Transatlantic Security: The Challenges Ahead

         

On December 10th and 11th 2012, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece, was held the 21st Annual International Symposium organized by Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation. This year the Symposium was organized in the light of Chicago NATO Summit under the main theme Transatlantic Security: The Challenges Ahead”.       

The Symposium gathered wide range of delegates and experts, NGO’s fields as well as youth movements. The 21st  Annual Symposium sessions put accent on issues: Transatlantic security today and in future, threats and opportunities in transforming regions, financial crisis and defense, energy security and women, peace and security including the new educational concept of G.A.A.E.C., workshop on NGO’s and youth involvement and development.

Mr. Theodossis Georgiou, President and one of the founders of G.A.A.E.C, opened Symposium and reflected on the main issue of the present-financial crisis;  relation of Greece to NATO; general role of NATO in the world and energy security. Mrs. Despina-Ino Afentouli, the Information Officer for Greece from NATO Headquarters, continued introduction congratulating G.A.A.E.C. for the successful organization of the 21st Annual International Symposium. In her speech she mentioned strong connection of security and economic crisis.

Opening Session

The session was chaired by the President of G.A.A.E.C,Mr. Theodossis Georgiou who highlighted the importance of 60 years of Greece in NATO and continued by introducing the speakers of this session. Mr. Vassilis Kaskarelis, Ambassador, Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Greece, informed that the new Strategic Concept clarified the strategic role of NATO in the next ten years by placing the focus on the operation of Article 5, Establishing Treaty of Washington. He continued with Greece which is in the midst of crisis and despite it has taken firm decision to utilize the available coefficients of national power in order to make its presence noticeable in the international field and to participate with its allies and international partners, in the transformation of the international system as well to foster relationships with key countries: Russia, China, India, Israel, and other rising powers.

Mrs. Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic,Ambassador, Assistant Secretary General, NATO, started by congratulating to G.A.A.E.C. on successful partnership with NATO Public Division from 1991. Mrs. Grabar Kitarovic reported on the aftermath of the Chicago Summit such as: Afghanistan and partnership, the role of NATO in prevention of terrorism in countries. She put accent on partnership, cooperation and dialogue as the core part of NATO main task, the meaning of enlargement for Security of Euro-Atlantic Cooperation and importance of partnership of NATO and Russia. She told that NATO did not neglect the issue of woman, peace and security proven by implementation of U.N. Resolution 13/25.

In his speech Mr. George Savvaides, Ambassador.ad.hon., has mentioned that the developments of the last 20 years have given the Alliance the springboard for the transformation of a strictly collective defense organization, into a global international security factor for the benefit of its members peace and stability. Furthermore, he focused on the accession of Greece and Turkey in NATO since 1952, and the importance of this enlargement.”It achieves the creation of a single, unbroken defensive line, from the North Cape of Norway to the Balkans, the Eastern Mediterranean and the accesses of the Middle East and North Africa”.

The Ambassador Forum A Perspectives on Transatlantic Security

In the Ambassador Forum, that took place on the first day of Symposium, Ambassadors gave speeches on the subject “Perspective on Transatlantic Security”.

Mr. George Savvaides, the first gave speech noticing that Transatlantic security was always the raison d’?tre of the Alliance as well as “transatlantic security” is not meant for collective defense purposes only, but it permeates the new NATO functions namely crisis management and cooperation with partner nations.

Mr. Daniel Bennett Smith, Ambassador of United States to Greece, started by reflecting on the importance of Europe as American primary partner. He stressed that in today’s hard economical situation it should be invested equal energy in economic relationship as much as in security. After that he turned to NATO as vital for U.S. in Transatlantic security relationship, through which the United States confronts diverse and difficult threats that were dramatically illustrated during the Libyan crisis. Furthermore, he made remarks as well about Chicago NATO Summit where the main subject of discussion was Afghanistan as a top-priority global challenge.

Mr. Jean Loup Kuhn Delforge, Ambassador of France to Greece, in his introduction points out the diversity of the threats within global framework need strong cooperation between Alliance and the EU. Furthermore, he told that the EU and NATO are facing threats such as: terrorism, piracy and cyber-attacks and that energy, international security and economic interests of members are undermined by these actions. Mr. Delforge also stressed that “European Defence” doesn’t mean the defence of Europe but of European interest. To him, it is important that each can act in a complementary and at the same time independent way. Ambassador brought to conclusion final statement: The EU should be capable to deal with partner’s obligations and be effective.

Mr. Saker Malkawi, Ambassador of Jordan to Greece, in his speech referred to great need for international engagement, and that cooperation was always essential factor for the success of a mission. Mr. Malkawi continued by explaining Jordan’s partnership with NATO underlining that it is based on an understanding of the fundamental principles guiding it. He finalized that Individual Partnership Cooperation Program with NATO in 2009 became a full NATO partner.

