Eueopean Renewal amidst Global AdversityWarsaw, PolandJune 24th, 2009
Any British Foreign Secretary visiting Poland is deeply conscious of the history between our two countries.
It goes back a long way. Canute the half Polish King of Denmark who, in 1015, invaded England, bringing with him Polish soldiers and his mother, Princess Swietoslawa, who was buried in Winchester castle.
The Polish King, Casimir the Great, who in medieval times offered sanctuary to English Jews being persecuted in London and York.
The English and Scottish Protestants who sought and received refuge here in the 16th century and the Scottish Catholics who settled in Chelmno in the 17th century.
Yesterday, I flew here from Northolt, an RAF airbase on the outskirts of London. There, I passed the memorial to the Poles who fought for the Allies. Two hundred thousand Polish soldiers, air men and naval personnel fought on the Allied side in the Second World War. Amongst them the men who opened the door to Rome in May 1944 when they captured Monte Cassino; the crew of the Polish destroyer Blyskawica who helped defend Southampton from air raids; and the pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain. And the Polish mathematicians who broke the Enigma codes, unlocking the intelligence which gave the Allies the decisive advantage in many crucial battles.
This year, the 70th anniversary since the start of world war two will evoke painful memories right across Europe, but particularly here in Poland.
For me, the history is personal.
I am one of the million Britons who have Polish blood.
My father's parents lived in Poland, leaving the country at the end of the First World War.
My mother was born here; her life saved by those who risked theirs sheltering her from Nazi oppression.
After the war, in 1946, she left the country for the UK.
I come here with a curiosity about the place where my grandparents and my mother were born alongside an acute sense of tragedy for the terrible losses suffered during the Second World War.
I come here with an admiration for the strength of the Polish spirit, the flame which continued to burn through 44 dark years of Communism, and for the enormous contribution that this country has made to European culture - Copernicus's role in the renaissance to the music of Chopin and Karel Szymanowski or the films of Kieslowski and Wajda.
This year we mark another anniversary. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was the formative political experience for my generation, but it was the election here on June 4th 1989, and the success of Solidarity and Lech Walesa, that helped to inspire citizens and political leaders across central and eastern Europe.
Today, the UK and Poland stand as partners within the European Union. A Union that was born out of the ravages of the second world war, then reborn at the end of the cold war. An organisation that, despite its faults, is the most successful regional institution in the world. It is telling that those who are near the EU want to join it, those who are distant want to imitate it. It is only those who are in it that seem indifferent.
In my speech this afternoon, I want to set out my vision for the EU and talk about how it must adapt once again to the changing geopolitical context we face.
The argument is simple. Europe has been built on the combination of a social market economy and liberal politics. Both are under threat; both need to be defended.
But alongside continuity, Europe also needs change.
We need a compelling positive case for the European Union that outweighs the politics of fear and puts in its place a politics of European renewal.
We need bold strokes in two areas I want to highlight today.
First, I believe the EU must set itself a goal of creating a single, low-carbon, energy market across the EU, guaranteeing Europe's long term energy security and leading the fight against climate change.
Second, Europe must be prepared to speak with a strong voice so that it can engage the main global powers - the US, China, India, Russia and Brazil - and assert European interests and values around the world.
A European Model
There is not time today for a detailed history lesson.
But the twin foundations of Europe's success, first of all in western Europe then across Europe, have been its commitment to a social market economy and to liberal politics.
The insistence first that market dynamism and human values are partners; the commitment second not just to civil, political and social rights spread across our Continent, but to the resolution of conflict through political dialogue.
Yet today, for the first time since the collapse of communism, people talk about capitalism in crisis. We have a new kind of economic and political challenge. The global recession is testing our ability to combine open markets with the public interest in social and environmental welfare.
We must avoid two dangers. One is denial about the scale of the problem. The second is quack remedies, from protectionism to save jobs to Euro-scepticism to revive faith in politics. Both would actually compound the sense of powerlessness that people feel, in the name of addressing precisely that powerlessness.
I agree with Gordon Brown that the unquestionable insecurities, inequalities and unsustainabilities of today’s globalised economy will not be addressed by ‘de-globalisation’. They require instead a different kind of globalization, where political institutions are able to establish rules of the game that protect the public interest.
An agreed rule book for financial regulation and greater cooperation on supervision to ensure we keep pace with the increased dynamism of international capital markets is one example. Solidarity in helping those most in difficulty, for example through the EU Balance of Payments facility, is another.
Enlargement of the EU is part of the equation. The truth is that the success of the single market has been both the cause and the consequence of Europe’s greatest political success – enlargement to the East. Joining the world's largest single market has attracted countries towards Europe. Each successive enlargement has in turn strengthened the single market, benefiting existing members as much as new members. Economics and politics go together.
