka Valtasaari, Secretary of State: "European Security and Russia", the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad, Pakistan, 22nd January 2001

The Institute of Strategic Studies,
Islamabad, Pakistan, 22nd January 2001

Mr. Jukka Valtasaari,
Secretary of State
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

"European Security and Russia"

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to speak to this distinguished audience at the Institute of Strategic Studies.

Europe's definitive post-Cold War order has not yet emerged; it needs a long time to take shape. Yet the fundamental historical currents are clear. Europe's development will be decided far into the future by two processes. Firstly, Western Europe is reaching eastwards in its pursuit of the bigger units and coalitions needed to achieve its geopolitical and economic objectives. And, in contrast, former large units in Eastern Europe, in particular the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, have split up into some twenty separate states. What is emerging, is a more unified Europe with genuinely common values and shared principles on how society and the economy should work.

Since the end of World War II, and on through the 1980s, stability in Europe was attained by a combination of economic integration in the West and a power balance between East and West based on nuclear weapons. In the course of the 1990s, Europe faced totally new types of challenge to its stability and security. Instead of a division into two hostile blocks and a threat of major war, regional conflicts and ethnic tensions presented the most serious security threats in traditional terms.

Furthermore, other new threats emerged: such as the greenhouse effect, the threat of nuclear power plant failures, epidemics, drugs, terrorism and crime, none of which respects borders. They do not merely affect the security of states, they also affect the security of citizens.

Europe's big challenges can no longer be dealt with in an insular manner. Not even traditional security questions can be treated in isolation. This became clear when Europe engaged in crisis resolution in the Balkans. And, it is even clearer now that the European Union has decided to extend its integration from the single market and European Monetary Union into the field of security, by agreeing to build a crisis management capability and by actually stating so in concrete terms during the Helsinki Summit at the end of 1999.

The European Union's enlargement is a process and a method for projecting stability eastwards in the European continent, somewhat as the Marshall Plan did in the post-war years across the Atlantic. Thus, the forthcoming enlargement is a different proposition altogether compared with the previous one, when three economically advanced and politically and socially stable nations, namely Finland, Austria and Sweden, joined the EU in 1995.


But European security is not only about the European Union, not even an enlarged Union. The great question of Europe and Russia is centuries-old. The history of Russia is closely intertwined with that of its European neighbours - and vice versa - in political, cultural and economic matters. Now that the Cold War and the confrontation between alliances is over, Germany is united, the Soviet Union has dissolved and the European Union is enlarging, the new picture of European security and Russia is starting to emerge.

Russia's status as a great power has undergone drastic changes, yet Russia remains a country of vast size, with huge natural resources, a large and educated population, and considerable military might. In other words, Russia has all the ingredients of a great power. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia's interest in Europe increased. Yet, because of history, geography and geopolitics it also remains an Asian power.

In the European Union, Russia is viewed as an essential partner in strengthening stability and security in Europe as a whole. How Russia develops and what kinds of policy it adopts, matters for the whole of Europe.

In today's world security is not only about arms and military threats, it is also about the environment, diseases, drugs, crime and other transborder problems.

There are many indications that Russia’s present leadership is emphasising its orientation towards Europe. During the first year of Vladimir Putin’s presidency Russia’s foreign policy was marked by frequent visits abroad by the President himself, and by the Prime Minister, Mikhail Kasyanov. Russia has indicated that its relationship with Europe in general, and the EU in particular, is a top priority. Russia’s future lies in Europe, as President Putin recently put it. Thus, from Russia’s point of view, westward is now seen as a benign direction. Russia today is much more a European state than the Soviet Union ever was.

And, there is now, in the European Union, for the first time, a genuine interest in Russia. The Partnership and Co-operation Agreement, which entered into force in 1997, serves as a foundation for EU-Russia relations. It is the embodiment of the joint commitment of the EU and Russia to promote partnership and understanding. The PCA offers an excellent framework for developing cooperation in a wide range of areas. In June 1999, the PCA was complemented by a Common Strategy of the European Union on Russia, the first of its kind in the Union. Later in 1999, Russia responded with a strategy for co-operation with the Union, which we saw as a very positive step.

