Grußwort von OKR'in Katrin Hatzinger zur Vorstellung des Friedensgutachtens 2021 am 29.06.2021

Members of Parliament,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

dear guests,

I welcome you to this year´s virtual edition of the presentation of the peace report 2021- the joint yearbook of the four leading German institutes for peace and conflict research.  Thank you for your interest in today´s event. As usual we link the presentation to a current EU debate on foreign, security and defence policy. This year under the heading: „Europe can do better − The EU between institutional constraints and civil and military responsiblities“. It has become a good tradition to organize this event together with the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation. Let me thank Renate Tenbusch and Sidonie Wetzing for the good cooperation and Sidonie for the moderation.

Next, I would like to welcome Prof. Ursula Schröder as the editor in chief of this year´s report and the newly installed Protestant Bishop for the Bundeswehr, Dr Bernhard Felmberg. Great to have you with us. Moreover, I am very happy that we managed to have competent voices from the European Parliament and from the European External Action service. A warm welcome to MEP Hannah Neumann and Sonja Momberg from the EEAS. Last but not least, I am glad to welcome peace researcher Matthias Dembinski among us, one of authors of the peace report from the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt.

According to the Global Peace Index, the state of peace in the world deteriorated further in 2020, not least due to the coronavirus pandemic showing global dependencies and institutional weaknesses in crisis resilience. In addition, multilateralism, a core element in the EU's foreign policy and identity, and an essential element of its approach to peace and security, is under increasing pressure from competing value systems and ideologies.

Working on a new relationship with the United Kingdom, getting back on track with the US, finding a balanced approach to Russia and dealing with China's global ambitions as well as migration, disruptive technologies, and climate change are just some challenges highlighting the pressure on the EU to provide for a concrete and targeted EU external action.

The statement in the EU Global Strategy of 2016 is therefore still very much up to date, „we live in a world of predictable unpredictability“. It remains also a valid statement that we live in a more connected, a more contested and a more complex world and that the EU has to find a common approach to deal with it.

The Strategic Compass is supposed to outline the way forward, making the EU´s ambitions in the field of security and defence policy more concrete. In many aspects the Compass can build on existing elements like the EU's peace and security toolbox, strong partnerships, and the EU's strength as a widely recognised conflict mediator. Already existing initiatives in the area of security and defence policy like PESCO etc. need a fine-tuning though, the EU´s crisis resilience needs to be enhanced and a common security and defence culture based on shared values and objectives is still something to work towards to.  

Obviously, Europe can do better to become „weltpolitikfähig“ and we want to discuss what kind of a security and defence actor the EU wants to become. I am looking forward to hearing possible answers today, wish us an interesting exchange and now hand over to my colleague Renate Tenbusch.

We are now interested to hear from Prof. Ursula Schröder, Director at the Institute for Peace and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg and editor in chief of the peace report, giving us an overview on this year´s publication.

Thank you very much.

The concept of „just peace“ is at the heart of the Protestant Peace ethics and the “preferential option for nonviolence” prevails. As Protestant Church in Germany we are arguing for a strong role of the EU as a soft power but also acknowledge the manifold geopolitical challenges in a world out of balance.  Therefore, the debate on the future role of the EU in the area of security and defence is very topical for us. This said, I give the floor to the Protestant Bishop at the Bundeswehr, Dr Bernhard Felmberg.