Security; Pleasure; Achievement
These are all security issues, probably the most pressing ones of our times.
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And yet, they all go beyond the traditional domains of security and defence policy. The same is true if you look at the conflicts, starting from those in our region, in Libya, in the east of Ukraine, in Syria, in Yemen. Solving them might require a traditional security component, but most of all it requires diplomacy and mediation, the economic capacity to engage in the reconstruction and to transform a war economy and a war society into a peace economy and a peace society, readiness to rebuild institutions — all of them -, train the local security forces, which requires humanitarian aid and private investment, and the list would be long.
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None of the security challenges our world faces today can be effectively addressed with a purely military approach. And I know it sounds surreal to say this at the Munich Security Conference, but I will then come to the defence part of my speech. I think it is important to recognise that we feel today - not only as Europeans, but I believe all around the world — the sense of frustration sometimes in front of the security challenges that we are facing. And I believe this is why it is today, contrary to the past, that the European Union has become a real security provider.
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I am using this expression to refer to ambassadors at large that we have around the world who cover non- traditional fields of competence. It is because we are facing different kinds of threats in the world that we need different kinds of security providers with different kinds of tools than the ones we had in the past. Using different tools, mixing them depending on the time — I would say even depending on the phase of the conflict - the place, the region and the players involved.
And last but not least, mobilising resources like, including financial resources, like no one else in the world can do and is willing to do. Because let us be clear: today the money invested into humanitarian aid, sustainable development, climate action, protection and promotion of human rights and even sometimes the money mobilised by our trade agreements, this is all also an investment in security and peace in the world of today.
It is, I believe, sustainable security and peace. We can say this, today, as Europeans, because we have finally overcome the ideological debate — I would say the dilemma - on whether we come from Venus or Mars.
Today, I believe, Europe knows that military means are sometimes necessary and there is no ambiguity about that, we know that, we have lived through that time. We also know that military means are never sufficient alone. And this is why we have, in these last two years, built - at last - the European defence. A dream that our founding fathers and mothers always dreamt of, but never managed to accomplish. Now it is done. Without losing our trade mark, which is soft power, but finally adding to that a credible hard power component. And doing it as the European Union.
And doing it our own way, which is the European way — a cooperative way -, investing in partnerships and in multilateralism. We believe that the security threats we face can only be tackled through cooperation and in the multilateral framework. I think Heiko [Maas] was defining it perfectly well. I know that many people here are worried about a tendency towards a "great power competition" in global politics, and rightly so.
We Europeans have something totally different in mind, also given our history. We are a cooperative power by definition. We actually became a power in the moment when we understood that cooperating was much more convenient than fighting each other. We know that the logic of spheres of influence and zero-sum games does not work and that it only leads to more tensions, more instability and more violence. The European Union is one of the main global powers of today's world — the largest market in the world, the second largest economy in the world, the first trade partner for most countries in the world.
We invest, as the European Union, more in development cooperation and humanitarian aid than the rest of the world combined. And we have — this is a figure that we sometimes tend to forget — united, as European Union, the second largest defence budget in the world. And we are determined to put this strength at the service of international cooperation, multilateralism, peace and security globally.
This is why in these last two years, for the first time ever, we have also started to invest seriously in our collective hard power — the Europe of defence. As our security environment continues to change, we want to help, to accompany our Member States, and also our partners because we know that security in our region is strictly connected with our security.
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We want to accompany and help our Member States respond to the challenges in the best possible way. I think that this is even generous.
I would even say that, individually, our countries are small. I often say that our Member States are not small nor big ones; we have Member States that have not yet realised that they are small. Joining forces, as Heiko [Maas, Foreign Minister of Germany] was saying before me, is a strategic interest of all European states - no one excluded. Our defence industry and our research labs are among the best in the world.
But we will not be able to cover the full range of capabilities we need, if we do not synchronize our national defence programmes, and this is exactly what we are helping Member States to do. When a new capability is needed — maybe high-tech or particularly complex — joining forces inside the European Union is the natural starting point, the natural choice and also the most effective one.
This is a big part of our work on the Europe of defence, to incentivise Member States, to plan together their defence spending, to invest together, to research together, but also to train their troops together, and to act together on the ground. We are investing, for the first time ever, resources from the European Union budget for this to happen.
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