Redefining Europe's Security Agenda
Panel discussion with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos
ROBIN NIBLETT (DIRECTOR, CHATHAM HOUSE): …agenda of this Davos forum this year, on a number of occasions actually, which tells you a little bit, I think, about the context that the World Economic Forum would make this such an important and targeted topic of the year. Just to remind you in terms of format, this is a one hour session and we are going to have a conversation amongst ourselves in this little round intimate space that is, as we can all agree in saying is deceptively intimate but you will all have the opportunity to comment, it’s a trap. It’s not a trap. You said it’s a trap. (Laughter) My job is not to show the trap as I keep putting leaves on the ground. So what I will do is we will have this conversation. We then will put it up to bring you in. Hopefully with the TV cameras, I’ll be able to look over my shoulder because we’ve got participants throughout the room so I will look around a few times. If you have a question you want to ask, make sure that you reach out to me and catch my attention and this is being live streamed on the websites so welcome to those people who are watching us. So obviously it is on the record, just to remind this distinguished panel we have with us and just to think everyone here is known to everyone but just running around in (inaudible) Federica Mogherini, who is the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, also a vice-president of the European Commission, formally a foreign minister of Italy, welcome, Jens Stoltenberg, who is Secretary General of NATO, former Prime Minister of Norway, as you know, Rob Wainwright is Europol since 2009, I believe and has long standing experience and knowledge of policing, crime at the international level from the UK experience, Witod Maszcyzkowski, who is the Foreign Minister of Poland but first joined the Foreign Ministry of Poland back, I want to say the 90s. You have a lot of experience including of NATO and including as ambassador to Iran amongst other places so somebody who’s bringing some good hands-on experience to this experience and Margaret MacMillan, who is a professor of history and warden at St. Anthony’s College, author of a number of books, especially those that have helped us understand that wander into 1914 and some of the, helping the world understand some of the experience of that period and how it could apply to now and it’d be great to have her, as I said earlier, to keep us honest a little bit historically in terms of what we’re doing.
So this is about redefining European security and if I could just set the scene very quickly. The list of threats from a European perspective have clearly expanded or at least they’ve all come together, you could say, in the last two to three years. Russia testing Europe at multiple levels, the Middle East in many cases imploding, certainly a much more unstable and insecure environment than it was three to four years ago, a president soon to be as of tomorrow, Trump, who has called the NATO alliance obsolete and he’s tried to redefine what he means by that and he says it’s very important to him but nonetheless perhaps heralding a more transactional approach from America to what NATO does or doesn’t bring, Brexit putting apart certainly the security dimension of the European Union and I needn’t mention obviously the two really cataclysmic, I think it’s the right word to use, events over the last couple of years, the big refugee and immigration influx into Europe and of course the dreadful terrorist attacks which have taken place in recent months across European countries. Now, why redefining European security? We could just add all these things together but I think we are at a context where what we want to explore here is that the external and the internal are kind of mixing at the moment and each of the institutions is having to adapt. NATO is having to think about the internal security in the way of Europe much more than perhaps they did just about external defences, cyber-security and so on, the EU is having to think about the whole spectrum of security and is having to adapt quite fundamentally in that sense right through to counter-terrorism and Europol finds itself from being a sort of quiet policing organization to really being at the front line of European security. So we need I think at least three things and I hope we will come back to these themes in the discussion and in the questions; adaptation, interaction, the capacity to interact between the institutions and investment, are we putting the money and the effort and the resources and if you don’t mind, Jens Stoltenberg, if I could start with you, NATO has certainly been on a reinvention mission kicking off with the Wales Summit of 2014, pushing through the Warsaw Summit of last year but just in a, we’ll have a conversation too, just in two minutes, if you were to pick out for yourself, for this audience the two or three adaptations that you think NATO is making, has made, is in the process of making that will let it deal with this new list of blended security threats? What would you highlight?
JENS STOLTENBERG (SECRETARY GENERAL, NATO): I will answer that in a moment but let me first just tell you why it is so important that international institutions adapt because in times of turmoil and uncertainty, we need strong international institutions. The UN, the EU, NATO, the World Bank, IMF, all these institutions that were created after the Second World War, they are children of turmoil over a war and we need to continue to use these international institutions to preserve peace and stability. For NATO, that means that we need to adapt to a new security environment and that’s exactly what we are doing. One key element in that is to make sure that we have a strong transatlantic bond also in this new security environment and just to be clear about that because everyone asks me about that, I’m absolutely confident that also with a new US administration, we will have a strong US commitment to a strong transatlantic partnership in NATO.
ROBIN NIBLETT: You don’t think it’s any more conditional?
JENS STOLTENBERG: No, I don’t think so but at the same time, I believe strongly that the United States expects European NATO allies to invest more in defence and the good news is that European allies have started to do exactly that. So defence spending has actually started to increase. We have a long way to go but for instance, Poland meets the guideline of 2%, the United Kingdom meets the guideline of 2% of GDP for defence. So we are moving in the right direction. When it comes to NATO, we are adapting in many different ways. We are implementing the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence in a generation since the end of the Cold War, with more forces in the east, with high readiness of forces. Just now, we are deploying forces in Poland, in the Baltic countries, with new battalions and more US presence. This is a big adaptation as a response to a more assertive Russia in the east. We are stepping up our efforts to fight terrorism. We are in Afghanistan to fight terrorism. You have to remember that the reason why we’re in Afghanistan is to fight terrorism. We are doing more to support the US led coalition countering ISIL and then, we have during the last years, increased our focus and we’re doing more when it comes to cyber-defences because we have to understand that cyber-attacks can be as dangerous, as serious, as armed attacks. It can take out critical infrastructure, it can cause human injury and it can undermine our own defence capabilities. So, we have decided that a cyber-attack can trigger Article 5 meaning that the cyber-attack can trigger a response from the whole alliance as, I should say, more conventional armed attack can and we have also decided and we are in the process of establishing cyber as a military domain alongside air, sea and land and we are doing much to help our allies to improve their cyber-defences. So, we are constantly adapting. NATO is the most successful military alliance in history because we have been able to adapt and we’ll continue to do that.
