Center for Strategic Decision Research


Keynote Address of the XVIth International Workshop

Working Towards a United Europe

Dr. Javier Solana
Secretary General of NATO

In April 1999, NATO commemorated its 50th anniversary, and the Allies, old and new, gathered in Washington to reaffirm their commitment to the principles enshrined in the North Atlantic Treaty. They reaffirmed their determination to safeguard the freedom, common heritage, and civilization of their peoples that were founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law. They also expressed their determination to promote stability and well-being in the Euro-Atlantic area.

This was not merely rhetoric, these were not empty words—they were commitments. NATO is committed to upholding our values—because values mean nothing if we are not willing to take action to defend them. That is why, even as the Washington Summit was taking place, NATO’s forces were engaged in a campaign to end the ethnic cleansing taking place in Kosovo and to help the refugees return to their homes in peace and security.


In my view, the conflict between Belgrade and the rest of the international community was at its very essence a conflict between two visions of Europe. One vision—Mr. Milosevic’s vision—is of a Europe of ethnically pure states, a Europe of nationalism, authoritarianism, and xenophobia. The other vision—that of the NATO Allies, the European Union, and our Partners—is of a Europe of integration, democracy, and ethnic pluralism. The second vision is of the Europe that we are building together.

Through a brutal campaign to expel an entire population from their homes and their country, Slobodan Milosevic attacked this vision and the most fundamental of NATO’s values and principles—values and principles that are enshrined in the North Atlantic Treaty and underpin all our doctrine and policies, values that are essential to peace and stability.

NATO could not accept this in the Europe of the 21st century. To have stood aside and watched these crimes being committed without acting would have meant that our vision was hollow—that our values have meaning only on paper, not in reality. We were thus challenged to match our words with deeds. And that is exactly what we did, through Operation Allied Force.

The results of this operation are well known: the international community’s goals for Kosovo are finally being met.Yugoslav security forces have left; the UCK is being demilitarized; and the refugees are returning home. An international security force, with NATO at its core, has entered Kosovo and is establishing a safe and secure environment for all the citizens of Kosovo. We urge all Kosovars regardless of their ethnic origin to give peace a chance and to go back to their homes. KFOR will provide a secure environment for them all.

Let me take this opportunity to thank the countries, many of which are represented at this Workshop, that contributed to the truly global effort to bring lasting peace and stability to Kosovo. Many of the individuals I am addressing played important roles, and I would like to thank you as well. In particular, however, I want to salute NATO’s men and women in uniform, including, of course, their commander, General Clark, for their courage, professionalism, and determination. NATO’s forces and their commanders are now establishing a secure environment in Kosovo and ensuring compliance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244.

But NATO is not doing this alone. Far from it. The entire international community is taking part in this effort. NATO Partner countries neighboring Kosovo have demonstrated remarkable courage and steadfastness. All of them suffered economically. Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have been filled with teeming numbers of refugees; Bulgaria and Romania have had transportation and commercial routes disrupted along the Danube. Throughout this crisis, these countries have proven as clearly as possible that they share the values of the Euro-Atlantic community. This bodes well for the future of the region.


Another positive sign for the future of the region is the role being played by NATO’s three new members—including, of course, our host, Hungary. I am very pleased that Hungary’s parliament has agreed to send up to 350 troops to KFOR to act as a security company for the Force headquarters.

Russia, too, is playing a significant part in the international community’s efforts to bring a lasting peace to Kosovo. Russia was a key player in the diplomatic process—in G8, as a member of the Contact Group, as part of the Rambouillet process, and of course through the diplomacy of Victor Chernomyrdin. We have agreed on the arrangements for Russia’s participation in KFOR. I hope that we can now open a new chapter in NATO-Russia relations and revitalize our active cooperation through the Permanent Joint Council.

The European Union is also playing a key role in bringing lasting peace to Kosovo. The EU helped deliver the diplomatic agreement that brought an end to President Milosevic’s campaign of ethnic cleansing. The envoy who helped to deliver that agreement, President Ahtisaari, will be taking up the EU presidency shortly. The EU will administer a detailed package of reconstruction assistance to help Kosovo get back on its feet.

