Wednesday 2 April 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,


It is a real pleasure and honor for me to addressing such a distinguished audience. The New School of Athens now, in its third year is establishing itself as a powerhouse of ideas and a forum of high quality. The Greek Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in particular, feel vindicated for our support and sponsoring your initiative. We strongly believe that ongoing work on globalization

and its management is necessary and helpful. It is no coincidence that our Minister Mrs Bakoyanni – she is at the most difficult NATO summit in Bucharest tonight-is one of the founding parents of the idea of the New School of Athens.


Dear friends, 

We live in an age of unprecedented interdependence. We are connected to each other as never before – by trade, internet, satellite television and mobile telephony. Never before in the course of human history have so many of us been in such constant contact with each other. This interdependence has brought to many of us opportunities beyond the wildest dreams of our parents’ generation.

We have the health and wealth to experience a wider world than they were ever able to know. But for those excluded from this world of opportunity – both here in Europe and in vaster numbers elsewhere in the world – the contrast is ever more bitter.

They can see, but they cannot reach. The very interconnectedness that opens opportunities also increases our vulnerabilities. The ever more complex networks of trade and communication, that make our prosperity possible,

can be turned against us. Illegal drugs and weapons travel in the same containers that bring us high-powered computers or fashionable clothing.

The sophisticated skills that develop the software for our mobile communicators can well equally be turned to designing explosive devices. Two profound experiences in the last century shaped and defined the Europe we live in today.

The first was the three decades from 1914 to 1945 when Europe tore itself apart in two savage wars. The second was the six decades that followed, when Europeans came together as never before to build the shared space of peace and prosperity we now enjoy.

As we go forward into this, still young, century, new challenges are emerging and with them new opportunities. Globalization has propelled a tsunami of change through our lives, dislocating established economic and social relationships, creating eagerly seized opportunities and deeply felt anxieties in equal measure.

We are discovering that borders are no longer barriers; that the distinction between foreign and domestic policy is dissolving; that our future well-being and security cannot be separated from that of others in the world.

The lessons we, in Europe were so harshly taught by the 20th Century uniquely equip us well to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. We know in our bones the high price to be paid when raw power replaces the rule of law as the dominant means of mediating relations between states.

We know, that it is possible, even desirable, to pool sovereignty without losing identity. As a result, in the sixty years since the end of the Second World War,

we have created a unique European experience of an ever closer union. The crux of the challenge we now face is to expand the envelope of affluence we currently enjoy to include the billions of our fellow human beings who share our hopes and aspirations for a secure and prosperous future. But we must do this without a collapse of the either environmental or the social foundations on which that prosperity rests.

Dear friends,


Globalisation is a historical force we must learn to manage. We must design the future, rather than simply react to the present or avoid the mistakes of the past.

As we built the single market in Europe, we experienced, within our borders, many of the pressures and tensions now being recapitulated on a global scale.


We discovered directly that we could make our economy more efficient without destroying social cohesion; that major centres of economic activity did not move lock, stock or barrel to the poorest and cheapest member states; and that environmental standards and social justice were enhanced not degraded as we brought more nations into Europe.These were not pain – free discoveries. Adjustment is often painful.But building new networks of mutuality between us,

increased opportunity far more than it constrained choice. Life for Europe’s citizens is more secure, more stable and more prosperous than ever before.

Yet, just at the moment when the accelerating pace of global change needed a more focused and confident Europe, we Europeans stalled and became unsure of our way forward. Instead of paying close attention to the tectonic shifts occurring as globalization gathered momentum, we became introspective and uncertain.In part, this was simply because memories of the wider reasons for building a shared Europe are beginning to fade as those with direct experience of Europe in the 20th Century leave us. This has impoverished the debate about Europe’s future. Hopefully, we are escaping this cycle of skepticism and europessimism. The recent agreement on the Reform Treaty is without a doubt a positive development. The Treaty renders the European institutions more effective and significantly streamlines the decision-making process.We truly hope that it will open new roads for Europe. It will allow us to leave the debate

on institutional and procedural issues behind and to move ahead. It will give us the opportunity to once again make policy the focus of our Union. The essence of policy; the real issues that need to be addressed and acted on by Europe. The issues that concern competitiveness and social cohesion, energy and protection of the environment, international security and Europe’s role in the world.

For, the emerging world complexities demand a bold and coherent vision for the future, if they are to be resolved. Europe uniquely has the experience and the capacity to provide this vision for the 21st century.


A new political vision is now more important than ever. In an interdependent world, Europe cannot secure its prosperity on its own. The fate of Europe’s prosperity is now determined by decisions taken in many places in the world.

