29 Nov, 2006 - Session 4 at the Rīga Conference: Europe's Future: Is Enlargement Still in the Cards - and what happens if it is not?

Mr. Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung,
H.E. Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the President of Estonia
Mr. Kurt Volker, Principal Assistant Secretary of State, U.S. Department,
The Hon. Karl Theodor Freiherr zu Guttenberg, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Bundestag
Dr. Ivan Krastev, Program Director, Centre for Liberal Strategies

KLAUS-DIETER FRANKENBERGER: Our (INAUDIBLE) for this final session -Europe's Future: Is Enlargement Still in the Cards and What Happens if it is Not? You notice that it doesn't say EU's future or NATO's future, it's Europe's future, which means the vaguest concept we can think of.

This is not a nuts and bolt issue like in the previous session, but it's a rather (INAUDIBLE) concept about what we think Europe is, where it is heading to and what we should expect, or rather, not expect.

Enlargement is part, and probably the most dramatic expression of the transformation that Europe and NATO have undergone since the early 1990's. In my judgment, it's one of the greatest successes in the history of European integration, from an American perspective and an American phraseology, it has partially, well, almost fulfilled the region of the Europe whole, free and at peace with itself.

The very fact that the venue for this Riga Summit is Riga, is - epitomizes the magnitude of the whole content of this, and the deeper meaning of enlargement - a process, by the way, President Vike-Freiberga has reminded us must continue.

And yet, as we all know a strange creature has appeared on the scene in Europe, it is called enlargement fatigue; something held by the public, maybe not by the political leaders, who may have other or political goals, objectives, but certainly in the public.

At the very moment, we have ample reason to salute the heart and the wisdom of those who want it and did actually at last, to some great expense, reunite Europe. A caricature took over the public debate in old Europe and I think it's the third time from a Secretary (INAUDIBLE) has been mentioned somewhat in the affirmative and what I think is - and some, in one sense or the other- old Europe is a good expression of what divides the SLR (ph).

The Polish Plumber. The Polish Plumber hijacked the debate in France. And as you know, the referendum on the constitutional (INAUDIBLE) failed, as it failed (INAUDIBLE). Ever since, the picture has become gloomy, the mood has become sour. When we speak about Turkey, it has become outright hostile.

Certainly, when we speak about the Balkans, it has become very skeptical with the one exception of maybe Croatia. The EU tries to keep the Ukraine at arms length, and has invented a new criteria called Absorption Capacity.

And the debate about Europe's geographical and functional borders has regained some steam.

And the question of all questions, the 1,000 euro questions, the (INAUDIBLE) of Europe, what this Europe exercise is all about has been dusted off again: federal, state, counterweight against the U.S., super national model for the world, bulwark against globalization, community of free nations - make your choice.

We want to examine these questions in some greater detail, look at the roots of this enlargement fatigue and try to find out what the strategic and operational implications pose for NATO and the EU and for the member states that still want to join them.

We are very fortunate to have an excellent panel with us, headed by the new President of Estonia. It's a great honor and a pleasure to have you here with us this morning, Mr. President. You have been a staunch advocate of a free community of nations and we salute your leadership.

You have been serving your country in various capacities, as a foreign minister, as an ambassador. And you have also had a stay in the EU Parliament so he can tell us something about the dynamics as much as they relate to enlargement going on there.

Freiherr zu Guttenberg is a young rising star in the German Bundestag. He is a member of a political family of Northern Frankonia, so he's a member of the Bavarian (ph) (INAUDIBLE) and he has dealt with - he's in the second term. He has dealt mostly with security and foreign policy issues.

Kurt Volker, is the principal deputy assistant for European affairs in the U.S. State Department. He is an old NATO hand. You have been dealing with European issues, NATO issues for a long time. And he will be one of the key - is one of the key policy makers - when it comes to enlargement questions.

And last, but not least, our friend Ivan Krastev from Sokkia. Ivan is a prolific writer and a great analyst when it comes to security and international affairs of the Balkans. You were General Secretary of the commission that looked into the future Balkans.

I am very much looking forward to hear what you have to say.

