Security challenges demand better EU co-operation, says Mimica

26 Jan 16

The security and stability challenges the European Union faces require closer, better coordinated collective action, according to the commissioner for international cooperation and development.


Neven Mimica. Credit: European Parliament

Neven Mimica. Credit: European Parliament


In a keynote address to delegates at the UK’s Overseas Development Institute today, Neven Mimica said tackling complex threats and development challenges will need enhanced cooperation within the EU and between the bloc and the countries and organisations it works with.

“Promoting peace and security is an area where the EU should be a global leader. The added value of collective action seems obvious and much needed in today’s world, however too often the EU has difficulty to arrive at a strong collective effort and impact,” he stated.

There is “no golden bullet”, he continued, but to be more effective the EU bloc needs to “work better together and in a more strategic way” and be more “comprehensive and holistic”, pooling all available resources.

Other challenges Mimica posed to the EU included making its collective instruments more refined and coherent and improving evidence and data collection and analysis to understand and address the root causes of instability and the results of projects.

Simon Maxwell, a fellow panellist at the event and senior research associate at the ODI and chair of the European Think Tank Group, added that, in the context of Britain’s potential exist from the EU and tensions within the bloc sparked by the migration crisis, Mimica’s comments are all the more pertinent.

He warned against actions such as suspending the Schengen agreement which relaxes border controls in participating countries, which he said would only deepen the crisis. Maxwell called for Europe to speak with a single voice. “Collective action is the only possible solution to the problem,” he said.

Beverley Warmington, director of conflict, humanitarian and security at the UK’s Department for International Development, echoed Mimica’s calls for greater cooperation, EU-wide effort and evidence collection in order for Europe to play its role as a driving force of global peace.

Another key challenge in working towards global peace and security will be securing better and more predictable finance, she added.

“Going around with a begging bowl every time something bad happens is not an acceptable way for financing in the modern world,” she stated.

Anthony Smith, CEO of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, highlighted the relative lack of attention given to unaccountable and undemocratic institutions as a root cause of instability.

Development doesn’t automatically result in democracy, he noted, and called for a greater focus on the problems in political systems and institutions in troubled countries. 

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