The German Marshall Fund and EGMONT present Europe's East, Russia's Western Neighborhood: Working Towards a Common Transatlantic Approach with discussants The Hon. Dr. Carl Bildt, Amb. Marc Grossman and The Hon. Alexandr Vondra. Stefan Korenlius moderates.
Carl Bildt is the current foreign affairs minister of Sweden and was the country’s prime minister from 1992-1994. Minister Bildt’s political career began in 1979 when he was elected to the Swedish Parliament. He served as chair of the Moderate Party from 1986-1999, as well as the International Democrat Union from 1992-1999. His government negotiated and signed the 1995 accession of Sweden to the European Union and undertook far-reaching liberalization and structural reforms to improve the competitiveness of Sweden. Internationally, Minister Bildt has served as EU special envoy to former Yugoslavia, co-chair of the 1995 Bosnian Peace Talks at Dayton, high representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina immediately after the Bosnian War, and as the UN Secretary General’s special envoy for the Balkans. In the corporate sector, he has served on several boards, including Legg Mason, Vostok Nafta, Lundin Petroleum, and Teleopti AB.
Ambassador Marc Grossman
Marc Grossman is vice chairman of The Cohen Group, the strategic business consulting firm founded and headed by former Secretary of Defense and U.S. Senator William Cohen. He is also a current board member of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Prior to joining, he had been a career foreign service officer since 1976.
Ambassador Grossman was under secretary of state for political affairs at the U.S. State Department from March 2001 to February 2005. Additionally, he served as director general of the Foreign Service and director of human resources, assistant secretary of state for European Affairs, and as U.S. Ambassador to Turkey. From 1984 to 1986, Ambassador Grossman was the deputy director of the Private Office of Lord Carrington, then Secretary General of NATO.
He received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a master's degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Stefan Kornelius is foreign and editorial page editor of Suddeutsche Zeitung, Germany's leading daily. He is coordinating foreign coverage for the paper and contributing editorials and columns, mainly on U.S., transatlantic, and security issues.
From 1999 to 2000 he worked as deputy bureau chief of Suddeutsche Zeitung in Berlin. In his reporting career, Mr. Kornelius served as Washington bureau chief (1996-1999) and political correspondent from Bonn, where he covered Chancellor Kohl and the then governing CDU. Previously, he worked with the BBC in London and Stern Magazine. He was also co-founder and editor of Medium Magazine, a special interest magazine for journalists.
Mr. Kornelius earned a master's degree from the London School of Economics.
Alexandr Vondra was appointed the Czech Republic's deputy prime minister for European affairs in January 2007. Previously, he served as foreign minister of the Czech Republic. From the mid-1980s, he participated in the activities of former Czechoslovakia's democratic opposition.
In 1989, he became spokesperson for Charter 77 and from 1990-92, Ambassador Vondra served as foreign policy advisor to President Vaclav Havel.
From August 1992 to March 1997, he served as first deputy minister of foreign affairs of the Czech Republic. In 1994, he managed the Czech team responsible for the implementation of the Czech Republicâ€™s Partnership for Peace Program, and in 1996, he built and headed the Czech team for pre-accession talks with NATO. From March 1997 to July 2001, he served as the Czech Ambassador to the U.S. During his tenure, he oversaw the process of the Czech Republicâ€™s integration into NATO.
From January to July 2003, Ambassador Vondra served as the deputy minister of foreign affairs. In this capacity, he was responsible for the Czech participation in the solution of the Iraq crisis. In 2003-2004, he was a transatlantic fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States, writing a book on recent history of Central and Eastern Europe. Ambassador Vondra graduated from Charles University in Prague and earned a Ph.D. in natural sciences from the same school.