The latest EU-Russia Summit, held in Paris at the end of October 2000, was considered a success. In the joint declaration issued after the Summit, both parties reaffirmed the particular importance they attach to strengthening the strategic partnership. A separate joint declaration on strengthening dialogue and co-operation on political and security matters in Europe was issued as well. The parties decided to institute specific consultations on security and defence matters and extend the scope of regular consultations at the expert level on the issues of disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation. The implementation of these decisions was agreed to be a priority. A far-reaching dialogue on energy was also launched at the Summit. Energy is another field that will offer remarkable opportunities for both the EU and Russia in the future.

At the Summit in Paris, Russia showed a great deal of interest in the European Security and Defence Policy, and especially in the building up of crisis management capacity. President Putin expressed Russia’s interest in possible involvement. Modalities for Russia’s contribution to the EU’s crisis management operations remain to be examined in the future. The possibilities for a contribution by Russia to the implementation of civilian crisis management should also be examined. An opportunity for the continuation of EU-Russia dialogue at the highest level will be the next EU-Russia Summit, scheduled to take place in Moscow in May, this year, under Swedish presidency.


The EU enlargement process was one of the main themes of the Paris Summit. During the discussions, Russia showed a more positive and constructive approach to the issue than earlier. Although Russia has not opposed EU enlargement, it has in the past claimed that enlargement would cause considerable economic losses to Russia. We have disagreed on that, and have referred instead to the positive consequences for Russia of the previous enlargement when Finland, Sweden and Austria joined the EU. It now seems that Russia is beginning to see the opportunities created by EU enlargement.

The relationship between the EU and Russia will become closer with enlargement. At the moment, the EU is Russia’s most important trading partner. After the enlargement, more than half of Russia’s foreign trade will be with the EU. While at present Russia has only one EU Member State, Finland, as a neighbour, it will in the future have four more, namely Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The length of the border between the EU and Russia will more than double.

In Russia, the accession of the appplicant countries of Eastern Europe to the European Union is often seen as an alternative to their joining NATO. However, several countries are candidates for membership of both the EU and NATO. The three Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - fall into this category. Russia opposes their NATO membership but not their EU bid. We in Finland think that all countries should be free to choose their own security arrangements according to the principles of the OSCE, reconfirmed at the Istanbul Summit in 1999.

The future overlapping of the EU and NATO will not pose a threat to Russia. There are analytical views which maintain that the more linked the two systems are, the more likely is the transformation of the alliance into a regional security canopy to which Russia can attach itself step-by-step. Be that as it may, our position is pragmatic: it is important to support Russian efforts to build a democratic, stable and prosperous nation with the rule of law. The closer Russia is integrated and associated with European and international organisations, their values and principles, the better. Much depends on Russia itself.


Besides enlargement, another key issue for the European Union in the next few years will be the extension of integration to cover foreign and security policies and security and defence policies, as I have already indicated. Those areas have traditionally been in the realm of national decision making by the Member States.

The European Security and Defence Policy has developed rapidly since the Amsterdam summit in 1997. The policy to build an EU crisis management capacity was decided upon there, on the basis of a Finnish-Swedish initiative. The Helsinki Summit of 1999 put the objective in concrete terms - a 60,000-strong European crisis management force, - the so-called Headline Goal - which meant taking a step from institutional discussion to substantive progress. In Helsinki, general guidelines for developing civilian crisis management capability were also approved, and they were specified last summer at the Feira summit in Portugal. The crisis management capability development takes place with full respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter.

The EU Summit in Nice last month, one year after the historic Helsinki Summit, endorsed the further development of the European security and defence policy. The EU should be able to set up a rapid reaction force to carry out conflict prevention and crisis management operations by the year 2003. In November 2000, the Member States made their pledges to the Headline Goal.


Creating military crisis management readiness will further complement the means for conflict prevention and management that the EU has at its disposal. Military crisis management operations are a last resort.