Is there such a thing as enlargement fatigue and how does it pertain to both the EU and NATO?

KURT VOLKER, DEPUTY ASSISTANT FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: Well, to put everything in - I mean to put it in one sentence - enlargement fatigue is the problem of the European Union and it doesn't exist in NATO.

Ten years ago this week, I became Foreign Minister in my country. And I did something that was very unpopular at the time, which was to switch the orientation of Estonian foreign policy - which at that time like Latvian and Lithuania's- was completely focused on NATO and not on the EU. And it wasn't simply because I really loved the EU, which I do - but it was also because William Perry had said several times in Osland Copenhagen that the Baltic states are not yet ready.

I said, "Well this is not a - you don't have to be a rocket scientist to say, well maybe we should focus on something else."

But we have the option between - I mean we had - there was the EU and there was NATO as the two organizations that my country wanted to join.

One seemed out of the question, the other one was doable. I think that in the case of the countries we're looking at today, when we talk about enlargement - we can only talk about NATO simply because of the failure of the European Union to deal with it's neighborhood.

A complete lack of courage, a complete lack of willingness, a fortress Europe mentality that we don't want any more. Holding the Balkans, Ukraine, Moldova, (INAUDIBLE) at more than at arms length with a - with really a not very substantial neighborhood policy means that these countries really - I mean put yourself in their position.

What option do you have but to go for NATO and that's why they're doing it, frankly.

I mean - now to come to enlargement fatigue - it is a real phenomenon in Europe today. And it's a real phenomenon because politicians do not want to talk about Turkey, Ukraine or any of these countries because they have electorates that are against enlargement.

NATO doesn't, NATO enlargement is an issue that the electorates don't really care about. I don't think there's really a country in NATO where anyone really, where the electorate thinks about it. It's not an issue. It's certainly an elite-driven issue.

So, basically, there are few options open to these countries.

And let's also think about the situation they're in and then I'll finish - which is that all of - I mean, not Turkey or the Balkans - but recently in the case of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, they are countries, they are fledgling democracies, they all have those little problems, but still they're doing their best. They're bordering a large country that treats democracy on its borders as a security threat; where color revolutions and all those things are considered as very bad; and a country that considers despotisms on its borders as being the repositories of stability.

Now, if you were a fledgling democracy with that kind of neighbor, and with the history that you have and the EU is telling you, "Forget it, we don't want your types in," then what options are there?

FRANKENBERGER: (INAUDIBLE)

QUESTION: Democracy at Europe's borders - if security said this is something that you familiar Bundestag - you come from a political family that has been very supportive of the European integration project. But if I read it correctly, more and more concerns have been creeping into the debate, and people have been voting on the admission of Bulgaria, Romania I should say somewhat grudgingly, not very much welcoming actually. What drives these concerns?

KARL THEODOR FREIHERR ZU GUTTENBERG, MEMBER OF THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE OF THE BUNDESTAG: There are many concerns, although there are still many expectations as well. Public expectations too. And I do think, and there I absolutely agree with the President, that we have to somehow separate first the absorption fatigue or the enlargement fatigue toward the European Union and the one we face with NATO. Although we have to be careful not to create a certain general institutional skepticism within Europe.

And there are tiny little signs in Germany where we have to be careful. Just one thing I would like to say. What are the reasons? I think first of all, there's a remarkable lack of creativity in how to communicate in the European Union. How to communicate those main questions that have been (INAUDIBLE) the enlargement may be finality, may be other reasons that we are facing at the moment.

The second thing is that we still play with the paradox of enlargement and deepening. And it's still called a paradox, but we haven't found so far the real aspects on how to deliver. This problem, maybe it's not a problem any longer, but we still play to that paradox and we don't play too thoughtfully in my very opinion.

And certainly I just think we haven't found a message yet to also strengthen the E.U. institutions. But the European public, especially the German public, has a reason to profoundly tackle (ph) off of the company to argue about stronger institutions. This is also then a factor which could strengthen identification just the other way around.

