Lithuanian Presidency of
Lithuanian Presidency of
Inter-Parliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)
The Inter-Parliamentary Conference,
Having regard to the decision of the Conference of Speakers of European Union Parliaments taken in April 2012 in Warsaw regarding the establishment and mandate of this Conference;
Having regard to Title II of Protocol I of the Treaty of Lisbon regarding the promotion of effective and regular interparliamentary cooperation within the Union;
Cognisant of the new powers and instruments foreseen by the Treaty of Lisbon for the European Union (EU) institutions in the area of foreign, security and defence policy; being aware that the new instruments create better opportunities for the Union to wield international influence commensurate with its political and economic weight;
Conscious of the multi-layered decision-making process in the areas of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP); being aware that effective implementation of these policies must involve numerous policy actors at both the EU and national levels; conscious of the responsibility to engage in parliamentary scrutiny and advance interparliamentary cooperation in the areas of CFSP and CSDP;
Taking into account the fast-changing geopolitical environment and the increasing importance of new foreign and security policy challenges such as climate change, transnational crime and terrorism, maritime piracy, security of energy supply, cyber-attacks, pandemics, as well as fragile and failing states and the proliferation of WMDs and conventional weapons;
Aware that the evolution of the international geopolitical scenario has highlighted the central role of Parliaments which are at the core of global decision making with respect to crises and conflicts;
CFSP: Conflict in Syria
CFSP: developing a Comprehensive Approach
CFSP and the external dimension of the EU’s energy policy
CFSP and the European Neighbourhood Policy
Review of the European Security Strategy
CFSP/CSDP: towards the December European Council
The future work of the Inter-Parliamentary Conference
The future work of the AHRC
ANNEX 1 – PROCEEDINGS OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY CONFERENCE
The Inter-Parliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) took place on 4-6 September 2013 in the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania in Vilnius.
The Inter-Parliamentary Conference was opened by the hosts Prof. Benediktas JUODKA, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Mr Artūras PAULAUSKAS, Chair of the Committee on National Security and Defence of the Republic of Lithuania. Participants were welcomed by H.E. Dalia GRYBAUSKAITĖ, President of the Republic of Lithuania, Dr Vydas GEDVILAS, Speaker of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, and Mr Elmar BROK, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament.
Debates focused on the following items: Promoting democracy in a wider Europe: ideas and instruments (keynote speaker Mr Linas LINKEVIČIUS, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania), Towards December European Council: Lithuania’s priorities (keynote speaker Mr Juozas OLEKAS, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Lithuania), EU Priorities and Strategies of the CFSP and CSDP (keynote speaker Baroness Catherine ASHTON, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission (HR/VP)), and Future of EU-NATO Cooperation (keynote speaker Mr Anders Fogh RASMUSSEN, NATO Secretary General).
In addition, two thematic workshops were held on: Bridging the gap between EU capabilities and ambitions: towards December European Council and Eastern Partnership and its strategic importance to the European Union. Results of the two workshops were presented to all participants of the Inter-Parliamentary Conference by rapporteurs Mr Pat BREEN, Chair of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Irish Houses of the Oireachtas, and Mr Ioannis KEFALOGIANNIS, Member of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Parliament.
Pursuant to the decision made by the Inter-Parliamentary Conference on 25 March 2013 in Dublin, the first meeting of the Ad Hoc Review Committee (AHRC) on the practical arrangements of the Inter-Parliamentary Conference was held on 5 September 2013 in Vilnius. The AHRC approved the final timetable for the review process, the synopsis of the amendments proposed by the national Parliaments, and took note of the initial recommendations proposed by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania as the Presidency Parliament.
Overview of the presentations and debates
In his presentation Minister Linas LINKEVIČIUS presented the priorities of the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council, which are credible Europe, growing Europe, and open Europe. In the context of the latter priority, an important dimension is closer cooperation with the EU neighbours, particularly the Eastern Partnership countries. Mr LINKEVIČIUS stressed that the process of political and economic engagement of the Eastern neighbours can be a value adding effort in itself. He particularly emphasised the importance of Ukraine calling it a “litmus test” of the success of the Eastern Partnership. The Minister stressed that countries should have the right to freely choose their foreign policy objectives, while economic threats and political pressure from outside was not acceptable. While there were problems in Ukraine, such as instances of selective justice, the Minister emphasised that relations with Ukraine should always be seen in a broader geopolitical context. Therefore the EU should be proactive and encourage Ukraine to continue on the path of reform. The Minister also encouraged Armenia not to waste the effort that had been invested with regard to the Association Agreement and called for the engagement of Belarus albeit not at the expense of European values. He also called for the development of a clearer strategy for the future of the Eastern Partnership.
