Monthly Mind May 2014: "The Crisis of Euro-Atlantic Security"

As keynote speaker at the Ahtisaari Symposium at the Woodrow Wilson Center, the chairman of the Munich Security Conference emphasized the necessity to review and comprehensively reaffirm the principles of the European peace order in light of the Ukraine crisis, now that Russia has challenged key norms of that order.

Wolfgang Ischinger, the chairman of the Munich Security Conference (Photo: Kuhlmann).

Events of 2014 might lead us to mandate a comprehensive review of the European security architecture and an encompassing reaffirmation of the principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the 1990 Paris Charter, he said. "Right now is surely not a good time for grand structural initiatives concerning an all-encompassing Euro-Atlantic security community. ... But at some point, we will have to start anew the discussion about the creation of a more sustainable, more resilient, more crisis-resistant and more comprehensive European security architecture. Once the dust on Ukraine will hopefully have settled a bit, the EU should propose that another OSCE summit be organized in due course, meaning in the course of the next two or three years. Needless to say, such a project makes sense only if carefully planned and programmed, and if we are certain to produce not just more hot air, but more security for all." He continued: "Even during the worst periods of the Cold War, we talked. Explaining strategic objectives to each other, and laying the groundwork for a credible and sustainable re-affirmation of principles of European and global security – that can never be wrong."


Ischinger further emphasized that the agreed-upon and planned sanctions were necessary, but could not replace a strategy to solve the crisis. The first priority of the West had to be to stabilize Ukraine, he said. He also stressed in his speech the importance of the crisis for European foreign policy: "The quest for a coherent common EU foreign policy is now more than ever a clearly understood priority, an urgent necessity."


The text of the entire speech can be downloaded here.

06 May 2014, by Wolfgang Ischinger