Statements
High-level Workshop on The Economic Dimension of Security in Europe:
Facing New Challenges in a Changing Environment

Session II
Enhancing conflict prevention and economic security in an integrating Europe - the benefits of EU enlargement

EU Enlargement: challenges and opportunities in conflict prevention and economic security

by
Ambassador Doru Costea,
Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations Office at Geneva

Geneva, March 8, 2004

Madam Executive Secretary,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The debate today comes at a time when talking about challenges and risks to security and stability has become a major activity for decision makers, decision-implementers and decision-critics alike. This wide-ranging debate is tentatively matched by equally intense endeavours to identify opportunities and ways of action that would meet and prevent them: yet, this very process is a challenge in itself, for the risks and threats that we are trying to deal with are mostly new, non-conventional and much more subtle than before.

On March 4, Mr. Bertie Ahern, Prim-minister of Ireland said: "it is nowhere pre-ordained that international security and the lot of humanity will inevitably and continuously improve" and noticed that "Unprecedented challenges face the entire global community. If these challenges are to be met, Europe must play its part and we must do this to the full, using all of the instruments available to us and guided by principles which have served the wider world well".

In a short while, the enlarged EU will comprise over 450 million people producing a quarter of the world's Gross National Product. The area of democracy and freedom that are basic prerequisites for endurable development shall begin to look more than ever like the dream of the Europe whole and free coming true.

But will the process stop there?

L'Europe peut se voir comme une grande promesse faite aux citoyens européens des 15, et aussi à ceux des 12 autres membres à venir. Mais c'est également une promesse faite à la Turquie, ainsi qu'aux pays des Balkans Occidentaux. Les attentes des pays voisins de l'Union Européenne, et plus largement, les espoirs des citoyens du monde dans son ensemble sont également aussi extrêmement élevés à l'égard de l'UE.

La construction européenne se retrouve aux carrefours de ces exigences. Le projet de Traité Constitutionnel en cours de négociation, les implications de la Stratégie de Lisbonne et l'impératif d'assurer la convergence entre les 15 et les futurs 12 pays membres sont autant de défis qui vont définir la mesure dans laquelle l'Union Européenne aura la preuve de son succès.

Les nouveaux risques pesant sur la démocratie et la sécurité de la communauté internationale et, au premier chef, les menaces du terrorisme et du crime organisé, du trafic d'êtres humains et d'armes, y compris celles de destruction massive, ne peuvent être combattus que par des efforts conjoints, par le renforcement du partenariat transatlantique et par la participation de toutes les nations démocratiques et responsables.

L'Europe peut toujours démontrer que l'altérité ethnique, nationale ou religieuse ne constitue pas une entrave, mais au contraire, un énorme avantage de force, de dynamisme et de flexibilité.

L'Europe a, par-dessus tout, la capacité unique de fournir une réponse plus sociale et plus équitable aux problèmes du monde moderne, par la force de son propre modèle d'intégration.

La mondialisation qu'on voit comme le phénomène déterminant du XXIe siècle n'a pas seulement le sens commercial, technologique ou de communication: c'est bien la mondialisation des valeurs qui fera la différence.

La mission de l'Europe est de garder son élan unique au bénéfice des nations et des peuples qui ont connu le cauchemar de l'injustice et du totalitarisme, en luttant pour la mondialisation des valeurs démocratiques et humanistes et du modèle éthique de développement, basé sur la coopération et l'intégration, la participation et la responsabilité envers le sort de tous les citoyens de notre monde.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The UNECE and OSCE Seminar on "New Strategy for Enhancing Security in the Economic and Environmental Dimensions" that was organized in Villars last year produced, among other valuable results, an analytical paper that examined several major threats to socio-economic issues, the environment and energy, the institutional framework and the relationship between globalization and regional economic co-operation. Underlying socio-economic circumstances that exacerbate civil strife and may lead to conflict were also identified in the paper. At both regional, that is continental, and local, i.e. sub-regional, levels, one conclusion, at least, stands out: enlarging the area of stability and security is a result of combined processes that cannot be carried out individually - at national scale - alone. Synergies among the participants to these processes are mandatory, lest resources be wasted and frustrations accumulate to breaking points and critical mass.

We believe that the European Union is an archetype of successful and comprehensive development that offers vectors of democracy, stability and welfare. This is relevant for the Union, and it meets basic expectations of members of the international community: EU is supposed to play a central role in delivering security, in offering a model of social and economic development, in building bridges between civilizations and managing a more ethical process of globalisation.

