The conclusion of the Security Radar 2019: Awakening for Europe panel discussion 30 years since the fall of Berlin wall, citizens of the EU, but also other European countries, still are concerned about current security situation. Discussion moderator, journalist Ljubica Gojgić, pointed out that the citizens of these countries, when asked what they fear the most in the near future, answered they fear war and conflict, as well as that 75% of them is is concerned by the increasingly present international terrorism. The research included Serbia, France, Germany, Latvia, Ukraine, Russia and Poland.
Chief of the Regional Office for Cooperation and Peace in Europe located in Vienna, Reinhard Krumm, considers the fact that “four out of five countries in this research were unsatisfied with their international position” surprising. Krumm described today’s security environment using the analogy with the Isaiah Berlin’s article about a fox and a hedgehog from the 50’s. Thus, he emphasized the need for support to the strategist from the civil society in directing security policy.
Board member of the German Council on Foreign Relations, Karsten Voigt, said this research revealed that Serbia is the country with the most external enemies according to its citizens.
“Germany is currently satisfied with its international position, which hasn’t always been the case. For the first time we consider our closest neighbours, the French, our allies,” he reminded. Voigt thinks that Serbia has its estimate of security threats, but it is questionable whether is it rational or not.
Moreover, he highlighted one of the results of this study showing that the trust in the army is higher than the trust in the parties. He also pointed out that, according to this study, it is believed that organisations such as the EU and the UN will play a bigger role in the future. As the three recommendations for implementation of the political process within the security policy, Voigt stated taking security threats seriously, looking for compromises and respecting international norms.
Diplomat Jelica Kurjak said that she is “surprised by the amount of Europeanism in Russia stated percentagewise in this research, but also that these results should be taken with caution”. In this context, she wonders whether the research was conducted in Moscow’s intellectual circles or further from Moscow in areas such as Ural. Kurjak also mentioned Russia’s own perception of itself as European or Euroasian country and the way the European Union perceives it. Speaking of Serbia, she said that “we suffer the consequences of our own and partly schematic operations by the EU.”
Former diplomat and representative of the EMINS’ Forum for International Relations, Srećko Đurić, thinks that “an era of pacifism has set in, in which citizens think that things can be resolved peacefully by methods of foreign policy and diplomacy”. He took Putin’s 2007 speech as a key moment when security in Europe started to change, stating that citizens now want a new détente and not weapons.
Researcher of the the International and Security Affairs Centre (ISAC) dr Igor Novaković thinks that long term security in Europe depends on all of us, including Russia. He emphasized the importance of this study, saying that it brings internal discourses of countries included closer to us allowing them to create innovative foreign policy approach.
The period following the Cold War has significantly changed security environment in Europe and in wider Euro-Atlantic area. At the same time, globalization processes influenced the evolution of threats and their diversification. This is why there are very important challenges Europe is facing in this moment. This study helped in bringing those challenges closer to the decision makers and civil society and is an awakening call for Europe to take them seriously and work on their resolving in a peaceful way. Force still stays an important instrument of power in international relations which shows us that fears of the citizens of the countries where this research was conducted are partly justified. This is why it’s important to develop mechanisms of foreign policy creation and joint action in order to bring possibilities for conflict outbreak to the lowest possible level.
Research was conducted by Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the event was organised in cooperation with the European Movement in Serbia.