- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 9 Oct 1991, p. 147-155
- Elleman-Jensen, The Hon. Uffe, Speaker
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- Item Type
- A description of the impact of the present and future integration in Europe. Some background history going back to the Second World War. How the European Community was formed. Emphasis over the last 40 years in the EC on developing economic and commercial cooperation between member states. Political issues dealt with otherwise (bilaterally, the UN, NATO, etc.). How the single market evolved, the creation of the European Economic Area (EEA), negotiations for further integration, recent developments in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, the political will of the Community. The need for further integration of the EC. Three great tasks facing the Community now. Transatlantic relations. The Community's interest in keeping their market open. Ongoing negotiations in the Uruguay Round of GATT. The concept of a European Energy Charter. NATO's contribution to military and political stability in the new Europe. The CSCE (The Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe) and security matters. The importance of the CSCE. The positive future for all of us with an integrated Europe.
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- 9 Oct 1991
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- The Hon. Uffe Elleman-Jensen Foreign Minister, Kingdom of Denmark
EUROPEAN INTEGRATION AND RELATIONS WITH NORTH AMERICA
Introduction: John F. Bankes
President, The Empire Club of Canada
Hans Christian Andersen, the 19th century Danish author of such favourite fairy tales as The Emperor's New Clothes, The Princess on the Pea and The Little Match Girl, has been translated into scores of languages and read by children and adults throughout the world.
He also wrote poetry, and used his poetry as a vehicle for expressing his praise and declaring his love for his homeland. One example:
In Denmark I was born, 'tis there my home is, From there my roots, and there my world extend. You Danish Tongue, as soft as Mother's voice is, With you my heartbeats O so sweetly blend.
Andersen wrote further of the bracing Danish beaches, of the green islands and of Jutland--the head of land separating the Baltic from the North Sea. In short, Andersen's picture of Denmark is a strongly varied land, both from a geographical and scenic point of view.
The Empire Club is greatly honoured to have as its speaker today Mr. Uffe Elleman-Jensen, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark. Mr. Elleman-Jensen has devoted his career--as a journalist, politician and statesman--to furthering the interests of Denmark as a nation and as a participant in the European Community. The topic of his remarks today is European Integration and Relations with North America.
There are fewer than 600 days to go before January 1, 1993, when the single European market is supposed to be ready. Some journalists point out that Project 1992 is falling behind schedule. Worse, they claim a backlash against 1992 is growing as old suspicions continue to simmer. The interlude of "Europhoria," which replaced the fear of "Eurosclerosis" of the mid 1980s, has given way to another bout of rival jousting.
The current debate centres on such issues as:
• "Widening" (admitting more members) versus "deepening" (building stronger institutions);
• Monetary union and political union--to be resolved in less than three months' time at a summit in Maastricht;
• Foreign policy and defence, and especially over the powers of the European Parliament;
• Recognition of the independence of Slovenia and Croatia. These disputes will surely be settled. Tough fights and last-minute agreement are typical of the European Community. My impression--as an outsider--is that a momentous push to acknowledge the benefits of integration can again counter the shove of irrepressible national egoism if all politicians involved stand back and take a deep breath.
President Mitterand has commented that the architecture of Europe is changing. In Canada, we want to know more about the nature of the architecture, and whether the doorways are open to us.
Canadians appear to be of two minds on European unity: supportive yet wary of losing influence. Surely, now is the time for clear support. A level playing field where individual talent, effort and competitive advantage lead to victory is a clear improvement on an inclined pitch with moving goalposts, a biased referee and an opposing team full of steroids.
Canada also stands to benefit from closely analyzing the European experience. In revising Canada's own internal formula for joint federal-provincial approval of laws governing economic union, important lessons can be learned from studying the EC model, thereby improving Canada's chances for success.
Uffe Elleman-Jensen brings considerable experience and expertise to these issues. His commitment to a single European market is well-known, and was recognized in 1987 when he was awarded the Robert Schuman Prize, named for the French statesman who played such a critical role in the creation of the European Common Market.
