22.05.2003
The Voice of Europe Must Be Heeded
№2 2003 April/June

Jacques Santer is a former prime minister of Luxembourg,
one of the authors of the Maastricht Treaty on the establishment of
the European Union. In 1994-1999, he was president of the European
Commission. Now he is a member of the European Convention which is
drafting reform plans for the EU.

Jacques Santer

The dramatic enlargement of the European Union, which will
become a reality in the next few months, will usher in a new dawn
across Europe. We have set ourselves an ambitious and highly noble
task of making the entire continent – which was, until recently,
divided into two parts – into a united whole once again. The
Charter of Unity, the fundamental basis of this process, formulates
our objective in a straightforward way: making Europe a bulwark of
peace and freedom on the basis of the values that we, the EU member
countries, all share. The admission of Central and East European
countries, together with the Baltic States, into the EU will bring
our nations closer together. This historic unification will also
strengthen the pursuit of peace and prosperity, while giving
additional political weight to the European continent.

This objective is fully in Russia’s interests, as well.
Unfortunately, Russia is too large to be a full-fledged EU member,
but there is no doubt that this nation belongs to Europe. Russia is
a country of great culture, literature and arts and has clearly
demonstrated that it is an inalienable part of European
civilization. Throughout its history, it has pursued a clear-cut
European policy which has had a marked influence on the entire
continent.

My fellow countrymen will unhesitatingly acknowledge that
Luxembourg owes its independence largely to Russia. When a treaty
declaring Luxembourg’s independence was signed in London in 1867,
it was Russian czar Alexander II who became one of the official
guarantors of its sovereignty. I am sure that every European
country can cite examples of its own which positively demonstrate
Russia’s momentous and significant role in the development of
Europe.

The EU’s enlargement is a difficult process which has a profound
impact on the various policies now being pursued by the future
member states and their neighboring countries. In its relations
with Moscow, there may be occasional difficulties, but through
negotiations the two parties can always find a solution to any
conflict. Even the complicated question concerning the Russian
enclave of Kaliningrad, was finally resolved on terms acceptable to
both parties. Problems may also arise over bilateral trade and
other economic issues. This is an extensive area of cooperation
since Europe is Russia’s largest trading partner. In 1994, we
concluded the important Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with
Russia, and our further interaction will develop in the spirit of
this document. I am fully convinced that cooperation with the
European Union promotes Russia’s economic and political
stabilization. We must work to create a common economic space with
countries which are not EU members. But besides a mutually
advantageous economic cooperation, which focuses primarily on
energy requirements, there must exist a permanent political dialog
with Russia.

Despite the many difficulties and problems now confronting
Russia – which are inevitable when a country is carrying out
transformations on such a large scale – the nation has chosen the
right path. It is acquiring a worthy place in the choir of the
world’s nations, and it is noteworthy that Russia has supported
France and Germany on the Iraq crisis issue. This is a significant
development which gives positive direction to Russia’s further
cooperation with Europe in international affairs.

The Iraq conflict has highlighted an acute problem facing the
European Union: its inability to agree upon a common foreign
policy. The 15 member states failed to present a united position on
this major international issue. The European Convention’s efforts
to draft a development program for the EU is intended to remove
this weakness, thus empowering Europe to speak as one voice in
international affairs. The program, being drafted under the
guidance of former French president ValOry Giscard d’Estaing, will
have a section dedicated to that issue. The differences between our
countries and peoples did not prevent us from introducing a common
currency, the euro, which has become the world’s second leading
currency. This proves that the various members of the EU can work
out a common foreign policy. The European Union’s role in world
politics must correspond to its role in the world economy. Today,
however, things stand differently. Despite Europe’s economic weight
and immense contribution of financial aid to other countries (the
EU accounts for 60 percent of all Western subsidies), this economic
giant remains a political dwarf in international affairs.

To improve the situation, the EU must alter its structure.
Presently, several highly placed officials are in charge of the
EU’s foreign policy. All these officials must be replaced by one
vice president of the European Commission; this person must
actually become a foreign minister of the united Europe. Then, the
EU’s current dissonance at the United Nations and other
international organizations will give way to a single influential
voice of Europe. This consonance will enhance Europe’s authority on
the international stage, while strengthening its positions in
future dialogs with the U.S.