That is why the UK has always been the most stalwart supporter of enlargement. But today, we must confront the fact that the desire to enlarge Europe is facing increased opposition. The calls to close the door behind Croatia are growing. We must remake the case. Social strains need to be managed. Conditions need to be met. But the economic argument is clear. As China and India experience rapid rates of growth, Europe's future will depend on its ability to expand the single market and deepen its drive for innovation.
The security argument is equally compelling. The effects of instability and division in the Balkans and the Caucasus will spill over across Europe. The European Union's power to stabilise these areas comes from the fact that those countries are prepared to undergo the reforms necessary to be part of the single market. Europe is an anchor for stability. If we give up on enlargement, we lose that power and we will be powerless to address instability and insecurity on our borders.
Our first priority in taking forward enlargement is to stick to the commitments we have made to Turkey and to the Western Balkans. It is vital to our credibility and cohesion that the EU keeps its side of the bargain. It is vital to the very future of the enlargement project that its supporters speak out as loudly as its detractors, not just on a case by case basis but to argue and explain why an expanded EU is in all our interests.
Beyond those already on the road to membership, we need to deepen cooperation and incentivise reform. As I said last summer in Kiev Article 49 of the EU Treaty gives all European countries the right to apply for membership, and Ukraine is most certainly a European country.
Of course not all the countries on our borders will want to join, or are yet ready for a membership agreement. That is why the joint Polish-Swedish initiative on the Eastern Partnership is so welcome, not as an alternative to EU membership but as an opportunity to expand the single market step-by-step in areas such as trade, investment, and energy. This is valuable in its own right. But it also brings political benefits. Investors demand that rights are protected, rules are enforced and the rule of law holds. Economic integration can help drive political reforms, that the EU in turn must support. That is why, incidentally, your support for a freer media in Belarus is so welcome.
So the two great projects of Europe's past - the single market and enlargement - need to be protected and extended. But Europe's raison d'etre must adapt to new insecurities. It will never succeed based on gratitude for the past, but promise for the future. Europe needs change as well as continuity.
A focus on a European Energy Policy is arguably older than it sounds. It was the original spur for European integration, first through the Coal and Steel Community in 1951 and then EURATOM in 1957. Since then European leaders have often called for a genuine EU energy policy, but the economic and security arguments were never sufficiently compelling to overcome the political reluctance.
Those arguments need revisiting. The EU is becoming more and more dependent on imports from unstable or unreliable regions. By 2030 we will import 84% of our gas, up from 57% today; and 93% of our oil compared with a current figure of 82%. At the same time, global demand for energy is predicted to rise by 45%, raising the prospect of a global energy crunch, with demand pushing up prices and supply becoming increasingly insecure and politically contested.
In January we saw how the dispute between Russia and Ukraine left Bulgaria and other parts of Europe without gas for two weeks. This was not a one off problem, and certainly not one that the individual countries concerned can solve on their own.
The truth is that unless the EU develops a much more robust energy policy we face a real crisis. Energy prices will rise to dampen economic growth, and there is a major risk of energy shortages.
There is a clear path forward if we want to avoid this scenario.
First, we must regulate to make our homes and industries more efficient, reducing our overall demand for energy. If the US, China, India and Russia had the same energy efficiency as Japan, world energy consumption would be cut by 20%. Improvements in the EU’s energy efficiency over the ten years to 2006 already save energy equivalent to a third of the EU’s total crude oil imports every year.
Europe’s member states are working towards achieving the target of 20% more energy efficiency by 2020. If we meet our target, we will save energy equivalent to that produced by half a million wind turbines.
Second, we need to diversify our energy supplies. This requires more investment in the development of new energy sources - wind, tidal and solar but also nuclear power. It also requires investment in carbon capture and storage, so that countries such as Poland and the UK can use our coal supplies without harming the environment. We also need more diversity in the sources of gas supply and transit routes. That is why the UK supports the development of a southern corridor, an important element of which is the Nabucco pipeline.
Third, we then need a second wave of electrification of our economies. By shifting to electric powered cars and electric heating in our homes, we can reduce our dependence on imported oil and gas in favour of cleaner alternatives such as nuclear or renewables.
Fourth, we need more solidarity between Member States. The best way to ensure this is through fully, liberalised, transparent and integrated energy markets. The third package of energy market legislation which was recently agreed has a critical role to play here. It should lay the foundations for the increase in interconnections across Europe which are needed so that energy can flow more freely. But in the short-term we need to prepare better for energy shortfalls. We are therefore pleased that the Commission will soon be proposing legislation to make the EU more resilient to gas supply shocks. Much of this would be about national action, such as improved storage facilities. But the EU can help by developing a more integrated approach to emergency planning.