Guest Speaker, Ms. Augustina Tzvetkova, Deputy Minister of Defence of Bulgaria, started by saying that Bulgarian vision of today is Euro-Atlantic integration of the whole region. She presented that Bulgaria is focused on regional defense cooperation and on South East Defense Ministerial (SEMD) as well as on establishment of a NATO Crisis Management for Disaster Response Centre of Excellence. In her speech Ms. Tzvetkova alleged that Bulgaria believes that the implementation of the Chicago agenda in particular “ Smart Defence” and “Connected Forces Initiative” will deliver more cooperation amongst NATO allies and partners.

 Women, Peace and Security

During the panel “Women, Peace and Security” speaker Ms. Augustina Tzvetkova, Deputy Minister of Defence, Bulgaria, shares experience of running NATO’ project Female Leadership in Defence and Security”, speaker emphasises the importance of particular topic not as a gender issue, but as a matter of capability building.  Initially the idea of project was based on the willingness to find and share ideas on how women can be involved in security and defence, but lately it concentrate more on the role of the strategic leadership in capabilities building process and the diversity of human resources in the area of security and defence. Project is approved as a tier-one project in the framework of NATO Smart Defence projects. Ms. Katerina Papakosta, M.P.N.D., President, Parliamentary Committee for Equality and Human Rights, Ministry of Interior of Greece, mentioned that our country as a member of the EU and NATO must do what is necessary to support implementation of the resolutions 1325 and 1820 of the UN Security Council for women, peace and security. Furthermore, she underlined that combating violence against women is a serious issue as it involves an entire social trend. Ms. Zetta Makri, Secretary General for Equality, Ministry of Interior of Greece, stated that encouraging women to have an active role in the highest offices of Peace and Security is very important. Their participation in decision-making is crucial. She continued by saying that women need the protection of legal frameworks in conflict or in peace. Prof. Dr. Zehra Odyakmaz, Dean of Faculty of Law in Mevlâna University, Turkey, reported that the number of terrorist activities is increasing and that the most important reason for this is the conflict between states in defining what means the “terror” and “terrorist”, as well that there is not enough understanding for this issue in countries that are not exposed to this problem. Ms. Suzan Jahollari,Professor, Defence Academy, Albania, introduced Gender Equality Law in Society 2008, that is based on the principle of equality and non discrimination as well as National Strategy for gender equality and domestic balance.Mr. Michael Katsaris, Colonel, Hellenic Air Forces, Ministry of Defense, Greece, referred to the UN resolution 1325 and also to the resolution 1889, which reinforces the precedent in the sector of implementation and monitoring. Finally, he informed us that great efforts have been made, in order to increase women's participation in important areas such as the military.

 

The first day of Symposium ended with workshop chaired by Dr. Aliki Mitsakos.  Mr. Giuseppe Belardetti,Programs Director, Designated Secretary General, Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA), emphasize that ATA tries to relaunch the Transatlantic Partnership in the civil society through: seminars and workshops. He made a few remarks about gender equality as well. Ms. Kristin Durant, President, Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA), said that in all discussions about gender equality and women in security should be involved more men, and Ms. Antonia Colibasanu, Ass.Lecturer, The Bucharest University of Economics, Romania ended workshop by telling that we need wider and more complementary communication in this field.

Ms. Despina Ino-Afentouli opened the second day of the Symposium by clarifying the importance of the Symposium and the contribution of G.A.A.E.C. of showing the Euroatlantic agenda in Greece. She concluded that NATO in last 60 years of the Greek membership in NATO helped a lot in the defense of Greece.

 NATO and EU – Strategic Partners or Competitors

The session NATO and EU – Strategic Partners or Competitors was chaired by Mr. Michail Tsinisizelis. Guest speaker of the session, NATO and EU- Strategic partners and Competitors, Former Austrian Federal Minister, President of PolAk and AIES, Dr. Werner  Fasslabend raised the issue of future Global Security Challenges, which will shape the future security environment. Dr. Fasslabend highlights three main lines for the future challenges including conflicts, instability and crisis. The first line surrounds area from the Balkans to Caucasus and to the Central Asia, the second line is set from the Atlantic Ocean to the Northern Africa and to the Central Asia, which is well known because of the movements of the Arab spring, but the third line marks the area from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea and to the Indian Ocean. Guest Speaker also reflects the issue of Nuclear Sector, North Korea, Iran and underestimated threat Pakistan, moreover highlighting the central question for future global security - great power interests which cross in the Eastern Asia Area, in terms of Chinas’ Global Perspectives as rising power. Dr. Fasslabend emphasizes the role of challenges which will involve both the European Union and NATO, from American point of view - transferring the canter of interests which includes shift of political, economic and military capabilities to the Pacific Region. On the contrary, from the EU point of view- minimizing the security dependency on Americans and their capabilities and taking control over their own security environment which includes not only defining security interests, but also solving them. In the case of NATO and EU as Strategic partners and Competitors guest speaker draw attention to the wall between EU and NATO and to the necessity to overcome divergence between both organizations. 

