Views of Franco Frattini during the opening session
The global challenges in a world crossed by many winds of crisis as it is today’s world have some common reference points we must examine or at least we should be aware of.
I believe that, in order to understand the phenomena behind those global challenges, we should seek a common element, a common denominator. And I think that this is the human person, the human dimension of each of those phenomena, which affect hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of young people, women, men, in different ways and with different intensity in the various continents. And certainly the domestic, multinational and regional institutions’ ability to search for long-term solutions and not just to repeat slogan, is based on the human dimension of the big international challenges.
If we think of the economic crisis that still severely affects Europe, thoughts go to the millions of young people, to those millions of men and women who have lost their jobs, who do not find a job, who were forced to serious sacrifices, who unfortunately have not found in Europe – and I am emphasizing ‘unfortunately’, because I am a deeply convinced Europeanist – the security, the answer, the solution to their needs and their hopes. Indeed, they have often seen a Europe that subtracts, not a Europe that gives.
At the beginning of the crisis in Greece, a country, where the world civilization was born, a very wrong message has been sent: whatever the sacrifices of the Greek people might be, certain rules of rigor and austerity must be maintained: that first came from the troika, and then was sadly confirmed by major EU countries. Only recently we begun to change that message, at least in its approach, in its language, finally specifying that Europe must pay much more attention to development and growth, and then again to the dreams, the hopes, the difficulties of those millions and millions of citizens who are suffering and have suffered, not only in Greece but even in my own country, Italy, and in many – if not all of the European countries.
That is exactly the human dimension.
Certainly it is still the human dimension to be featured, when we consider the challenge of international terrorism that kills in the name of religion, in a more and more horrible way: a religion of peace, as Islam is. It affects, contaminates millions and millions of girls and boys as a dangerous cancer.
The human dimension, as I said, is a central issue, because there is the ability and willingness to indoctrinate, and thus to lead to radicalization, young people who have been brought up, educated, and are living in our cities, in our Europe – the land of rights -, and then feel ready to wear an explosive belt and detonate possibly in one of the cities where they have always lived, where their schoolmates lived. Our fellow citizens even feel ready to go into some of the crisis regions, where there are clashes between militias and fierce fighting takes place, to grab a submachine gun, or even cut the head to a prisoner standing side by side with their peers raised in the Arab world, and united by the same blasphemous vision of Islam, that takes them to kill in the name of God.
We are talking about an aberration that clearly calls all of us to a reflection not on reasons – since these horrible things never rest on reasons – but on the causes that lead to violent radicalization and terrorism.
Those causes are a factor that relates to the human person, too. A factor that is called, on the one hand, despair, poverty, feelings of injustice, feeling that one’s fundamental rights are violated or are not protected; and progressively they become interpretations or views of religion, of Islam, which are no longer tools for dialogue and for the mutual comparison, but for offense, for abuse of power, then creating a real dictatorship in the name of Islam.
That obviously touches the total failure of countries, of Governments, of institutions, of the political forces – including the revolutionary forces during the so called Arab springs” – in giving even a semblance of an answer to this dismay and lack of hopes.
And there are still human dramas behind the great migrations of millions of desperate people seeking to escape sometimes from wars, from civil wars, from extermination, from ethnic cleansing, or simply from desertification and the terrible effects of climate change. They are children, women and men who reach the frontiers of Europe, bordering the Mediterranean, whose life we must save first; but then we have to consider them as parties to jointly address the great theme, the enormous challenge of the development of their countries of origin, the security of their countries, and we must not just treat those people as numbers.
This is our duty, that doesn’t mean ignoring the violations of the law: on the contrary, it means strictly punishing traffickers of slaves, but also understanding that this is another global challenge that must be addressed by all together, since a country cannot solve it alone.
I’m maybe one of the few, even in my own country who still speaks of ‘United States of Europe’ and of political and not just monetary or economic union, with firm belief. I say that because, if we look at those global challenges –challenges relating to the human dimension, its values, its principles, its rights –, either we give a strongly united political response or we will certainly fail.
We cannot be divided between those who want a solution and those who want another, we cannot be divided about the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis or about the prospects of Syria; we must not be divided when addressing the future of the Euro-Mediterranean integration or the enlargement towards the South-West Balkans, which are an integral part of Europe and cannot be left out of our door for too long.
Our Europe, obviously, cannot and must not split when a new sharp and clear a major political (and not only) crisis between Russia and the West as such appears along our borders.
Full protection of all EU M.S. and firm reflections of any idea of military solution should go hand in hand.
Many thanks to the quite successful efforts of France and Germany‘s leaders in Minsk. Unfortunately, EU couldn’t be represented at the Minsk’s Table.
There are countries in the so-called Eastern neighborhood area – I am referring to Moldova, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and certainly to the Ukraine – that have the right to freely choose – and I stress “freely” – their path.
At the same time, we must be clearly convinced that it is our interest (at least, this is my belief) that between the European Union and Russia the strategic collaboration on current issues of absolute importance be resumed. I am thinking of dossiers such as the Iranian nuclear proliferation; the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis; the solution to the Syrian tragedy, the united reaction against international terrorism.
As an Italian, I have developed an historic, long-lasting and profound friendship with the United States of America, which constitute the mainstay of our transatlantic link. But on Mediterranean region and in this crisis between the West and Russia I would like that Europe as a whole moved more proactively.
Here is my conclusion: global challenges, which obviously require a comprehensive response, can be better faced if Europe is politically united and stronger.
The human person first, the political decisions first, our Europe first. This will be the message that public opinion can understand: a public opinion which far too often feels that Europe is a prisoner of rules, but not able to speak with the words of truth, sincerity, simplicity. And this is the winning card that, I think, we still have to play.