So those are probably reasons which led to this absorption, to this absorption tiredness, that is, absorption fatigue we're in right now. And we definitely need more creativity than we have for the moment.

And as you have mentioned Romania and Bulgaria. I personally am very much in favor or Bulgaria and Romania joining the European Union, but for many it has been too fast. And it has been explained poorly. Where were the reasons and where were the reasons for the skepticism (INAUDIBLE) you commission other things I barely...

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: You speak about a lack of creativity. On the other hand (INAUDIBLE) provocations disaster in largely those of the U.N. NATO is in Germany's very best interest, and not just in the business interest as a (INAUDIBLE) during hands (INAUDIBLE) as in our stability.

What I would like to ask you and press you a little bit further is, do you think or do you have the feeling that the resentment against, or the block in the way of Horas Essman (ph) in to you is the backlash of a political class that eventually sees, or had, its list of visions (ph) go down the drain?

GUTTENBERG: No, I wouldn't say so. Its intensity is very much focused on the issue of Turkey. And there we have to be very careful that we...

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: I thought you were leading in that direction. Having a CSU member on the panel, it's quite obvious. And we have to be very careful in that aspect. We shouldn't be too apoplectic (ph) on one side. And we should be very cautious on how to adapt those issues. At the very moment it's not only a question of release. There is a broad skepticism.

I can just talk about Germany, but I see a (INAUDIBLE) in France, and also in Austria. And what kind of solutions do we offer for furthering the steps? Of course, we do have polarity embrace or accept and...

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: And what kind of solutions do we offer for further steps. Of course we do a lot of the (INAUDIBLE) are accept last December's - October's decision of starting the (INAUDIBLE) talks with Turkey. At the very moment, we're talking about Turkey, I have more or less the impression that's not only problem by the European union - it's more it's also a question how Turkey reacts on the steps we are taking at the very moment.

And that brings me to another question that which may be raised on this panel as well. Is the question of absorption capacity on which is (INAUDIBLE) yes or no. And I think it's necessary to put it into (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Mr. Volker, as we crisscross from the EU to the NATO and back and forth all the time and it's a little bit confusing to sort things out. I do not know if absorption capacity is operational or not. It's certainly a political instrument - I hope it's not a cover for keeping others away.

But, let's say it was a (INAUDIBLE) concept. Would NATO meet such a criteria to manage its enlargement process?

KURT VOLKER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: Well, I think NATO has had to face that question already in having brought in ten members. I don't think it has been a problem for NATO. In fact, I make a case that NATO enlargement has not only been good for the countries that have joined NATO and for the border region - I think it's also been good for NATO itself.

I think it has given it a renewed sense of cohesion and focus on the values that make up the Alliance and then the responsibilities that the Alliance has in promoting security.

If I could say a couple other thoughts on some of the issues that have come up. I'd say first off, I think today, we talked about enlargement fatigue. Today is a very good day for our enlargement process. You'll see the NATO meeting breaking up in a little bit, and I think we're going to see some very positive signals on the enlargement process.

In first instance, when it comes to the three that are in the membership action plan, Croatia, Albania and Macedonia, you'll also see very positive signals toward Georgia and Ukraine and continuing in their intensified dialogue and dealing with their membership aspirations.

And you'll also hear some movement of Partnership for Peace, which is part of this circle of pulling countries toward Euro-Atlantic integration. And that I think it's a fundamental point - which I would come back to and talk about enlargement - whether it's NATO or the EU.

It is - we have to remember the values basis of our societies and the values basis of the organizations. So, that we're talking about supporting democracy, supporting market economy, peaceful settlement of disputes, integration and cooperation among states.

And this is something that has been very successfully developed through an enlargement process of both NATO and the EU and that job's not done. We have a lot of work to do in the Balkans and we've been hung up on Bulgaria and Romania and those in the Adriatic Charter and also cleaning up the leftovers of the Balkan wars and the consequences of ethnic cleansing and having to move the whole region forward toward Euro-Atlantic institutions.

But it's also no less true for pieces of the former Soviet Union that have fallen away and we're sitting here with President Ilves of Estonia. But we need to be thinking about how to advance those human values, how to advance democracy, market economies, stability and integration into a wider community with Georgia, with the Caucuses, with Ukraine, with others.

