Day 1st, Friday, December 12th, 2003
The 13th Zappeion Conference of the Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation (GAAEC) commenced with the opening speech from the President of the Association, Mr. Theodossis Georgiou.
Mr. Georgiou reiterated "that 2003 is a very important year for the EU, on the European as well as the Euro-Atlantic front, and that the Symposium will be devoted on these two dimensions.
He continued by reminding that, "In Prague, a year ago, leaders of the Atlantic Alliance invited 7 European nations to become members of NATO. On that same spirit, the enlargement of the EU was decided at the Summit in Copenhagen and was implemented during the Greek Presidency, here in Athens, last April. It is important to keep in mind though that there still are countries that remain outside of the enlargement process and must be integrated too."
He added that, "Regarding NATO, three neighboring countries are intensely preparing for starting their integration process. The Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation, in cooperation with the Atlantic Associations of Sofia and Bucharest, is ready and willing to extend any assistance necessary to our colleagues in Tirana, Zagreb and Scopje.
Furthermore, without wanting to underestimate the dangers International Terrorism poses, the insecurity that is reflected in the current era can only be confronted through collective effort and with the abilities that experienced organizations, like NATO, provide."
He mentioned that, "Concerning the security of the Olympic Games, in Athens, NATO will contribute AWACS, the dissemination of information and forces that will be on stand by in neighboring countries. We, at GAAEC, are confident that everything will go as planned and that the government will do its best to overcome NATO stereotypes of the past and appropriately inform public opinion."
He continued by emphasizing that, "At the Summit of the Ministers of Defense, last October, in Colorado the organizers distributed a t-shirt that said on it 'this NATO ain't your daddies NATO' which is true. Although NATO and the EU have started cooperating with each other, it is important to be realistic. We as NGOs must inform public opinion that NATO and the EU have to work together and that the creation of a European Defense won't undermine NATO's role. However, it is important for our friends on the other side of the Atlantic to become less suspicious. The new millennium requires greater Euro-Atlantic cooperation if we are to face common security threats."
In conclusion, The President presented the new and improved role of NGOs, especially those of Atlantic Associations that can assist in solidifying an atmosphere of trust among nations. In addition, the new dimensions of security in our times make the search for new ways of communication between people, that much more important.
His Excellency, the President of Albania, Mr. Alfred Moisiu, and former President of the Atlantic Association of Albania was not able to be at the Symposium. He sent a message though, stressing the important role that Atlantic Associations play in spreading the values that the Euro-Atlantic community shares and also creating an environment of trust among nations.
Honorary Ambassador Mr. Dimitrios Nezeritis, Acting General Director of the Minister of Defense Staff Directorate (EPIETHA) and a Representative of the Minister of Defense Mr. Giannos Papantoniou, conveyed his greetings and regret that the Minister could not be present due to prior engagements. Mr. Nezeritis spoke about current dangers to security (i.e. terrorism) and that they require a concerted effort.
He stressed, that Common European Defense Policy is a common goal and that all must work together to achieve. Greece, during her 12-month tenure at the EU Presidency, tried to promote European Defense and cooperation with NATO. For example, the results of that effort were the change of command in FYROM and operation "Artemida" in the Congo.
Mr. Nezeritis remarked that all these attempts are necessary but that there implementation is inhibited. For instance, at a recent conference in Berlin he mentioned that there were many worrying positions concerning European Defense and subscription to the EU.
Although, there is an evident lack of political will, he remained positive that the current that supports the evolution of a European Defense through the cooperation of the EU and NATO will prevail.
He emphasized that although there is suspicion in the Euro-Atlantic Alliance, regarding European Defense, its promotion can be beneficial to both.
Then followed MP and Responsible for the Defense Sector of New Democracy (Opposition Party) Mr. Spilios Spiliotopoulos. He mentioned that there is concern over the difference of opinion in Europe, regarding the European Security and Defense Policy, relations between the EU and the US and the weakened role of the UN. In this respect, it is essential to reprioritize EU-US relations and support the creation of an environment based on respect and renewed trust.
He continued, adding that an independent Europe in the field of defense, working in a complementary role with NATO is important. Mr. Spiliotopoulos explained that Europe can play an important role as a soft power, regarding the promotion of the rule of law and supporting nation building through financial assistance. The recent agreement between France, England and Germany can work as a springboard towards the future of European Defense.
He concluded by emphasizing the common values the US and the EU share and that the must work in concert not in competition, taking into account the role of the UN.
The newly elected Secretary General of the ATA and Advisor to the Danish Ministry of Defense Mr. Troels Froling, mentioned the new agendas and challenges that the ATA is dealing with. Together with the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA) it is on a mission to create a public opinion profile and explain the new role of NATO. It is important for the ATA to make NATO visible and viable to the public.
That can be achieved by engaging the public, in the form of NGO's, think tanks and visits to NATO. Through seminars and conferences a kind of networking can be created that can help very much in explaining the new role of NATO.
Mr. Stefan Sofianski, Mayor of Sofia and former Prime Minister of Bulgaria, remarked on the progress the Balkans are making towards European integration. He mentioned that development of democratic institutions and economic cooperation is the key to peace and stability in Southeastern Europe (SEE).
Finally, he stressed contacts at the local level, are very important for regional and trans-border cooperation. In that framework, it is very important for Southeastern European nations to continue their integration processes in NATO and the EU.