ROBIN NIBLETT: Thank you very much. (unintelligible) Fererica Mogherini, let me come to you. The European Union deselection service have put out a European global strategy in a new document. I think I’m right in saying one of the phrases in there is about you needing strategic autonomy, which sounds good I think in the current context, but what does it mean in practice?
FEDERICA MOGHERINI (HIGH REPRESENTATIVE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND SECURITY POLICY): First of all, it means that Europeans have started to take seriously their security. We’ve started to do this and it was part of it since the beginning well before the UK referendum, well before the US elections because security is a priority for Europeans. We’ve realized that our internal and external threats go hand in hand, that more than a nexus, there’s a continuum and we have the instruments as the European Union to tackle these threats both externally and internally and along this continuum exactly because we have a variety of tools from the soft to the hard ones and that we cannot afford any more not using the tools we have for the European Union. You know that the issue of European defence has been going on and on for 60 years now, has known more difficulties than let’s say moments of enthusiasm and I think it is quite significant that today and the last seven months, we’ve done more and more united on European defence and security than it was done in the previous probably decade.
ROBIN NIBLETT: If you could give a couple of examples, just specifically there because the EU, if I may say, has a history sometimes of thinking about the process and institutions without necessarily always coming out with the meat.
FEDERICA MOGHERINI: This is very concrete, this is very substantial and I can give you a couple of examples. In December, we have agreed all together 28 including (unintelligible) to have (unintelligible) with NATO more than 40 very concrete projects of cooperation. You were mentioning adaptation, cooperation or interaction and investment. We decided to move forward with for instance parallel exercises, operational, cyber or on hybrid threats, issues and work in which threats and which NATO has more of the hard power, the European Union has more let’s say diversified tools that are essential because in combatting terrorism for instance, you need to use a different set of instruments rather than a traditional hard military instrument you can also use. This is one concrete example. The other concrete example is that we loaned, we proposed and this is in the making in this month, I report back to the European council in March and this is a new level of ambition for the European defence. This is where we refer to the strategic autonomy but we also refer to strong coordination with NATO because we believe in joint security across the Atlantic. A new set of, a new level of ambition for the European Union as such and a new set of capabilities that the European Union needs to develop with the necessary investments to meet this ambition and this means using the tools that the treaties already give us in terms of cooperation for instance in the field of research or industrial project with the necessary financial and economic reports with the creation of a defence fund, European defence fund. That will support the spending together because Jens is right, we have a spending gap at (unintelligible) Atlantic but we also have and I refer to this very often, a gap in the output of our expenses on defence. Europeans spend 50% of Americans on defence, 5-0 but the output of our spending is 15%, 1-5 percent, which means that if we spend together as Europeans in research, in technology, in industrial projects, in capabilities, the output of our investments is going to grow exponentially and this is exactly where the European Union can help member states to come together and do better together not because we need to do separately from the others, at the same time, we are strengthening cooperation with NATO, but because we have the instruments and the interest to do more for ourselves.
ROBIN NIBLETT: Just one quick follow-up point, one of the frustrations amongst governments, I’m sure within both your institutions and in the US, has been the difficulty of the EU and (unintelligible) to cooperating. Again, the phrases have been there but there have certain political obstacles, which I think are well known but do you feel this is changing and you’ve certainly given a lot of examples here, how much of that is intention, how much of this is happening now?
FEDERICA MOGHERINI: It’s happening and I don’t only feel this is changing, I feel this has changed. Jens and I have met I think more than any of our predecessors on concrete projects. Our teams have done the same and probably even more so which is even more important into institutions like our that we know very well are complex structures and at the Warsaw Summit, I think we saw the clearer picture. There was a signed agreement between the European Union and NATO to strengthen cooperation and we have, Jans says often, we’ve done more in the last 6-7 months than what we’ve done in all the previous years because I think we have finally realized both in the European Union and in NATO that we have to get rid of the ghosts of the past and concentrate on the risks of today and our cooperation is vital, especially to cover the (unintelligible) that are new in this dangerous scenario we’re facing.
ROBIN NIBLETT: Thank you very much. Rob, let me come to you now and Europol has always had an important role but given the terrorist attacks and some obviously significant and serious in terms of deaths, casualties, political impact, especially now Berlin, Paris, Brussels, beyond the other ones that have taken place earlier. To what extent do you think Europol is adapting to this new environment, what’s holding it back and where do you see the areas of progress right now?
