UK development NGOs question the new EU security doctrine


From BOND EU update, June-July 2003
BOND (British Overseas NGOs for Development has 280 member organisations)

Solana Security Doctrine: Instrumentalising aid in war on terror?

Javier Solana, responsible for coordinating the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy, has published a manifesto for EU security policy. The Solana security doctrine is entitled "A secure Europe in a better world" and was presented to heads of state at the European Council in Thessaloniki on 20 June. Following on from the Convention on the Future of Europe's discussions on foreign policy, development advocates have expressed mixed reactions to the paper. The Solana paper echoes Convention proposals that humanitarian aid be redefined as contributing to the war on terror, and that all EC instruments, including aid be under the authority of a new EU Foreign Affairs Minister.

From general and mostly uncontroversial statements on how "security is a precondition for development", the Solana paper proceeds to hint at specific institutional and policy prioritisations that would have controversial implications. The overall emphasis of the document is security and thus all external relations instruments are to be subordinated to that end: "None of the new threats are purely military; nor can any be tackled by purely military means. Each requires a mixture of instruments" (p.12). "Trade and development policies can be powerful tools for promoting reform" (p.10).

The Solana doctrine outlines three strategic objectives for the EU: (1) contributing to stability and good governance in our immediate neighbourhood; (2)
building an international order based on effective multilateralism; and (3) "tackle the threats, old and new". Whilst underlining the importance of current
multilateral institutions, the paper also backs reform of international law regarding intervention and pre-emptive "engagement". This constitutes an EU-branded attempt to reposition EU thinking closer to the US and UK positions. In that context, the paper is an attempt to heal the divisions caused by the war on Iraq: "The new threats are dynamic. Left alone, they will become more dangerous" (p.11).

Whilst no development advocates dispute that benefits could flow from coherent EU security interventions concerns persist. Discussions by EU
decision-makers on the proposed interface between foreign and development policy fields have been mostly dominated by foreign affairs ministries, with
development ministries being sidelined. Development advocates, including BOND, call for a comprehensive and public debate.

Solana speech to the Thessaloniki Summit in June 2003: Solana (pdf)
BOND website: BOND


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