The next speaker was Ms. Marietta Gianakou, MP and Representative of the Greek Parliament at the Convention on the Future of Europe, who reiterated that without a European Defense structure the vision of a common European Foreign Policy cannot be achieved. For that goal to be implemented there needs to be a harmonized defense market between the EU and the US thus increasing Euro-Atlantic cooperation.
In that framework Ms. Giannakou presented four possible scenarios that could either further improve or harm EU-US relations:
- A unilateral approach by the US, based on its military might, and a parallel adoption of a European Constitution and defense structure by the EU will create two opposing poles, resulting in loosening of relations.
- A unilateral approach by the US again, but this time without any European implementation will result in an undefined relationship.
- A unilateral approach by the US and the implementation of a more active role by the EU can only lead to competition.
- The complementary role of the EU in relation to NATO seems like the most beneficial to all.
Keeping in mind the above scenarios the Euro-Atlantic Community should move towards a role the will create all the conditions necessary for international security, stability and the prevention of threats.
The next speaker was supposed to be the Albanian Vice-Minister of Defense Mr. Pavli Zeri, but due to his absence his speech circulated.
He pointed out that Albania is working hard, through the PfP program, to upgrade her Armed Forces so in the future she can participate more actively in the fight against new threats. She is also trying hard to constantly upgrade her operational capabilities in order to achieve the best possible cooperation with NATO. Albanian forces have proved their dedication by participating in SFOR and KFOR as well as in the operation "Iraqi Freedom."
Mr. Zeri added that the creation of a Defense University as well as the constant improvement of taught English courses are being continued, in order to meet NATO's requirement for military and operational capabilities. He also stressed Albania's active role in SEE, with her participation in the "US-Adriatic Charter" and the South East Defense Ministerial (SEDM).
In closing he remarked on Albania's commitment to fight corruption, organized crime, illegal trafficking, terrorism and promote a free market economy.
1st Ambassadors Forum: "Stability and Cooperation in the Euro-Atlantic area."
Chair & Introduction by Ambassador and Director of the Center of Analysis & Planning for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Alexandros Philon.
Who in a brief introduction outlined areas of conflict where NATO is involved (i.e. Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq). He then mentioned NATO's future strategic goals; which are to include as many nations as possible in its Partnership for Peace (PfP) and Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) programs as it expands its "out of area" missions.
The Ambassador of Italy to Greece, Mr. Gian Paolo Cavarai, spoke first on the new situation that the Alliance is confronted with and the new responsibilities the EU has to assume. He expressed himself positively regarding the relations between the EU and the Alliance in 2003, mentioning the "Berlin Plus" agreement. With the implementation of that agreement (i.e. transfer of power in FYROM from NATO to the EU and in Bosnia in 2004) there can be further political consultations and security improvements in the Balkans, Afghanistan and the Mediterranean.
The EU, taking into account her new responsibilities, can play a more decisive role in confronting new threats (i.e. terrorism, WMD), so the New NATO can expand in out of area missions (i.e. Afghanistan).
The Ambassador of France to Greece, Mr. Bruno Delaye, spoke about the threats to stability in the EuroAtlantic area. From nationalism and religious fundamentalism to social and economic inequalities, which led to the explosion of terrorism, nationalistic conflict and illegal migration.
In front of these threats, a robust Europe is imperative. Today, 25 countries and 450 million people are working tirelessly in the largest program of integration that was ever attempted, with peaceful means.
The second most important element, concerning security in the EuroAtlantic area, is a relationship with the US, that is based on trust, equality and respect, with an appropriate allocation of responsibilities between the EU and the US. The Eurodefense plan is part and parcel of that same plan. A Europe with greater financial, political and military clout will become a more reliable partner. It is obvious that crisis management and the fight against terrorism now, require a more collective effort. A confrontation between NATO and the EU has no meaning. In the NATO military structure different EU tools can be added, including military capabilities can be used where NATO and the US do not wish to engage.
On the other hand, our neighbors stability, guarantees our stability. Development, the elimination of poverty and education are the answer to desperation, which feeds fanaticism. This peaceful approach must be shared with our neighbors, Russia and the Ukraine, as well as countries of the Southern Mediterranean. The enhancement of these partnerships with NATO will upgrade stability around Europe whilst the expansion of these partnerships into unknown frontiers will lead to the loosening of the Alliance.
We wish a balance in transatlantic relations that will bring a multi-polar international order with its permanent guarantor, the United Nations. The promotion of a global democracy, resisting the temptation of unilateralism, the foundation of harmonized and balanced relations between regional peripheries do not constitute a utopia. This is a political plan based on the challenges of today's world.
The Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Greece, Mr. Jacob Walles, reiterated that the Alliance will endure the current pressures it is experiencing, because it is comprised of nations that share the same values. Those same values are transmitted through the Partnership for Peace (PfP) and Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) programs in an effort to approach nations in the Caucasus, Mediterranean and Central Asia and exchange ideas.
Mr. Walles developed the following four subjects that the Alliance must deal with:
- New Challenges (i.e. ISAF operating outside of Kabul, possibility of greater NATO role in Iraq).
- New Directions (i.e. PfP nations that participate in NATO led operations, like Iraq or Afghanistan and the Balkans).