Overall, the resources for crisis management are limited, therefore there is no political or practical need for parallel efforts or duplication within the EU or NATO. In fact, the EU is developing its capacity to manage crises in close cooperation with NATO. Structures are in place and others will be created to strengthen the cooperation between the two organisations in order to ensure effective and well-coordinated action if crisis management operations are embarked upon.

There is no European army in the making. The question is not about collective defence, but about more effective and comprehensive prevention, management and resolution of disputes and conflicts. Building a specific European crisis management capacity does not turn the Union into a military organisation. It is a logical phase in the development of European integration and gives the Union the capacity to extend security assistance in crisis situations. It renders the Union stronger and makes it better equipped to serve the objective of stronger security in Europe.

As before, the Union is ready for co-operation with third countries as well, including Russia. Crisis management is on the agenda. Initial contacts have been constructive, reflecting Russia’s increasing interest in the Union and its role as a foreign and security policy player.

In Russia, the development of the EU’s crisis management capability is sometimes seen as an alternative to NATO. Russia has said that the European rapid reaction force is a positive element for European security. In Russia's opinion the international system in the twenty-first century should be based on the concept of a multipolar world. Russia understands that Europe cannot provide for its security while ignoring the transatlantic link. On the other hand, Russia thinks that the Europeans should also consider the Asian aspect of Russia’s security and its impact on Europe.


It is not entirely clear what kind of role the OSCE, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, will play in President Putin’s foreign policy thinking. The latest OSCE Ministerial Summit in Vienna was considered a failure in the West, but a success of some sort in Russia. The Summit failed to produce a consensus declaration, while Russia criticised the organisation's focus.

At the Summit, Russia, which has striven to remake the OSCE as a "European UN", accused the West of using the OSCE as a means to criticise Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union. Russia argued that the geographical focus is unfairly biased. Russia also maintained that the OSCE’s work is too much focused on human dimension questions. This was a reference to Chechnya. As a result, Russia argues, there is a group of countries in Russia's neighbourhood that have become objects rather than subjects of the OSCE.

The commitments made at the Istanbul Summit are perceived as too stringent in Moscow and the thrust of Russian policy has since been directed towards dismantling the commitments. This has created tension between the EU and Russia.

The future role of the OSCE in Europe’s security environment remains to be seen. The most important task for the OSCE, however, is to give indicators and provide an early warning system against possible threats to security.


An enlarging EU and a westward-orienting Russia are bound to be partners. Politically and economically they are the main players on the European continent. They are immediate neighbours too. Economically the EU is by far Russia’s largest trading partner. The EU places great emphasis on integrating Russia into a common European economic and social sphere. A key to a successful partnership lies in the efforts to consolidate political and economic stability in Russia. It is in the interest of all Europeans that Russia feels part of Europe, not isolated by it. But much depends on Russia itself.

Globalisation has made it impossible to pigeon-hole foreign policy geographically or sectorally. In today’s world security issues cannot be dealt with in isolation. New security threats have emerged alongside the more traditional ones. Disasters such as nuclear power plant malfunctions, epidemics, drug trafficking, international crime or the greenhouse effect ignore borders. Their impact is not restricted to Europe and they affect the security of nations and individuals alike. In Europe, for example, we are concerned about increasing violence, drug trafficking and organised crime routes that pass through the volatile Central Asia region.

A wider dialogue with Russia on conflict prevention and long-term security issues is necessary. A policy and security dialogue is in the interests of both sides. So is co-operation in contributing to conflict prevention, crisis management and the promotion of arms control, as well as disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

We in Europe have repeatedly emphasised to Russia that the political developments and the integration process in Western Europe pose no threat to its legitimate security interests.

Then there are areas where trilateral cooperation - European, Russian and Asian - could be helpful in promoting security. For instance, it would be in all our interests if the situation in Afghanistan and Central Asia were to develop in a peaceful direction.


European security and Russian security are intertwined. The old zero-sum thinking does not provide a basis for correct analysis and policy choices. The European Union is prepared for a constructive partnership with Russia. Much depends on Russia, its internal development and reforms.

Thank you