Toward a Europe Whole and Free
Conclusion and Introduction of Transatlantic Emerging Leaders
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, NATO
James Jones, Chairman, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council
Peter Westmacott, Ambassador, British Embassy to the United States
Federal News Service
DAMON WILSON: Thank you very much. Before we adjourn to the reception, we have an announcement. We have a second part of the program. So we can invite you down off the podium, if you don’t mind, gentlemen, and I’d like to invite – I’d like to turn the stage over to ambassador and minister and Assistant Secretary-General Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. Ambassador Grabar-Kitarović is the assistant secretary-general for public diplomacy at NATO headquarters, but she’s also at the heart of this story that we’ve been telling here about a Europe whole and free. The former foreign minister of Croatia, the former Croatian ambassador to the United States – let me turn the podium to you for an announcement about our NATO future leaders program.
KOLINDA GRABAR-KITAROVIĆ: Thank you, Damon. And what a remarkable day this has been. I commend the Atlantic Council for bringing together such a distinguished group of participants to talk about a Europe whole and free, an exploration of the past and present and a discussion on prospects for the future. It is a real pleasure to be here today on behalf of NATO, and a personal privilege as someone whose life and country have been so profoundly changed by the Euro-Atlantic project.
Twenty years ago, there was a war in my country. There were wars in my neighborhood, in my region, in the heart of Europe. Twenty years ago, there was a serious test of the commitment to the vision of Europe, whole and free, and despite hesitations, despite disagreement over what should be done and who should do it, the decision to act to put an end to that violence, and then to work towards integrating the countries of the region provided a clear answer to that test. A Europe whole, free and at peace is a project worth the investment.
That project is not complete. We heard this afternoon about many of the challenges that remain, but that does not alter the reality that today, Croatia, our neighborhood, and indeed, the whole of the Euro-Atlantic community is better off because of this dedication to our values and the vision of a Europe whole and free. We have heard today what many of us already know: This project is not about Europe alone. Secretary Kerry said this afternoon that our strength will come from our unity.
The success of this vision depends on trans-Atlantic cooperation and a trans-Atlantic commitment to the values that we all share. So I can think of no better venue to call your attention to a very important initiative on this trans-Atlantic relationship and how we can strengthen it for the future.
The secretary-general was here in Washington last month, and he took that opportunity to announce the launch of an alliance-wide debate on the trans-Atlantic bond. In addition to an online discussion that will open next month, and to which I hope you will all contribute, the secretary general asked three working groups to produce recommendation for the alliance in advance of our NATO summit in Wales this September.
These groups will address crucial question on what the trans-Atlantic relationship has meant for our countries and how it needs to involve. They will outline key challenges for the trans-Atlantic community and consider what we are – and whether we are equipped to deal with them. A group of policy experts is led by Dr. Robin Niblett of Chatham House. The parliamentary perspective is provided by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and to capture the views of our future leaders, because this is and will be their alliance, the secretary-general asks the Atlantic Council to recruit a group of promising young professionals to contribute this important work.
You won’t be surprised to learn that they have done a remarkable job drawing together this group. These young leaders are here with us today, and now, I’ll turn to General Jim Jones so he can tell you a bit more about these talented individuals. (Applause.)
GENERAL JAMES JONES: Well, thank you very much. And it is a great pleasure to be here with you. As chair of the Scowcroft Center of the Atlantic Council, I am deeply honored to be able to introduce this distinguished group of emerging leaders. They will be fostering the next generation of leaders critical to the future of NATO and the trans-Atlantic alliance. The Atlantic Council has a long record of convening emerging leaders at NATO summits, and I’ve participated in some of those summits myself, and I can attest to that personally.
Emerging leaders – young people in particular bring fresh ideas and dynamism to the official summits, and these 15 leaders that we’re going to introduce today, from 12 NATO countries, will directly shape policy in Wales by advising our NATO secretary-general on how to strengthen the trans-Atlantic relations.