- European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) has already taken its first steps with the transfer of power in FYROM.
- Evolution of NATO and its ability to face current difficulties (i.e. air to air refueling, strategic airlift, military transformation).
Mr. Walles also noted, that NATO has never committed troops so far away. He then emphasized, that that common vision will be reaffirmed by all 26 members of the Alliance in Istanbul, in June 2004. Furthermore, through a common approach to the above matters the US is looking forward to working together with Europe.
In the discussion the following subjects were put to the floor: A) Role of the UN in Iraq. B) Convergence of views on defense, concerning the war against terrorism. C) Euro-Atlantic cooperation in the defense market. D) Evolution of NATO. E) ESDP program and how it affects European integration of countries, such as Albania. F) American skepticism regarding European hesitation and indecisiveness.
Mr. Walles explained that the main actor in collective security is NATO. It is important at this point, for NATO and the EU to workout the final details on how to operationalize the "Berlin Plus" agreement. As far as a UN role in Iraq is concerned, the security situation does not allow it at this point. It could, in the future, play a humanitarian role though. Regarding the convergence of views in fighting terrorism, Mr. Walles explained that the fundamental basis for cooperation is there. As far as the defense market is concerned, the EU and the US have been cooperating for the last 30 years, Mr. Cavarai pointed out. Mr. Cavarai also mentioned, that Italy is in favor of Albania's European integration and stressed that the criteria is purely economic.
2nd Ambassadors Forum: "NATO and the Mediterranean countries."
Chair & Introduction: French MP and Former President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Mr. Loic Bouvard.
In a brief introduction he outlined the three main subjects this round table discussion would proceed on. A) The importance of the Mediterranean to NATO and the upgrade of political cooperation with the MD. B) Israeli-Palestinian dialogue. C) The post-conflict era in Iraq.
The Ambassador of Jordan to Greece, Mr. Atef Halasa, started this round table by pledging the commitment of his country to cooperate in combating terrorism. He stressed that Jordan is modernizing its armed forces to be able to cooperate with NATO forces in the future. Jordan through its modernization program and participation in NATO led operations (i.e. Bosnia and Kosovo) wants to provide and work to strengthen peace and security in the Mediterranean region.
Mr. Halasa added that public support for Jordanian initiatives, such as the above, is high and he reminded that identifying terrorism with Islam is a mistake, because peace can be assured with the contribution of religion as well. That is proof that fanaticism cannot be eradicated with military means only. The Ambassador emphasized that an important precondition, to quell extremism, is to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
The Ambassador of Israel to Greece, Mr. Ram Aviram, supported his Jordanian colleague emphasizing that NATO must move to ensure stability on its Southern flank. He then called upon nations to join Israel and assist in fighting this evil (i.e. terrorism). Israel has already developed good relations with member countries of the PfP program. It wants to continue that, by supporting the MD program, and is looking forward to cooperating with Mediterranean countries. Mr. Aviram noted that cooperation between NATO and MD countries can become a useful tool for preventive diplomacy and can set the foundations for future cooperation (i.e. military exercises, search and rescue operations, maritime security and safety, medical evacuation, humanitarian relief).
In conclusion, he reiterated that terrorism is the new challenge of the 21st century and that we must all work together to combat it, for it knows no borders and strikes without warning.
In the discussion that ensued the following subjects were developed: A) The "Geneva Accord." B) Increase in terrorist activities after there is an agreement (i.e. Oslo Accord). C) The impact the war in Iraq will have on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. D) Arafat's role.
Although both, Mr. Halasa and Mr. Aviram acknowledged the "Geneva Convention," which proves that people are tired of the bloodshed, they stayed committed to the existing "Road-map." Regarding the increase in terrorist activity, after an agreement, it is essential to distinguish between terrorism and resisting occupation (which the Palestinians are doing), Mr. Halasa cautioned. On the other hand, Mr. Aviram stated that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are on the EU terror list, and that whoever aims at innocent civilians, intentionally, is a terrorist.
Concerning the war in Iraq, Mr. Halasa said that if one situation improves it will have a positive effect on the other. For example, if there is a positive outcome in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that depicts a genuine US role, then things will affect Iraq in a positive way and vice-versa. Mr. Aviram mentioned that, regardless of the connection, a threat to Israel has now been removed. Finally, Mr. Aviram pointed out that although Mr. Arafat did recognize Israel in 1993 and went through with the "Oslo Accord", since then he has been nothing but an obstacle, failing to curb terrorism.
"Asymmetrical Threats/Combating Terrorism. The role of NATO and/or the EU."
Chair & Introduction: Former President of ATA and President of the Atlantic Committee of Portugal, Mr. Bernardino Gomes.
In a short introduction he mentioned the need to define terrorism, for it is a subject of great discussion in the UN, because it is important to have a clear idea, when speaking about it. Then he moved on to the evolution of terrorism, from internal to global and the need to deal with it.
Political Analyst, Ms. Mary Bossis, emphasized the profile of the "New Terrorism," which is based on nationalism, violence and spectacular attacks (i.e. 9/11). She noted, that one of the most important reasons for this "New Terrorism" is the situation in the Middle East. She also mentioned, that by branding pariah nations (i.e. Iran, Iraq, Syria) and using the "war on terrorism" as a vehicle to fight it, terrorists cannot be defeated.
