Minister Cowen Says that “Culture of Prevention” Should be at the Heart of the EU's Approach
1. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Brian Cowen T.D. in a statement to-day to a Regional EU Conference on Conflict Prevention in Helsingborg, Sweden, stressed that the fostering of a “culture of prevention” should be at the heart of the EU's approach. He also underlined the central importance of Conflict Prevention as we approach the first anniversary of the terrible attacks perpetrated against the United States and its people.
The Minister said “the challenge that faces us, and one which is particularly important in the context of seeking to prevent conflict, is to show respect for diversity and differing cultural outlooks, while at the same time continuing to assert the universality of the fundamental values which bind us all.”
2. Conflict Prevention is a central element of the European Union's approach and is an important aspect of the day to day business of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy. The Union has a large and well stocked Conflict Prevention tool box at its disposal. This incorporates humanitarian, diplomatic, economic, development and other foreign policy instruments, including the European Security and Defence Policy.
3. What in practical terms is needed is an enhanced resource base to better assist European Union Presidencies in carrying forward Conflict Prevention priorities. In his statement, the Minister proposed that “ a specific inventory or catalogue of Conflict Prevention tools and resources should be drawn up so as to provide a clear picture of the facilities and experiences EU Member States, the Commission and the Council Secretariat can apply in the service of Conflict Prevention. This should help to ensure coherence of Conflict Prevention efforts across all areas of Union business.”
4. The full text of the Minister's statement is available on this website.
Note for Editors
This Conference in Helsingborg on 29/30 August 2002 is being organised by the Swedish Foreign Ministry. It fulfils a commitment contained in the EU Programme for the Prevention of Violent Conflicts. which was endorsed by the EU during the Swedish Presidency in the first six months of 2001. Ireland actively supported this Programme. Its objectives include the statement that the development of the European Security and Defence Policy has, since the outset, also been intended to strengthen the EU's capacity for action in the crucial field of Conflict Prevention.
The Conference is also taking place in the context of ongoing high-level dialogue between the UN and regional organisations. Minister Cowen was invited to speak during the first Conference session on the theme of “Common Values”. Subsequent sessions will cover “Common Action” and “Common Commitment”.
As well as Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh and other European Foreign Ministers, senior representatives of several international organisations (including the UN, OSCE and NATO) and senior representatives of several non-governmental organisations (International Committee of the Red Cross, ‘International Alert', ‘International Crisis Group') will also be in attendance.Top