So, that is the fundamental heart of the enlargement process. And I think as our community, we - NATO - we transatlantic community, those who are in the EU, should feel a great deal of confidence.

I think you're right to say that there is a sense of an enlargement fatigue, particularly concerning the European Union. But I think the European Union should look at this as an issue where it can take great pride and have great confidence looking forward.

Because the steps that have been taken thus far in the EU enlargement process have really strengthened Europe and strengthened the EU.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: You don't see the same force that, at least at the elite level at work, that trying to you know, slow down the enlargement process in NATO?

VOLKER: First off, I agree with Krastev. I don't think it is an elite driven process that is trying to slow down enlargement to raise questions. I think it is really one of society saying what does this mean for us? What does it mean about immigration? What does it mean about jobs? What does it mean about our social model?

Those are legitimate questions. I think those are questions that leaders have to answer, because I think there are good answers to these but they need to be articulated. You don't sense that within NATO so much. I think NATO probably because it is about security and defense and looking outward. It is less about the bread and butter issues.

I think also because there has been a continued steady stream of discussion of this issue within NATO with an emphasis on the value issues and an emphasis on the purposes. And I think that has raised a high level of confidence within NATO. And something I think that could be done within European Union.

FRANKENBERGER: Ivan, if enlargement is no longer in the cards as the title of our sessions, at least suggest as a questions, what would it do to the Balkans?

IVAN KRASTEV, PROGRAM DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR LIBERAL STRATEGIES: Let's before going to the Balkans, start with kind of an observation - probably my English is not good enough, but I never understand the mystical meaning of the word fatigue. No, I know what is confusion. I know what is frustration. Fatigue, I am not getting. And from certain points of view, I do believe that this type of mysterious words can play a very interesting political role.

As you know, your (INAUDIBLE) mission may be regulation on how the enlargement of the first (INAUDIBLE) contribute to the economy. And basically, the key finding was that basically the enlargement brought economic growth. You go to the public opinion polls which GMF (ph) did, and you are going to see the turn out of the European public is positive on the achievement of the enlargement.

And also the immigration nightmare which was one of the major problems for the people, in fact, didn't happen. I think it is because I do believe that there is a major problem and major mistrust not with the problem of enlargement but generally with European (INAUDIBLE), and European project is in a crisis of self-confidence.

The basic problem is what you are doing now. And here my basic argument is the following: it is rhetorically very easy to say we are going to stop the enlargement. But to stop the enlargement is politically as difficult as to continue. And here the Balkans is a very good case in point.

In the Balkans, the European Union is facing a very simple dilemma. Either there is going to be enlargement or the European Union is going to turn into a kind of imperial colonial power in the Balkans. Because let's say it is a reality - Kosovo and Bosnia are around as protectorates. Almost half of EU deployable troops are staying in the Balkans. The money that is contributed to this region is huge. But all this is perceived as legitimate by the people on the ground because the enlargement is there, because they do believe that one day they are going to join the European Union.

Tell all these people that you are going to govern them without giving them the prospect for enlargement and I do believe that European Union is going to face a much bigger problem than is faces today.

FRANKENBERGER: As Bulgaria will join the EU in a little bit more than a month, would you think that some of the criticism that has been rendered during the ratification debates in various countries has a basis?

KRASTEV: You know, Bulgaria has a problem - Bulgaria has a problem from an institutional level. Bulgaria has economic and political problems and this is reality. And of course Bulgaria is not going to be as important for the European Union as for example Germany. Bulgaria, (INAUDIBLE) axis is not going to be so important as the Paris-Berlin axis.

But on the other side, we made a very simple study - and this was the study of the German press that you are going to be interested in. And we found that after the French and the Dutch referendum, the amount of critical and negative coverage of Bulgaria and Romania increased three times. I don't believe that for these three weeks Bulgaria became three times more corrupt than it was.