Ms. Bossis, then talked about asymmetrical threats and the methods that terrorists use (i.e. WMD, money laundering, drug trafficking). An important observation, was the fact that today's terrorists are better educated and better connected, with the use of new technologies.
To combat this evil, Ms Bossis, suggested the wider use of diplomacy, better cooperation among nations and with the UN, exchange of information, as well as the development of underdeveloped nations. Important developments she noted; are NATO's enlargement and its closer cooperation with Russia. Finally, she emphasized the need for a better preparation and development in the field of new technologies, and measures in crisis prevention must be taken, in order for there to be a record of new asymmetrical threats.
The President of the Atlantic Association of France and former Vice-President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Mr. Gerard Marcus, talked about the roots of terrorism. He mentioned the nationalistic nature of terrorism (i.e. FLN, IRA) and identified it with the transformation of terrorism. Using as a point of departure the struggle of the Mujahedin, in Afghanistan, who the US and Europe supported and trained; he explained the phenomenon of International terrorism. The "New Terrorism" is a way of expression for the people of Islam. The fanaticism it exports is a way of antagonizing the West and everything that is Western.
Unlike nationalistic terrorism, which was local, International terrorism knows no borders and is based on a balance of terror that is fed by the "war on terrorism."
Then, Assistant Professor at Panteion University and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Relations, Mr. Haralampos Papasotiriou, talked about the dangers and use of asymmetrical strategies in the past. For example, he explained the way in which these threats forced the US and Israel to reevaluate there Foreign Policies, in the Middle East and elsewhere. The result was for the US to withdraw its forces, due to terrorist attacks, from Lebanon in 1983, Somalia in 1993, Saudi Arabia (after 9/11), and Israel from Lebanon in 2000.
Mr. Papasotiriou, then remarked on the unpredictability of the "New Terrorism," which is based on a policy with no reason. Its divine mission is the elimination of any kind of Western influence in the Arab world, coupled with the replacement of all moderate governments in the Middle East. He emphasized, that this situation was created because the Muslim world failed to modernize and now ruled by oligarchic and authoritarian governments, the majority remain without modern education and are illiterate. On the other hand, the West (i.e. US); which is at fault for these conditions as well; has decided to install socio-economic change through military power. The EU, on the other hand, needs to engage the Arab world more, because it has not shown that it is up to the challenge yet.
In closing, he reiterated that terrorism cannot be combated with military means only, but with better police measures. Through investigating terrorist cells and networks and by eliminating their communication and financing terrorism can be better dealt with.
The discussion that followed was focused on one particular subject: Whether the 2004 Olympic Games can be a terrorist target?
Mr. Marcus said that a terrorist attack, during the Olympics, would be a way to hit the West and its values. Then, Ms. Bossis examined the reasons for such a terrorist hit. She explained, that such a spectacular hit would achieve great publicity, a goal of the terrorists. In turn, she mentioned, that the more security is heightened the more insecure people feel. On the other hand, she noted that at such an event many Muslim athletes would be present as well, therefore making such a hit a dilemma.
Concluding, Mr. Papasotiriou reiterated that such a hit would achieve great publicity and that the aim would be to hurt the spirit of the Olympics. He stated though that the International Community cannot risk such a possibility and must be prepared for any eventuality, because this can be a worse tragedy than the attack in Munich.
Then, Assistant Professor at Panteion University, Mr. Alexandros Koutsis, summed up, explaining that the new role of NATO will be substantially curtailed, regarding the "war on terrorism". He noted, that the asymmetrical nature of the "New Terrorism" cannot be confronted with military means. He also pointed out, that terrorists are not a big threat as long as they are not united, but with the US in Iraq, it gives them a reason to unite.
"The Euro-Atlantic Integration of South Eastern Europe."
Chair & Introduction: Secretary General of the Atlantic Treaty Association and Advisor to the Danish Ministry of Defense, Mr. Troels Froling.
In a brief introduction he mentioned the responsibilities and new realities that NATO and EU enlargement has created in SEE. Although there has been a lot of progress in trans-border cooperation, democratization and the economies of the countries in the area; the divisions created after the Bosnia and Kosovo crisis are still very much evident. That is why, in order to preserve the Confidence Building Measures that have been achieved NATO must maintain its presence in the area.
The Liaison Officer of Greece in the Public Diplomacy Division at NATO, Ms. Despina Afendouli, spoke first about NATO's success in the Balkans, the last 10 years. She also mentioned the contribution of the EU, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as well as that of SFOR and KFOR. In that context, she noted the importance of the strategic partnership between NATO and the EU.
In addition, the integration of countries from SEE (i.e. Bulgaria, Romania) should enhance the stabilization process in the area. Important developments are the rapprochement of Croatia, FYROM and Albania, by NATO, as well as the accession talks with Serbia & Montenegro concerning the PfP program. Thus, the above countries, by making sacrifices and adopting Euro-Atlantic values can assist in securing peace and stability in the region.
Next, the National Coordinator for the Stability Pact of Bulgaria, Mr. Milen Keremidchiev, stated that his country is working hard to promote stability and trust, by organizing meetings between Ministers of Defense in the region. Bulgaria, supports the 2 plus 2 format (Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Greece) as well as the trilateral meetings between Bulgaria, Romania and Greece and Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.