The delegates were selected based on a rigorous, blind process, featuring hundreds of applicants from across NATO countries. The delegates have a rich background in armed forces, politics, business, civil society and government, and all demonstrated a great capacity for leadership, and also a commitment to trans-Atlantic values and the ability to offer original thoughts and ideas.
So I’m pleased to introduce the 15 delegates of the Atlantic Council’s trans-Atlantic emerging leaders and to say a few words about their accomplishment, and if you would, ladies and gentlemen, come to the stage as I read your name. Our first selectee is Rowinda Appelman from the Netherlands. Rowinda is president of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association, overseeing a network with chapters in 36 NATO member and partner countries.
Second, our next selectee is Tobias Bunde from Germany. Tobias is a policy adviser and speechwriter for Munich security conference chairman Wolfgang Ischinger, known to many people here, and will lead the Munich security conference policy and analysis team starting this July.
Next, Boris Ecker from Slovakia. Boris is the desk officer for the United States at the Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. He worked previously for NATO’s public diplomacy division.
Next, Scott Erwin from the United States. Scott Irwin is an engagement manager with McKinsey & Company; received his doctorate from Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship and previously served as a policy for the U.S. Department of Defense in Iraq.
Next is Lars Hansen from Norway. Lars is presently on leave from the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, working towards his Master’s at the Fletcher School. He has served at the OSCE in Azerbaijan, in Moscow, and is an officer in the Norwegian Army.
Next, Michael Hermann from the United States. Michael is a national security legislative assistant for Congressman James Langevin from Rhode Island, and Democratic staff lead for the cybersecurity caucus.
Next, Gina Marie Jones from the United States. Gina is a strategic planner at the Defense Intelligence Agency. She previously served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force, deploying to Iraq, at Booz Allen Hamilton and with the U.S. African Command.
Next is Joanna Kaminska from Poland. Joanna is an adviser to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament. She advises members of the parliament on the Eastern Partnership and the EU’s relation with eastern neighbors.
Next, Radu Magdin of Romania. Radu leads Smartlink, a strategic communications and public affairs consultancy. He was previously a policy manager at Google, a press officer at the European parliament and a diplomat for the Romanian Foreign Ministry.
Next, Martin Michelot from France. Martin manages the trans-Atlantic security task force at the German Marshall Fund in Paris. He was previously a research assistant for the Brookings Institution and a parliamentary aide at the French National Assembly.
Next, Sergio Ortiz Martin from Spain. Sergio played a key role as project manager in launching the first youth Mediterranean dialogue this month and serves as an assistant to the director for the Jean Monnet Center at Rey Juan Carlos University.
Next, Marta Rzechowka is from Canada. Marta served as a regional analyst for the Canadian Armed Forces, where she holds the rank of captain. She previously deployed to Afghanistan as a senior national representative to the NATO Special Operations Component Command Afghanistan.
Next, Mark Simakovsky of the United States. Mark is the Russia country director for the office of the deputy assistant secretary for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia at the Pentagon. He has also served as a national security fellow in the office of Senator Warner and is a Fulbright scholar in Georgia.
Next, Emre Tuncalp from Turkey. Emre is the managing direct at Sidar Global Advisors, a risk advisory firm. He previously worked at the German Marshall Fund and in Brussels with the Center for European Policy Studies.
And finally, Claire Yorke of the United Kingdom. Claire is a Master’s in philosophy Ph.D candidate at King’s College; she was previously the program manager at Chatham House international security team and is a parliamentary researcher for Nick Harvey (sp). Please join me in congratulating all of these wonderful people. Congratulations. (Applause.)
And if you’ll excuse me, we’re going to take a group picture here, and then I’m going to have the pleasure of introducing Ambassador Westmacott. Thank you.
GEN. JONES: And now it’s my pleasure to introduce Ambassador Peter Westmacott from Great Britain. Mr. Ambassador?
AMBASSADOR PETER WESTMACOTT: Thank you very much, Jim. We’re getting towards the end of a long day, so I’m not going to be very long. I just would like to take this opportunity of saying a few words.