ROBIN WAINWRIGHT (EUROPOL): Yes, I think the expansion of Europol’s mandate and resources and impacting the support that we can give member states is one example of a newfound confidence and willingness, I think, by the European Union to do more in the security space. So we have the European security union alongside what the high representative was saying which compliments a more ambitious external agenda with something that we’re doing internal and I think (unintelligible) to understand I think is a recognition by the EU political leaders, inclusive of course the 28, first of all about the magnitude and the scale of the task that’s ahead of us. What we’ve seen in the last two years, 12 very serious terrorist incidents with a clear prospect for more to come, a migration crisis made aggravated and made a lot worse by a community of 50,000 people smugglers that Europol has identified and cyber-crime which remains amongst all of them perhaps the most enduring long term security threat that we face in Europe and I share the secretary general’s remarks on that. So a recognition of this complexity, it’s the impact of a darker side of globalization and how to manage that between the internal and external space. Also, I reckon you asked for challenges, Robin and I think also understanding that that’s not the only set of competing interests that we have to manage as we respond to these threats. We have to manage freedom of movement, which we cherish in Europe but at the same time, there’s an expectation from our public that we don’t allow terrorists to move freely between our countries. We have to perennially manage the balance between privacy and security and indeed a very important point. You know, the space between the shared responsibility between national governments and those operating at the EU level, very clear what the Lisbon Treaty says, of course, that national security of which terrorism is a form shall be the sole responsibility of member states, that’s what the treaty says very clear. However, the nature of the terrorist threat facing Europe today is by its very nature a trans-national one and of course requires at least an element, a significant element of trans-national cooperation and it’s managing therefore that apparent paradox, policy paradox, a gap between what the politics allows and what the law says with the realities of doing it and that’s the real challenge for us, which is why institutions like Europol have been upgraded to respond to the data sharing challenge especially and by helping to identify more quickly and more proactively the terrorist actors involved.
ROBIN NIBLETT: Am I right in saying the US also has a role in Europol? You mention data sharing and obviously counter-terrorism, especially in today’s world, is heavily data dependent, if not almost overwhelmingly now data dependent. How confident are you that the kind of level of improved interaction that you’ve seen so far is going to be sustained or progress is being made? Can you say something on the data side and there’s a feeling that Europe really wasn’t ready for the terrorist threat as it has emerged, the levels of integration, levels of cooperation, both within member states and between them can tend to be quite silo, there might be some bilateral elements but it’s not being comprehensive and it leaves room for the terrorists to move around the weak spots. Could you just say something about that and where the US fits into this and how important that is?
ROBIN WAINWRIGHT: Well, you’re right, overwhelming strategic priority (unintelligible) has been to use data and technology as the great interconnector of the law enforcement and security domain and we have 50 agencies therefore on our platform using that in an enterprising way to identify more quickly the groups involved and they’re crossing borders, for example and they’re using technology and data to aggregate a much more informed picture. I can say that the Americans have invested significantly in that enterprise. It’s because of the Americans that we have a leading edge now, I think, in many of the cyber-crime investigations that we’re doing and increasing engagement on terrorism as well. So, I think actually, Europol is a modern success story of transatlantic security cooperation and I’m pretty sure my American counterparts would be saying exactly the same thing.
ROBIN NIBLETT: Mr. Maszcyzkowski, you represent here a key member state of both, all three institutions that have spoken so far. You are on one of the front lines of European security. As you sit there and you hear the report card, if I can describe it that way, of these three institutions, how does it look from a member state’s perspective? Are things going the direction you want? Where would you put the emphasis?
WITOLD MASZCYZKOWSKI (MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, POLAND): Thank you very much for inviting at least one member state and one of many (unintelligible) institutions so I can present my opinion about that and I’ll be happy to quote you on the Polish TV against the Polish opposition because remember that Poland is a key member, a key part in Europe, a key member in Europe because we are constantly criticized but we are marginalized (unintelligible) in Europe but coming back to this main issue, yes we are happier, happy in the case of NATO. When we joined NATO in 1999, so it’s about 18 years ago, for many years, we had the feeling that we were a secondary member of NATO because of some restrictions or some promises, some pledges but since the beginning of this year, we have a feeling that finally, the status, the security status of Poland and other eastern NATO countries is more equal to the status of western European countries. So that’s for sure. Of course, nothing is perfect but we can always discuss adaptation in the (unintelligible) of NATO and of course, Jans mentioned about cyber-problems, about hybrid war of course and we still have to work on this to show how to prepare ourselves for this kind of threat. We have also had heard that the frozen conflict in Europe between the European Union and NATO is over. Let me tell you this for years, it was the kind of schizophrenic situation because the same ministers from the same countries who were visiting Brussels and they were behaving totally different in different headquarters. You know, for years there was, I’m thinking to mention for instance in the European headquarter about NATO and vice versa in NATO about European. As I said, it’s exactly the same people, the same ministers (unintelligible). But of course, the list of problems Europe is facing is much longer as you mention. For instance, we still have a problem of growth, how to provide economy growth, which would be satisfactory for our people, especially for young people who are just joining the job market. We have a problem with Euro currency, we have a problem with future development of the European Union. For years, we were debating about enlargement and this year, for the very first time, we’ve started to debate exit and not one of the countries which for instance for the last several years was stigmatized as bad Europeans. We are just going to lose the second economy of Europe and the fifth economy of the world, a member of the security council, their nuclear power. Is it because, was the decision was a kind of pressure decision, the moment of bad feelings or something? No, it was a decision as we listen today, this morning, to Theresa May that one of the most important countries of Europe and the world is going to retake the self-decision making mechanics to themselves, the termination again. That means that some think it’s wrong the philosophy of European right now, something is wrong with the decision making mechanism in the European Union. So, the Brexit we can discuss and negotiate in the next few months and years but it will not be the only divorce. There will also be a discussion about the future status of the United Kingdom, vis-à-vis Europe, but it has to be a reflection about the domestic status of the (unintelligible) and issues we have in the European Union.