Europe needs to play a leading role in shaping the global transitions that are underway.It is overwhelmingly in our interest to take the lead,both in words and deeds. There is a risk that some others may not follow, but there is certainty that if leadership is not provided, the prospect for greater security and prosperity in the 21st Century will dim.An inward – looking and uncertain Europe, mistrusted by its citizens, cannot hope to play this role. If our attention is wholly focused on marginal improvements to present policies, we cannot hope to lead Europe into playing the role in the world, its history and values have prepared it for.


Dear friends,

The most powerful forces shaping the world in the 21st Century are those unleashed by globalization. For most of history, yesterday has been a reliable guide to tomorrow. The future resembled the past in its most important features.

People’s lives were determined largely by an interplay of local factors and stable routines deeply ingrained in the patterns of everyday life. Globalization takes us beyond the boundaries of such familiarities. It turns the kaleidoscope of events more rapidly producing ever more complex and unfamiliar patterns.

These compel us to think about the future in new ways. It is a future that will bear little resemblance to the past. To cope with what it will bring, we need to rely less on habit and precedent, more on analysis and foresight. We must anticipate rather than react. Lessons from the past remain relevant, but the past is no longer a secure guide to the future.

This is a disturbing prospect and it is understandable that some should want to slow the pace of change to a more bearable rate. This is an illusory prospect.

Globalisation and interdependence are not the invention of some malign conspiracy of governments and giant corporations. It is the consequence of the choices we all make as individuals and the efforts of governments and businesses to make those choices available on a scale unprecedented in human history.


The European Union is itself a microcosm of globalisation. We have our own North and South within the Union, our own rich and poor; our own East and West. But little in Europe’s experience supports the worst fears of its consequences. Industries have not moved wholesale to the poorer parts of the Union even though there are no longer any national barriers to prevent them from doing so. Nor has labour flowed massively in the opposite direction, impelled by higher wages. Environmental standards have risen to higher levels, not raced downwards to compete at the bottom. This is because our internal ‘globalisation’

combines responsibility with opportunity. We must now project the lesson of Europe’s experience into the wider world.The European Union is a body whose decisions affect people’s lives. Significantly, power is also moving outwards into new configurations that have little to do with governments at any level, and that pay no attention to political or geographical boundaries. New means of organisation are creating new agents of change that can have as much impact as governments. These trends do not mark the end of the nation state.

Nation states – acting on their own or through organizations like the EU – can still pass laws, sign treaties or raise taxes. As they get to grips with a new and more complex set of problems, they have unique capabilities to bring together the multi-actor partnerships necessary to deliver solutions.


As the power to dispose diminishes, the power to convene becomes more significant.The various dimensions of globalisation – the global information space, global markets and global rules – all serve to intensify the exchanges we have with each other. These exchanges are leading to the emergence of globally shared values. It is sometimes argued that we should not impose our values on other cultures. This misunderstands the relationship. Cultures do not define values, they express them. As our experience in Europe clearly shows, very different cultures can share the same values. You do not have to come from a particular culture to want freedom and good governance; to demand good neighbourly relations; to reject vitriolic irredentist propaganda associated with fundamentalist nationalism; to develop a built-in loyalty to international law

and the peacefull resolution of disputes.


Dear friends,


As we speak, the NATO leadersare discussing the further enlargement of the Alliance to the Western Balkans. The accession of Romania and Bulgaria to NATO and the European Union is the best proof that our region can meet the challenge of a better tomorrow that will benefit everyone. It reaffirms Greece’s good judgment when making the strategic choice to support the European and Euro-Atlantic perspectives of its neighbouring countries. This is a choice in support of the stability, security and development of our region.


I must underline, however, that strict adherence to the principles, values and rules (that govern the work and cohesion of any alliance) is a condition sine quo non for enlargement of an alliance and the building of allied relations of solidarity.

It is a prerequisite that there be no outstanding issues that have a negative impact on relations. Problems of nationalism and irredentism cannot be accepted. They reveal a manner of thinking that has no place in today’s Europe.

A manner of thinking that – should it prevail – will keep the Western Balkans far from Europe. And nobody wants that. Greece certainly doesn’t want that.

The name issue with FYROM is an international problem that concerns the very substance of good neighbourly relations. We seek a mutually acceptable solution

based on a compound name with a geographical qualifier; a name that would be used “erga omnes”. We seized every opportunity to contribute to finding a solution within the framework of the UN negotiations. But our efforts always ran up against the intransigence of the other side.


