Address at the 3rd Global Forum “Building trust in the Emerging/New world order“ in Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 12:47   

bakuDistinguished attendees,
Dear colleagues,
Dear friends,

Thank you for the opportunity to speak at the third Global Forum in Baku that provides a space for open dialogue on some of the most important topics of the present.

When we talk about the European Union and its neighborhood, it is necessary to recall the true meaning of the Union. The main narrative of the European Union is that enemies become friends, and that by opening the space we create people with open minds, ready for dialogue, mutual understanding and respect. Europe should become a space of peace, freedom and respect for diversity, development and prosperity for our, and for future generations. This is part of the vision for a European Peace – Pax Europeana.

With its enlargement policy, the European Union was long a lighthouse that threw light on the way of the countries of Eastern and Southeast Europe towards the progressive European family. On this occasion, I would like to remind you of the great promises we were given at the visionary Thessaloniki Summit in 2003: By 2014, on the 100th anniversary of the First World War, the entire Balkans should be part of the European Union.

Similar to this, the narrative of the European neighborhood policy was to overcome barriers and help European neighbors achieve European standards and prosperity. Democracy, human rights, rule of law, market economy and sustainable growth, increased mobility, communication and dialogue.

Eastern Partnership is the eastern dimension of the European neighborhood policy. The partnership was supposed to create conditions for accelerating the political and economic integration between the Union and the interested partner countries – Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine. It was supposed to enable a peaceful resolution of conflicts on the basis of the principles and standards of international law, as well as to assist in building trust and dialogue between the parties.

The end goal was to help, through reform, in the realization of the joint commitments for stability, security and prosperity of the Union, its partner states and the entire European continent.

The Euro-Mediterranean Union, on the other hand, was supposed to promote economic integration and democratic reforms in the countries of Northern Africa and the Middle East. To help stimulate economic growth, creation of new job posts and reduction of the unemployment rate. The goal was to transform the Mediterranean in an area of peace, democracy, cooperation and prosperity. The non-European part of the Mediterranean was supposed to be European in everything but geography.

baku_1Ladies and Gentlemen,

The goal of all of these policies of the Union, among other things, is to lead to prosperity. The word prosperity originates from the Latin prosperitas, which contains the words hope and success. Today, it is not easy to talk about hope or success, and with it, about prosperity as well.

Let us begin with the enlargement policy. Instead of the promises from Thessaloniki, we have witnessed a stagnation in terms of enlargement these past years.

For ten years now, the Republic of Macedonia has been left in the waiting room of the European Union; not because it does not meet the conditions to open negotiations, but because of the blockades imposed by our Southern neighbor.

By postponing the enlargement, the European Union seems to be postponing our hope. By postponing our hope, the Union demotivates us and creates frustrations in Macedonian society, instability in the political life and tensions in interethnic relations. As a result of this, we now find ourselves blocked even because of the consequences of the originally imposed blockade.

However, Macedonia is not the only one to suffer the consequences of the postponed enlargement process. Kosovo is facing mass migration, while Bosnia and Herzegovina faces instability.

The European neighborhood policy has been seriously disrupted.

Instead of the expectations that the Eastern Partnership will help the partners in achieving prosperity and bring them closer to European standards, today we have a new armed conflict on European soil and a situation reminiscent of the Cold War.

Instead of the fixed goals of the Euro-Mediterranean Union for a Mediterranean as an area of peace, democracy, cooperation and prosperity, the Arab Spring happened and threw Northern Africa into instability.

It is clear that the European Union is still looking for its rightful place in the international order. Due to the lengthy decision-making process and lack of coherence, the Common Foreign and Security Policy has still not passed the test of time.

Here with us I see some of my colleagues from the region. The following dilemma comes to mind: Does the European Council appear to look more and more as the Presidency of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia?

Excellencies,

Global threats are also threats to the European Union. Everything that happens in areas of crisis is reflected in Europe.

We are witnessing, on a daily basis, the recruitment and radicalization of foreign terrorist fighters from Member States of the Union, who then fight in the battlefields in crisis regions not far away from us.

Let us not forget the global economic crisis because of which the Union is facing challenges regarding the stability of the eurozone.

We are aware that today, the European Union, but also Europe in general, is not a military, nor an economic superpower. However, it is definitely a superpower in terms of lifestyle. This is the reason why Europe has been the desired destination of millions of people from the non-Western world.

Due to the demographic challenges many European peoples are facing, European economic competitiveness at the global level depends increasingly on immigrants, who represent a large portion of the working population and are becoming the moving force of European economy. Most frequently, these are people of different ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural affiliation.

Every European country will be more and more multiethnic, multi-linguistic and multi-religious. Therefore, it is necessary to establish a sustainable model of integration of the numerous immigrants. Perhaps, in the present of multiethnic, multi-linguistic and multi-religious Macedonia, looms the future of Europe.

Let us summarize. The European Union, being a peace project, functions well in times of peace, but not quite as well in conditions of crises and conflicts. The answer of the dilemma regarding the European Union and its neighborhood lies in the Union itself. Therefore, the first question we should answer is: Does the European Union have the mechanisms to respond to these challenges? Can the European Union continue to provide hope for success, and thus be a moving force of prosperity?

Thank you.

baku2

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