Basically, there is a major crisis of self-confidence in the European Union because we don't have a language to talk about the problems of the E.U. So here the problem of Bulgaria and Romania came. Of course, these are very unknown countries. Basically, most of Europeans never met a Bulgarian in their whole life, and this is not their problem.

So from this point of view, I do believe that we should try to find a way to talk about the problems which the European Union is facing in a constructive way. Because three years ago, we saw everywhere opportunities. Now we see everywhere problems. And where you see everywhere problems, you have a problem.

FRANKENBERGER: Save a lot of German things this week.

Mr. President, from your experience in the European Parliament is this an elite problem? A problem of the political class that has dominated the political discourse for decades and now finds itself confronted with a totally different political outlook that may impact upon their own ambitions when it comes to European integration?

ILVES: I say that fatigue, frustration or whatever it is, is, in fact, not an elite problem - or it's a problem for the elite because many of my friends and colleagues will say "well, I really can't support any more because my voters will kill me, and I want to get re-elected." And I think that's the problem when it comes to the E.U.

But my point is, I don't think that's a problem with NATO. So, from the aspirant candidate point of view, then, they look for the right tools. I think there's an additional problem that is elite driven which I think is the centrifugal tendency in the European Union.

Which of that is to even contract. I think that the frustration, and I hope that this is not true, but I have the feeling in my stomach that the frustrations have been stoked through racist things such as Polish plumbers and other things, fear of services directive, increasing protectionism, is that. And the slew of articles that we've seen since "The Economist" in August talking about how bad the new member states are, both in the E.U. and NATO, which is to create a two speed Europe, which is much more comfortable for the sluggish, slow protectionist economies of the old Europe which is afraid of the more dynamic and fast moving and at the same time somewhat strange countries of the new Europe. And that is something that the elites are interested in.

But I think the fear of enlargement is something which has been spread through the yellow press, through the same thing that Ivan was talking about, just a lot of articles about how bad Bulgaria and Romania are that seem to be called forth by the results of the referendum in which, in an effort to find an explanation for what happened, then you start creating an explanation out of nothing and how bad, say, the new members and potential members are.

FRANKBERGER: As an indication of the nexus between elite and the voters, it seems to me that of all places, the U.K., who had not applied any hindrance on the mobility for the old fort (ph) entrance, now for the first time limits labor mobility from the new members in the next year.

As I wanted to give our - you the chance who have to leave early and this is meant to be a dialogue, I would like to open the floor now. And I see Charles Grant was the first to speak. Be brief please. You get the microphones and identify yourself. Maybe you can direct your question to any individual.

CHARLES GRANT, EUROPEAN REFORM: Charles Grant, The European Reform. Whether you are pro enlargement like me or less keen on it, I think we can all agree it is going to move rather slowly in the coming years. Therefore, these neighborhood policies are going to be absolutely crucial. Nobody's thought about it much until now.

The problem so far has been that it doesn't offer membership as an end goal. Therefore, that is not a big enough incentive to persuade political elites (ph) in neighboring countries to make the reforms they need to do. Therefore, how can we beef it up? The Commission is just about to approve a plan to deepen free trade, offering the single market plus some removal of non-tariff barriers.

The German Presidency is going launch a plan for extending energy (INAUDIBLE) to the neighbors. I think we should invite (INAUDIBLE) Common Foreign Security Policy. It is much easier inviting into the single market. I got the idea from (INAUDIBLE) when she was Foreign Minister of Georgia. She said please let us into CFSP. We would feel safer if we were in. So my question to the panel is, what do you think about that?

FRANKENBERGER: Thank you. As you mentioned rightly, the German Presidency wants to pursue a realistic, and at the same time, ambitious neighborhood policy and should hopefully, the lady in the second row.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: (INAUDIBLE) as a member of Latvia's Parliament. I would not talk about enlargement fatigue. I would talk about reform fatigue in old member states. And that is really a problem in Europe. And that is why I would like to ask the panelists, do they see that there is a link between enlargement fatigue, the tendency (INAUDIBLE) and practically to nationalize some European policies and globalization?

Unfortunately, the EU and member states are struggling to adopt to the challenges of globalization. The most striking example is the (INAUDIBLE) strategy. There is no political will to implement it.