ROBIN NIBLETT: Thank you very much. This point I want to come back to each of you on in a minute but let me bring Margaret MacMillan in now. Margaret, you’ve heard this conversation, you know the context obviously and I know it is a very dangerous thing to do and you I’m sure say this as well to take historical periods and map them onto the present but nonetheless, here we are at a moment of institutions that were designed for a particular era trying to adapt themselves to a new one. What lessons or insights do you draw from the past for today and for the next five to ten years, just broadly speaking first?
MARGARET MACMILLAN (UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD): I will have to speak broadly because historians are not very good at solving day to day problems, which you are but perhaps what we can do is help to raise questions and help to put things into context and I think looking back does help in some cases. I think what makes international systems and international orders work are things like shared memories of why you need that order, shared assumptions about how that order should work and why it’s valuable, shared understandings of practices and institutions and norms, possibly a hegemon that is prepared to act as the motor of that world order. We can talk about that and then what happens when enough countries or players begin to react against that order and begin to break it. How much pressure can an international order take before it begins to fall to pieces and I think a lot about the 19th century and the 20th century because that’s what I know best but at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, I think enough European powers and enough Europeans thought we can’t go on doing this and there was a very interesting shift in thinking from the thinking of the 18th century which was that international relations was a zero sum game. I won, you lost. It was just simply like that. What people realized as a result of 20 or more years of war, the Napoleonic Wars, what they realized was that everyone lost if the wars went on and everyone had an interest in the stake in maintaining a stable international order and what you had for much of the 19th century was an understanding among the great powers of Europe that they would work together. It was dignified by the name of the Consul of Europe, it didn’t have formal institutions, it was a series of meetings but they came together and they were a conservative order. They came together to supress revolution but they also came together to keep stability and that worked. It may have helped that they shared values. It may have helped that their elites often spoke the language, literally spoke the same language. They tended to speak French, they tended to understand each other, they were often inter-married.
ROBIN NIBLETT: I want to go back to that, I think, maybe the new order.
MARGARET MACMILLAN: Maybe the order. I think it also helped possible that the British were prepared at stages and particularly once they became a world power by the end of the 19th century. They were prepared to intervene to maintain a sort of balance in Europe but what began to happen was that the Consul of Europe began to run out of steam. I think people began to forget why they had wanted it in the first place and I think we may be seeing that with some of the institutions that were built after 1945. Memory disappears and new generations come along and they don’t necessarily realize why you wanted it and I think what you also got before 1914 was a number of powers just beginning to break ranks and they didn’t get penalized for it and you got, I think, a lack of communication, a lack of understanding of the other side. I think 1911 was very important. There had been an understanding that none of them would try and break up the Ottoman Empire, which had helped to keep the peace in Europe and easily broke ranks and paid no penalty for it, attacked the Ottoman Empire, seized those provinces in the north of Africa which became Libya and that encouraged other nations and I think by 1914, the sense that we need to work together had disappeared and there was now a sense that we need to look out for ourselves and you see that very clearly and I think you see it very clearly in the 1930s as well and I think there are parallels and I think we need to ask what makes international orders work and what can we do to bolster them and how can we bolster them and it seems to me we are perhaps at a moment now where there are pressures on the whole order which run the risk of breaking it down and I think that’s, of course, what you were trying to do is find ways of resisting those pressures.
ROBIN NIBLETT: And from your experience, do you think institutions or the members of them can learn or is it almost (unintelligible) historically predetermined that as you said those memories (unintelligible) and the assumptions start to break apart. This is a kind of cyclical feature and we’re moving back to the next cycle. Do you have any examples of where these institutions did work and maybe they did for another 20 years but in the end, they broke down.
MARGARET MACMILLAN: Well, the 19th century actually in the terms of European history was a very peaceful century. That doesn’t mean there weren’t wars but I mean in terms of Europe’s history, it was a pretty good century and the wars that there were were usually between two powers and rapidly contained and very short wars. I think the period since 1945 has been another such period. You think of the Roman Empire, if you want to go back further, which was a much, much longer period of peace. I think we’re capable of doing it. I think I’d hate to say that human nature means that every 30 or 40 years, we forget what war was like and we start doing it again. I don’t think that’s true and we also should be encouraged by the parts of the world like Latin American which have had no serious wars for a very, very long time and so it seems to be possible to move beyond what people assume and how you used to behave.
ROBIN NIBLETT: Let me just bring in a couple more points. We’ve got until about 10 past I think before I bring people in. Jens. Stoltenberg, let me bring one specific issue to you about adaptation with the new president coming in. You gave the example of Afghanistan as an example of how NATO had actually been involved in fighting terrorism, Al-Qaeda specifically at the time that conflict began. There’s a possibility that under a Trump administration that kind of test of NATO’s relevance will once again be is NATO willing to be out of area and then maybe, an American predilection to want to focus maybe a little less on the threat from the east and a bit more on the threat that affects America directly, which is the terrorist threat. Do you think there’s an appetite for that, do you think the out of area kind of debate is one I would have thought most European governments are very skeptical, even Afghanistan has been a mixed result, Iraq not a good result. So can NATO think about counter-terrorism not just in the sort of data sharing and operational sense but actually do you think there’s appetite in NATO to be thinking globally?