fall off the Berlin Wall. And since central European countries same into Westernalliances, NATO and the European Union, we have Carl Bildt, the Foreign Secretary ofSweden. We have Alexandr Vondra, the Deputy Prime Minister Czech Republic. Thanks for joining us.And Marc Grossman, who used to be the European appointment at State Department, isnow with the Cohen Group. Thank you for being with us, he is definitely one of theeminent experts on Turkey and also the Balkans we can talk to.Let me start off this round in asking Alexandr Vondra about two things. First, yourcountry has been, has gone through a very self finding process in terms of internalpolitics, party politics, ad second has taken a very strong stand recently towards Russiaand the missile defense issue. How much, how important is it for a young democracy asthe Czech Republic to have something of a unifying issue from the outside to bring the internals together?I don't know. Those are the two questions which I do not think are so much interlinked. Firstwhat is the reason why we Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, were able to make it? I think,you know, we had a lot of advantages, geographical location, tradition and all.Czechoslovakia was a working democracy in the 20s and 30s. We had those heroes, youknow, from the time of the (INAUDIBLE) Resistance like (INAUDIBLE) and others. So,I think all those sources from within in combination with how easy inter-linking with theoutside world, I think that's played the role.So it is not in a way that, you know, something would be brought as a gift to us or that wewould need to organize massive foreign support. Of course, you know, we needed afriendly, international environment and we were lucky to have it in the 90s including andyou mentioned Russia.And probably were lucky to have the international environment at a time when BorisYeltsin was a President in Moscow. Now we were together meeting in Moscow a fewdays ago to take part at the funeral and all ask, you know, what is the legacy of Yeltsin,because recently, you know, the legacy is being shaped into something like, you know,(INAUDIBL) or what ever.This is not the way how I remember Yeltsin. I remember Yeltsin as a man who broughtfreedom and capitalism into Russia, of course with all the mistakes and the problems ofthe early beginnings. But he created a space and at the same time he also opened thespace for a more cooperative spirit in the whole central and Eastern Europe. And I thinkYeltsin deserves a certain credit for it.As an observer to your immediate environment, what are we seeing in Ukraine right now?Are the tendencies, is the magnetic power of the idea of EU, of Western entities like NATO,is that strong enough to amplify up to Kiev or is it sort of something where we see competing powers to fight for influence right now?Well certainly Ukraine was always the area which was exposed to thecompeting interests. You know, the Western part is more Western type of Christianity.The Eastern part is more Orthodox. That is nothing new.At the same time, I think there is no reason to be frustrated. Of course, to do in Ukrainethe same what we did in Central Europe, it requires much more effort, because there arethe differences. We had those advantages like geography, location and the tradition o democracy.This is something which the Ukraine does not have but that at the same time I think thatthere is a lot of progress, if you compare Ukraine right now with the situation let's sayfive, six, seven years ago under Kuchma.It is now a country where you have three or four main parties which are competingtogether, they have the divided economy, of course there are the problems, they arelearning but certainly that's not the reason to give up or to suck into some kind of Ukraine(INAUDIBLE) not at all I think we should energize ourselves to be as much help as we can.Our Secretary built one of those ideas of the European Union core ideas asenlargement, is spreading out it's soft powers, bringing in countries, democracies, bringin their rules, thousands and thousands of pages of joint rule work and one of the areasyou are watching closely and you have dealt with over the past years closely is theBalkans and they are watching us closely to be seen.We see the show down of Kosovo starting next week at the United Nations hopefully.What's you're game plan? What's the advice? How should you proceed, since this is nota conflict free zone, even in the west on how to proceed?I think you are right in pointing out the importance of enlargement. Enlargementis being the fantastic success of the last ten, 15 years. We have extended the zone of therule of law of democracy of market economy of these Governors so we now have fivehundred million people; the biggest integrated economy in the world,by far the biggest trading power.The Euro is traded more than the dollar. That is nothing to do with enlargement but is afantastic success story. Not everything is perfect in all of the countries, but we should nounderestimate the importance of what we have done, but by saying that I think it is alsoimportant to say that this sort of guiding inspiring light of enlargement is what has drivenreform in these countries and what is applied to those that is applied to the countries that are beyond.If the light of enlargement starts today, and I think it has done