Greece is the region’s oldest European Union and NATO member state, and the most reliable regional pole of security and development. The strong, positive message that we have repeatedly sent to Skopje still stands: We want to find a solution on the name issue that will allow us to continue supporting our neighbouring state on its course towards Euro-Atlantic institutions. Until such a solution is reached, however, we cannot, of course, consent to addressing an invitation to our neighbouring state to join NATO. This is our position. And it is clearly a position of principle.

Europe is about jointly building a better future for our people through setting common goals, establishing good neighborly relations and achieving high levels of growth. These are the goals we all share in the European and Euro-Atlantic family. These are the goals that we expect all future members to subscribe to without any qualifications.And this is how we should manage the dynamics of globalization in Europe. This, points to the core challenge for a new generation of European leaders. We need to construct a policy of global responsibility that seeks to make the new opportunities available to all, that assists those who cannot themselves manage the upheavals of globalization, and that protects the environmental foundations of prosperity against irreversible harm.Meeting this challenge will require nations to work together as never before in history.

Cooperation must succeed,because there is no way that coercion can. Sustainable development simply cannot be built out of the barrel of a gun.

In building Europe we have learned a great deal about how the sharing of sovereignty (to meet shared problems) can be turned into a practical reality of daily life; -how to balance opportunity with responsibility; -how to foster diversity without breeding division. There have been plenty of mistakes. There will doubtless be more. But much has also been accomplished that will not easily be undone.We must now carry the lessons of this history on to the global stage as we seek to manage globalisation so that all benefit. Europe needs a defining mission to restore its momentum. Making the global transition to sustainable development is just such a mission. It is a strategic interest for every citizen of Europe. But it can only be accomplished by the deployment of the ‘soft’ power that has been the hallmark of the European project. We must now learn to project the lessons of our own experience into the wider world.


The biggest global problems that will dominate the 21st Century, from terrorism to climate change, from mass migration to organised crime, cannot be solved by nations acting alone. They require a pooling of sovereignty. Europe is the world’s most sustained and far reaching experiment of this kind. This European evolution is an open-ended process. The building and reshaping may never be complete

as the pace of change around us accelerates. On the way, Europeans have learnt empirically what works and what does not. Mistakes have been made in both the design and the execution of European policies. The institutional failures of accountability, transparency and communication have undermined public trust.

But despite the mistakes, the worst fears of European sceptics have never materialised. Far from homogenizing, the building of Europe has fostered diversity as never before, strengthening regional identity and promoting cultural distinctiveness.


Dear friends,


In today’s global society there are isolationists and rejectionists of all kinds who advocate withdrawal from integration. The lesson from Europe’s history is that this is a false prospect. Interdependence cannot be rolled back: no single nation can insulate itself from climate change or the contagion of a regional financial crisis. Pooling sovereignty and establishing common, rule-based responses

builds mutual defences against common threats and spreads the benefits of stability and prosperity.

This applies even more to the global society of the 21st Century than it did to the Europe of the second half of the 20th. Threats to security and prosperity like climate change, global pandemics or organised crime cannot be met successfully

with only the traditional tools of hard power.They can only be tackled successfully

by deploying exactly the soft power that Europe has built over the last half century.This is why we must develop a common global policy for Europe.

It is in our mutual interest to work with others to develop and deploy the carbon – neutral energy technologies necessary to maintain climate security. It is equally in our mutual interest to develop less energy and water – intensive agriculture,

and to enhance our energy security by dramatically improving energy efficiency.

It is in our mutual interest because interdependence Means: failure anywhere in the world, is rapidly translated into failure within Europe. This means we have to align our internal and external policies as never before. It is our actions within Europe that will be persuasive beyond our borders.


Dear friends,


Europe’s core political choices as we move deeper into the complex and connected world of the 21st Century are less limited. There is a richer field of opportunity for Europeans to explore. But it requires us to have a different vision of ourselves and our place in the world. We can no longer see ourselves as separated from the rest of the world by our borders. Foreign and domestic policy are no longer different disciplines. The ground on which the pillars of our security and prosperity rest is to be found as much in Asia or Africa as it is in France or Germany.


The political choices we must make will define Europe’s identity. As with individuals or corporate bodies, selfdefinition is achieved through action. Who you are is symbiotic with what you do. Choices express values. The choices Europe makes will define whether it remains an open society in the face of increasing social and environmental pressures.

To define the place of Europe in the world we must make different political choicesabout how we face the challenges of the 21st Century. It will be through delivery that Europe will build itself the capacity to act. The means will flow from a clear vision of the purpose.The choices we must now make, will define Europe’s future; its purpose; and its identity.


Thank you.