Going global: Europe's security policy challenge
30 November 2010
Palais d'Egmont, Brussels
Opening Security and Defence Day 2010, Belgian Minister of Defence, Pieter De Crem, explained how the current financial climate of austerity and reduced budgets is encouraging the sharing of resources and better levels of cooperation and interoperability. The recent Anglo-French agreement on naval infrastructure is a clear indication of greater rapprochement between member states on security issues, he said.
The opening session focused on the institutional challenges for the EU's growing political power. Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response spoke of how the EU should harness the full potential of the Lisbon treaty in terms of external action by better appreciating the triangular linkages between development, security and democracy. She pointed out that the EU is already a leader in terms of development accounting for 60% of all global aid, but needs to play a greater part in world security. Geoffrey van Orden MEP instead argued that the EU should focus on civilian tasks and better complementing NATO. The EU should stick to its own areas of speciality and a scaling back of ambitions is more appropriate given the current economic situation, he affirmed.
At a parallel session on the EU's capabilities as a global emergency response team, Florika Fink-Hooijer, Head of Cabinet for the Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response called for the EU's crisis response to become more "predictable" and "formalised". This combined with a better coordination mechanism is essential in a sphere in which the number of actors is ever increasing. She also mentioned the EU's critical responsibility as a support for the UN system. Meanwhile Brig. Gen Giovanni Manione, Deputy Director-General for Crisis Management for the Council of Europe, highlighted some of the imbalances in EU-NATO relations. The EU all too often has the funding, but is lacking the political will, whereas NATO has the political will but is lacking in the resources, he remarked.
Security & Defence Day 2010 is held with the support
SecDef is an annual high level conference organised in Brussels which gathers key actors from both civilian and military backgrounds to exchange ideas and discuss the future of the European Security and Defence Policy.