that lately, it opens otheravenues and opens the door for other forces and be that in the western Balkans, or be thatelsewhere and makes it more difficult for us to secure peace and the rule of the law anddemocracy and all of those particular values. This applies to the western Balkans no doubt.The only long-term hope for democracy and reconciliation there is the prospective ofintegration with the European Union. The soft powers of European Union, if they arereduced at the end of the day, we might be forced to rely on the hard powers of NATO,that is not what we want to do. Kosovo should be seen in that light but Kosovo is smallpiece of territory. We shouldn't make Kosovo the thing that defines our Balkan policy.The Balkans policy should be defined by the enlargement perspective and that we shouldlook at the big players and then we should have Kosovo within that particular context. Asfor Kosovo it is in the security council at the moment, I would expect their will be aperiod of diplomatic trench warfare of the best or worst sort depending on your test andthen I think there will be the need for some profoundly constructed diplomacy where Ihope that Europe, perhaps the German presidency can take the lead and it has to be asecurity council resolution.I heard that I don't know if Dick Holbrooke has left -- but Dick is normally sayingwell, the Russians will veto and the American's will recognize that is playing with fire inEurope and playing with fire in the transatlantic relationship in playing with fire in theBalkans and will not be allowed to happen.We need to take this step by step. U.N. enlargement, Serbia, state building in Kosovo,and then as part of the world strategy. No easy answer.. It will take time.Why is it that the lights are dimming, why is it that the energy is waning,the power doesn't seem to be there. We have two referendums France and Netherlands;we have an enlargement fatigue. The German Chancellor has stated that she has seen forthe time being an end to the process all those who are on the list are on the list, and thosewho are not this give a sick note to torture to Ukraine, to whoever you want to talk to.No I think there has been a failure of political leadership, honestly speaking, becausethere is a very good case that can be made for enlargement. When we now seethe fact that the European economy is starting to perform much better than most people expected.I would argue that enlargement is a large part of that particular story. The fact that due toenlargement we have competitive pressures building up very, very fast in the Europeaneconomy, have forced the restructure of industries, which makes a German and Swedishexport industry more successful on their Asian markets than the Americans are.It would not have happened without enlargement. We have created a new dynamism, bothpolitical and economically apart from securing peace in the root of it all. But we haven'treally taken that story to our respective electorates to the extent that we should have done.And then we ended up instead with the French veto and with these fairly ludicrous debates.And that has led to slow down in the momentum. Part of that has to be said was perhapsunavoidable because I believe to take in Sweden was fairly easy. But of course it becomessomewhat more difficult when we go down to the Western Balkans. But I don't forget thatat the end of the day, when we had the Swedish accession in 1995.I had 80 members of the European Parliament who didn't vote in favor of it because theyconsidered it dangerous and enlargement fatigue and diluting the identity o the Union. Sothere has always been those forces. It requires political leadership and vision.Marc Grossman, the united States has supported this European course allthe time and lately given the comments not only by Dick Holbrooke but by others too andactually seeing the current debate on missile defense, the tiny nitty gritties of Europeanneighborhood policy towards its East seemed to be over-shadowed by the larger issues,more strategic issues, missile defense and certainly the Kosovo question, recognition ornot. Does the U.S. lose its fine pattern in dealing with Europe?Well, first of all thank you very much. I don't pretend to be an expert. Carl Bildt saidwhile we were getting ready that there are two officials here and one irresponsibleAmerican. So I will try to (INAUDIBLE)>I hesitate a little bit with this accent to comment on what others have said.But let me make three points if I could. First, I think that as Foreign Minister Bildt said,the European Union and the European expansion has been for Americans and forEuropeans the greatest success story as he said of the past 20 or 25 years.And I think sometimes Europeans don't stop and reflect on this success. It is anastonishing accomplishment. And I was roundly criticized when I was at the StateDepartment as the Assistant Secretary of European Affairs and later for my little bumpersticker was that the European Union should expand as far East and as rapidly as possible,and then I would get a lecture about how we weren't members of the European Union and fair enough.But that turned out to be a right policy and a policy that you all followed. And so I thinkfirst it is worthwhile if you are a European to just stop for a moment and recognize thetremendous success of this.Second, it is very important for