This is not only the path toward greater energy security, it is also the path away from dangerous climate change. They are two sides of the same coin. And by using the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and EU regulation to drive technological innovation, both at home and abroad, we will serve both our energy and our climate interests. By ensuring the EU budget addresses these two great security challenges we can ensure much greater solidarity and both secure and clean our energy for generations to come.
EU as a foreign policy actor
Energy and climate are just two examples of how the greatest threats to Europe's security are no longer problems within our borders, but forces without. From nuclear proliferation to conflict, international criminal gangs or terrorist groups the great security challenges of this century, as the UK Prime Minister has argued, are global in scope. Either they will be tackled through collective action and global leadership, or our children and grandchildren will look back on this moment as the calm before yet another the storm.
Both our countries are acutely aware of the importance of the US not just to security and stability on our own continent, but far beyond. As we seek to address the new global threats we face, US engagement will be critical.
But we can no longer rely solely on Pax Americana. Power is fragmenting. Despite the fact that its citizens will remain the world's richest for many decades to come, the US will no longer be the only power on the world's stage and the only force in global affairs.
The question for all Europeans is whether we want to be players or spectators in the new world order. Whether we want to support the US in promoting our shared values - of freedom and liberty, peace and prosperity - or stand aside and let others shape our 21st century for us.
To me, the answer is obvious. Each nation-state within the Union retains its own direct national interests and resources. The UK continues to be a major power through its military, economic and development resources, and through its seat on the UN Security Council. But if we want to avoid a so-called G2 world, shaped by the US-China relationship, we need to make G3 cooperation – US, China and the EU - work.
There is enormous demand for the EU to play a greater role in global affairs. In the last year alone we've intervened to stabilise the crisis in Georgia, engaged with both the Ukrainians and the Russians to help resolve their dispute over gas, agreed bold and ambitious climate change targets, shaped a clear offer of engagement with Iran in support of a new US policy, despatched a naval mission to the Somali Coast to reduce the threat from Piracy, and stepped up our effort in Afghanistan with more police and more money, and hopefully, in the coming weeks, election observers to ensure that the elections are credible.
After the European Council last week we now have the prospect of finally resolving Europe’s seemingly interminable institutional debate. The Irish will vote again on the Lisbon Treaty, with legal guarantees in respect of tax, abortion and defence. On that basis the EU needs to up its foreign policy game.
First, both nationally and at the EU level we face choices over finding and then prioritising the necessary resources necessary. Collectively, Europeans are not yet good enough at this. For example, we have 2 million soldiers between us, yet are only able to deploy 5% of that total at one time. Or take the EU budget. There is a mismatch between the EU’s strategic objectives and the way the EU deploys is resources. Recent progress has been made, including an additional 129 million euros of aid for Pakistan announced at last week’s EU-Pakistan summit. But, the EU could do much more to realign its budget to key priorities. For example, from a budget of 8 billion euros, the EU still only plans to spend 254 million euros on Afghanistan this year.
Second is the way we work together. Within the EU we are still learning how to cooperate effectively with across cultural and political divides. And there are still major obstacles to effective engagement with key partners, in particular NATO, which must be overcome. These obstacles give us all another stake in the settlement of the Cyprus question.
Third, we need to get better at formulating genuine strategic responses to the really difficult policy questions: how much pressure to apply to Iran, how to engage Russia while defending our values and the sovereign rights of countries in the shared neighbourhood, how best to influence and support the search for peace between Israel and Palestine.
Despite these problems, I am convinced that an active EU role is no longer a choice. It is a day to day, concrete reality for the Palestinian or Afghan policeman learning skills from a European officer in one of our ESDP operations, or for the Balkan politician piloting the economic modernisation of her country required by the European accession process.
We have all the tools we need to be a key player on the global stage - the world's largest biggest budget and largest single market, and the most extensive diplomatic network in the world. Dealing with crises requires more than just military might and this is why the EU’s ability to draw upon civilian expertise, as for the 21 ESDP missions launched to date, is so critical for dealing with fragile and failing states.
It is an irony that Europe in the eyes of its citizens is synonymous with technocratic administration, yet its creation and evolution represent one of the most visionary acts of statesmanship of the 20th century.
Its success is based on the sense of solidarity between nations; a preparedness to give and take; a recognition that the benefits of cooperation and compromise far outweigh the vain allure of going it alone.
As Europe faces its greatest test since the fall of communism, it needs to recreate the same spirit of bold visionary leadership allied to solidarity and sense of common purpose. Virtues, I know, the rest of Europe can learn from Poland.