2006 Annual Security Review Conference, Vienna, 27 and 28 June 2006
EU opening Statement
Ladies and Gentlemen,
- It is an honour and pleasure for the Presidency of the European Union to take the floor at this 4th Annual Security Review Conference.
- The review of the OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security has proven to be a useful tool for taking stock of the activities while at the same time identifying the way ahead.
- Notwithstanding the structural and more fundamental differences of both organisations, both the EU and the OSCE are communities based on shared values; their interests and goals coincide to a considerable degree.
- The EU committed itself in its strategy “A Secure Europe in a Better World” to an effective multilateral system as an objective, including the development of a stronger international society, well functioning international institutions and a rule based on international order. The OSCE with its multidimensional concept of cooperative security encompassing political-military issues, economic and environmental aspects as well as the promotion of democracy and rule of law shares this objective: Its Strategy to Address Threats to Security and Stability in the 21st Century also aims at contributing to a more cohesive and effective international system for responding to global threats and challenges. The EU therefore considers the effectiveness of the OSCE to be of crucial significance in achieving this goal. The EU being a strong supporter of the OSCE’s comprehensive and indivisible security concept has actively contributed to the implementation of the OSCE-Strategy since its adoption. The comprehensiveness of our security concept is aptly illustrated in decision 14 of the Ljubljana Ministerial Council and the European Union is committed to the implementation of the measures contained therein.
- The EU is actively committed to implement the Ljubljana Ministerial Decision on strengthening of the OSCE at the Ministerial Council in Brussels. Our goals are to preserve and enhance the OSCE norms, principles, commitments and values as well as its instruments such as the institutions, the field missions and the election observation missions. In this context we support the principles of effectiveness, transparency, participation and ownership.
- The respective interests of the EU and the OSCE coincide in many other fields: Both organisations have successfully developed joint efforts towards achieving the same objective in Moldova/Transnistria, where the EU through the EUBAM and its participation as an observer in the 5+2 process is committed to contributing to the negotiated settlement of the Transnistrian conflict.
- We face challenges from terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional conflicts, state failure, organised crime, trafficking, intolerance and discrimination. The values, commitments, and principles of the OSCE remain relevant to these challenges. The EU welcomes the set-up of the OSCE Working Group of Non-Military Aspects of security in the fields of police matters, fight against terrorism and border security management. The OSCE with its comprehensive mandate and its institutions has the potential to contribute to further initiatives in these areas.
- The EU considers the fight against terrorism and organised crime a priority topic which requires strong cooperation between the OSCE and other international fora, in particular the UN. OSCE activities should not be limited to fighting terrorism in its different aspects but also address the conditions conducive to exploitation by terrorists.
- As confirmed at the OSCE tolerance implementation conference in Almaty, the promotion of dialogue, tolerance and non-discrimination is indispensable for a truly comprehensive concept of security. When the OSCE was recently required to act in view of certain acts of intolerance, it accepted the challenge and moved tolerance issues high up its list of priorities. The EU places high significance on these fundamental values. A number of recent EU-events have reconfirmed the importance of taking the issue forward: The Euro-Mediterranean Seminar on “Racism, Xenophobia and the Media” on 22 May produced over 40 practical proposals. On 30 May, the Commission and the Presidency jointly organised a meeting of leaders and representatives of the leading world religions in Brussels. The EU is convinced that the OSCE is well placed to deal with issues of tolerance and will support its efforts.
- The EU reiterates that the promotion of the rule of law, good governance and the respect of human rights and democratic freedoms is pivotal to strengthen stability and security. OSCE police-related activities have been important in improving the capacity of the participating States to address new security threats. Let me remind you in this context that in the margins of the OSCE Human Dimension Seminar in May 2006 an outline for OSCE Policing Guidelines was discussed. The planned ODIHR meeting concerning the human dimension aspects in combating terrorism will be an important contribution in that respect.
- The EU will also continue its efforts to strengthen the international legal framework including relevant UNSC Resolutions on combating terrorism by promoting universal adherence as well as full implementation of the respective documents. The EU will continue to attribute high attention to the implementation of the Ljubljana Ministerial Council decision to enhance cooperation in criminal matters to counter terrorism and the threat of illicit drugs.
- In recent years the OSCE has developed a comprehensive acquis of confidence- and security-building measures and norm setting documents, which are indispensable components of European security. The European Union considers full and transparent implementation of all agreed norms and measures as key objective of the OSCE and welcomes the steady progress made on the implementation of the OSCE acquis. We note with appreciation the ongoing work in the Forum for Security Co operation, especially on the implementation of the SALW- and Stockpiles documents.
- The European Union has actively promoted the implementation of the UN Program of Action to combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (SALW). We hope that the Review Conference, which just started yesterday in New York, will produce tangible results. The European Union is convinced that United Nations’ efforts to control SALW have to be intensified in particular in those crucial areas where significant obstacles to full implementation persist. We believe these are transfer controls, marking and tracing, brokering regulations, ammunition and the integration of small arms measures into development assistance.
- Within the OSCE’s comprehensive concept of security the Code of Conduct is a document of fundamental importance. The European Union attaches great importance to the efficiency and to the improvement of the functioning of the permanent assessment by appropriate measures. We therefore welcome the special meeting of the FSC on the Code of Conduct on 27 September 2006, which should produce a better understanding on improving the implementation of this instrument.
- The findings of the OSCE Military Doctrine Seminar from 14 to 15 February 2006 showed that besides well known existing threats new challenges have emerged. Addressing these new challenges will require an international, multilateral and integrated OSCE approach, not only through the exchange of information and interoperability among military forces, but also through a strong interaction between civilian and military authorities.
- The confidence- and security building measures of the OSCE are indispensable for addressing the whole spectrum of the crisis scenario such as early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. Although the OSCE has demonstrated its stabilizing effects on numerous occasions, the enhancement of its effectiveness should be further pursued. In the view of the European Union this could be reached by engaging in preventive diplomacy.
- The region spanning from Ukraine and Moldova across the Black Sea to Azerbaijan and Georgia in the South Caucasus, represents a critical part of the OSCE area. It is a region where several unresolved conflicts continue to persist. Their final settlement remains therefore a priority for the OSCE and for the EU. The European Union shows its continued commitment towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict in South Ossetia e.g. through its contributions to the economic rehabilitation of South Ossetia, Georgia, and the pledges made at the Donors’ Conference of Brussels of 14 June. The EU reiterates its continued support to the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group in helping to reach a negotiated settlement of the conflict over Nagorno Karabakh.
The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia1, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.
1 Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process