Furthermore, Bulgaria is hosting the Multinational Peacekeeping Force, in Plovtiv, for four years and is participating in NATO led peacekeeping missions. It is also participating in the Black Sea 4 Group and is cooperating with other countries of the Black Sea.
In addition, Bulgaria supports the enlargement of NATO and the EU in SEE, in order to strengthen stability. Another priority of Bulgaria, is integration into the EU. In the mean time it is supporting the accession of Serbia & Montenegro as well as Bosnia & Herzegovina into the PfP program.
Then, Brigadier General and Deputy Undersecretary in the Ministry of Defense of Romania, Mr. Tudor Munteanu, talked about the modernization efforts his country's Armed Forces are undergoing. He mentioned, that Romania's integration into NATO is a big challenge and responsibility that it gladly accepts. He also noted, that public support and support from the political parties is strong in Romania.
He continued, by stating that Romania is participating in NATO led peacekeeping operations (i.e. Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq) and is committed to combat terrorism.
Next speaker, Professor, from Fatih University, Ms. Zehra Vildan Serin, talked about Turkey's role as a strong NATO member in the Post Cold War era and the impact of trans-cultural exchanges.
Ms. Serin emphasized Turkey's strategic importance and that despite all the developments in the Middle East (i.e. war in Iraq) Turkey remains a bridge between East and West. Turkey is still very much interested in keeping her contacts (i.e. political, financial, military, historical and secular) with Europe intact.
She noted, that in order for an environment of peace and stability to be cultivated and maintained the exchange of ideas, on a cultural and academic level, are important. She proposed for something like that to happen through the Media and NGOs.
MP, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and President of the Albanian Atlantic Association, Mr. Arian Starova, spoke about the goals Albania has set, in order to become a member of the Euro-Atlantic community. For Albania, integration into NATO is much higher priority than the EU. Albania has proven its commitment by participating in NATO led missions in Bosnia, Georgia, Afghanistan and Iraq. In that framework, Mr. Starova reiterated that the modernization process of the Albanian Armed Forces will be completed by 2010.
Furthermore, Albania; despite its years of democratic deficit and poor economic situation; is doing everything it can to fight corruption, organized crime and illegal trafficking. In that context, it is promoting cooperation with its neighbors (i.e. Serbia & Montenegro, FYROM) and aside from its membership in PfP she is a member in the "US-Adriatic Charter."
In this effort, Albania is receiving a lot of support from its political parties and public opinion.
Then, Ambassador and Liaison Officer of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to Greece, Mr. Blagoj Handjiski, took the floor.
He noted, that it was his country's intention to begin its integration process to the EU and NATO since 1992. FYROM, has diplomatic relations with the EU since 1995 and is a member of the PfP program since 1996.
Furthemore, as a member of the "US-Adriatic Charter" it is working hard and in cooperation with other members of the charter to ensure collective security, to fight corruption, organized crime and illegal trafficking. Mr. Handjiski, emphasized that regional partnership is a vehicle with which ideas can be exchanged and cooperation can be promoted. In addition, FYROM is in the last stages of modernizing its Armed Forces and from a receptor of military assistance and security (i.e. Mission Concordia) it now participates in Afghanistan and Iraq.
FYROM will also formally apply, for into the EU, in February 2004. These common goals are supported by 80-90% of the population.
The Ambassador of Serbia & Montenegro to Greece, Mr. Dusan Batakovic, concluded the 1st day of the Symposium and spoke about the rapprochement efforts of his country towards NATO. In that framework, he mentioned the access it is providing to NATO troops and weapons, to reach Kosovo. In addition, it is cooperating with KFOR in the fight against organized crime, illegal trafficking and terrorism in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1244. He also stated, that Serbia & Montenegro is cooperating with The Hague Tribunal for the apprehension of fugitives, wanted for war crimes. Furthermore, he reminded that lawsuits still pending, from Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina, must be resolved.
Mr. Batakovic, also mentioned that the modernization of his country's Armed Forces and Police has been completed and that troops have been offered to participate in NATO led missions (i.e. Afghanistan).
He cautioned, that at this moment Serbia & Montenegro has observer status at NATO's Parliamentary Assembly and that his country's goal for Euro-Atlantic integration is irreversible. Therefore, it would be in everybody's interest for it to become a member of the PfP program as soon as possible.
Finally, Mr. Batakovic clarified that Serbia & Montenegro will never grant independence to Kosovo, but is prepared to work for its autonomy in accordance with UNSCR 1244.
In the discussion that followed the subjects that were put to the floor were: A) The reappearance of Milosevic and Seceli in the upcoming elections. B) If regional cooperation is meeting expectations and if it is helpful in establishing stability in SEE?
In response to the first question, Mr. Batakovic was clear, that although an odd decision by the parties, it wont affect the outcome of the elections. He also clarified, that although they have been charged and are on trial at The Hague Tribunal, they have not been convicted and thus Serbian law does not forbid them to run in the upcoming elections. It must be noted, that all the speakers expressed themselves positively regarding cooperation in SEE, given the fact that are looking forward to becoming members of the Euro-Atlantic Community. In that respect, trans-border cooperation has been high, from military affairs (i.e. SEEBrigade hosted by Bulgaria) to political consultations (i.e. 2 plus 2 format, trilateral meetings), as well as the democratization of nations in the region. In conclusion, it was mentioned that it is important to always keep in mind the contribution of the civic society in building confidence among people, through our Atlantic Associations.
