Britský ministr zahraničí na jednání v Černínském paláci
03.09.2004 / 11:07
Zde naleznete nahrávku tiskové konference ministrů Svobody a Strawa z 31.4. a také plný text projevu ministra zahraničních věcí Spojeného království Velké Británie a Severního Irska Jacka Strawa na poradě vedoucích zastupitelských úřadů a stálých misí ČR v Praze dne 30. srpna 2004.
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SPEECH BY THE FOREIGN SECRETARY AT CONFERENCE OF AMBASSADORS OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC PRAGUE. 31 AUGUST 2004
"WHAT IS CHANGlNG IN THE NEW EUROPEAN UNlON? "
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you, Cyril [Svoboda], for inviting me to address this Conference. I'm honoured to be here.
In 1641, Our Parliament (otherwise limbering up for civil war) invited the great Moravian scholar and educationalist, Comenius, to England, to offer his advice. John Milton was so enthusiastic at Comenius's arrival that he called him "a person sent hither by some good Providence from a far country, the occasion and incitement of great good to this island".
What the story of Comenius illustrates, is that the relationship between the Czech lands and Britain has long enriched both Dur countries. We remember with pride the part which Czech and British forces played together in the fight against Nazism; and today, Our armed forces are serving together again, with great distinction, in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. Our bilateral trade is now worth more than f2 billion every year. Where Comenius once came to sort out Our Universities, the Czech architect Eva Jiricina is now masterminding the redevelopment of London's Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Czech ballerina, Daria Klimentova, is starring at the English National Ballet. We both profit greatly from that strong relationship -which is why the British Government ensured that our labour market was open to legitimate workers from the Czech Republic immediately after accession on 1 May this year.
Our new partnership within the European Union today strengthens our relationship further. And it gives us both a strong interest in the EU's future direction -the theme on which I want to focus my remarks today.
Only four months into this historic enlargement, the shape of the new European Union' s priorities, alliances, and politics will take some time to become fully clear.
But we already know that the European Union of25 members will be different in nature from that of 15. The new member states such as the Czech Republic are bringing new perspectives and new ideas: fresh and successful experience of economic transformation; insight and understanding of the EU' s new neighbours to the East; and a skilled and creative generation of young people, as we are discovering through Britain' s Crossroads for Ideas campaign. The new Constitutional Treaty which we agreed last June will change the way in which the EU does business. And the pressures of a globalised and interdependent world are forcing the EU to adapt to face new challenges - maintaining our economic power in the face of global competition, and
improving our capacity to face today's security threats. In all these areas, change is already underway: we need to ensure that we build on it, and shape it i in the right direction for the future.
The fact that things are changing is reflected in the way in which we talk about the European Union itself.
We used to hear a lot about what was known in the jargon as finalité -a fixed end-state at which the European Union was aimed, usually consisting, for its advocates, of a federal1y-structured organisation. The idea of such a fixed destination lies behind the metaphors offast and slow lanes, of forging ahead or being left behind, or of a two-speed or a multi-speed EU.
And though their views are diametrically opposed, the die-hard opponents of further integration relied on a similarly fixed idea ofthe EU's finalité. For them, it is a case of thus far, but no further.
Both views are, in my view, mistaken -because it is wrong to fix the nature of the European Union in stone. The world is continually changing, perhaps faster now than ever before; and the European Union has to be able to change with it. A recognition of that fact explains why the idea of finalité has had its day. And the drafters and negotiators of the new Constitutional Treaty were acutely conscious of that. The final text which we agreed sets out a framework which is not that of a federal and rigid European Union, but of a more flexible, multi-dimensional and adaptable organisation.
There must always be common rules which apply to all across the European Union. Such rules are the foundation of the Single Market, ensuring fair treatment for people and businesses across Europe. But the EU is also becoming a framework for smaller groups of nations to co-operate more closely, when they so choose, without obliging everyone to join in. The Euro is one example. Another is the creation of a European crisis-management capability, in which Britain is playing a leading role. Under the new Constitution, such co-operation will be better defined than before, and there will be stronger provisions to ensure that it operates in a way which is fair to every member. That is welcome.