JENS STOLTENBERG: First of all, there’s a will in NATO to also take responsibility and to act out of area but I think the thinking is different now than when we started to do that because we have to remember that for 40 years, NATO was only focused on collective defence in Europe and we had one task and that was to deter the Soviet Union and we didn’t do anything out of the area. Then after the fall of the [… break in transmission] and then after the end of the Cold War, people started to ask questions whether we needed NATO anymore and then it was formulated that either we have to go out of business or have to go out of area and then NATO went out of area. We helped stop ethnic conflicts in Bosnia, in Kosovo and the Balkans, we fought terrorism in Afghanistan, we fought piracy off the Horn of Africa and we are still present in Afghanistan, we are still present in Kosovo and we have maritime operations in the Mediterranean and we help the European Union with the migrant crisis in the Aegean Sea and so on …
ROBIN NIBLETT: But the kind of interventions that you were involved in as you said around that periphery in the east, it feels like a lot of North Africa, Syria, I mean that (inaudible)…
JENS STOLTENBERG: But the big difference now is that I think that we are much more focused on how can we project stability without deploying a large number of NATO forces in combat operations as we did in Bosnia or in Afghanistan; but how can we project stability by training local forces because I very much believe that in the long run, it’s much more sustainable, it’s much more effective to enable local forces, local governments to stabilize their own country instead of we fighting their wars. Of course, NATO has to be ready to deploy forces out of area again, something may happen that would require that but as a long term strategy, we are now much more focused on building local capacity. I believe that the best weapon we have in the fight against terrorism is to train local forces.
ROBIN NIBLETT: And that would be a NATO responsibility or is that more about national governments?
JENS STOLTENBERG: We can help national governments (… inaudible) end the combat operations in Afghanistan. What we do in Afghanistan now with the 13,000 NATO troops is to train, assist and advise the Afghans. That’s not easy, it’s not an easy situation in Afghanistan but at least Afghans have been able to take over responsibility for security in their own country. We don’t do the fighting, they do the fighting, we help them and that makes a big difference for the Afghans. They feel that they are responsible for their own country and it makes a big difference for us because we are not sending young boys and girls into combat operations far away and I think it’s a much more sustainable way of fighting instability out of the NATO area.
ROBIN NIBLETT: And sustainable domestically politically, I would think as well. Federica Mogherini, straight up question easier to do EU security with the UK out of the EU and do you think you might end up, you know, with a better relationship?
FEDERICA MOGHERINI: I’ll find out when the UK will be out. You know, I’m still chairing council, the last one was last Monday, when we are 28. We still take decisions at unanimity in foreign and security and defence policy at 28 and when I say we’ve done more on European defence in this last 7 months, it was been with the UK at the table participating and helping to shape the decision we’ve taken together. This to say that 7 months after the referendum, the UK is still a member of the European Union and that will continue to be the case for a certain number of years, at least two years and some months and I would like to add one thing. It has not been more difficult, it has not been easier but it has been possible because you might have noticed (unintelligible) mentioned several times the UK tends to cooperate with a strong European Union, not contributing to weakening the European Union as an institution because it’s an interest for our collective security in Europe. The UK she said is interested in cooperating even after it’s done in the fair discussion of foreign and security policy and this because we share the same space and because the threats are at the same time national and national securities even within the European Union in the (unintelligible) confidence of national governance but all national governments in Europe including the UK have understood that you cannot effectively tackle national security if you do not cooperate across the border within the European Union and in our neighbourhood. One of the things we’ve done in the last year, very concrete, you were asking for concrete measures, we started to have counter-terrorist experts from the European Union in some key partner countries around us in the region, in the Middle East, in North Africa, in the (unintelligible) in Asia, because we understand that cooperating with our partners far away is a way to prevent attacks, to share information but also to work on the prevention of radicalization learned (unintelligible). So the reason (unintelligible) to bring security also to the national level and if I can enlarge the picture or the scope of this thinking, in the world of today that is reshaping completely, I don’t know if it’s a cycle but for sure we have in the moments when we see the geopolitics changing or the change is coming up. You ask Russia, China, Africa, that is a big absence from our thinking but there’s very much a presence in the thermography of the world, the only way for the Europeans to be real global players is through the European Union. I hear a lot of talks about losing sovereignty. I see this actually as the only way of regaining sovereignty in a world that is so complex and reshaping and moving. The European Union is the first economy in the world after China, well before the United States, it’s the first market of the world, the first rate partner of basically worldwide. It’s also a security provider in a different manner than NATO but also in a military manner, we have 16 operations and missions around the world. In some cases, we cooperate with NATO and in some other cases, we do training in places where maybe the European Union is easier to welcome than NATO and we do a lot of prevention because Jans was perfectly right when he’s basically saying or at least I would say with my own words but sometimes in some situations of crisis, a military intervention, traditional style military interventions, is not necessarily the right thing to do but you might require hot power anyway to do other things. So we are entering into a completely different way of doing security and I think the European Union is perfectly equipped to do this if we decide as we are doing to do it.
