Written Answers. - Security and Defence Policy.

Trevor Sargent


111 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Defence his views on the new EU Security Doctrine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18867/03]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh


127 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Defence his views on the first draft of the EU security doctrine published by EU High Representative Javier Solana; his views on the proposed three objectives for EU security; and his understanding of the implications of these for defence policy here. [18895/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 111 and 127 together.

At the informal Gymnich meeting of foreign affairs Ministers which was held at Rhodes on 2 May 2003, EU Secretary General-High Representative, Mr. Javier Solana, was requested to produce a draft of a European strategic security concept. The concept entitled, A Secure Europe in a Better World, was delivered by Mr. Solana at the European Council meeting at Thessaloniki on 19 and 20 June 2003.

As the Taoiseach reported to the House last week, the security strategy is a very interesting report, reflecting the Government's view that the Union pursue an holistic approach to security and that security has economic, political and development dimensions.

The European Union has been instrumental in maintaining peace and stability on the Continent over the past 50 years. In addition the Union has developed highly sophisticated diplomatic, economic and social instruments which have improved the wellbeing of its citizens and helped to promote stability in other regions. Significant strides have also been made in recent years with the development of the European Security and Defence Policy which is already complementing existing EU instruments in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, FYROM, and most recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

However, the post-Cold War world has brought new threats and risks to peace and stability which have been outlined in the High Representative's report. These risks range from famine and disease, to the increasing availability of weapons of mass destruction, failed states and organised crime.

The report sets out in an easily accessible way some of the global realities that the European Union is faced with. The European Union will soon have 25 states, 450 million people and a quarter of the world's GNP. The EU is therefore a global player. Specifically, High Representative Solana outlined three strategic objectives, namely: making a particular contribution to stability and good governance in our immediate neighbourhood; building an international order based on effective multilateralism; and tackling threats new and old.
As a global player, the EU has responsibility to address the global challenges that face it. As the report mentions, these challenges come from a variety of sources and each must be addressed in a variety of ways. As the report points out, the rule of law has to be expanded. The multilateral system and the United Nations in particular, have to be strengthened.
I welcome the fact that the report stresses that the fundamental framework for international relations is the United Nations Charter while also recognising the important role of other multilateral organisations such as the World Trade Organisation and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE. Ireland's defence policy as outlined in the White Paper on Defence recognises the primacy of the United Nations in the area of international security but also recognises that diplomacy, rather than the use of arms must be the primary focus in conflict resolution.
The conclusions of the European Council underline that the European Union will support conflict prevention, promote justice and sustainable development, help secure peace and defend stability in our region and globally.
I believe that Ireland can and will make a positive contribution to the objectives contained in the report. It is entirely in accordance with Ireland's role as a constructive international citizen to help support conflict prevention, promote justice, sustainable development and to help secure and defend stability in our region and globally.
High Representative Solana has been asked to bring the work on the report forward, taking into account members states' interests and citizens' priorities in time for the December EU Council meeting. I look forward to the debate, which I am hopeful will take place in the aftermath of the publication of the report on the ways and methods by which Ireland can continue to contribute to the development of a security strategy for the EU.