In addition to being Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Denmark, Mr. Elleman-Jensen is the leader of that country's Liberal Party, a key partner in Denmark's coalition government. Just recently he played a major role in the restructuring of Eastern Europe, when Denmark became the first country to grant official recognition to the Baltic States.
An economist, journalist, and author of six books on economics and politics, Mr. Elleman-Jensen has experience as a keen observer as well as an inside player in the evolution of the new Europe.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Uffe Elleman-Jensen.
Distinguished members of The Empire Club. Ladies and gentlemen.
The official visit to Canada by Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark marks the long, historic links between our two countries. During the coming seven days Queen Margrethe II will travel through your beautiful country and see places that all Danes have dreamed of; quite a few have made it their home.
I have looked forward to being here today and to sharing with you some thoughts on the changes taking place in Europe and the relationship to North America.
World attention is once again on the European scene, on this old continent which all too often during the course of history has been the site of endless wars and power struggles.
To describe the full impact of the present and future integration in Europe, we need to go back to just after The Second World War.
Devastated from the crippling war, Europe was soon divided. Eastern Europe became a part of the Soviet Empire, suppressed by a totalitarian dictatorship that forced most of the fundamental values of European civilization under cover in all its countries and regions. It also suppressed many of the regional and ethnic problems for which we may now have to find solutions.
In contrast, most of the West European countries again introduced the rule of law, democratically elected parliaments and respect for the rights of the individual. In other words, all the fundamental values that we find self-evident in our societies of the free Western world.
But at the same time something uniquely new also happened in our part of Europe. In some of the hardest hit countries a group of visionary people with different political affiliations produced a revolutionary new concept. The idea was to transfer these fundamental values into international relations among a group of countries. The wish was to move away from a divided Europe characterized by the law of the jungle, where power had been more important than the rule of law. Away from international relations, that had the sole defensive purpose of securing civilized contacts between potential enemies, which all too often had ended in armed struggle in the past.
Out of this aspiration the European Community was formed. This is the core element of European integration. For some 40 years the emphasis in the EC was put into developing economic and commercial co-operation between its member states.
This was mainly due to the fact that political issues, dominated as they were by security aspects, were dealt with bilaterally or in other forums like the UN, in NATO and, since the mid '70s, as a part of the CSCE-process.
As a matter of fact, political cooperation was not included at all in the EC when it was founded in the late '50s. The fathers of the Rome-treaty were confident that to create a viable common market it would be sufficient to remove the barriers to trade, barriers consisting mainly of quotas and tariffs.
But as the ordinary barriers were removed, the member states invented new mechanisms to protect what they considered national economic interests in the form of new technical barriers such as specific standards for the sale of, goods in their respective markets.
Thus the true benefits of the common market were not exploited. Only later, with the threat in the early '80s of being completely overrun by Japanese and American high technology products at more competitive prices, did the Community take serious steps to create a fully integrated single market.
With the so-called Single Act, amendments to the Rome treaty were adopted in 1985. At the same time, the informal political co-operation between the member states was being formalized and given its own secretariat.
Within the Community there has been overwhelming support for having the Single Market in operation by the end of 1992. Countries outside the Community have been drawn towards the commercial potential of this single market with its 320 million consumers. Negotiations were started with the EFTA countries to create a European Economic Area (EEA), associating these countries with the benefits of the Single Market.
The success of all this has led to new negotiations within the Community to further its integration with a political union and an economic and monetary union. The former will introduce a more flexible decision making process including also the political co-operation. The latter deals with introducing a common monetary policy. At the outset most of these issues were felt somewhat academic.
The recent developments in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have completely changed that picture. Each day requests from these countries for support of various kinds are received in Brussels.
In the Community there is a political will to comply with most of these requests, but the proper procedure for making speedy decisions is not in place. But the need for further integration of the EC now has become obvious. The role of the Community in the attempt to solve the Yugoslav tragedy has likewise illustrated what changes we need to make political co-operation effective.
In this sense the challenge of solving the enormous problems facing the reforming countries in Eastern Europe is not a threat to further integration within the Community. On the contrary, the challenge has become a catalyst.
