ATHENS – The year 2009 has been one of great change, taking place amidst even greater uncertainty. Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the resilience of the post-Cold War security system in Europe is being tested. Longstanding conflicts remain unresolved and complex new challenges are emerging. Energy security, organized crime, terrorism, absolutism and fundamentalism, climate change, and cybercrime are acute concerns for every country.
The economic crisis has left many people far less prosperous, and perhaps less inclined to be ambitious in our efforts to address Europe’s security challenges. But we must also keep in mind that crisis brings with it opportunities for change.
This year has also seen a number of positive developments, including a “reset” in relations between two key players in the European security dialogue: Russia and the United States. The European Union has recently taken important steps towards greater cohesion and unity with the appointment of a President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs.
We should celebrate these achievements even as we recognize that serious problems remain to be resolved. There are different perspectives on how Europe’s security architecture should be designed, but we all agree on the urgent need to tackle this critical challenge through constructive dialogue.