First of all, thank you very much, Fred, Atlantic Council colleagues. This is a wonderful organization which is at the vanguard of promoting the trans-Atlantic relationship, and we’ve been working together on a bunch of different things – the United Kingdom government –with the council, including on the trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which is close to many of our hearts. And you only have to look at the program today just to see how extraordinarily respected and impressive the Council is.
The conference that we’re attending is looking towards Europe Whole and Free, and the U.K. has long been a supporter of Euro-Atlantic integration as dynamic agents of change. Margaret Thatcher, my former prime minister, incidentally, who was the last British prime minister to host a NATO summit, said in her famous Bruges speech in 1988, at a time when it was not fashionable or even believable to do so, that it was important for everyone to remember that Prague, Warsaw and Budapest were also great European cities.
The European Union and NATO enlargement that we have seen since then has helped to entrench democracy, the rule of law, human rights and security in parts of our continent where those values and traditions were crushed for much of the 20th century. And it’s our hope that it will continue to foster stability and prosperity in the neighborhood, including, for example, in Turkey, where I had the fortune – good fortune to be ambassador a few years ago.
Events in Ukraine, as others much more distinguished than I have been saying today, have highlighted the challenge that we face in achieving this ambition. And as my boss, William Hague, said in the British Parliament just yesterday, Russia’s actions in Ukraine betray their fear of democracy and the rule of law taking root in the neighborhood. These are not the actions of a strong and confident country, but of a defensive and insecure nation that’s unsure of its own future as well as being in breach of international agreements and the U.N. Charter, to which it is a party.
Russia invaded and annexed Crimea by force on the back of a sham referendum. It has used proxies, military exercises and bare-faced lies to foment instability and disorder aimed at disrupting the democratic process. We’ve got to show that these actions come at a cost, which is why the European Union and the United States have moved forward in the last few days with a further round of sanctions, why the United Kingdom is calling for further names to be added to the lists and why we are pushing for the preparation for a third tier of sanctions involving far-reaching trade and economic measures.
These actions by Russia are, in our view, the most serious threat to European security we have yet seen in the 21st century, and they remind us of the fundamental purpose of NATO: to be the cornerstone of our security and a central trans-Atlantic bond and the guarantee of our collective defense.
They have set the new strategic context for the summit, which the United Kingdom is proud to be hosting in Wales in September. No one is questioning anymore what NATO is for. We’ve got to use that summit in September to ensure that we in NATO are investing in our defense, developing the right capabilities, spending enough on our security and actively building the security of Europe and our allies further afield.
We’ve also got to keep in mind that the summit presents an opportunity for NATO to prepare for the future. As General Jim Jones was saying, fostering the next generation of leaders is critical for ensuring the long-term strength of the alliance. I’m honored to be speaking just after the distinguished group of emerging leaders was introduced. Glad to see that one of them was from the United Kingdom. (Laughter.) And I am very pleased to announce that the United Kingdom has invited the Atlantic Council to join us in hosting a future leaders event at the Wales summit in September.
This event will be held at Celtic Manor, where the summit will be taking place itself. And I’m also glad to make one other announcement, which is that a week later, we will be honoring the wounded warriors – 300 of them, from 13 different countries which have taken casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, at the inaugural Invictus Games, which will be holding at the stadium we built for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. It’ll be a wonderful opportunity for Britain, America and many of our other allies to renew our commitment to fighting men and women – many of them now injured and disabled – just as we renew our commitment to the alliance, inspired by Prince Harry and his experience of attending the warrior games in Colorado Springs last year.
Thank you for listening; thank you for your attention. Congratulations to the emerging leaders, and we are delighted to be taking our part at the NATO summit in ensuring that emerging leaders remain a permanent feature of the future of the alliance. It’s been a long day; there’s Welsh cheese, biscuits and whiskey – (laughter) – at the reception that awaits us to give you a foretaste of what a wonderful time the alliance will have in South Wales in September. Thank you very much.