It is too early to say how the integration in Europe as a whole will be shaped. It will have to be worked out in an open dialogue with all interested parties. But there is little doubt that the Community is being looked to play a centre role in this process.
Hence three great tasks are facing the Community. The first is to maintain the momentum in the internal integration. The second task is to carry active responsibility for the economic and democratic transition in the countries and areas bordering the Western part of Europe. We will hopefully not be alone in this task, but together with OECD countries, including Canada, in the so-called G24 co-ordinated actions. The third task is to prepare for the expansion of the Community to include a considerable number of other European countries.
But where does all of this leave our mutual Transatlantic relations?
It is important to stress that the European integration will not lead to a self-absorbed Europe--a Fortress Europe. How can one imagine that an association like the EC--a strong believer in an open market economy--would pull down the trade barriers internally, only to erect them to the outside world? One must realize that the Community has an interest in keeping its own market open to other countries, to the extent that the Community and its member states would like to have access to markets outside the Community. We need to extend our Transatlantic commercial links.
The ongoing negotiations to finalize the so-called Uruguay Round in the context of GATT is very important in securing the future openness of the world trade to the benefit of all. Denmark, together with the EC, supports a comprehensive, global solution on the Round as soon as possible, preferably by the end of the year. Admittedly important issues still have to be solved. If the political will is there, I know a solution will be found. The sincerity of the EC is there. We also owe it to the former state trading countries now reforming to market economies to provide a prosperous future for their endeavours.
Right now the concept of a European Energy Charter is being negotiated. It is hoped that Canada, together with other non-European OECD countries, will take an active part in these negotiations and in the future co-operation to optimize energy resources in Europe to support the ongoing reform process.
We still think NATO has an important contribution to make towards military and political stability in the new Europe. International developments during the past two years, however, have made us Europeans increasingly aware that, as an essential contribution to a reinforced transatlantic solidarity, we will probably have to take a greater share of responsibility for our common security.
At the NATO meeting of Foreign Ministers in Copenhagen earlier this year we established a good basis for working out an organic relationship between NATO and a European security and defence identity.
A strong and further integrated European Community will enable us to contribute to the shaping of the future European order and to take our share of responsibility together with our friends and allies. The establishment of a common foreign and security policy will give added responsibility to us Europeans and strengthen our role in security policy.
We thus look forward to the NATO Summit in Rome in November and the European Council in Maastricht in December where the basis for future European security structures hopefully can be established.
The CSCE (The Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe), in which Canada and the U.S. are participating, and its new institutions are increasingly dealing with security matters. The newly established crisis mechanism of the CSCE was called upon at an early stage when problems arose in Yugoslavia. However, the membership of Yugoslavia and of the Soviet Union turned out to be an impediment to the peace efforts of this organization, and the mediating role was turned over to the EC. Both the United States and the Soviet Union chose the sidelines.
The importance of the CSCE should, however, not be underestimated. After all, the Helsinki Final Document from 1975 has been of vital importance in turning around the attitude to human rights violations under the Marxist regimes in the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries. Further, the CSCE has been the forum for important conventional arms control accords in Europe. But an organization must necessarily expect difficulties when it is called upon to solve a crisis involving one of its members.
To conclude, let me state that we certainly are at a crossroads in the history of Europe. The EC has matured. Economically it is taking its place, side by side, with economic heavyweights like Japan and the U.S. Politically, the EC is undertaking an increasingly important role on the European scene.
Europe has grown and will increasingly take its fate and future into its own hands. And although some local conflicts may still lead to violence, the future integration will give the old continent a real chance of setting herself on the path to peace, freedom and prosperity.
The integration of Europe is a path paved with the final victory of the noble ideals of the rule of law, democracy and freedom for the individual. The path may sometimes be narrow, sometimes even rough. I quote Winston Churchill: "The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult."
The integration of Europe will need the support of our friends and partners and will make not only Europe flourish, but our friends and partners as well.
Therefore, in my view, the European integration can only lead to one thing: "We're all gonna' win!"
The appreciation of the meeting was expressed by The Reverend Canon Harold Roberts, Minister, St. Timothy's Church, Agincourt, and immediate Past President of The Empire Club of Canada.