Day 2nd, Saturday, December 13th 2003
"Security and the citizens' society in the 21st century."
Chair: The Hon. President of the Atlantic Association of France, Mr. Franois Moreau de Balasy.
Mr. Balasy made a brief but very full historical and philosophical dissection of what collective security and solidarity mean. The investigation of this matter, started from conversations in academic philosophical and political circles in the age of the interwar period in countries of Western Europe, including Germany. Unfortunately, the start of WWII postponed these thoughts, but they started to become a reality again, with the creation of International Organizations, which used them as their foundations.
He then proceeded to mend collective security and solidarity, with the acceptance of public opinion, giving emphasis on the role that Atlantic Associations must play. His long implication with these Associations, as well as his experiences, were proof enough that is what the founders of the Atlantic Treaty Association were aiming at. To make the need for collective security and solidarity a simple matter of comprehension.
The first speaker was, President of the Rudolf Steiner College, Vice-President of the European Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA) and a member of the Board of the Atlantic Association of Sweden, Mr. Par Granstedt. He started, by stating that today's threats are very different from the threats the Cold War posed. Then, threats were visible and clearly defined, now the threats that International Terrorism poses today come from a badly defined enemy and less visible.
Furthermore, Mr. Granstedt cautioned that terrorism cannot be defeated with military means only. The role of civic society in security matters has never been more urgent.
He insisted, that although it is important to have military capabilities and policing measures to investigate terrorism, it is also important to examine what causes terrorism. The causes and effects of terrorism can be found, Mr. Granstedt noted, in the foreign policy choices of the West, more specifically that of the US. That is why, it is important to reach out to the 3rd world and developing countries and to communicate and cooperate with them through civic organizations.
"NATO and NGOs. New missions, new roles, new challenges."
Then, Executive President of CASA NATO in Romania, Mr. Alex Serban, talked about the need to educate civil society, concerning NATO'S new role. He clarified, that citizens must be educated through think tanks, the media and academia. Interconnected strategies, involving all social and political entities must be created in order to make people aware of their rights and responsibilities.
In addition, NGO's play a vital role in communicating the Alliance's decisions and can stimulate participation, by involving the youth of the Atlantic Treaty Associations, in order to enhance understanding of the Atlantic Alliance. An important player in this campaign can be the Business community, whose involvement can provide assistance in more ways, than just financial.
"Security Perceptions through age."
The Executive Director of the American Council of Young Political Leaders, Mr. Brad Minnick, spoke first. He started by mentioning the need for young people to be better informed about global threats (i.e. terrorism). He noted, that youths in the US and Europe share the same view about current threats but feel differently about how to respond to them.
US citizens, really felt their personal security being threatened only after 9/11. A world of instant gratification, engulfed by Star Wars and violent computer games, was the reason US youths had become oblivious to the threat terrorism posed. Mr. Minnick added, that regardless of the gap between Europe and the US, both youths had trouble locating areas of conflict on the map.
Therefore, it is important to face reality and admit that young people are not as informed as we would like. In order to remedy this, it is important to promote student exchange visits, trips to NATO and a greater involvement by the ATA with the youth.
The next speaker, Representative of the Atlantic Association of Lithuania, Ms. Kristina Baleisyte, spoke about the opportunities young people have today and how "soft security" affects them. She mentioned that, the youth are responsible for the security of tomorrow. For that to happen though, it is important to promote the education of young people on matters of security.
Furthermore, "soft security" is the basis for a future with quality for young people. That happens through the strengthening of family values, which in turn provides young people with the necessary tools in order to create a secure environment. In that mission, NGO's (i.e. YATA) can be the motivating factor for young people to participate and learn, through seminars, conferences (i.e. Prague Atlantic Student Summit).
"Security Perceptions through gender."
Chair & Introduction: Responsible for educational matters of GAAEC, Ms. Aliki Mitsakos.
Ms. Mitsakou introduced the panel, by saying that: "Responding to current concerns, we decided this year, to include in our program the subjects of age and gender, to see how they relate to matters of security, foreign policy, peace and development. We hope that this initiative, with the participation of young people and women, will assist in promoting very much needed cooperation, concerning crisis prevention and peace-making, in the political agenda."
She continued by mentioning: "That the Women's branch of GAAEC has started cooperating with the International Organization 'Women in International Security' which is in Washington D.C. The President of 'WIIS' Ms. Pamela Aals had nominated (the first woman, Permanent Representative of Lithuania to NATO) Ms. Ginte Damusis to represent the 'WIIS' in the 13th Symposium. Due to prior engagements, though, Ms. Damusis was unable to attend.
The President of the International Federation of Mass Media Workers, Ms. Zoe Lanara, spoke first about women's fragile place in society. She noted, that play a defining role in cementing peace, because they are mothers.
Women are the key to the survival of the family, that is why unfortunately, they are the primary target in violent conflicts. According to statistics 90% of refugees are women.
Ms. Lanara also mentioned that, it is important for the monopoly that men have in politics to be overcome if women are to attain any positions in decision-making bodies. Another startling statistic is the fact that only 14% of Parliamentary seats, globally, are obtained by women.
She concluded, mentioning that the media is to blame as well, for constantly misrepresenting women's role, by creating stereotypes.