The decisions to accept new members in the area of democracy were in themselves major incentives for, and provided strong motivations to, processes of structural reforms, political coherence, internal stability and good-neighbourhood relations in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. With the exceptions of Turkey, Cyprus and Malta, the rest of the candidate countries applied for the EU membership within a period of time of 19 months - between March 1994 and December 1995; negotiations started between 1998 and 2000 and were concluded in 2002 for the 10 future members as of this year. We, in Romania, are determined to wrap up our negotiations this year. There is a particular significance in the pace of previous enlargement rounds of negotiations: 12 years were needed - for Ireland, the United Kingdom and Denmark - and 3 years, respectively, for Finland, to become members of the community. The message of these figures can be read as an obvious increase in the power of attraction and influence that the Area of the Four Freedoms exerted and projected outside its borders.

It is not only the political landscape in the candidate countries that has witnessed dramatic changes; economies have largely managed to recover from both transition pains and global slowdowns and their ties to the EU are consolidating. Data provided by the latest Economic Survey of Europe of the UNECE are relevant in this respect.

The actions we are taking together for the security and welfare of our citizens must not split us apart from our neighbours. There is, in the vicinity of Europe, an outstanding "need for Europe" - it is the need for stability, security and democratic values, for prosperity and a dignified future. This relationship works both ways: in order to develop, Europe, too, needs, a stable and prosperous neighbourhood, free from risks or threats. This is an additional argument for the urge to invest in the democratic stability and economic security of what is about to become the European Neighbourhood. We share the EU's vision that enhanced cooperation (on economic, social and politic levels) with neighbouring states is critical to avoid the emergence of new division lines in Europe.

Romania is determined to play an active role in shaping future instruments for the EU Neighbourhood policy that may become operational as of 2007. We cannot simply stand and assist to the unfortunate developments that take place in our vicinity. Solving frozen conflicts, providing highest norms and standards, strengthening the assistance and the cooperation initiatives with the countries concerned is a must. The expansion of the area of welfare, stability and prosperity around Europe is for the benefit of all parties involved. It is our duty to assist our neighbours and exercise together the new political culture of co-operation and dialogue.

Romania considers it a matter of paramount importance to clearly define and address in a pro-active manner the root causes that could nurture conflict and instability. This would give substance to the notion of "preventive engagement". The European Union enjoys now a special potential to address these threats. Therefore, the enlarged Union can, and must, assume greater global role and responsibility.

In terms of responses to these various threats, we think that our approach should be comprehensive, multidimensional and human oriented. It should take advantage not only of the military capabilities, but also of the full range of instruments that the Union has and that have proved to be successful (trade and economic cooperation, development assistance, humanitarian aid, various conditionality policies).

Ladies and Gentlemen:

One of the most challenging areas where such an approach could be implemented is the Western Balkans. Stabilizing the region was a top priority and it has been rather successfully carried through; now, the more daunting task of furthering this positive trend so that it will not slip back is the economic and social progress, with visible results for the common citizens. Achieving this is the most efficient way to consolidate the results obtained so far and to provide solid grounds for fulfilling the "unfinished agenda" in the Balkans.

The issue of human trafficking is among the items of this agenda: a highly sensitive matter that is relevant for the multiple aspects of the human security and whose importance cannot be overstated. Six programmes have been launched recently by the OSCE to deal with this problem, including an Anti-Trafficking Awareness Raising, targeted to the media and the NGOs, a Technical Assistance Programme, and others. Concerted efforts to improve the human security in the region are the goals of another project Romania is working on: a SEECP Task Force to focus on JHA issues and promote practical co-operation at working levels, as we are preparing to take over the Chairmanship of the process in April.

Indeed, this is a great opportunity to really step up regional cooperation. Next May, my president and my country will be hosting the Summit of the Central European Heads of States and Governments. There will be around 17 leaders from Central Europe. That will be a moment when fresh ideas and new synergy can be identified and put forward.

New challenges lie ahead - and so do new opportunities. Yet, we are stronger as we face the future together. We, in Romania, are committed to capitalize, together with our European partners, on our historical, economic and cultural links, to become an integral part of the "new European dream": a secure and prosperous Europe in a better world.

Thank you.


Top of the document Back to statements