Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, outlined her consultative approach to a common EU foreign and security policy, and the key contribution of civil society to a global strategy.
She did it in a speech delivered yesterday at her first appearance before the EESC. The EU top diplomat, presented an overview of her work on a ‘Global Strategy for European Foreign and Security Policy’, at the request of the European Council. The High Representative must submit this “Global Strategy” to the European Council on 26 June 2016.
Key to this approach is stronger engagement with civil society, young people, and other key stakeholders, within the EU and outside. She did not hide the current and upcoming challenges. She acknowledged the hardships and she sold no illusions.
She raised and articulated some concepts related to the civil society impact on foreign policy and migration I deem worthy of sharing.
Here some takeaways from the EU foreign top diplomat speech.
The High Representative noted the strong ties that organized civil society had in the European region and throughout the rest of the world.
«When we say the European foreign policy, we don’t just refer to the Institutional foreign policy of Europe; We refer also to the common foreign policy that all parts and bodies of our society build and shape. The foreign policy is not shaped only by Institutions but also by civil society organizations, social partners, mayors, local authorities, academia, think tanks, citizens, that give the sense of direction and shape our presence in the world and our foreign policy reputation. You (referring to civil societies players in the room) are part of the European foreign policy community».
The benefits of opening spaces for young generation. Especially in the neighboring countries.
«Young people are facing very difficult political circumstances but they are still keeping their willingness to engage. What is missing today is space for young generations to engage properly in society. We need to look at a space in society. I was very much impressed by the conversation I had with a group of civil society representatives in Tunisia. I was asking them how come a country we take as a reference for the transition, for democracy (after the Arab spring), still is supplying the highest number in percentage of foreign fighters? A very girl told me that “my generation, especially the girls, does not find the space in the organogram when we look at institutions, power sharing and society”. Her generation is more and more looking for a definition of what is their role in society. What they are looking for is sometimes power, in same cases adventures, in other violence. So, if we don’t work together in creating and opening up enough spaces for a Participatory democracy in the countries around us, and also in Europe, we will never do enough regarding education and jobs creation, if we also don’t look at this civil space within societies. The role of civil society is key. Acknowledging on the global stage the potential of trade unions, entrepreneurs and civil societies together has a huge impact to promoting human rights and national reconciliation».
She called for an “upgrade” of the EU’s common instruments and policies to deal with the crisis as national policies were not working.
«The Migrant crisis is not an European crisis. The truth is that people around the world are on the move for different reasons like war, hunger, climate change consequences, conflicts, poverty, access to resources. People are on the move much more then any time before. The point is, inside the European Union we have waited and waited pretending not to see this coming till we realized last year that we have to do something. Now we have the opportunity to shape common European policy and instruments to manage a phenomenon what is not going to disappear. I don’t say it will not disappear anytime soon. It will not disappear full stop. This is the new normal. We have to find ways to share responsibilities internally, find sustainable ways to manage migrants inflows. We need new instruments and new paradigms. Inside Europe, we need to understand in which way we profit from this crisis to upgrade the level of common instruments and policies we can use. We tried national policies so far. I see now a wave of tendencies to try national responses because the European one has not worked. I am afraid that exploring national policies will mean failing individually then trying to succeed collectively. We need to move towards a system of European Asylum, we need to find the European way to manage this phenomenon without illusions».