17 ноября 2009: Россия и перспективы европейской безопасности, 17 ноября 2009 | Центр ЕС-Россия
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17 ноября 2009: Россия и перспективы европейской безопасности, 17 ноября 2009

27 Ноя 2009
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On 17th November, the EU-Russia Centre organised a conference with the Heinrich Boell Foundation on Russia and the Prospects for European Security to coincide with the publication of the Centre’s 12th Review, Russia, the OSCE and European Security.

Fraser.Cameron_Dov.Lynch_Vladimir-.Shkolnikov_Kristin.dePeyronThe First Panel Russia and the OSCE was chaired by Dr Fraser Cameron, Director of the EU-Russia Centre, and comprised Dov Lynch, Senior Adviser, OSCE Secretary General; Vladimir Shkolnikov, Director, Freedom House Europe and Kristin de Peyron, Head of Unit, Multilateral Relations, European Commission.

Dov Lynch spoke of the OSCE as a ‘foul weather organisation’ that had experienced difficulties in recent times, but emphasised its importance as the only organisation that brought the US, Europe and Russia together. It offered the latter a means to maintain dialogue on security issues, to get its voice heard by the US and Europe, and to put forward its concerns in face of emerging security gaps in Europe.

The OSCE had been built on principles that recognised the differences between the participating states and was built on consensus. The recognition of differences in culture and proprieties were part of the OSCE’s DNA. Russia had been critical of the OSCE since 1999 and still had wide concerns. It knew the OSCE mechanisms probably better than any other member state and believed in the OSCE as a means to maintain dialogue with an increasingly divided Europe. Both Russia and the US were very important within the OSCE despite the weight of the EU. This was a forum where Russia was listened to more. Russia was often critical of the OSCE in public, but not necessarily in policy terms.

Lynch said that it was important that the EU retained its commitment to the promotion of democracy in the face of its expansion. The OSCE had been an important support to that expansion in the ‘90s and could help the EU now. There needed to be less rhetoric about democracy and more emphasis on OSCE commitments and values. Political-military issues were back on the agenda and there had been some erosion in upholding previously made commitments. However, the OSCE was an important forum for discussion and was at its best when performing a pan–European role in the face of tensions and diverse interests.

Kristin De Peyron said that the EU was not punching its weight in the OSCE and could do much more. There was value in the OSCE in the fact that Central Asian countries which were not in the Council of Europe were members. It was also important to retain a balance of the principles of the Helsinki Accord. The political dialogue of the OSCE was often used in the formation of other institutions such as the European Partnership. Russia was worried about the development of the OSCE, NATO expansion and the expansion of the EU. The dialogue that had been initiated by the Greek chairmanship was focussed on all aspects of the OSCE and Russia had been very engaged in that dialogue.

She stated that the US & the EU have a frank dialogue and that the US had been active in discussions surrounding the European Security architecture proposal. There was a need for policy to be based on all three baskets and to focus on the areas where the OSCE could deliver, rather than areas such as climate change. However, the organisation could look at issues beyond security as long as they remained linked to it.
In considering the size of the OSCE today, De Peyron still believed that it was an easier forum for discussions than NATO. It allowed privileged dialogue for those members that were outside the Council of Europe and provided a solid base for security dialogue. Indeed she would like to see the OSCE launch formal discussions in the form of the European Security Architecture. There was still a temptation to concentrate on form rather than content and substance.

Vladimir Shkolnikov was more critical, stating that the constructs that make up the OSCE have not worked, referring to the failure and withdrawal of missions and the apparent contradictions in OSCE positive responses to apparently corrupt and flawed elections in Central Europe. He spoke of the inherent tensions between participating states which had declared in 1991 that human rights and democracy were of interest to all of the participating states, not merely at an individual level. He underlined the fact that the OSCE of today came out of the 1990s. The current rhetoric was sharp and had led to reflexive responses: the West defends the OSCE and Russia attacks it making threats of withdrawal. There was a need for a more analytical and constructive approach, especially by the US which was often inconsistent and not always supportive of the OSCE.

He believed that the OSCE was more effective than the UN on many issues and that it had an important role for Central Asian countries. We had forgotten the lessons of the past; he accused the OSCE and some participating institutions such as the ODIHR of fudging the issues by concentrating on small details rather than high ideals. There is a need to go back to basics and to focus on specific subjects; it was not a ‘buffet’. He was pessimistic for much change in the future, foreseeing continuing discussion of fragmented issues.

Fraser Cameron ended the first panel saying that he had attended the 1990 Paris CSCE summit when there was great enthusiasm for what everyone believed was a new, universally democratic Europe. The OSCE had a central position in protecting that democracy as the only European organisation that brought countries from Vancouver to Vladivostok together. It was up to its members how it develops over the coming years in order to recover some of the ground that had been lost.

The Second Panel, Russia and the Future of European Security, was chaired by Lord Ashdown and speakers were: Charles Grant, Director, Centre for European Reform, UK; Björn Fagerberg, Senior Adviser, Policy Planning, Council of the EU and Nadia Arbatova Head of Department of European Studies, IMEMO, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow.

Nadia Arbatova said that the recent proposals by President Medvedev regarding a new European security architecture was not a PR move, but a serious proposal to restore Russia’s status in the future of European security. She was critical of the West’s treatment of Russia after the Cold War. She saw Medvedev’s proposal as rooted in Putin’s Munich speech of 2007 which sought to change the model of East West relations. She denied any differences between the two men, and suggested that Putin offered an additional channel of communication between Russia and the West. While the US was important to Russia in global issues, its priority in Europe was the EU and NATO. However, it was true that any rapprochement in US-Russia relations would provide a positive environment for EU-Russia relations.

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