On 12-13 January 2006, the Union of European Federalists-supranational (UEF) and the Austrian Study-Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution organised an international workshop on “The Role of the EU in Civilian Crisis Management”, in Vienna. The purpose of this workshop was to discuss and bring to light this successful domain of EU policy.
The conference brought 120 participants from all EU member states together with renowned experts in order to discuss the EU’s contribution to civil crisis management. “Until now, EU operations have been successful, and the demand for EU presence and EU action is increasing” explained Martti AHTISAARI, former President of Finland and current President of the Crisis Management Initiative.
The Vienna conference reached two overarching conclusions:
First, the EU is needed as a crisis manager, and it should be allowed to act more freely and efficiently. Friedhelm Frischenschlager, UEF Secretary-General and former Austrian Minister of Defence, explains: “There must be close cooperation between the different pillars of competence in the EU: the Council, the Commission, and even the Parliament. We need to clarify the basic preconditions needed to allow the European Union to be an effective player on an international level.”
Second, there is a paradox between an increasing popularity of the European Union abroad as a crisis manager and its decreasing popularity with European citizens at home. 77% of European citizens support the EU’s role as a crisis manager even in today’s climate of distrust towards the EU’s capacity to act swiftly and efficiently. Johannes Kryle, from the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explained that it was such misconceptions that the Austrian Presidency of the European Council sought to address in order to rebuild citizens’ trust in European politics.
Contacts: Friedhelm Frischenschlager, UEF Secretary-General, Tel. +32-2 508 30 32
Note to editors
The UEF, founded in 1946, is an independent and non-governmental European organisation, campaigning for a federal Europe. Since April 2005, it is presided over by Mrs. Mercedes BRESSO, President of the Italian Region of Piedmont, Member of the EU Committee of the Regions.