Center for Strategic Decision Research


The Multi-dimensional Nature of Security, the European Union, and Trans-Atlantic Solidarity

His Excellency Alex Bodry
Minister of Defense of Luxembourg

It is particularly significant to me that the XVth NATO Workshop was held in the Hofburg Palace of Vienna since many decisions that were made in this very palace had a major effect on Luxembourg. But some 50 years ago, Luxembourg dismissed the unarmed neutrality that had been imposed on us by the then-Superpowers (including Austria) at the London Conference of 1867. We did this after two world wars and the ensuing invasions of my country proved that the security guarantees offered by the London signatory powers were worthless because they were never implemented.

In 1948, Luxembourg became a founding, active member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Since then, we have lived in peace, no longer part of almost all the wars that have been waged in our region throughout history. We also were a founding member of both the Western European Union and the Council of Europe. And I do not need to remind anyone of the active role Luxembourg has taken in the development of the European institutions from which the European Union stemmed, as well as the OSCE, to which our continent owes so much in the fields of cooperation and security. All of these organizations, no matter their geopolitical configurations and formats, remain complementary and continue to reinforce their mutual objectives.

All of the major decision makers in my country believe in the work of these great organizations. They also agree on two other points, which are part of Luxembourg’s foreign and defense policy:

1. Almost a decade after the irreversible geopolitical changes occurred on the European continent, beginning in 1989, security is no longer just a military issue.

2. There should be no antagonism between the need for a European Defense Identity and the need for substantial consolidation and deepening of Euro-Atlantic solidarity. Both objectives can and must be complementary and pursued through common effort.


At the turn of the millennium, security has many faces, not simply a military one. This stems from the major changes that have taken place since 1989 and from the new types of threats that now challenge us. The risk of all-out nuclear war on our continent is no longer a probability. Instead we face a new generation of risks and must explore new answers to them. However, we still must remain prepared and able to address a broad nuclear threat.

In discussing the new risks, I would like to paraphrase President Václav Havel, who spoke with words of both hope and caution. Referring to the events of 1989 he said, while everything is now possible, nothing is now certain. However, most national and international security organizations, including NATO, the OSCE, the EU, and the WEU, believe that most of the new generation of risks stem directly or indirectly from the lack of discipline that has resulted from the breakup of the Soviet bloc.

The pressure that the Communist bloc exerted within its geopolitical limits imposed long-lasting cohesiveness and stability in our area. While the Communists were hateful and adhered to principles and values we did not share, their upheaval caused great disruption as well as serious, widespread consequences. Some of these consequences are part and parcel of the new risks of which we speak.


One of these grave consequences is what Roger Morin calls “le nationalisme total,” or “total nationalism,” which must be seen as the major threat to stability and thus security in Europe. Such post-Soviet nationalism is founded on an explosive mix of:

  • Extremist versions of history and religion as a basis for nation building;
  • Hatred toward differing ethnic groups;
  • Hatred toward minorities living in neighboring states; and above all,
  • Territorial claims and the rejection of modern national borders.

The local and regional instabilities and conflicts that result from these threats must be a main concern of our contemporary security thinking.

In addition, we must keep in mind the hegemonal ambitions of some regional powers at the borders of Europe, particularly to the south, and their potential effects on European security. We must remember that:

  • There are natural energy resources in that region that are indispensable to Western economies;
  • The transit routes for these resources must remain open;
  • The region poses a threat regarding the use of conventional weapons as well as weapons of mass destruction; and
  • The area faces tremendous migration pressures, which are a potential cause for destabilization. Indeed, the demographic explosion on the southern side of the Mediterranean Sea goes hand in hand with impoverishment, which is at great odds with the tremendous economic and technological growth on the European side.

But security and stability are deeply interconnected and are no longer exclusively military or regional issues. Other factors are involved, including:

  • The proliferation of conventional weapons or weapons of mass destruction;
  • International terrorism; (often state led or assisted);
  • International drugs and arms trafficking capable of upsetting entire economies;
  • The so-called soft risks, such as environmental issues, including water pollution and nuclear wastes; and high-technology contingencies, which could affect our global warning and communication systems; and
  • Social discontent, especially if paired with cultural and/or religious minority resentment, which could well lead to the destabilization of a country or region.


All of these potential security risks must, at least at first, be dealt with politically, perhaps with trade or other economic sanctions. And it is here that my second point—that there must be no antagonism between those working to establish a European Security and Defense Identity and those working to deepen Euro-Atlantic solidarity—comes into play. We must take advantage of all the institutions and organizations that the international community has at its disposal, including the United Nations and its financial instruments and regional organizations, the OSCE, and of course, the European Union.