FRANKENBERGER: Thank you. The gentleman in the second row here.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Jan Pasqual (ph), Romania. Three points. First is you know that with the entrance of Romania and Bulgaria in my impression was, you know, that somehow we were standing in the door and we are pulling so the door could be closed. Otherwise you know, I don't think, you know, that there would have been much happiness of bringing that in.

A second point is, you know, if you keep a country outside the Union until it purifies completely to respond to all the European credentials, then there is no point to get in. Switzerland is very happy outside, you know. And I think it qualifies perfectly. So I think, you know, that it is easier to do it inside rather than outside.

And a third observation would be that, you know, every time there was a new admission, the lessons learned were not on the positive but rather on the negative. So we are now paying for the ten countries before us who have been accepted, and there was no restriction on the labor market. But we have, the Romanians and Bulgarians...

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Of course we had a restriction.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: (INAUDIBLE). In Britain for instance, those (INAUDIBLE) what did not exist were fallen (INAUDIBLE) for example. But they did for Romania and not for (INAUDIBLE) but rather for (INAUDIBLE) about the Romanians and Bulgarians were in there.

And thirdly, I think, you know, that there is a means of some - and this is a question for (INAUDIBLE). Some strategic vision, because, you know...

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: I think, you know, that there is a need of some - and this is a question for elites - some strategic vision. Because you know, if we - the Balkans are part of Europe. And if we neglect what is happening in the Balkans, then Europe will suffer one day or another.

Then, therefore, I would think, you know, that we should not - we should go beyond inventing absorption capacity, fatigue, European preventions, than anything else. Only to close our eyes to the problems which are at our door. Thank you very much.

FRANKENBERGER: Thank you. Because we are operating under time constraints, I will collect another three. The gentleman here.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Sasha Wodonaski (ph), political analyst from (INAUDIBLE) Macedonia(ph). I'm coming from a country which is now the group of adriatic three(ph), and we're hoping to join NATO. We have soldiers, several hundreds soldiers in Afganistan.

Most of the reforms of the army are finished. We have some political list of demands. And it will be, I hope, delivered 'til next March. We have a successful mission in Bosnia, a few helicopters. We have people in Iraq as well.

And still I'm astonished on another issue, because I see that our Macedonian issue is actually connected with another problem which everyone is so successful with trying to avoid at this summit. I was astonished that yesterday in the speech of Mr. Bush, he made (INAUDIBLE) horizon, a whole other various in the world. That he mentioned 30 countries by name, but never mentioned Kosovo.

So I'm actually astonished. Is it possible to go on with your life without ignoring Kosovo, and how is it connected with the fast or slow pace of moving toward the (INAUDIBLE)? Because I see that people - except for Ivan, this is probably the first time except for the morning breakfast. But, you know, big people are avoiding this problem. And there are 16,000 NATO soldiers in Kosovo and probably more.

FRANKENBERGER: Thank you. Gentlemen of the third row?

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Okay. (INAUDIBLE) from Finnish Friends of the Royal (INAUDIBLE) Parliament (ph). I'll try to be brief, but I still can't refrain. I have to say one remark regarding Mr. President, as his ex-colleague. We were not that happy to leave European Parliament, but we are very happy for Estonia and for the Balkans and even for Finland, because our time needs open-minded, forward looking leaders which is personalized in Mr. Ilves. And also the rest of us who feel the remainder of the European Parliament gives one hope that, you know, our job prospects for some of us are still good.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Right now.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Anyway, very briefly. Doesn't (INAUDIBLE) situation really to resume. To me that the world around us, and the historic challenge we have as a human family - world around us is changing in an unprecedented pace, and we in the European institutions and the member states are not able to react accordingly.

Because our problems in Europe, they are still minor problems compared to those Democratic forces. Whether they are in Georgia, in Ukraine, or in Turkey, whose aspirations can finally only be fulfilled in being a, you know, fully fledged member of the European Union.

