1997 NATO

25 June 1997

Welcoming Remarks

by NATO Secretary General
H.E. Javier Solana

Mesdames et Messieurs,

C'est pour moi un trs grand plaisir de vous accueillir au 26me colloque conomique annuel de l'OTAN. Depuis sa cration, en 1971, ce colloque a acquis une excellente rputation, celle d'un forum d'changes o des experts discutent des corrlations entre l'volution de la situation conomique et l'volution de la scurit.

Pendant les vingt premires annes, le colloque a runi d'minents conomistes d'Amrique du Nord et d'Europe occidentale pour un dbat sur la situation conomique de ce que l'on appelait le "bloc de l'Est".

La dcennie en cours a vu le colloque se transformer pour rflter les volutions intervenues dans le contexte de la scurit europenne en gnral. Aujourd'hui, nous runissons des conomistes des pays partenaires et des pays de l'Alliance. Le dbat est plus large, plus riche et encore plus fructueux que dans le pass.

Le thme du colloque de cette anne est l'avancement de la rforme conomique dans les pays partenaires, l'accent tant mis sur la coopration rgionale. Je suis tout particulirement ravi que ce soit le ministre du dveloppement et des relations conomiques de la Slovnie, Marijan Senjar, qui prononce le discours introductif et contribue ainsi engager le colloque sur la bonne voie.

Avant tout, je souhaiterais prsenter le contexte plus gnral de votre dbat et le rle de la nouvelle OTAN dans une Europe transforme. Le point de dpart de toute politique de scurit harmonieuse repose aujourd'hui sur la constatation que le concept de scurit s'est nettement largi depuis la fin de la guerre froide.

Le scurit militaire reste importante. Elle demeure de fait l'lment fondamental de toute politique de scurit harmonieuse. Mais d'autres aspects de la scurit ont acquis une importance de plus en plus grande. La scurit a maintenant des dimensions la fois conomiques, environnementales, politiques et militaires. Le principal dfi stratgique auquel tous nos pays sont confronts, qu'ils fassent partie ou non de l'OTAN, rside dans la question de savoir comment rendre l'Europe plus stable. Aujourd'hui, notre ennemi commun se nomme "Instabilit"!

Les rivalits d'origine ethnique ou nationaliste peuvent tre des catalyseurs trs puissants de l'instabilit. Au temps de la confrontation Est-Ouest, ces rivalits taient masques ou touffes. Aujourd'hui, elles se manifestent, comme nous l'avons vu en Bosnie. Tout comme nous avons pu y constater, des tensions d'origine historique existant de longue date peuvent tre aggraves par les disparits conomiques.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

So what is NATO's role today in the face of these dramatic changes? What is the Alliance contributing to a more stable and secure Europe? I would make two points.

NATO has been in the forefront of creating a new cooperative approach to security across the whole of the Euro-Atlantic area. We have launched a number of initiatives to overcome the divisions of Europe, and introduce a new pattern of security relationships.

Without going into detail, I would cite Partnership for Peace with its emphasis on developing close and practical cooperation on military and defence matters. We have established a Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council which brings Allied and Partner politicians, diplomats and military officers together regularly to consult, exchange information and coordinate our policies.

As you are aware, we have signed a "Founding Act" with Russia which will see us working and consulting closely together in a new Joint Permanent NATO-Russia Council.

We will have distinctive arrangements with Ukraine. And NATO has launched a Mediterranean dialogue, with the aim of developing friendly and productive relations to our South.

Last but not least, next month we will announce the first countries who will be invited to join the Alliance by 1999. We will also make a commitment to keep the door of NATO open in future.

The effect of all these initiatives has been to introduce a very positive dynamic into European security. To use an old phrase, there is a real sense of a single security space from Vancouver to Vladivostok.

The second major contribution that NATO is making is in the sphere of crisis management. Perhaps the major significance of NATO's intervention in Bosnia is that it has established a model for managing future crises by bringing Allies and Partners under a single chain of military command, united to achieve the same purpose: a lasting peace in Bosnia. This is a precedent which will have a powerful deterrent effect in the area, and provides many lessons for NATO's future involvement in crises.

The Madrid Summit will consolidate and reinforce the direction NATO has been taking in recent years as a dynamic organization providing stability and a forum for security cooperation to the whole Euro-Atlantic area. We will be setting the basis of a new NATO adapted to a new Europe. A NATO that will carry us forward into the XXI century.

So what, then, is the connection between what NATO is doing in stimulating security-related cooperation, and the issues you will be addressing today and tomorrow?

The experience of Western Europe after 1945 shows that economic progress and security integration are closely linked. The effective security framework provided by NATO contributed to put past divisions behind us and allowed Europeans and North Americans together to look ahead to a better and more secure future.

A modernized NATO is having the same effect to the East of this continent that it had throughout many decades in the West. We are helping to create the strategic confidence which is essential for sustained future economic growth. The prospect of joining NATO is providing a powerful incentive to the reform processes in Central and Eastern Europe. In addition, many long-standing bilateral problems have been resolved as countries prepare for joining NATO and the European Union.

NATO of course, cannot achieve or sustain transformation of Europe on its own. Other institutions have their part to play too. The OSCE has to develop its role in preventive diplomacy. The Council of Europe has to extend the habits and process of democracy. And of course, in the long run, the European Union will have the most significant effect in the economic sphere. But in terms of creating the initial impetus towards change, NATO's policies are already providing a very powerful stimulus today.

So, on that point, let me end these brief remarks. I look forward to hearing the results of your discussions. And I welcome you and wish you well for the 1997 Economics Colloquium.

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