I do not need to underline the major role the European Union and its member-states play in maintaining stability on our continent and in neighboring regions. This role has three parts: political, economic, and humanitarian. In the economic and humanitarian arenas, I applaud the Union’s work in the Former Yugoslavia, in Albania, and during the Middle East peace process. I would also like to mention the large amount of European funds going to the new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe to help them consolidate their market-oriented economies as well as their “good governance” structures, and to help them prepare for future membership in the European Union. But the Union’s assistance in creating economic and democratic stability reaches well beyond the countries that are immediate candidates for EU membership. For example, the Union has concluded partnership and cooperation agreements with all the newly independent states, including Russia and Ukraine, in a vast effort to promote and financially support democratic institutions and economic reforms on the macro-economic as well as on the structural level.

These efforts fit firmly into the comprehensive security concept the Union has developed. This concept explicitly includes political and economic as well as military aspects, and strives to meet the objectives of the Common European Foreign and Security Policy as noted at the Brussels Summit of 1993: “The aim of the Common Security Policy is to reduce the risks and uncertainties which might undermine the territorial integrity and political independence of the Union and its member-states, its democratic nature, its economic stability, as well as the stability of its neighboring regions.” To this we add the goals of:

  • Risk prevention;
  • Crisis management;
  • Strengthening of interstate relations;
  • Cooperation;
  • Peaceful problem-solving and international arbitration;
  • Reduction of economic and social inequalities, particularly through such Commission programs as TACTS and PHARE;
  • Political solidarity among EU member-states; and
  • Maintaining the political solidarity of its member states as well as the independence and integrity of the Union.


With the implementation of the Amsterdam Treaty, the EU is now becoming more politically adept and gaining speed and credibility. We are:

  • Clearly growing in our defense capabilities. Heads of state and government are working to define general guidelines for working with the Western European Union.
  • Through the Western European Union, gaining access to an operational capability focusing on humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks, and crisis management tasks. These are the so-called Petersberg Tasks in which the entire WEU family is invited to participate. The Union will also avail itself of the WEU to implement EU decisions that have defense implications.
  • Able to access the Policy Planning and Early Warning Unit, which will work with the European Commission to ensure full compliance with Union external economic and development policies; provide CFSP monitoring, analysis, and assessment of potential or emerging political crises; and produce policy and strategy papers for the Council. The Unit will be placed under the authority of the High Representative for the CFSP, and its personnel will come from member-states, the Secretariat of the Council, the Commission, and the WEU.

The Amsterdam Treaty also supports our belief—and that of all European countries—that European security must continue to rest primarily on Euro-Atlantic solidarity. The Treaty enables closer cooperation among member-states within the framework of the Atlantic Alliance. The WEU Declaration annexed to the Treaty also clearly states that the security and defense policy of the Union shall respect the obligations of certain member-states that see their common defense realized in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and be compatible with the common security and defense policy established within NATO. I would also like to point out that the Treaty’s references to defense do not mean collective defense, but only the so-called Petersberg Tasks. Additionally the WEU Declaration states that the Alliance remains the basis of collective defense and the main venue for security consultations and agreements. I believe that the WEU will be an essential element in the development of the European Security and Defense Identity within the Alliance and will function as a bridge between the Union and the Alliance.


We all remember that at the Berlin Summit it was decided that the WEU could turn eventually to NATO for Allied assets needed for European-led security missions. Thus, one can say that the military and institutional frameworks are set for continuing the transatlantic link and deepening Euro-Atlantic solidarity—objectives that must remain through NATO’s internal and external adaptation and the possible updating of the Alliance’s Strategic Concept. The Partnership for Peace program, the EAPC, the NATO-Russia Founding Act, and the NATO-Ukraine Charter will also continue to complement and add welcome dimension to the transatlantic link.

A “changing of the millennium” challenge to the new Europe and the new NATO will be to continue the progress we have made toward achieving our goals. To that end, the discussions we hold during this Workshop can be essential building blocks of Euro-Atlantic dialogue as described by German “Bundespresident” Roman Herzog in the February 1998 issue of Internationale Politik:

  • A partnership in the perception of political changes and their consequences;
  • A partnership in a strategic vision;
  • A partnership in pragmatic implementations; and
  • A partnership in assuming and upholding common values.

NATO has opened itself to new members; so has the EU. Certain links exist between those two processes, and they must go on. Perhaps the Alliance will find some inspiration in the EU’s approach to its future enlargement. However, consensus among member-states must remain at the center of NATO’s decision-making process as long as collective defense remains a core function.

On the threshold of the 21st century, there remains an enormous need for a common European foreign and security policy and for Euro-Atlantic cooperation. Let us keep this need at the forefront as we prepare for the responsibilities of the new millennium.


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