But bringing peace to Kosovo is not enough. It is not enough to put out one fire, at enormous cost, only to have another flare up nearby. That is what has happened too often in this region. NATO has therefore created a consultative forum on security matters on Southeastern Europe. We will also build on the existing mechanisms of the Partnership for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council to give substance to our promise of assistance. Additionally, we will offer our cooperation in the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe, launched recently by the European Union.

This offer will also be open to a democratic Serbia. The Serb people should be able to enjoy fully the benefits of integration into the Euro-Atlantic community. But for that to happen they must embrace democracy and tolerance. And this will not happen while Slobodan Milosevic is in power.  He is a man who represents the past. He is the embodiment of what has made the Balkans so unstable for so long. He has no place in the Europe of tomorrow.

That Europe—the Europe of the 21st century—is already taking shape. It is a Europe in which most countries formerly under authoritarian governments are becoming healthy democracies. States from one end of Europe to the other are making the difficult transition from central planning to market economies. Border disputes are being settled amicably, and minority issues are being solved through diplomacy. And the process of formal European integration is continuing.


NATO is playing a central role in making this vision of Europe a reality: through our own enlargement process, by enhancing our partnerships with non-NATO countries, and by fostering the European Security and Defense Identity. These elements of NATO’s wider agenda were given a boost at the Washington Summit in April 1999. Most prominently, three more countries joined the Alliance: Poland, the Czech Republic, and, of course, Hungary. Through the enlargement process, NATO has demonstrated that there are no more dividing lines in Europe—that NATO really is open to accepting new members when enlargement contributes to security.

As proof of that commitment, NATO also unveiled a Membership Action Plan in Washington. The MAP, as we call it, provides clear guidance and feedback to help prepare Partner countries for future membership. But being a member of NATO is not just a matter of meeting technical requirements. Aspirant countries must also be ready to assume the political responsibilities of membership. The Kosovo operation has shown us how challenging that can be.

Kosovo also demonstrated that NATO cannot build peace alone. Our PFP partners make crucial contributions to our common efforts. That is why, at the Summit, the Alliance further enhanced the Partnership for Peace to bring PFP countries even closer to NATO, to enhance dialogue and cooperation and to give Partners a greater say in planning and conducting NATO-led PFP operations. These steps will ensure that PFP remains an effective pillar of our Euro-Atlantic security architecture.

Another pillar of that architecture is the transatlantic partnership in NATO. The continued health of the transatlantic relationship requires Europe to shoulder more of the burden. Kosovo, to a certain extent, was a test case of Europe’s determination to have a real Security and Defense Identity.

Europe passed the test. The EU played a key role in the diplomatic process from beginning to end, from Rambouillet to Belgrade, where the EU’s envoy, President Ahtisaari, secured Belgrade’s agreement to meet the conditions of the international community. European forces are making up the lion’s share of the international security force that will keep the peace in Kosovo, and they are commanded by a European general. And the European Union will play a central role in the economic and political reconstruction of Kosovo, and indeed of the whole region of Southeastern Europe.

The Alliance is helping foster Europe’s evolution as a security actor. At the Summit, NATO finalized measures to allow the European Allies to use NATO assets for operations in which the North American Allies do not wish to take a lead role. And we put in place new measures to ensure that all Allies remain capable of operating together effectively in the challenging security environment of the future. This bodes very well for the future of Euro-Atlantic security.


Article 2 of the North Atlantic Treaty calls on all Allies to contribute to the further development of peaceful and friendly international relations, and to promote conditions of stability and well-being. We are carrying out that mission today—by bringing lasting peace to Kosovo; by encouraging democracy in Serbia; by continuing to help implement the peace in Bosnia; by supporting the development of positive political and economic relations in and around Yugoslavia; by furthering the process of European integration; by bringing NATO’s Partners ever closer to the Alliance; and by ensuring that NATO remains healthy and effective as we prepare to meet the challenges of the future. It is an ambitious agenda—but it is paying off. I am very confident that the century we are entering will be more peaceful, more stable, and more just than the last.


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