World Economic Forum on Europe 2010

  • Rethinking Europe's Strategic Agenda

    Tuesday 11th May 2010 - 9:00am - 10:15am

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  • Rethinking Europe's Strategic Agenda

    Iran's nuclear programme, US-China tensions and Afghanistan's security situation are among the looming geopolitical challenges in which Europe's strategic interests are at stake.

    How should the new modalities of European diplomacy and policy-making be refocused to address the growing roster of foreign policy challenges?

    Key Points


    • Europe is a potential giant, but not an actual one in the way it operates on the world stage.
    • The Lisbon Treaty has all of the right ingredients to create a more effective European external policy. The key is to pull together everything the EU does – trade, competition, enlargement, visa policy and cultural diplomacy.
    • The EU should focus on its “critical arc of influence” – from the Maghreb and the Middle East to the Western Balkans and the Caucasus in Eurasia.
    • Energy security for Europe is a critical issue in today’s increasingly interconnected world.
    • The EU needs to think more strategically about Russia.

    Synopsis


    It is time for the EU to look actively at its strategic agenda beyond its own borders. Europe’s foreign and security policy is now in the hands of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and there is now a European External Action Service (EEAS) that many expect to become the “one number to call” in Europe.

    The EU’s position in today’s multi-polar world is at a crossroads. This includes its relationship with the US, Russia, China, Iran and Afghanistan. Other issues include the future of security in the face of growing terrorism threats and increased vulnerability from risks emanating from fragile states, in particular Pakistan; its role in a “G20 world”; its position in the high stakes game of big powers and big states competing for interest and influence; and a host of other challenges.

    Europe is a potential giant, but not an actual one in the way it operates on the world stage. The Lisbon Treaty has all of the right ingredients to create a more effective European external policy if two conditions are fulfilled:
    1. The institutions envisaged must work properly. For example, technical issues around EEAS – how it is staffed, how it is funded and its institutional ethos – are important. The key to effective foreign policy is to pull together everything the EU does – trade, competition, enlargement, visa policy and cultural diplomacy. All of the separate hands of European power must be coordinated.
    2. None of this machinery will function without the political will of the Member States. Effective foreign policy will depend on strategic coalitions of the willing and the able, e.g. Spain in the Maghreb and Poland with Ukraine.

    The EU should focus on its “critical arc of influence” – from the Maghreb and the Middle East to the Western Balkans and the Caucasus in Eurasia. In this arc, the EU is the potential superpower. But, it is time to bridge the gulf between the potential and the actual in the EU’s wider neighbourhood by building up European delegations and embassies.

    Energy security for Europe is a critical issue in today’s increasingly interconnected world. Currently, Kazakhstan is Europe’s third biggest energy supplier. This is just one reason that Europe needs to think more strategically about Russia. Other issues include security, trade and important political issues. Europe should seriously consider Russian President Medvedev’s proposal for an energy security treaty. The prospect of Russia’s eventual membership in NATO was raised as a possibility.

    Strategic thinking from the business world can provide a model for rethinking EU’s strategic agenda – envisage and then design the future. Focus on core competencies, conceive of the strategy and then implement it. The key is to create this vision jointly and work across the value chain, for example by building skills. Pick some flagship initiatives and create success stories. Creating value, however, will require strong leadership.

    Europe should not take on the Washington Agenda and respond accordingly. The Obama Administration has made it clear that the US does not automatically look to the EU as its partner in foreign affairs. For example, it should not take on Afghanistan; Pakistan is the most serious threat to the security of EU citizens. However, it was pointed out that Europe is much bigger than the EU with its 27 Member States. The Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) includes 56 Member States.

    Europe’s demographic deficit will affect economic growth. Solutions to this dilemma include enlargement to include Turkey and the right mix of immigration policies.

    Session Panellists

    Timothy Garton Ash

    , Professor of European Studies, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

    Yves Pitton

    , Senior Vice-President; Director, Corporate Development, Kudelski Group, Switzerland

    Konstantin Zhigalov

    , Special Representative of the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE; Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan

    Moderated by

    Robin Niblett

    , Director, Chatham House, United Kingdom; Global Agenda Council on Global Institutional Governance

    Disclosures


    This summary was prepared by Dianna Rienstra. The views expressed are those of certain participants in the discussion and do not necessarily reflect the views of all participants or of the World Economic Forum.

    Copyright 2010 World Economic Forum
    No part of this material may be copied, photocopied or duplicated in any form by any means or redistributed without the prior written consent of the World Economic Forum.

    Tuesday 11 May, 09.00 - 10.15

Speakers

  • Timothy Garton Ash Timothy Garton Ash
    Professor of European Studies, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

    BA (Hons) and MA in Modern History, University of Oxford; Free University, West Berlin and Humboldt ...

  • Yves Pitton Yves Pitton
    Senior Adviser and Senior Vice-President, Advertising, Nagra Kudelski Group, USA

    MSc in Physics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland; PhD in Materials Science and Engineering, Swiss...

  • Konstantin Zhigalov Konstantin Zhigalov
    Special Representative of the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE; Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan

Moderated by

  • Robin Niblett Robin Niblett
    Director, Chatham House, United Kingdom

    BA in Modern Languages, MPhil and DPhil, New College, Oxford. 2001-06, Executive Vice-President and ...