Minister of Defence Mr Juozas OLEKAS stressed the importance of the December European Council – the first such specialised Council in 5 years – to advance the debate on the future of European defence policy. According to the Minister, the EU was still a modest crisis management actor and now with decreasing defence budgets this role could further diminish. An important aspect of the EU defence policy should be to increase its visibility. He therefore raised the idea of having a defence formation of the EU Council and noted the importance of reviewing the 10 year old European Security Strategy, which failed to provide adequate strategic guidance. The Minister also stressed other important priorities of the EU defence policy: increasing the role of the EU as a security provider in the EU neighbourhood by engaging in security partnerships, such as with the Eastern Partnership countries; maintaining a strong transatlantic partnership essential for Europe’s security; focusing on the new security challenges such as cyber, energy and maritime security; increasing the efficient use of energy in the military; improving rapid deployment capabilities; and strengthening the defence dimension in the comprehensive foreign policy approach.
During the debate many speakers stressed their concern about the situation in Syria, and noted the importance of finding a political solution to the crisis. Members of Parliament also called for a truly common security and defence policy, especially in the current geopolitical context, but drew attention to the threat of declining defence budgets. Others stressed that if the EU aimed for a strong CSDP, it should also have a strong CFSP in order to establish the role of the EU as a legitimate international actor and a security provider. It was emphasised that there had been a lack of unity in the foreign and security policy and that this represented Europe’s weakness. Inefficiencies in the procurement market were emphasised, a greater role for the EDA was called for, and the idea of a possible defence commissioner in the European Commission was raised. Another important dimension of the discussion was EU relations with the Eastern partners and specifically the increasing pressure from Russia towards these countries. Concern was expressed about Armenia’s commitment to further its relations with the EU. Some delegates urged the EU to increase efforts to secure closer partnerships with countries like Moldova or Ukraine, without which the Russian-sponsored Eurasian Union would be a paper tiger.
HR/VP Baroness Catherine ASHTON stressed that an arch of instability had developed around the EU and that the EU should be more actively engaged in conflict prevention in the region because it cost cheaper to prevent conflicts than to deal with their consequences. HR/VP reminded of her active mediation efforts in Egypt, which considered the EU as a trusted interlocutor. The EU should continue to engage Iran in the EU3+3 framework and should put all efforts to achieve a lasting political solution to the crisis in Syria, including convening the Geneva II peace conference. HR/VP also spoke about the external pressure the Eastern Partnership countries are facing in light of the upcoming 3rd Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November 2013. She also drew attention to the progress that had taken place in Serbia-Kosovo relations, which was a direct consequence of active EU engagement.
During the debate Members raised many questions related to Syria, Egypt and the wider region. Some proposed to step up financial support to countries in the region calling for the EU’s own Marshall Plan for the Middle East. Members also addressed questions to the HR/VP regarding the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius and increasing pressure from Russia on the Eastern Partners.
Responding to questions, HR/VP stressed the importance of synchronising defence procurement standards across the EU and pointed to the success of the ATALANTA mission, due to which piracy has dropped by 93% in the mission’s operational area. She also spoke about the instability spill-over in the Middle East and reminded that the EU was already the biggest provider of aid in the region. With regard to European neighbours, she singled out progress in Serbia-Kosovo relations as one of the biggest successes of EU diplomacy and stressed that the EU should continue with the enlargement policy in Western Balkans.
NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh RASMUSSEN condemned the chemical attack that had taken place in Syria in the strongest possible terms. He stressed that NATO was a forum for consultations between the members on all matters and that NATO was committed to protecting its South-Eastern border. He drew attention to the worrying tendency of shrinking defence budgets in the context of rising security challenges. He said that in 2015 defence spending in China would supersede the spending of the 8 largest European NATO allies combined. There was also too much duplication in capabilities as well as divergence in standards among NATO members – this led to poor economies of scale and inefficient training. Secretary General underlined the importance of maintaining a strong NATO and developing a strong European pillar of defence. In this context we should focus on three priorities: developing capabilities, developing strong forces and developing a robust defence industry. He also emphasised that the EU and NATO shared the same values and vision; they were on the same road heading towards the same destination. He therefore called for cooperation, not duplication, and the strong need to build capabilities, not bureaucracies.