So surely, isn't the answer to that that we must reform faster Europe in able to accept the new members. But how do we do it when they make a mistake in France by organizing the referendum, and now the big wheel is spinning. So how to get out of this deadlock? Otherwise, our (INAUDIBLE) lost. But instead of making the future, instead of making the history, you know, we are at the mercy of it.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Thank you. I have to remind most participants that wish and have to leave, to leave now. You have one more question? Are you leaving?

FRANKENBERGER: So you're the last one before we call it quits. Very brief, very short, and I'm afraid you won't hear the answer.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Thank you very much. There will be the answer on that and that is what is important, not that I hear it now or get it later. My name is (INAUDIBLE), I'm an MP in Serbia and I am also involved in the (INAUDIBLE) about the region in I work. Very much flows with all the leaders in the region.

It is about leadership. Frankly, when (INAUDIBLE) was deciding on (INAUDIBLE) The Hague, he never had support of the people in Serbia. Now we are talking to (INAUDIBLE) to live, to learn to live with it in Kosovo. It takes leadership and then hopefully learn it. And now I am addressing you, the leaders of Europe, saying bluntly that big political united Europe is far more of an idea than (INAUDIBLE).

It takes a (INAUDIBLE) and a leader in Europe that I am sorry we from Balkans do not see happening. This is why I like to side with what Ivan was saying, it is about leadership and we can learn with the stabilization process. We can learn the limitations like labor market and certain (INAUDIBLE) we can see.

We can live with the different kind of European Union, but please address the issue of what kind of (INAUDIBLE) Union you would like to see so that we can continue pushing reforming our societies toward that goal. And thank you Mr. Ilves for the decisive action done by your government yesterday.

Today we bring hope (INAUDIBLE) Serbia (INAUDIBLE) Bosnia to the (INAUDIBLE) kind of action we like to see supported and led by our European (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Thank you. Who wants to leave? Please do it now.

Thank you.

FRANKENBERGER: I return to the panel Herr Guttenberg. Leadership. Germany has a chance to chair the European Union next year, also the group of the G8. Will Germany provide the leadership that is necessary and that has been asked for, a commodity that is not, that is great demand but is not over-abundantly over-supplied?

GUTTENBERG: It not only has the chance to, it will chair those presidencies. And on some of the topics which have been raised, European neighborhood policy, (INAUDIBLE) question you have had before. High up on the agenda, the European Presidents of Germany, European Presidency is a concept which is one they say you euphemistically phrased, ENP plus as they, as an alternative.

And I am not sure that alternative is the right phrase for it, or it is maybe a complimentary (INAUDIBLE), or is it a step in between? Is it maybe a step also towards European membership which will be at the end of this scale probably?

And this is what is going to be discussed in the next part here. And we are keenly awaiting now, and this week I think we will see, a proposal by the Finnish Presidency, how this ENP plus concept could be shaped and that is one thing we will definitely address.

On specifically one point on the Balkans, it, I think what is of utmost importance because there is quite some skepticism there the last days over here as well. Currently the German definitely government doesn't (INAUDIBLE) stick to the (INAUDIBLE). We don't question that, definitely not.

And the Western Balkans are too far to definitely have a clear European perspective. But it is also a measure of meeting criteria and of meeting clear criteria. And this is one of the most banal, but one of the most crucial questions in that respect.

FRANKENBERGER: Mr. President, you want to come in?

FRANKENBERGER: Mr. President, do you want to comment?

ILVES: Let me just go through the questions quickly. First of all in CFSP, for the new members, I think it's a great idea, but unfortunately, there is no such thing as CFSP because the only common position you get is on Myanmar, but try to get a common position on Russia.

Sasha Congnietta (ph): I think you're absolutely right. In fact, I don't understand how it is possible to have for 50 years free movement of capital and still not have 50 years later a free movement of services, because that's just, I mean, the West Europeans came in to Eastern Europe and bought everything up and then said, but none of your companies can come and work in our country.

So it's that we clearly have to move in that direction. On Yernas (ph) question of political leadership, well, the problem is that it's not there and it's not there only because people are afraid. But politicians who are against further enlargement get elected, that's the problem.