Next speaker was, the Secretary General of the Secretariat for Equality, Ms. Efi Bekou. She hailed the progressive legislation in Greece, but reminded that women's role needs to be promoted more in International Organizations, such as the UN, EU and NATO.
She mentioned that the majority of refugees are women and, the sad fact, that the trafficking of women is 3rd on the list, behind arms and drug trafficking. On the other hand, she announced that Greece is doing everything in its power and recently signed a memorandum of cooperation with the UN, to accelerate the procedures, regarding women that have been raped and are seeking asylum, pregnant women.
In concluding, she reiterated that it is important women are promoted to decision-making levels soon, due to their keen interest and sensitivity, concerning the environment, peace and welfare.
The Secretary General of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, Ms. Avgustina Tzvetkova, spoke about the women's role in the Armed Forces. She started by mentioning a very important year for women in the Alliances Armed Forces. In 1976, the NATO Military Committee validated the 1973 NATO Women's Committee.
Ms. Tzvetkova, then proceeded to explain women's status in the Bulgarian Armed Forces. Today, more than 2000 women, serve in the Bulgarian Armed Forces and although the Armed Forces are modernizing, becoming more flexible and downsizing the number of women will continue to rise, she added. She noted, that men still occupy all the command posts and that women are seen only in PR, logistics, medical, administrative and technical positions, but that is bound to change. Important, for that to happen, is to change the way society views women in the military. In Bulgaria, society still considers the military a male oriented job and that women's inclusion, more so, their death in the battlefield, is a sensitive issue.
Ms. Tzvetkova is optimistic, that with the help of NGO's (i.e. promoting the participation of women in peacekeeping operations) women's status in the military will change.
This round table was concluded by the President & Founder of the Biopolitics Organization, Ms. Agni Vlavianou-Arvaniti. She approached the matter of security from the perspective of respect for life and the human ability to create. She noted, that NATO has a unique opportunity to become the bearer of life, to defend life.
For that to happen it is important to abandon philosophies of the past; "that if you do not have an enemy create one." NATO's new role is to protect life and its rich diversity. It must take the initiative and become the uniting bond between people. Then, through education, we must learn from each other's experiences and establish a new security of happiness. In that respect, the woman's role is not only useful but necessary.
"The role of economy concerning security and stability."
The Vice-President of Business and Development Initiatives in Europe, the Middle-East, India and Africa of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Mr. Dennys Plessas, spoke about military transformation and interoperability in the 21st century.
Mr. Plessas started, by mentioning the most important step technology has made today, and that is cost effective cooperation's.
That cooperation has been achieved by merger acquisitions, multinational industrial partnerships and trans-border cooperation. He stated, that an integrated defense market place ensures interoperability and a harmonized procurement process. He pointed out, that today "No country has a monopoly on good ideas or talented people." For example, in the Joint Strike Fighter program 11 countries participated. Through this cooperation and integrative approach better global security can be achieved.
Then followed, the Educational Advisor of the Kokkalis Foundation, Ms. Monica Carlos-Michalopoulou. She spoke about NATO and EU enlargement as well as the spread of technological innovation. She remarked on the free movement of goods and people with the end of the Cold War and how important it is to integrate the countries of the former Soviet block.
Ms. Michalopoulou emphasized today's threats (i.e. International Terrorism, WMD) and the difference, between the US and the EU, in military might and application. She remarked on the toll terrorism is having on transportation and telecommunications, because of the gap between the US and the EU. She noted, that security cooperation, between the US and the EU, should be understood in terms of international stability and democratic governance. Furthermore, by having new and improved relations, the US and the EU will be able to focus on investing in the developing Eastern European countries. Thus, assisting in the development of their infrastructure in the energy sector, transportation, telecommunications and education. In this framework, stability and democratization in Eastern European countries can proceed unfettered.
In conclusion, the enlargement of the EU demands the integration of the markets of the Eastern European countries.
"European Defense, Atlantic Solidarity and the rest of the world."
Chair & Introduction: Ambassador a.h. and former Permanet Representative of Greece to NATO, Mr. Ioannis Bourloyiannis-Tsangaridis.
Who briefly mentioned some important dates regarding Euro-defense and transatlantic cooperation.
November 1998, Tony Blair states that diplomacy has no role if it isn't back by military power.
December 1998, Shirac and Blair sign an agreement regarding Eurodefense.
Helsinki 1999, EU Summit 60000 men strong Rapid Reaction Force plan is announced.
At a later date, Mr. Rumsfeld announces that this move could signal a divorce between the US and the EU. April 2003, "Initiative of the Four" (France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg), with their headquarters in Brussels, is announced. It is stated, though, that this is not an action taken to antagonize NATO, rather to complement it.
September 2003, Shirac, Shroeder and Blair meet and Blair accepts the "Initiative of the Four"; a few days later he enlists the UK's participation in this plan.
November 2003, Meeting, in Rome, of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the decision to abandon separate HQ idea.
December 2003, Decision to abandon "Initiative of the Four" idea.
According to his opinion, the vision of a Eurodefense is abandoned.
Mr. Bourloyiannis noted, that an independent EU able to defend its values and have a more active role in International Relations, is imperative, but at the same time, respecting the responsibilities of fellow NATO members.
