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Global governance working group - Istanbul

  • Date(s)
    16 September 2004
  • Location

The fourth meeting of Policy Network’s working group on Global Governance – “Europe, Global Governance and the Challenges of Security” - took place on the 16th and 17th of September 2004 in Istanbul, and was hosted by the Forum for Economics and Foreign Policy (EDP).

Having discussed reform proposals for the international financial institutions at its third meeting in Copenhagen, the working group, co-chaired by Kemal Derviş, Member of the Turkish Parliament, and Charles Grant, Director of the Centre for European Reform, has this time addressed questions of the wider security debate, focusing on the relationship between the United Nations (UN), NATO and the emerging European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).

During the first session, “CFSP/ESDP and the new global security challenges”, participants stressed the need for a more effective and coherent European foreign policy. Whereas the European Security and Defence Policy can already be regarded as a “success story” – taking into account the relatively swift and fast development since its ‘birth’ in 1999 at the Anglo-French summit in St. Malo – the CFSP remains very weak due to the lack of political leadership at the national level as well as the difficulty for the now 25 countries to agree on a set of guidelines at the European level.

Members of the working group pointed out that a real danger consists in recent trends of shifting from collective defence strategies to nationalised concepts of security, ignoring completely the global dimension of threats such as terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destructions, failed states and frozen conflicts.

Instead, priority must be given to the development of a new “common sense” on global security, before proceeding with a common doctrine (“Solana paper [1] as a good starting point”) and technical issues with regard to military strength, “strategic intervention concepts” and the enhancement of state-building capacities. Referring to the latter, there was consensus that the CFSP/ESDP has to attach much more importance to it, scrutinising the instruments used so far and strengthening the “effectiveness on the ground” without neglecting the aspect of elaborating a coherent plan for economic reconstruction.

In this context, the question of defence spending came to the fore. Despite a controversial discussion participants agreed that the avoidance of a “new arms race”, the pooling of military capacities and subsequently the curb of military expenses in the long run should remain objectives of progressive policies. Therefore, raising the efficiency of defence spending is crucial and only achievable through an appropriate European burden-sharing in the military domain as well as its recognition at the political level.

Particular attention was also paid to the European Union’s neighbourhood policy, and especially to the EU-Russia relationship. This latter is unanimously seen as the “classical test case” for establishing a coherent European foreign policy, based on “interests rather than values”. Whereas the United States pursues clear goals and has an active strategy towards the former Soviet countries, the EU is scarcely present and divided in different approaches. The danger of an instable neighbourhood, affecting European security in general and its energy security in particular, should therefore be taken seriously and its challenge at the top of the political agenda.

The second session was built around the debate on the future of transatlantic relations. Admitting that NATO is somehow in an identity crisis and that it has “shifted from an essential to a useful institution” participants agreed on its continuous importance for global security.

Three possible scenarios of NATO development are striking: gradual disintegration, continued reform or re-invention. Clearly favouring a combination of the second and third option members of the working group stressed the need for defining a new common agenda as well as restructuring the decision-making process within the institutions.

Sensitive questions were raised in this regard: is “democracy” a sufficient condition for military interventions? Should there be a division of labour between the EU and NATO? Should we develop concepts of “regional legitimacy” for the right to intervene across borders?

Participants were in agreement that the question of legitimacy plays a central role on all these matters and moved this discussion into the third session: “Renewing the international system – reforming the United Nations”. During his presentation, Kemal Derviş set out some general principals for a UN Security Council reform:

•         Weighted voting and universal participation
•         Supermajority requirements rather than vetos
•         A limited number of seats
•         Quality of democracy as a possible weighting factor
•         Recognition of differences in power, wealth, and capabilities for action
•         Transitional and long-term arrangements

Preceding the recent recommendations of the high-level UN reform panel the working group argued for the necessity to create political momentum for reform. In this respect, Europe has certainly to play a key role and social-democratic parties should be at the forefront of supporting changes in global governance in favour of strong multilateral institutions with a better regional representation.

The meeting concluded by focusing on the issue of weapons of mass destruction. Participants discussed possibilities of how to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and linked its success to the reform of the UN Security Council.

If you would like to know more about the work of Policy Network’s working group on Global Governance, please write to info@policy-network.net. 

Meeting participants:

Andrew Adonis, Special Advisor, 10 Downing Street, UK
Matt Browne, Director, Policy Network
Can Buharali, EDP Forum, Istanbul
Olaf Cramme, Researcher, Policy Network
Kemal Derviş, Member of Parliament, Turkey, and EDP Board Member
Olivier Ferrand, Secretary General, A Gauche en Europe, Paris
Charles Grant, Director, Centre for European Reform, UK
Stephany Griffith-Jones, Professorial Fellow, University of Sussex
Damla Gurel, Member of Parliament, Turkey
Memduh Hacioglu, Member of Parliament, Turkey
Yusuf Isik, Parliamentary advisor to Kemal Derviş
Eric Joyce, Member of Parliament, UK
Bert Koenders, Member of Parliament, Netherlands
François Lafond, Deputy Director, Policy Network
Catriona Laing, Deputy Director in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, UK
Mark Leonard, Director, Foreign Policy Centre, UK
Mark Medish, Partner in the public law and policy practice group of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, Washington, US
Hans Schumacher, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Istanbul
Stefano Silvestri, President, International Affairs Institute, Rome
Gayle Smith, Senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, US
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Member of Parliament, France

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