The problem in a democracy is that your electorates have opinions and people are getting elected by taking more sort of inward looking positions. And finally, on ENP or even ENP Plus, the problem is when you have a name that says European Neighborhood Policy, it is actually saying the opposite, saying that you're not European, you are the neighbors of Europe.

And like PFP, it's kind of like the Swedish (INAUDIBLE), it's one percent of the beer and you don't really want to drink it because it doesn't taste good. But, I mean to bring it back to the issue of the European Union and NATO for, remember, (INAUDIBLE) several years ago Valkaries (ph) said, well let's give the Baltics EU, and let's give Romania and Bulgaria NATO. What he was really saying was let's not give the Baltics NATO, and let's not give Romania and Bulgaria the EU.

By saying we have an ENP or an ENP Plus, it's saying, it's not Europe. And I think we have to think that through because the message is that you are not European, you don't really have a chance. PFP did give a slight change, but since there's no mechanism in ENP to say that you're E, then you're no longer a neighbor of Europe...

FRANKENBERGER: I'll even define it as some sort of an advantage that our European neighbors are no longer lumped together with Syria or the North African States for that matter.

Mr. Volker, do you want to comment?

VOLKER: Four quick points on things that have been in the discussion. First on Charles' point about CFSP and Neighborhood Policy, I think it's critical that states be able to participate in CFP - CFSP on the basis of being equals.

I think if you're not an equal, it's really just saying you have the privilege of having your foreign policy determined elsewhere, but you don't get any of the other benefits. So I don't think of that, unless it means on the basis of being equals is going to provide much.

With that said, I think that the Neighborhood Policy is a good idea. I agree with President Ilves that it is still saying you're outside, but it is still trying to advance the process of values based societies in the neighborhood that can bring them closer to actually getting to the point, where OK, we're getting to the membership questions and at a point where the strategic vision is not coming forward.

That is probably the best that we can do at the moment, although, we have to continue to push that. Second point, I think I would take Minister Poscu's (ph) point and turn it around and say the lessons that we ought to be learning from enlargement are fundamentally positive. That this has been a success for Europe, for the EU, for NATO, we shouldn't lose that by focusing on the small things that are coming beyond that.

On Kosovo, I agree very much with our Macedonian colleague. This is a key part of the puzzle that, as we get a final status for Kosovo, it provides one of the tools that should help the whole region move forward and can stabilize that part of the Balkans and create an opportunity for all the Balkans to move forward.

And that's what Mr. Scionovitch (ph) was talking about in terms of movement on Partnership for Peace. And the point I would just attach to that is one of the things that occurred in the last few weeks was Prime Minister Tadic sent a letter to President Bush saying that he remains committed to pursuing cooperation with the ICTY and that is a very good example of showing how the process of integration also goes hand in hand with countries taking the decisions that are necessary to advance their own candidacies.

FRANKENBERGER: Ivan?

KRASTEV: Just a few very quick points, I deal a little bit with the neighborhood policies. It was still living in the world of the '90s when everybody expected no competition with the European Union. But I do believe the problem was the neighborhood policies that this neighbor is also (INAUDIBLE).

At least there was other concept. And before hitting the common European policy with respect to Russia, I do believe that these neighborhood policies are always going to be kind of very vacant and (INAUDIBLE).

Because from this point of view, the European Union in a certain way lost part of the monopoly of attraction. And I do believe the European Union should decide before hitting the hard borders of getting soft power.

At the moment when you have a hard borders and final borders something bad is happening to your soft power. And I do believe, especially through places like Ukraine, Georgia and others.

If you are telling this country, sooner we're going to be good neighbors, this is like in the old school jobs, let's remain friends. And this is not extremely motivating also for the prior European elite.

Second was Kosovo. Everybody is saying that all...

END


Quote

Angela Merkel

“NATO is and will remain the main anchor of our common security. It is the central transatatlantic forum for consultation and coordination. In advance of the NATO summit in Riga this November we will have to examine in greater detail the role that NATO should assume in the future, and what consequences the changes to the security environment are to have on the Organization


- Angela Merkel,
German Chancellor

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