14 January, 2007
UEF International Workshop on International Crisis Management
On 12 and 13 January 2006, in Vienna, UEF supranational and the Austrian Study-Centre for peace and Conflict Resolution organised an International Workshop on "The role of the EU in Civilian Crisis management". Gathering over 12 participants from all member states, EU institutions and crisis management NGOs, this public conference allowed experts in the field to review the EU's contribution to peace and stability in crisis-affected areas across the world.

This event is part of the UEF's on-going effort to provide public forums where members of the audience and experts can come together to concretely discuss specific aspects of European Affairs.

The Vienna conference falls within a series of such expert's workshops, aiming to better define the political structures and practical needs of Europe's work in crisis management.

Friedhelm Frischenschlager, UEF Secretary-General and former Austrian Federal Defense Minister, who moderated the opening and closing sessions of the workshops explained:

"Crisis management is the logical consequence of the growing interdependence in global security. The European Union is an international economic force, but it is generally politically weak. Nevertheless, the EU has been extending its activities beyond its ammediate borders - in Aceh, performing relief work and civilian crisis management, policing borders in the Middle East, and providing civilian and military crisis management in Congo and the Darfur. (...) What is needed now is a detailed assessment of what must be done to fulfil our crisis management aims and identify the tools and the organisational structures available to us. For example, we have to learn from successful cooperation between civilian and military crisis management in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). There must also be close cooperation between the different pillars of competence in the EU: The council, the Commission, and even the Parliament. We need to set up firmly the basic preconditions for the European Union to be an effective player on an international level."

The participants  included representatives of the 25 EU member states, the European Commission, the Council Secretariat, the Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management (CivCom) as well as members of the European Parliament and of the European NGOs working in the field of Conflict Prevention participated in the panels and working groups.

Martti AHTISAARI, former President of the Republic of Finland and current President of the Crisis Management Initiative, and Karl VON WOGAU, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence of the European Parliament, were be amongst the high-ranking personalities addressing the workshop. Others of note included: Philipp AGATHONOS, EU Civilian Crisis Management Committee; Gen. Sauro BAITROCCHI, EU Military Committee; Lars-Erik  LUNDIN, European Commission; Pedro SERRANO, Council Secretariat; and Roland ZINZIUS, Civil-Military Cell.

The conference split up into four working groups, on the following subjects:

    * Training requirements for civilian crisis management
    * Recruitment and mission needs
    * Procurement and financing
    * Adapting national institutions and procedures to increased demand for civilian crisis management

The conclusions reached in the workshop were clear. There is a definite need for a European role in international crisis management. This is not only a military necessity, there is also a need for a strong civilian role. It is therefore equally important to create the political will to intervene in crisis management. This needs to be backed up by greater, integrated training, procurement and financing structures. In all matters of crisis management, cooperation with the UN, OSCE and others on the ground is of paramount importance for successful crisis management.


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