the United States, I believe, speaking now as a privatecitizen, to keep supporting this expansion of the European Union because as both of thesegentlemen said, it is the way that the rule of law will move east.It is the way that human rights will move east, that free markets and democracy andreconciliation will move to the East. And I hope that this issue of enlargement fatigue is ashort-lived thing and that people will take a rest from it if it is some kind of fatigue andreturn quickly to issues o enlargement.So I would say that this is the strategic issue and I am glad to talk about missile defenseand all these other tings. But if you want to talk about the strategic issue in Europe, thestrategic issue in Europe is the continued enlargement of the European Union. And Iwould say, with respect, also with this accent, let's not forget the important role that theexpansion of NATO played in this as well.Since we are in Brussels, let me ask you a very EU like question. I amwondering what an American thought, says about that. Enlargement is one thing on theEuropean coin. The other side is deepening, is integrating.And this city and the representatives coming, the policy coming from here has its sort ofunderlying assumption right now that deepening has to come to some kind of end untilwe have the structures and the mechanisms in place, the Constitution, and that the EUloses its power.As Carl Bildt said, we have somehow peaked in our efforts, right now, probably wherewe are gaining strength from other place from. Should this enlargement process, reachingout to the east, even to the southeast, talking about Turkey be done at all costs even if theother side, the deepening wouldn't work any more?Well, three things. First of all it is very important, I think for me to saythat this effort to create European Union is a great vision of Europeans and it is aEuropean decision about how Europeans want to live. It is not for us to describe and todictate this. So this debate is an important one for Europeans to have. I think asAmericans we have an obligation, a connection here to talk about it and so I'd say acouple of things. First, I don't see that there's a great disconnect or a contradictionbetween expansion and deepening.Indeed, I see them as very much connected and so I think to pass the longer debate andsay, well for example, we can't take Turkey in because Turks don't understand issues ofcompromise. Turks, too many of Turks would be in the European Parliament, it'll destroythe European Union.I think those are all issues (A) that can be dealt with and (B) that divert people's attentionfrom the important issues, which is continuing to bring the values and to continue tobring the way of life of the European Union and NATO as far East as possible.Carl, you wanted to add something?Well yes, just add two elements to that.One, which is fairly easy to understand, the greater the integratedmarket, the great is gain for everyone that is part of that particular market.If you have an integrated market of six countries, but if it was 12, is far better for theoriginal six, not as big as 27. The gain increases with the size, if you talk about only theeconomy and then if we look at the policies of it.The Global weight of the European Union. The world that we can play on the Global(INAUDIBLE). I mean, there is no question that each enlargement has made us morepowerful. Not enough we might argue and we might not be sufficiently (INAUDIBLE).We had an interesting experience the other day. We had, we have these informal,sometimes, the informal meetings apart from the formal meetings of the ForeignMinisters. The city of Laeken, we were discussing all sorts of issues and at the finalsession we invited in those countries that are now negotiating for membership.So suddenly we have Turkey around the table as well in our discussion and I can tell youit made a difference. We were discussing the Middle East, we were just discussing Iran.To add the Turkey perspective, you could visibly feel around the table how that additionmade us a more relevant, a more powerful intellectual at least Global player.So I have no doubt whatsoever, but the bigger, when we grow, we grow in importance,relevance and weight.But the bigger the Union gets it, the more attractive it alsogets for divisions and for camp building. This is my question.Yes.to the Deputy Prime Minister. TheCzech Republic now is at the core of the missile defense debate. You have take two(INAUDIBLE) taken a strong position on (INAUDIBLE) in favor of deploying.Watching at the same time how this whole issue splits the European Union, how far areyou prepared to go in breaking with part of these new alliances you have joined?Look, I think that the enlargement on one hand and the missile defense debate on the other hand,they are two different things but...regarding the enlargement, this argument which you used at, you know,with enlarging the community, is the end of the effect of it there (INAUDIBLE) I don'tagree with that. In fact, you know, there is a French institution which measured the speedof adopting the various directive in European Union and there the speed of those adoptiongrew up by 25 percent since 2004.So since this big bang enlargement, it (INAUDIBLE), we are able (INAUDIBLE) the UNis not in any crisis. We are able to make the deals. It's not about (INAUDIBLE) this