ROBIN NIBLETT: Thank you. Rob, one quick extra, a back-up question to you again being a bit more specific, Daesh being pushed potentially out of Mosul right now back on the back foot, where do you think we are in that change of the terrorist threat to Europe? Do you see with their front end of what might be a long period? Do you think Europe and European countries are adapting to this phenomenon of outside and internal threats being combined into one at the high level of alert if you see what I’m saying, the highest level or do you think this might be the end of Daesh or at least certainly (unintelligible)
ROBIN WAINWRIGHT: I had all my money on that being a Brexit question, by the way so thank you. (laughter) There’s a clear connection, of course and we are monitoring very carefully any signals that the squeezing of Daesh on the battlefield might lead to an increase in the rate of return of foreign fighters back to Europe recognizing there are some 5,000 or more European nationals that have gone out there, many of them have died, many of them have since come back but about half still haven’t and I think the gradual or accelerated return of those foreign fighters to Europe will be a significant security challenge that we will have to manage for many years to come, recognizing that not all of them will pose a terrorist threat and some of them might make genuine attempts to rehabilitate themselves but managing that space is clearly a major part of our counter-terrorist effort, it is now and perhaps will be even more so in the future. Beyond that, I think Daesh will be defeated on the battlefield. I don’t think that that necessarily will be the end of jihadist terrorism and as we’ve seen from the recent history of that, another reinvention of that may well appear on the horizon.
ROBIN NIBLETT: Thank you. Foreign Minister, you know, here we have a potential of Europe turning in on itself when it thinks about security. I know you described that it now feels like Poland is a core member of European security, the persistent presence let’s call it all NATO troops there, obviously makes a difference from your point of view but you were involved closely in the missile shield negotiations during your time at the foreign ministry. We have Russia stationing nuclear capable cruise missiles, if I’ve got my terminology right, in Kaliningrad, some serious exercises taking place I’m sure. There’s a bit of an escalatory move here, the troops are being put in. How worried are you, to put it bluntly?
WITOLD MASZCYZKOWSKI: I was rather worried when we did not respond to Russian action because the decision of NATO last summer taken in Warsaw was a response to the activity of Russia. Simultaneously, we decided to defence, to deter but also to keep a dialogue. So we mandate the secretary general of NATO and Atlantic council to reopen actually a dialogue with Russia, so it’s up to them. Are they going to use this opportunity because we show them by, it’s not a big deployment of troops, it’s not a (unintelligible) but it’s a significant token of determination of NATO to defend the territory of NATO member states but not forget this is not determination to show any aggressive posture and this is a signal to Russia that we will defend ourselves but at the same time, we are ready to reopen the dialogue and to find a possible solution how to bring you back to cooperation with NATO and the European Union. The problem is that whatever we offer to Putin right now will be rejected because he needs us, he needs an enemy. This is a typical (unintelligible) problem, he needs us as a kind of a scapegoat, as an excuse but he cannot belabour at home having such a potentially rich country because there are so many problems and hostile activities outside of Russia. So this is a dilemma. Whatever we offer will be rejected because this hostility, this picture of hostility, a picture of an enemy is needed for him for the (unintelligible) public.
ROBIN NIBLETT: So, you’d better prepare for the long haul then and one last question to you and then, I’m going to come to you here so please have your questions ready and we’ll take two or three or four at the same time. Margaret, Russia is an important element. It is a European power as well as obviously looking to Asia. Thinking with your historical hat on, would you be looking to try to engage, accommodate, is it impossible, does it in the end are we returning, if we do return, to an era of national interest based politics, which I would think is what Russia would be quite interested to see. Is that incompatible with where Europe is going? Where would you put Russia in your mix?
MARAGARET MACMILLAN: I think Russia is driven in part by a sense of wanting to overcome the deep sense of humiliation and I think this is true of President Putin himself at the end of the Cold War. The Soviet Union had been a world power it suddenly no longer was and I think these things matter, what people remember matter and what they would like to try and recover matters and President Putin draws a lot on Russian history and talks about traditional Russian borders, talks about Ivan the Terrible, talks about Peter the Great. Whether that’s rhetoric, it’s hard to tell but it seems to me to be saying something that he uses as examples. I’d see Russia in two lights. On the one hand, it is as I think you had countries before 1914 and before 1939 which just disobeyed the rules, they threw the rules out, they didn’t want to obey them. How you deal with that is an issue we didn’t deal with it very well in the 1930s. I think you have to have them as we did with containment, a measure of firmness and willingness to talk because one of the dangerous things that happens, I think, when international relations become difficult and when you get, I think we are, I agree with Federica Mogherini that we are in a time of transition and it’s always difficult to see what that transition is but I think clearly things are changing with the rise of China, with the United States possibly withdrawing from a very active role in the world but what is then I think particularly important is to try and understand the other and try to keep in contact because the danger is when things begin turn bad is that we begin to think in terms of scenarios and anything the other side does, we think oh they would do that, wouldn’t they and they start doing that with us and then, it feeds itself, we expect them to be motivated by the things we fear and they expect us to be reacting in the ways they fear and I thought it is a combination of I think firmness but also trying to build communication which in fact worked with containment because during the Cold War, the Super Powers and their allies and it was painful and it was difficult did develop ways of communicating, they developed ways of understanding each other. It was helped by the fact that they had nuclear deterrents. It made it necessary for them to talk to each other but it’s just as necessary today and so I think we have to keep on trying.
ROBIN NIBLETT: Important points. Right, let’s get some points from around the room. As I see hands go up, I’ll call on people. This gentleman here first and then here and looking over my shoulder as well. Introduce yourself as well.
Q: Is there any movement within the (unintelligible) area to expedite extradition requests of terrorist suspects from country to country?
ROBIN NIBLETT: Could you just say who you are, sir?
Q: I’m (unintelligible), the president of Conference of (unintelligible)
ROBIN NIBLETT: Okay. So (unintelligible) expediting terrorism. Microphone here please.
