The European Union will move a step forward in its campaign to curb piracy in the Gulf of Aden by dispatching a team of advisers to train Somali security forces to protect shipping in the region, EU foreign ministers said after a council meeting in Brussels on July 27.

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Hosted at the Embassy of Finland, this meeting was convened on the 10th Anniversary of the European Union’s Common Strategy on Russia and in anticipation of the upcoming EU-Russia Summit in May and the U.S.-Russia Summit in July, and included a review of Finland’s recently-released Action Plan for Russia. As both Europe and the United States ramp up diplomatic efforts, the pivotal implications of Russia’s economic, energy and security policies have spurred the need for a more coordinated and complimentary transatlantic approach. Participants included His Excellency Pekka Lintu, Ambassador of Finland to the United States; Maimo Henriksson, Director of the Unit for Russia at Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Hiski Haukkala, Special Advisor for the Unit of Policy Planning and Research at Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Luc Véron, Minister-Counselor and Head of the Political and Development Section for the Delegation of the European Commission; and Samuel Charap, Fellow for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress and Visiting Fellow for the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The seminar focused on how France, Sweden, Finland and Austria envisage their future cooperation with NATO in the new strategic framework. Although not members, these countries have made significant contributions to NATO operations and have developed partnerships with the alliance; however, except for France, they do not plan to join NATO in the near future. Col. Jean-Baptiste Minjoulat-Rey, Military Attaché, Embassy of France outlined France’s position, saying that France plans to contribute both to EU defense and to NATO. Brig. Gen. Peter Resch, Defense, Military, Naval and Air Attaché, Embassy of Austria foresees NATO promoting common standards and procedures not only to NATO members but also to states prepared to deal with NATO. Capt. Jaakko Savisaari, Defense, Military, Naval and Air Attaché, Embassy of Finland, emphasized that Finland’s policy for the future will be to maintain an independent credible national defense; and to be as close to NATO as possible without being a member. Antonella Cerasino, Head of the Countries Section, noted that as NATO’s faces new challenges, partnerships will be central in the new strategic concept. There will be revisions on how NATO and its partners can work more closely together, how to involve in the decision-making process non-member countries that contribute to operations and need to have a say. The meeting concluded with presentations by H.E. Jonas Hafström, Ambassador of Sweden and Kurt Volker, U.S. Ambassador to NATO. Amb. Hafström outlined Swedish foreign and security policy, its relations with NATO, and its role in the EU. Amb. Volker discussed NATO’s current concerns and the top five tasks it must tackle over the next couple of years. These are: Rebuild a sense that the US and Europe form a single community, getting Afghanistan on track, agreeing about the issues of Russia and Eastern Europe, finishing the job in the Balkans, and getting NATO to focus on the challenges of the future. The meeting was chaired by Ambassador Robert Hunter, Senior Advisor, RAND Corporation and former U.S. Ambassador to NATO.

 

Clear indications are emerging about a radical shift in the Obama administration that intends to make a change in U.S. strategy dealing with global stability.

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Europe risks losing political, military, and economic importance in a multi-polar world that will emerge over the next two decades. That view emerges in “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World” a report issued by the National Intelligence Council.

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