The session “Energy security: The challenges for International organizations and the private sector” was chaired by  Mr. Andreas Andrianopoulos, Former Minister, Director, The Institute of Diplomacy and Global Affairs, DEREE - the American College of Greece. Mr. Andrianopoulos stated that the energy security concerns us all and that it depends on energy producer countries, transfer and customer countries, geostrategic and political conditions of them as well as on their demand for energy and energy reserves.Mr. Michael Ruhle, Head, Energy Security Section, Emerging Security Challenges Division, NATO HQ, said that NATO with its own capabilities can contribute a lot to Energy Security issue because NATO brings into the “game” powerful USA, Canada and European countries that are either energy producer or energy transferring countries. Restrictions that NATO can face are not to militarize energy security, but should be driven from market. He continued that the roles should not duplicate, for example with International Energy Agency and NATO should not interfere with national economical policies. Dr.Filis started his speech by saying that Energy is a matter of Market and since political factors are involved it is creating unstable relations between states. The EU depends heavily on Russia which is the main supplier but they are interdependent, because “Europe buys expensive and pays on time”. A serious danger for the EU is that EU didn’t secure other resources than Russian. On the other hand, China and India are becoming “thirsty markets”. Finally, he marked that the energy sector is also a military sector and this concerns the NATO Allies regarding the security of supply.

The Ambassadors Forum BPerspectives on Transatlantic Security

Mr. Thanos Dokos, Director General, ELIAMEP, as a chair person opened Ambassador Forum B by introducing audience with the main theme and speakers.

 Mr. Arye Mekel, Ambassador of Israel to Greece, dedicated his speech to explain the position of the State of Israel in the Middle East. He emphasized that primary goal of Israel is to achieve peace with neighbors. The Peace agreement has been signed with Jordan and Egypt and not with Lebanon and Syria. The aim of the State of Israel is to achieve peace with Palestinian Authority. He stated his hope that Arab Spring will establish democracy in Arab world. Ambassador made few remarks on energy issue as well. He said that Israel lack in oil and natural resources but that lately it was discovered a large quantity of natural gas. At the end of speech he turned to Israel-Greek relation noticing that there has been unprecedented improvement in Greek-Israel relations during the last two and half years.

 Mr. Kerim Uras, Ambassador of Turkey to Greece, reflected to this year as a very important for Turkey and Greece as an Anniversary of 60 years membership to the NATO. He accented that despite of differences between these two countries, NATO has helped to come together for common causes within Alliance. He reported about the main issues of today’s  world such as: Libya, the Middle East situation, Iran and Syria. He said that lasting peace in the Middle East would have a positive global effect and has majority support in Turkey. He affirmed in his speech that utmost importance is to make sure that Iran’s nuclear program is a peaceful one and to stay this way. Furthermore, he said that reckless situation in Syria is a big problem for Turkey, as their neighbors they suffer great threat to security and stability in the region. In further speech Ambassador emphasized importance of NATO for security and defense issue. He mentioned as well harsh economic situation that has far-reaching implications on defense capacity, as well as that NATO’s partnership is an essential ingredient for NATO’s continuation of the enlargement that is of huge importance as stabilizing factor.

Mr. David Landsman, Ambassador of United Kingdom to Greece, quoted in his speech the British Foreign Secretary, Mr. William Hague, by saying that NATO is more necessary than ever, and that NATO should work closely with non NATO partners to help secure common goals. He said that NATO remains the central pillar of UK defense policy. In addition, Mr. Landsman concluded that NATO has to stay open to enlargement, even though NATO is not aspiring to become a world security organization. The second part of speech Ambassador devoted to position of United Kingdom toward NATO and EU.  He asserted that Britain will stay one of the most active participants in the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy. He highlighted that even though Britain is not part of Eurozone it does not mean that Britain is not serious about EU membership. From his point of view, EU cannot be effective if it tries to be uniformed and on contrary it needs flexibility of a network. He made comments on current economic crisis and what has to be done in order to rationalize all expenses including defense as well.

Special Session

The session, was chaired by the President of G.A.A.E.C, Mr. Theodossis Georgiou, who stressed the importance of financial crisis issue and how that affects our Defence.

Mikhail Kostarakos,General, Chief of General Staff, HNDGS, Greece, based speech on the impact of financial crisis on Defense Planning and demonstrated its contribution of "Smart Defense" to mitigate those impacts. “Governments, in order to balance their budgets, cut defense spendings. He marked that leaders of NATO member states agreed to embrace this initiative to ensure that the Alliance can embody its vision: NATO Forces 2020. The "Smart Defense" should be seen as an opportunity to do more together rather than as an excuse to do less individual. He concluded by saying that as for our country, it is recognized that we need armed forces with multiple capabilities ready to face the threats and security challenges and to provide to the government possibility to exercise the appropriate national foreign policy.

In the last session of the Symposium Dr. Aliki Mitsakos introduced to the students the new educational platform of G.A.A.E.C. “The International Center for Leading Studies” (www.ticls.org). Mr. Belardetti and Ms. Durant were talking about importance of non-governmental organizations and the possibility of young people to get involved.