Q: Lawrence Freidman (unintelligible) London. We talked a bit about Russia just before. We’ve had an alliance which has been led by the United States. We’re worried at the moment that the president-elect has said that NATO is obsolete. Maybe it isn’t obsolete or maybe he can do something with it but there’s also this question of American leadership. To what extent do you think we may be in a period of where Europeans found themselves pushing back and let me give you a very specific question. The president-elect has said that he could imagine sanctions being removed from Russia in the event of a nuclear deal, nothing to do with Crimea. Would the EU follow the same path if the president did that or will the EU maintain its own distinctive line on how to deal Russia, Crimea and Ukraine?
ROBIN NIBLETT: Thank you. The gentleman there and then coming over this side.
Q: Hi, my name is Ollie and I’m a global shaper from Perth, Australia. My question is to Federica and Rob. I’m curious to know what institutions and organizations that you both work with are doing alongside technology companies to prevent the pervasive rise in violent extremist discourse on social media platforms.
ROBIN NIBLETT: Okay, good targeted question and one more question here, let’s come around and get some answers from our panel.
Q: Hi, I’m Will Marshal from Planet Labs, a satellite company. So Federica, I just had a question for you. I wanted to pin you a little bit more on the question of European common security defence policy post-Britain. In my mind, it was one of the few potential benefits of Britain leaving the EU is that maybe the EU could be a little bit more, go a little bit further along the path of integrated security and defence policy and that that would be a positive thing. I just wanted to ask if you do think that is possible and in what particular ways maybe?
ROBIN NIBLETT: So, let’s just take that group to start with and then we might see how we do on time. We might have time for another round. Federica Mogherini, can we start actually with that last question about whether there is a more integrated security capacity that might be developed now and if you want to, put Brexit to one side, how would you like to see it be more integrated (unintelligible)
FEDERICA MOGHERINI: I can tell you more. I can tell you what we’re doing to make it more integrated because this is work that was started just after the presentation of the global strategy in late June and we’ve moved very fast on this. I’ve put on the table of the European Council already last December after word that defence and foreign ministers bit very well together a set of proposals to have more structured cooperation among the European Union and the States on security and defence and basically use all the tools that the treaty already give us. So, first elements are not going to see changes in the treaties also because if you open the treaties now, you don’t know where you’re going to end up. Second, we have tools we have never used. I’ll give you a couple of examples. We have the possibility of having a permanent structure cooperation which would allow member states that are willing to do more (unintelligible) up to them. For instance in terms of investing in certain capabilities together or doing more on certain fields of defence together, the European Union framework, in some cases, the European Union support or even some financial possibilities to invest in certain directions. I stress this because here we are in an environment where the private sector is also present. I see the big potential of using these instruments also to invest in job creation on one side, technologies, investment of the defence industry and on the other side, to spend better together after such a long time of budget restraints in our European Union member states. So it’s a smart thing to do also economically. The other elements we’ve not used, for instance, we’ve never used an article of the treaty that foresees Article 44 for those that are really passionate about it that foresees that for instance the council of the European Union takes a decision together on for instance a military intervention and then, one or some member states are mandated by all to do it and report it to the council. So the burden of operating together goes away but the political steer and the political decision stays at 28 or we have the battle groups that are rapid reaction forces that are there (unintelligible) but we’ve never used them. So why have we never used them? Because sometimes some ideological restraints, sometimes financial problems, the opportunity to use them, especially to bridge some UN operations that as you know are very long to be put in place, are many and we simply don’t live any more in a world that allows us the luxury not to use the instruments we have. So it’s going in that direction, with the UK, without the UK, I am 100% sure that the field of defence and security is going to be one of the fields where the European cooperation and (unintelligible) is going to move forward.
ROBIN NIBLETT: And there were two other questions which apply to you as well and we’ve got seven minutes left.
FEDERICA MOGHERINI: I would like to say on US…
ROBIN NIBLETT: Exactly, I thought you wanted to do that and I was going to make sure I give everyone a chance but if you could therefore say it now.
FEDERICA MOGHERINI: That’s very easy (unintelligible). No, European Union decisions are not taken in Washington. They’re taken in Brussels or elsewhere we meet at 28 or 27 in the future. So our decisions on sanctions on Russia for the annexation of Crimea or for the aggression on Ukraine will be constantly and always (unintelligible) linked to the (unintelligible) agreements when it comes to the situation in the east of Ukraine and will not depend on decision taken elsewhere.
ROBIN NIBLETT: Although they have to be by unanimity and therefore the political context may be different for that unanimity.
FEDERICA MOGHERINI: Well, sure. It’s the European Union making its decision which is the 28 member states together but Russia and others have always expected us to first not find the unity then lose the unity. So far it has worked and I think are united and we’re going to stay united. Having said that, my aim is not to renew sanctions, my aim to solve the conflict in Ukraine and sanctions are an instrument and not policy.
ROBIN NIBLETT: Could I talk to you a bit and say something on the sanctions issue and maybe on this deeper security cooperation within the EU? Is that something that a member state like Poland is looking for? You’re focused more on NATO.
