You are here

A European centre of excellence in tune with the world

<p class="allgemein">As I begin my tenure as director, it seems appropriate that I should outline my vision for the EUISS and its role in shaping the European Union's foreign and security policy, by broadly recapitulating the ideas set out in the paper submitted at the request of the HR/SG for CFSP, Javier Solana, prior to my appointment to this post. In applying this vision to the daily work of the Institute, I shall be following in the footsteps of Nicole Gnesotto, who oversaw the transition from the WEU and created the EUISS. Both Guido Lenzi and John Roper, the 'founding father' of the Institute, also deserve our gratitude for helping shape the Institute into what it is today.<br /><br />In the past five years, the EUISS has consolidated its credibility as an EU institution dealing with the study of European security and international affairs, in the context of the Union's new foreign policy responsibilities. Under Nicole Gnesotto's leadership, it has become a highly-reputed centre for security and international studies, contributing to the formulation and implementation of the European Union's foreign, security and defence policy at a time when the EU had to operate within the particularly difficult international environment in the wake of the events of September 11 2001, in parallel with its own expansion.</p>
<p class="allgemein"><b>The ambition<br /></b><br />Five years into its existence, it is time to reconsider the EUISS's mission and how it can best be accomplished, in the light of the Union's stated goal of shaping a better world. The EUISS will increasingly have to contribute to improving our understanding of current global realities in a world that is reverting to multipolarity, at a time when it can be said that unilateralism has failed but we cannot yet speak of the triumph of multilateralism.<br /><br />It must do this in support of the EU's stated aim of achieving effective multilateralism, in which context the EU itself can act as a global player. This is to be done by giving a clear multilateral perspective to its bilateral relations with other major players in the international system - what I would call 'multilateralising multipolarity' - while simultaneously contributing to the reinforcement of regional integration and cooperation.<br /><br />The United States is the paramount global power and a key strategic partner of the Union, vital to any project of effective multilateralism. However, it can be argued that there has been a poor understanding of American policy in Europe in recent years, and that there is a deficit in American studies. Thus the United States and Euro-American relations must constitute a strong strand of research within the EUISS. Equally, the study of relations with global players like China, India or Brazil and regional powers like South Africa must grow in importance at the Institute as these are developed into strategic relationships of the Union.<br /><br />The Institute should cater, furthermore, to the increasing worldwide 'demand for Europe'. The fact that it is seen as an 'international public good' places a heavy responsibility upon the Union, testing its ability to lead the international community in facing the kind of world disorder that is causing such inordinate human suffering from Sudan to Iraq and the Middle East. <br /><br />The EUISS should devote particular attention to European peripheries where crises and turmoil counterpoint the desire to forge a common destiny with Europe. The debate on how to achieve the goals of creating a democratic and prosperous Euro-Mediterranean community set forth in Barcelona in 1995 is back on the agenda. And so is the imperative to keep Russia committed to continental cooperation for peace and development while, at the same time, the Union should do its part to consolidate the democratic process in the EU's eastern neighbourhood. <br /><br />The EUISS should provide the Union with timely, forward-looking analysis, covering both immediate priorities for EU foreign, security and defence policy and the great challenges of modern times. The latter range from human rights to democracy, from development to peace, from proliferation to terrorism, from energy to the environment, from rearmament and the fate of arms-control regimes to the link between security and justice, and, last but not least, the security challenges of climate change.<br /><br />None of these are new, but since the end of the Cold War freed globalisation from its constraints, such issues have become an integral part of international affairs.<br /><br />As the EU's growing global role broadens its policy interests, and as it expands its outreach, the EUISS has an increasing role to play in contributing to forging a European security culture based on the Union's founding fundamental values, that of a distinctive political entity that has delegitimised power politics among its member states.<br /><br />Equally important is the contribution the Institute can make to the EU's success in achieving 'unity in action'. This will require ensuring coherence between its formidable soft power and a measure of hard power, through the combination of the means individual EU members place at the Union's disposal and the means they share. There is consensus on the urgent need to integrate the instruments available to the EU's common foreign and security policy, i.e. those of the Council, of the Commission and of the member states, in a coherent and effective manner.<br /><br />In short, the EUISS must evolve in line with the spirit of 'unity in action' that led the European Convention to propose the post of EU Foreign Minister, and act (as its mission statement strongly suggests) as the Institute for foreign and security studies of the European Union. </p>
<b>A network of networks<br /></b><br />Civil society, think thanks and their networks are today a fundamental dimension of international relations. This should appropriately be reflected in the EUISS's activities. In order to fully support the Union's external action in its own field of expertise, the EUISS must work closely with European and international networks.<br /><br />Europe places cooperation at the heart of its perceptions of global policy and since it has no monopoly on innovative thinking on world affairs, it is crucial that the EU's institutions, thinkers and planners become more aware of the debate and ideas being put forward in the wider world. It should be informed of the strategic visions, the security concerns and the policy options being generated both within its neighbours and further afield.<br /><br />While developing its own European research capacities, opening up to the world also means the EUISS must be capable of systematically involving non-European researchers in the full range of its activities, in particular academics and younger researchers from priority areas in the EU's foreign policy interests. <br />In short, the EUISS must do at its own level what the European Union must do more and more on a much larger scale: think strategically, work regionally and act globally.