Gemeinsame Einladung der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Büro Brüssel und der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland Büro Brüssel zur Präsentation des Friedensreports 2017 mit Podiumsdiskussion
The World in Disorder - Is the EU prepared enough?
11. Juli 2017
Members of Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for your interest in today´s presentation of the joint yearbook of the german institutes on peace and conflict research. It has become a good tradition to present the report in the EKD premises and I am happy that we do it today again together with the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation as a cooperation partner and this time also with the Leibnitz Gemeinschaft.
A big thank you to Uwe Optenhögel and his team for preparing the event with us and for moderating the panel debate.
"The World in Disorder - Is the EU prepared enough?" that is the question we will discuss today with experts from the European Institutions, European Think Tanks, and an author of this year´s Peace report. A warm welcome at this stage to the editor in chief, Bruno Schoch, the researcher Matthias Dembinski, MEP Knut Fleckenstein, Alexander Md Lachland from the External Action Service and last not least to Giovanni Grevi from the epc. Rebecca Harms has fallen ill and therefore had to cancel her participation.
In the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's Paris pull out and other moves that signal his unwillingness to cooperate with foreign allies, leaders in Europe have realized that they cannot rely on the big brother across the Atlantic like they used to. Using the Brexit momentum the EU is pushing for a closer cooperation on security and defence issues. According to the High Representative Federica Mogherini, more has happened in ten months than in the previous sixty years towards a European Union of security and defence.
The EU Global Strategy released in June 2016 and the different elements of its implementation presented since November 2016 such as the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), the Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) and the European Defense Fund (EDF), are meant to create an incentive for member states to cooperate and further integrate their defense activities.
Looking at the spending positions the EU is already now an important military power in the world. The combined defense budgets of EU member states reached approximately $230 million in 2016, this is more than three times the Russian annual defense budget and also higher than Chinese defense spending.
But despite the material capacities and a renewed European spirit after the dutch and french elections a lot will depend on using the momentum to implement new policies and to manage expectations among the Member States. Key European players do not necessarily mean the same thing when they talk about security and defense.
While Germany sees defense as an extension of the political agenda, with a limited military component, France prefers a strong intergovernmental military cooperation.
Also the traditional division of labor between NATO - in charge of defense and deterrence - and the EU - using its soft and economic power to achieve its goals -could get out of balance with a more ambitious EU on defense and security matters.
The Global Strategy chose an integrated approach to conflict and crises underlining the concept of resilience, which was further outlined in this June´s communication putting an emphasis on enhancing state and societal resilience. As Federica Mogherine underlined in a speech at the UN recently: "Peace is never sustainable without decent infrastructure, good health care or education, without participation, without democracy. "
So one element of today´s discussion will surely tackle the question how the new enthousiasm for defense and security cooperation might be beneficial to peace without jeopardizing the role of the EU as a soft power.
I wish us a fruitful exchange, thank you for coming and now hand over to Bruno Schoch, the editor in chief of the peace report to give us an overview on this year´s edition.