WITOLD MASZCYZKOWSKI: I think that we don’t have to discard the sanction program because of decisions taken and we would continue because so far, I don’t see the reason why we are supposed to lift the sanction. (unintelligible) government is not (unintelligible) so there’s nothing to talk about sanctions. About cooperation, yes Federica is right, we want to discuss and take decision at so far 28 in Brussels. We want to keep European united as possible but also we want to avoid schizophrenia and as I mentioned, we want to keep the transatlantic bond as strong as possible. So we have to keep convincing Americans to be together with us because being separate, World War I started, the World War Second started, the Balkan War started and all these times we couldn’t as Europe solve the problem. Right now we’ve told Americans we cannot solve the problem of Russia and Ukraine in conflict. So all the formats which were created by the European Union so far have not satisfactory and not implementing the decisions taken in Europe only. So I think that we need Americans and we tried for years to prepare our self, to organize our self and to work without Americans. I remember 20 years ago we started the concept of CJTF, Combined Joint Task Force with (unintelligible) 1996 and we fight actually. 10 years ago, France decided to come back to the military structures of NATO. So I think that we can remind people of this bad exercises, the bad experience and convince new public administration and it’s not just only Trump administration, it will a Republican administration with people we know for years, some of them even for centuries like Henry Kissinger (unintelligible). I had a chance to talk two weeks ago in New York. So, very well known people in rhetoric and policy (unintelligible) is coming back to the United States.
ROBIN NIBLETT: I know this is going to be the last round so I hope those of you to ask questions, I’m sorry I won’t be able to go back to the floor again. Jens Stoltenberg, this will give you a chance to make a last comment because I know we’re going to hit, you know, the time at the end of this. Do you want to pick up on any of these points and could I ask you to just tack on, I know it’s difficult to do this, a sentence on Turkey and where you see this going and maybe a sentence on China and whether Europe…
ROBIN NIBLETT: Why not? You know, you can do this. You can do this. You’re a professional.
JENS STOLTENBERG: I can start by saying some words about Turkey because I think it’s extremely important to understand how important Turkey is for NATO and for Europe because the strategic location of Turkey, it’s important for all of us, close to Russia and the Black Sea and then bordering Iraq and Syria and Turkey is the NATO ally most affected by the turmoil, the violence, the terrorist attacks we have seen and they suffered a failed coup attempt. So, I think - and also for the refugee crisis - to manage that, to handle that, I think Turkey is a key country in Europe. So for me, it is important to have as close dialogue, cooperation with Turkey as a NATO member as possible. At the same time, I’m aware of the concerns related to the consequences and the follow-up of the failed coup attempt and therefore, it is important that those who are behind the failed coup attempt, they are held responsible but that it is done in accordance to law. That is a core value for NATO and that’s one of the values actually we are defending but my main message is that it’s important to keep Turkey together in the NATO family because they play such an important role. I think I’ll wait with China until…
ROBIN NIBLETT: We’ll save that for next time. Hopefully Donald Trump will not NATO in a position of having to make choices, you know, to show how with that part of the world is a security interest for Europe or not, let’s save that up, I’m sure we’ll have more chances to come back to it. Rob, you had a specific question which I think you were going to take up here on cooperation and you can say with Brexit.
ROBIN WAINWRIGHT: …extradition, a question about extradition, a question about tackling terrorism online, actually two examples in which the mechanisms of the EU have worked in a flexible responsive way to deal with a threat. Post 9/11 immediately, the European arrest warrant was ushered in fantastic, very practical, very successful operation extradition within Europe. Similarly, a counter-radicalization project strategy to counter ISIS online, the establishment of a discreet internet referral unit in Europol which is referring thousands of cases a year and an example of the way in which the EU can leverage at scale the combined resources of 28 member states, in this case police forces and also engage with the tech community, a success story I think of and a reminder that the instruments of the EU whether it’s a common legal framework or a common police sharing framework, actually when we get our act together, we can make a big difference.
ROBIN NIBLETT: Are you saying good about Brexit then? You’d thought you’d get that question so you just got it and you got one line on it. What do you think, saying good about Brexit?
ROBIN WAINWRIGHT: Similarly, you know, to the point that (unintelligible) and Theresa May was very clear today that she understands it’s a shared security interest in Europe as we heard earlier and that, of course, includes the way in which Britain has to stay very closely engaged with its European partners in the fight against terrorism for example. There are mechanism modalities available for that to continue post-Brexit. There are also some complications that have to be negotiated through that. Luckily it will involve commissioners and ministers and not somebody like me.
ROBIN NIBLETT: Margaret, you get quite appropriately the last word. As you reflect on the conversation, we’ve gone into Turkey discuss that aspect as well beyond Russia, are you confident that Europe can adapt to the new challenge or not?
MARGARET MACMILLAN: It’s adapted before, I don’t see why it shouldn’t adapt again and I think there has to be a willingness to adapt, there has to be a capacity to discuss, to adapt. I mean Europe has adapted to the end of the Cold War, that was two decades ago almost now. So it did so successfully and I think Europe is actually an interesting example of a grouping that came together that has worked without a hegemon so it seems to me this is an encouraging example. If the United States no longer wants to play the role of hegemon, we have other examples of where nations of relatively equal stature, some more powerful, have come together and worked together. So I think history can be encouraging as well as immensely depressing.
ROBIN NIBLETT: We wanted an optimistic note and very few of the sessions so far, especially in Europe, have ended optimistically and it’s great to get it from a historical perspective because of its (unintelligible) structure. Let me close here by saying at the beginning that I asked the question are we adapting, is there more interaction, is there more investment? I’ve certainly heard adaptation, I’ve heard interaction, which we’ve not heard before, I think we’re going to have to wait and see on investment and that’s going to be a very difficult part, not the least given the other challenges that Europe faces economically and in terms of the trust level between governments and their peoples and will they allow governments to spend the money even if you all here at this table have the plans for what to do with it. Could you please give a very strong hand to our panel, great panel?