Dear Horst, let me
congratulate you on the award and on another successful conference.
Russia has a long tradition of being a European and world power. To regain its
status as major world power has been the first priority of Russian foreign
policy during the Presidency of Vladimir Putin. In many ways, this objective
has been achieved. Russia is back.
For us, Europe is stronger and more stable with a strong and open Russia
reaching out to the world.
In the meantime the world has changed. Thankfully, we no longer have a
bipolar order dominated by confrontation between two superpowers with Europe
as the fault-line. Co-operation has replaced confrontation. There are also new
players: China, India, Japan, to name a few.
Then there are new global threats: global warming, the proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism.
And regional threats. In Europe, we have to deal with instability that has
come out of the end of the Cold War, as discussed in a panel yesterday.. We also know that tension and instability outside Europe - in the Middle
East, Africa and elsewhere - is a threat to our security in Europe, Russia and
In short, this is a new world. With shifting threats, we see shifts in the
way to deal with them. There are more actors, and more flexible
In this new international security architecture, Russia is a key partner.
We want to work as much as possible with a Russia that is ready to play its
part. Indeed, little of value can be achieved without
Russia, and almost nothing against it.
Of course, it is not always easy to agree on what to do. But in most cases
we manage. The recent agreement in Berlin on a new UNSC resolution on Iran a
The European Union and Russia are both global actors. But we also share a
continent. It is sometimes easier to be global strategic partners than to
be good neighbours.
- We have some well-known disagreements.
From trade disputes to travel
restrictions to concerns over whether media and organisations like the British
Council can operate in truly free and independent manner. But trade is booming. And co-operation expanding to a wide range of areas.
This broad nature of relationship has a stabilising effect. Nevertheless, we do not have a real strategic convergence yet. Still
lingering mistrust here and there. Believe we are at a turning point.
To consolidate the new paradigm of co-operation in Europe, I see three
- First, we need to build on the achievements of our predecessors.
This means maintaining the treaty regimes on which our security and societies
For us, the CFE Treaty – both its ceilings and its confidence building
measures – remains a cornerstone of European security. Losing it increases the
risk of creeping mistrust.
The same goes for the manner in which other treaties and issues, like
missile defence, are discussed and ultimately decided upon. As we rightly seek
to defend ourselves against new threats, we should be careful that we do not,
unintentionally, create new sources of suspicion or tensions amongst us.
The founding treaties of the Council of Europe and the OSCE define what it
means to be European. Both organisations have adapted successfully to new
circumstances. It is difficult to imagine building a new European security
order on a different platform. Respect for the rules of these organisations is
- Secondly, we must find more common ground based on the rule of law.
If we want our companies to compete on open markets without generating
political disputes, we need common rules and an agreed framework to enforce
them. WTO offers a key element of this framework. I look forward to Russia
The emphasis given recently by Russian Deputy PM Medvedev to the rule of
law is as significant as it is welcome. I do not want to quote him out of
context. But I agree when he says about Russia that “if it wants to become a
civilised state, first of all we have to become lawful.”
Developing a shared commitment to the rule of law will be a major strategic
challenge in the coming years.
This has implications across the board, as in the field of energy. Our
interdependence in energy is a fact. A quick look at the map of existing
pipelines confirms this.
There is a justified concern across Europe about Russia seeming more
interested in investing in future leverage than in future production. Contrast
Gazprom's strategic spending spree abroad with the lack of investment at home.
So we need a European framework for energy, based on the rule of law and
- Finally, as a third priority, we must match our rhetoric with
Resolving the frozen conflicts in Europe is particularly important. If we
continue working closely together, we can get a durable settlement to the
Resolving these conflicts is important per se: enabling these countries to
focus on essential political and economic reforms. But it also important for
us, for confidence, for our stability and to show we can solve problems.
During the Cold War, Europe was the frontline. It was here that military
planners envisaged a possible military confrontation.
Now we have the chance to make Europe a continent of stability. A source of
hope for more troubled regions of the world. It is in the interest of both the
EU and Russia to make this happen. This would not be a minor contribution to