Leťs not mistake this kind of flexibility for what is sometimes, usually with a sneer, referred to as "Europe a la carte". It is, rather, proof of the EU's capacity to adapt its constitutional arrangements to changing demands and circumstances. That is something with which the British, from our own constitutional history, can identify.
And in a sense, a more flexible Europe builds on the traditions of the past, not breaks with them.
One of the European Union's great strengths has always been its capacity to act as an enabler, releasing the potential of its citizens and its member states.
Customs Union in the 1960s, and the Single Market in the 1980s, broke down barriers to trade to give Europe' s businesses greater opportunity and Europe' s consumers greater choice. The right to live, work, or do business across the continent without obstacles which the EU has given its citizens has unleashed greater benefits still. British television is full of programmes on people setting up businesses in Italy, or moving home to Spain -benefits of our EU
membership which today we take for granted. Indeed half a million Britons
already live in Spain alone, some of the more than 15 million Europeans who now live or work in another country than their own.
The EU has laid the foundations of faimess and freedom which enables people to enjoy those benefits across the continent. And the same capacity to release potential through fair common rules lies behind the arrangements for more flexible co-operation between the EU's Member States today. The rules ensure that such co-operation is fair, non-exclusive, and not imposed on anyone; but I within that framework, they allow the EU's Member States to exploit the potential of greater co-operation when they want to do so.
If the EU's greater flexibility responds to the need to adapt to a changing world, it cannot simply be limited to new areas of co-operation but must also apply, when appropriate, to the EU's existing powers. Again, the new Constitutional Treaty will give the Union that capacity, by allowing for powers which in the past have been exercised by the EU to be repatriated to individual members when it is more efficient or effective to do so.
Of course the new Treaty has yet to be ratified and implemented -and in Britain and the Czech Republic, among others, that will be a decision taken by the people themselves in a referendum. But those of us, like me, who will be campaigning for it will continue to stress that the kind of European Union which it sets out is one with which all Europe' s nations can be comfortable -a modern and effective organisation which is able to conduct its business more efficiently, and flexible enough to adapt to a changing world.
Let me rum now to the second change which is underway in Europe: the transformation of the European Union into an organisation with a global role. There are two aspects to that -economic, and political- both of which centre on the question of the role which the new EU plays in the world of the future.
The EU can be proud of having created the biggest common market in the world. There is stilI some unfinished business, for example on the liberalisation of services; but the achievement to date is clear. According to the European Commission, the Single Market has brought two and a half million new jobs and more than 800 billion Euro in extra wealth. National telephone calls in the EU cost half of what they did in 1998. European promotional airfares in 2000 were over 40% lower than in 1992.
But global competition is setting the European Union serious challenges, in addition to those pose within our own borders.
In the open global economy companies will buy their products and services, invest their money, and employ their people, where it is most competitive to do so. We need to ensure that that is in Europe, by creating the right conditions to attract lasting investment. The Czech Republic's excellent record shows what can be achieved.
And if we want to maintain and increase Europe's global economic standing, and with it our power and influence in the world, we need to boost growth in the European Union. It takes the US economy, growing at a rate of 3%, only seven months to add GDP equivalent to the annual output of Poland. Within the next decade, China is likely to overtake Germany as the world' s third largest economy, with India not so far behind.
Europe needs reform if we are to meet that challenge. We need to create more flexible and liberal labour, product and capital markets. We must increase employment, because having a job is the best form of social protection there is -and I'm delighted that Czech and British experts are exchanging best practice in that area. We need to spend more on research and development. And we also need to ensure that European regulation is a help, not a hindrance to business, which means lifting outdated measures and subjecting new proposals to rigorous assessment to ensure that they really do enhance our competitiveness.