The damage done to the relations between the Old World and the
New World is one more dangerous consequence of the Iraq campaign. I
have no doubt that Europe and the United States equally require
solid transatlantic relations. Regrettably, the differences over
Iraq have resulted in many “broken dishes” between the
transatlantic partners, and it will take much time to mend our
ties. But in any case, Europe will remain a vital partner of the
U.S. Europe conducts a very intensive trade with the U.S., although
there are thorns in this relationship as well: conflicts over
genetically modified foodstuffs, ’banana battles,’ and so on.

At the same time, it is impossible for Europe to close its eyes
to the new tendency in the United States, which immediately emerged
following September 11, 2001: America now believes it has the right
to impose its will on the rest of the world when it decides. We
cannot accept this. A partnership implies, first of all, mutual
trust. In our relations with the U.S., this trust is going through
a difficult period and has been seriously put to test. America, it
seems, is opposed to the idea of a multipolar world. But our world
does not consist of only one pole, as some people would have it.
Our world is multipolar, and this is the reality we must face:
there is the United States, there is Europe, Asia, China, India,
and there is Russia.

Concerted efforts are important in countering the threats to
international security now faced by all countries, above all, the
threat of terrorism. This issue concerns everyone, therefore
international security must be guaranteed jointly by all countries.
Security cannot be ensured separately, by each country for itself.
And it is unrealistic to hope that universal security can be
ensured by the United States because it is the world’s strongest
power. Combating the various threats to the global community
requires an alliance involving the U.S., Europe, Russia and China
under the aegis of the United Nations.

The future directions in the development of the European Union,
and whether or not it will be an effective and consolidated actor
on the world stage, are crucial factors for providing stability in
the world. There are core countries in the EU which set the
standards for the Union. These include, above all, the “founders”
of the EU, the countries which first initiated European
unification. And the central part of this core comprises France and
Germany. These two countries play the main role in the European
ensemble – truly justified as the European Community, which was
later transformed into the European Union and was built on the
success of Franco-German reconciliation. A positive interaction
between these two countries is vital for the other partners of the
European Union.

Increasing the number of EU members will further complicate the
functioning of the organization. This is why the European Union
must solve the problem of its internal reforms, and establish a
pan-European constitution. In the future, the EU will include 25-30
members, and in order to run this large and sophisticated structure
effectively, the Union will need to strengthen and improve the
European Commission, a supranational executive body of the united
Europe. The European Commission’s president must be given more
powers and, at the same time, bear more responsibility.

After the admission of 10-12 new partners, the EU should
hesitate before it decides to enlarge further. It will take time
before the new members adapt themselves to their new situation,
while future developments will indicate who may be the next member.
All countries seeking EU membership must meet a set of
requirements: achieving firm domestic stability, carrying out
economic reforms and democratic transformations. These requirements
are constantly changing, as the circumstances are changing,
too.

The EU must help the republics of the former Yugoslavia overcome
their domestic difficulties and assist with the stabilization
process in the Balkans. Albania will be the next priority.

Turkey is also on the EU agenda, but negotiations concerning its
accession can begin only when Ankara meets all EU membership
criteria. The country must fully observe democratic standards, and
its policy should not be formulated and enforced by the military.
In 2004, the EU members are to decide whether or not it should
enter into negotiations with Turkey. I think this decision will
require much time.

The European Union is a federation of nation states. Each member
state delegates part of its sovereignty to the supreme
supranational body of the European Union. At the same time, each
state remains sovereign and retains its individuality, without
dissolving its identity in the European mass. Things could not be
otherwise, as Europe is a multinational continent where the nations
differ rather dramatically from each other. Each nation must
preserve its distinctive features and culture which have developed
for many centuries; they should not fall victim to the
integration.

On the other hand, we all know the consequences of nationalism;
the last century ushered in a wave of national fervor across the
face of Europe. French President FranOois Mitterrand, an active
proponent of national integration, said in his farewell speech to
the European Parliament: “Where there is nationalism, there is
war.” And Europe has had very many wars. The main goal behind the
idea to unite the European countries was to bring a durable peace
to Europe. Have we achieved this goal? Europe is now experiencing
the longest period of peace and tranquility throughout its
centuries-old history. There can be no wars between partners in the
European Union, and the number of such partners is growing. This is
the main achievement of the integration, and we must hold it
sacred.