Senator, Former Secretary General of the WEU and Representative of the Dutch Parliament at the Convention on the Future of Europe, Mr. Wilhelm Van Eekelen, was the first speaker. He remarked, that the division of Europe is now over, that the vision of a Europe whole and free is becoming a reality with enlargement, but he cautioned on the dangers outside Europe.
Mr. Van Eekelen reminded, that not all the members of the EU are members of NATO and vice versa, and that this dichotomy must be overcome. He mentioned the importance of security and that without it you cannot have development, making the role of NATO that much more important.
The Senator continued, posing some interesting questions. Are our common values (i.e. Human Rights, Kyoto Protocol, International Criminal Court) being maintained or are they eroding? Does the US want to continue its leadership or is it content with going it alone?
However, he clarified that the guarantees are there (i.e. ESDP, NATO peacekeeping operations, "Berlin Plus agreement, and also the ability for an independent EU operation). In addition, based on the Solana paper, concerning common threats (i.e. WMD, terrorism, failed states, organized crime) that the US has accepted; there should be cooperation.
A division of labor is necessary if dangers outside Europe are to be tackled.
The speech of MP and Chairman of the Romanian Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Radu Podgoreanu, was read. It started, by mentioning Romania's commitment to fighting common threats to the Euro-Atlantic Community, such as terrorism, WMD and organized crime, through common strategies (i.e. information sharing). Romania is also committed to promoting the values of the Euro-Atlantic Community (i.e. rule of law, democracy and tolerance), forging cooperation at the regional level.
It was noted, that Romania is participating in Afghanistan and the reconstruction of Iraq and is looking forward to bringing a solid contribution to both NATO and the EU.
The Scientific Director at the Defense Analysis Institute, Mr. Dimitrios Chryssochoou, talked about the developments concerning European Defense. He remarked that, it is important for Europe to develop a more competitive defense market, a common vision for the future, strengthen cooperation and develop a sound definition of how it intends to enforce peace. On the other hand, goals that have been set must be maintained and pursued, such as a political will and a common defense.
The President of the Rudolf Steiner College, Vice-President of the European Parliamentarians for Africa and a member of the Board of the Atlantic Association of Sweden, Mr. Par Granstedt, reminded everyone that the end of the Cold War was not the end of history. He spoke about the importance of public opinion and the need to include and inform it about current threats and the prevention of crisis (i.e. violent conflict, poverty, development, terrorism). He noted, that the creation of functioning democracies is the vehicle for stability, peaceful conflict management and development.
Concluding, Mr. Granstedt repeated, what previous speakers had, that in order to maintain stability in Africa traditional ways of conflict prevention must be adopted (i.e. diplomacy, rule of law, development, financial support).
This round table, was concluded by the Special Advisor to the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Andreas Kintis. He remarked that, US-EU relations in the future, will be determined on whether their foreign policy ambitions will be competitive or not. Mr. Kintis added though, that common goals do not always translate into identical defense budgets.
He noted, that the CFSP and ESDP programs were developed to give the EU independence and make it a coherent international actor and that is something the US has to understand. Moreover, although the US spends more on defense and military operations than the EU, the EU spends three times as much as the US on diplomatic initiatives. Therefore, it is important for the EU to develop a more multidimensional strategy but for the US to recognize and also act in concert with the EU. As Mr. Kindis put it, "Shared interests, require common actions."
In the discussion and comments that ensued, the following subjects were addressed: A) A common approach concerning conflict management, especially the phenomenon of terrorism. B) Cooperation and common strategies between NATO, the EU and Arab nations. C) Europeans aim for a multidimensional world where institutions function. On the other hand, Americans estrangement with those institutions (i.e. UN), which they help built. D) The possibility of another pole forming, in the international system.
Mr. Kintis tackled question D, stating, that maybe China or the EU and Russia could form poles. What is important is that NATO and the EU work in concert. It is time the US and the EU to start focusing on their similarities and not on their differences.
As far as a common approach to combat terrorism is concerned, the view that the EU is better placed to deal with terrorism was expressed, because it uses traditional means of conflict management (i.e. diplomacy, financial aid). In respect to the US's estrangement with the institutions it help built and what it should do; it would be in the US's best interest to engage the mainstream of International Relations again and start abiding by International Law. On the other hand, Europeans need to be prepared to be responsible. The US and the EU need to find common ground, in order to work together.
The synopsis of the Symposium was given by the Director of Studies of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, Mr. Athanasios Dokos. He remarked, on the relationship of the US and the EU as well as current problems our societies face (i.e. migration, AIDS, environment, overpopulation).
After making a brief comment on the conflicts that are ongoing (i.e. Balkans, Iraq, Middle-East, Kashmir) he noted Europe's problems as well. Europe is getting older and young people are not entering the labor force fast enough, due to unemployment and the fact that people die older. In any case, the approach to this problem has been schizophrenic at best. On the one hand, there is an evident need for immigrants to stimulate the economy, but on the other hand they are put on a strangle hold by strict immigration laws. Then, Mr. Dokos, turned to the problems that are caused by terrorism and organized crime, suggesting a calmer approach.
He concluded, by calling for a necessary definition of the US and EU role. The US, is a military power, who defines things as more black and white and the EU, a diplomatic soft power, who defines things as more gray. In that context, the relationship needs to be redefined and a return to a more multilateral world, with the contribution of the UN, needs to come into place.