I began an exercise 18 months ago to ensure that the UK Government and Parliament transpose EU directives into British law more simply and without so-called "gold plating". The four Presidencies -of lreland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the UK -have committed themselves to a major focus on better regulation. All this is welcome, as is the wider recognition that a better balance on regulation has to be achieved. But this is only part ofthe battle. The bigger problem arises from directives and regulations made many years ago much embroidered since by Commission practice and court judgements, and which are still in force.
The challenge of economic reform will be a priority for the new Commission, under the leadership of José Manuel Barroso. I am delighted that the Commission is getting off to such a dynamic start. And I'm delighted too that Vladimir Spidla, as the new Czech Commissioner, will be part of that new team with one ofthe most crucial portfolios. I look forward to discussing the challenges of economic reform with him when I meet him later today.
The second reason why Europe must now tum its focus to the challenges outside our borders concerns our security. Like those to our economic power and prosperity, today's threats to our security come from outside the EU's borders: terrorism, proliferation, conflict, state failure, and intemational crime.
We are getting better at tackling them. The EU has intervened successfully in Macedonia and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and is preparing to take over peacekeeping duties from NATO in Bosnia, with an EU-led force under British leadership. Our work on implementing the EU Security Strategy is helping to bring together all the instruments at the EU's disposal- whether aid, expertise, influence or military force where necessary -in a joined-up way to pursue our security interests.
But we need to get better still, because working together more closely on security makes sense. T ogether, the EU accounts for a quarter of world GDP, a third ofworld trade, 50% ofthe UN budget and 55% of global development
aid, giving us far greater clout in the world, when we agree to act together, than any of us would have alone.
Firstly, we have to increase our capacity for crisis management, and our co- operation on so-called "hard" security issues such as terrorism and the proliferation of WMD. We can build on the establishment of the European Defence Agency last month, a welcome step towards addressing the gaps in the EU's military capabilities; on the appointment ofa European counter-terrorism co-ordinator; and on the agreement of an EU Action plan on weapons of mass destruction.
And we also need to be more effective at promoting the universal values of liberal democracy, human rights and tolerance for which Europe stands. I remember, as a student leader, organising demonstrations of solidarity with those in this city who stood up to repression in 1968. You won that fight 21 years later in 1989, and the values of freedom, tolerance and democracy still have a special resonance bere. There would be no better signal of Europe's wish to support the spread of those universal values than a positive decision to open accession negotiations with Turkey this December.
The last, crucial ingredient for an effective global European role will be a stronger partnership with the United States. As the American historian William Hitchcock has observed [in The Struggle forEurope], the great achievements of the post-war intemational order have been built through transatlantic co- operation -the UN, NATO, the World Bank and IMF, the containment and defeat of communism, and the massive expansion of humanitarian aid and relief. Yet, he continues, "other frontiers beckon: the challenges of global poverty, disease, weapons proliferation, religious fundamentalism, terrorism, failed states [... ]" As Hitchcock suggests, Europe and the US can only tackle those problems by working together. Our task over the coming years must be to build a shared agenda with the US, where we can address the whole range of issues from terrorism, crime and proliferation to poverty, environmental degradation and disease which create the conditions in which threats to our security can thrive.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I began with the importance of the relationship between Britain and the Czech Republic -and I want to end on the same theme.
We may not agree on every detail about the EU's future direction, but we do share a common approach. We both take a pragmatic view of the world, based on a desire to get concrete results. We both recognise the importance of creating the conditions for economic dynamism, and investing in research and innovation. And we both know that our security depends on being active around the world, and on a strong relationship between Europe and the United States.
Together, we can play an important part in shaping the changes which are defining the new European Union of 25 members. Building a Europe which is outward-looking, adapting to the challenges of reform, and tackling today's security threats, is in our interests, and those of every one of our partners. By doing so we can help to ensure that the European Union which has been so successful in the past builds further on that success in the years ahead.