During the debate several speakers emphasised the growing threat of cyber-attacks and the need to treat them similarly to conventional attacks. It was acknowledged that Europe could take the lead in crisis management but it lacked capabilities, which was clearly visible during the operation in Libya. A lively exchange of views regarding NATO’s possible role in Syria also took place. Mr RASMUSSEN explained that NATO C2 was not necessary for the short and tailored operation in Syria planned by some of the Allies. Practical proposals on more effective EU-NATO cooperation included a wide range of ideas such as EU-NATO defence standardization, joint NATO NRF and EU Battlegroups training. Secretary General welcomed LTU-NED-POL non-paper on EU–NATO strategic partnership including all its elements. Delegates and the keynote speaker agreed that reacting to the chemical attack and finding a long-term solution to the Syrian conflict required two very different approaches, noting that the latter required a political solution.
Workshop 1 – Eastern Partnership and its strategic importance to the European Union
The workshop was moderated by Mr Audronius AŽUBALIS, Deputy Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. Presentations by Mr Gunnar WIEGAND, Director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional Cooperation and OSCE of the European External Action Service, Ms Sofia ARKELSTEN, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Swedish Riksdagen and Dr Laurynas Kaščiūnas, expert of the Eastern Europe Studies Centre were made. The rapporteur was Mr Pat BREEN, Chair of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Irish Houses of the Oireachtas.
In the opening remarks the moderator of the workshop, Mr Audronius AŽUBALIS, emphasised the strategic importance of the region covering the Eastern Partnership countries to the EU. He stressed the responsibility of the EU in promoting the political, economic and social stability in the Eastern Partnership countries. The need to evaluate Russia’s pressure towards them and to give a clear response from the EU side was emphasised.
Mr Gunnar WIEGAND emphasised that Eastern Partnership was a strategic policy of the EU designed to respond to the legitimate aspirations of the partner countries and the prime example of the comprehensive approach. He pointed out that the support from the EU to the Eastern Partnership countries is based on the principle of “more for more” reflecting the ambitions of each partner country. Mr WIEGAND presented briefly the status quo in the Eastern Partnership countries regarding the Association Agreements and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements and outlined the expectations for the 3rd Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. In this context concern over pressure from Russia towards these countries was expressed. It was emphasised that each country’s sovereign rights to freely pursue their political path towards EU should be respected. The speaker stressed the significant work that has been done during the process of negotiations. He mentioned the need of further efforts in the process of dealing with unresolved conflicts in the Eastern Partnership countries. According to Mr WIEGAND, the Vilnius Summit is expected to be an important milestone on the way of the Eastern Partnership countries towards the EU. He highlighted the important role of national Parliaments and the European Parliament working together towards closer cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries, particularly with regard to the engagement of the civil society.
Ms Sofia ARKELSTEN recalled that Sweden had always been an advocate for a strengthened and deepened relationship between the EU and its Eastern European neighbours. She emphasised that the Eastern Partnership was an expression of the EU’s solidarity and long-term commitment towards Eastern Europe and demonstrated the EU’s interest in the region. It was also a response to the aspirations of the partner countries for closer cooperation with the EU. Ms ARKELSTEN shared her firm belief that the Eastern Partnership should be further developed as a priority of EU foreign policy. She emphasised as well that the universal values such as democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights should be at the core of the Eastern Partnership. In this context she urged to promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The speaker stressed the need to increase support and involve civil society by enhancing people-to-people contacts. Ms ARKELSTEN underlined the special role of parliamentarians as their involvement was crucial in order to continue the dialogue and to promote democratic reforms in the Eastern Partnership countries. Finally, it was emphasised, that Europe did not end with what were the external borders of the EU and that the Eastern Partnership countries had a perspective to accede to the EU according to Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union.
Dr Laurynas KAŠČIŪNAS presented a comprehensive geopolitical overview of the Eastern Partnership countries and their strategic importance to the EU. He emphasised that the strategic environment in the region was very complex because the EU and its Eastern Partnership programme was not the only “player in town”. The Eurasian Union initiated by Russia was qualitatively different from all the previous initiatives in CIS countries. The speaker outlined that there was clear evidence that the EU and the Eurasian Union were based on essentially different rules and standards. In contrast to the EU, the Eurasian Union was marked by authoritarian politics, oligarch-dominated business and an unhealthy link between economy and politics. According to Mr KAŠČIŪNAS, further development of the Eastern Partnership would depend on the results of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. In addition, he emphasised that the EU should understand that the construction of a safe Europe was not over and in order to complete the process the EU should learn to play by the realpolitik rules. The speaker stressed the need to start thinking about the incentives the Eastern Partnership could offer to partner countries following the Vilnius Summit. Some possible ideas were presented – the possible new concept of Privileged Eastern Partnership modelled on relations between the European Economic Area and Switzerland, or offering the Eastern Partnership countries the right to participate in the initial stages of EU policy-shaping.