isnot (INAUDIBLE) we need to unify it on certain strategic issues. So for example, youknow, the Turkish membership.I belong to those who are convinced that Turkey can contribute. I belong to those whobelieve that Istanbul is the same European city like, let's say, Brussels. So yes, let's dothis, let's do this by step-by-step approach, of course, that rope can be, you know,squeezed into a situation when the majority in Europe is not able to afford, but don't losethe horizon and on the missile debate (INAUDIBLE) look, I think we are in agreementthat the enlargement in the '90s and in the turn of the Millennium is a great success storyand it is because it contributed to the stabilization piece and cooperation in Europe and neighborhood.And why we succeeded, we succeeded that the Americans and the Europeans wereworking together. NATO enlargement, UN enlargement, it was done in certain harmonyand with the missile defense, Czechs, together with (INAUDIBLE) belong to those whoare now discussing seriously with the U.S. whether to deploy the system.The reason has nothing to do with the enlargement. It's to countering certain threats inIran and (INAUDIBLE) the Americans are building the system and the question is youknow whether this would be just a national system in the U.S. or whether it would be thetransatlantic system. And I think to make the transatlantic bond strong, we need to workhere together because the threat is real and the system is possible and (INAUDIBLE) future.Before I open this up and I or I give first to Ambassador (INAUDIBLE) ifhe's here because we also talking about Russia's west. And since you are the RussianAmbassador to the E.U., I would be very keen to hear your opinion concerning(INAUDIBLE) process and what process roads should be in it. But Marc Grossmannwanted to make a point.I just wanted to make a quick point, to the point that (INAUDIBLE)making. One of the really important things from my perspective over the past few yearshas been that the European Union has not lowered any standards to bring new people in.I think that's been a very important effort in order to put the values and the constructionof the European Union out forward and I hope that going forward what ever theenlargement is, is that the standard of the European Union leading all of the(INAUDIBLE) having to meet the standards of the club to which people are joining thatyou will stick to that because as you said?(INAUDIBLE) a side effect,elements of integration, so it will be more demanding to become a member in the future.But I think that is part of the answer to the question of why for me,anyways, there is no contradiction between expansion and deepening because if you keepyour standards high, then deepening that occurs simultaneously.Okay. Let's open this up and I promised Ambassador, if you agree and if you wouldlike to, add a comment on this enlargement process. We see this, we see the confrontation over missiledefense and somehow, it reflects Russia's uneasiness with what it perceives as kind of assertiveness is that right?Well, first of all, I fail to see a direct link between the anti-ballistic missileproject and E.U. enlargement. I have been told these days consistently by my interlocutors and theEuropean Union that the E.U. has nothing to do with a ban. I see Carl nodding. Secondly, it would takethe enlargement process of the E.U.I would say one might regard it as a regional incarnation of the broader globalization process. Regional interms of the European continent. So we see it as a natural phenomenon. Not void of problems, bothwithin the enlarging European Union and beyond. Not void of difficulties that arise for third countries, asMark will confirm that the E.U. has never been an easy partner for either of our countries.For my country in particular the enlargement has brought a lot of difficulties and a lot of concerns. Thosewere reflected in our respective joint statements of 2004 and 2007. I will not go into detail now, but Imust say that overall with your E.U. enlargement, is some, is more or less natural process which makes itquite distinctively different from (INAUDIBLE) enlargement. Which in our view is an unnatural processof trying to address security issues of the 21 st century with means designed in the middle of the previouscentury. (INAUDIBLE)On the TV EU has an alliance for security. You don't see the E.U. as a security alliance?I see the E.U. as a security alliance in the future, perhaps. I would have been more optimistichad there not been this ABM project so very prominent in the headlines. Because this was oneissue that was never on the agenda of the E.U. and all of a sudden two E.U. member states are concludingbilateral agreements with a 3rd country behind the back of the European Union.As far as standards are concerned, I have my own view on that. I believe that in practice the EU has nobeen entirely consistent in pursuing standards for acceding countries; otherwise we wouldn't have seenevents that have been taking place in the last 48 hours in the capital of one of the new members of theEuropean Union.You are talking about Estonia.Yes, your guess is correct.Thanks for this comment. I want to open this up now and I was told to actually prefer theback benches since they have been treated badly in the earliest sessions.So please sir, why wouldn't you take the first question.