A number of key issues emerged in the course of the debate among delegates and speakers. The concern over Russia’s political, economic and trade pressure on the Eastern Partnership countries and the need for a consistent EU response, issues regarding the respect for human rights, differences and challenges with regard to the internal situation in each of the six partner countries, the ongoing preparations for the Vilnius Summit and its strategic importance, EU action towards Belarus, the “frozen” conflicts in South Caucasus and Moldova were the main issues touched upon during the debate.
Workshop 2 – Bridging the gap between EU capabilities and ambitions: towards the December European Council
The workshop was moderated by Mr Petras AUŠTREVIČIUS, Deputy Speaker of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. The rapporteur was Ioannis KEFALOGIANNIS, Member of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Parliament.
In the introductory remarks Mr Petras AUŠTREVIČIUS emphasised that EU ambitions in the area of defence are high as they have been set during the economic upturn when defence funding was steadily increasing. Therefore there was a growing gap between the ambitions and the capabilities at hand. The moderator stressed that it was not only greater funding that could pave the way for the development of priority capabilities; reducing or scrapping some surplus capabilities altogether could serve the purpose just as well.
Mr Arnaud DANJEAN, Chair of the Security and Defence Sub-Committee of the European Parliament, stressed that expectations must be reasonable with regard to the December European Council. According to him, the main reason the ambitions of the EU in the area of defence had not been met was the lack by the Member States of the key capabilities and the political will to efficiently allocate the capabilities in possession. The speaker also noted that the EU needed to work collectively and to play a more proactive role.
Ambassador Michael ZILMER-JOHNS, Special Advisor on Security and Defence to the Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service, stressed that ambitions were absolutely necessary in order to protect European citizens and businesses. According to him, the EU should do much better with the current budget. The speaker also noted the need to invest in technology and develop further civilian capabilities. In this regard, the support of Parliaments was much appreciated.
Ms Claude-France ARNOULD, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, stressed that the EU had to have reasonable expectations. Ms ARNOUD underlined the necessity to focus on doing more with the same level of funding and the need for clear programmes, common standards, and common requirements. If the EU had the right programmes and efforts, it could save small and medium size enterprises in the defence sector. The speaker stressed that the EU could not rely operationally solely on the United States. For this reason it was important to have a defence roadmap in order to achieve a positive outcome during the December Summit.
A number of key topics emerged in the course of the debate among the delegates. The participants mainly spoke about the upcoming December European Council. The need for a new defence roadmap was emphasised in order to effectively manage defence issues in the next decade. Members of Parliament noted the need to persuade the heads of states to allocate more funding for defence and that defence matters should be a priority. Some emphasized that EU structural funds could be used for defence as well.
In her reply, Ms ARNOULD stressed that the efficient use of energy resources in the military sector would allow saving resources and said that the European Commission was ready to work in this area in the future. She noted the importance of having strong European companies in the defence sector that would be international players and stressed that industrial solutions could deliver the capabilities the EU needed.
Invitation Letter from the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Chair of the Committee on National Security and Defence (LT)
Draft Programme of the Inter-Parliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy
Conclusions of the Inter-Parliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy
Final timetable for the review process of the Rules of Procedure of the Inter-Parliamentary Conference
Amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Inter-Parliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)
Address of Benediktas Juodka, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania
Address of Artūras Paulauskas, Chair of the Committee on National Security and Defence of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania
An Interesting Photo
The Conclusions of the Inter-Parliamentary Conference reflect its attention to the conflict in Syria, the EU Eastern Partnership, the security and defence policy and energy security
Linas Linkevičius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, called on the EU Member States for a more active engagement in the Eastern Partnership
Juozas Olekas, Minister of National Defence, named the key guidelines for reinforcing the EU Common Security and Defence Policy at the Inter-Parliamentary Conference
The Inter-Parliamentary Conference focuses on the EU common foreign and security policy and the current developments of the Eastern Partnership
The Inter-Parliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy
Guests to the Inter-Parliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy will be introduced to the exhibition of the documents that have consolidated the foundations of Lithuania’s statehood