Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Other available languages: FR

   Your Excellencies,
   Ladies and Gentlemen,
   I  would  not presume to offer such an illustrious audience as  this  the
   last  word  on  the  new world order of which  President  Bush  spoke  in
   September 1990 when the Gulf Crisis was building up.  Some have spoken of
   the  end of history, as though the new world order was already in  place;
   others  think  this is an illusion and prefer to speak of the  new  world
   disorder.  Both  camps  fail to recognize that devising a new  system  of
   international relations will take a long time, especially after a  forty-
   year ice age.
   The  old world was organized around two forces working for integration  -
   ideology  was one of them and the nuclear deterrent was  the  other.  The
   new  world  is  looking  for  new  approaches  and  new  frameworks.  The
   situation is no longer as clear as it was, now that our options are  wide
   open  again.  But  that should not make us unduly pessimistic, for  in  a
   world that is moving again, however chaotically, there is the prospect of
   a climate of hope that was virtually inconceivable in the Cold War era.
               Growing interdependence - problems and questions
   The  interdependence  of the world's nations  seems  somehow  inevitable,
   though  it must evolve in an orderly fashion;  the reality is there,  but
   we  have  not yet grasped it fully enough to devise  the  principles  and
   rules of the new international game.  Perhaps the simple fact is that  we
   are  at  the beginning of an evolutionary trend.  Well, events  will  not
   wait for us;  we must be ready with our response.
   Talk of the interdependence of our national economies is now commonplace.
   You  know  what I mean - world trade is expanding  rapidly,  faster  than
   production   itself;  financial   markets  are   growing   more   closely
   integrated, thanks to information technology and  deregulation;  business
   strategies  are  devised  in an international  perspective,  with  direct
   foreign  investment  growing at an annual rate of 34% in  the  1980s  and
   international  sales within firms in the same groups representing 40%  of
   all world trade.  Today many economists speak of the transition to a  new
   stage - a quantum leap to a worldwide single market.  There is plenty  of
   evidence of this;  the international credit card in the consumer's wallet
   is particularly symbolic.
   The globalization of difficulties is a no less obvious underlying  trend:
   the frontiers are coming down and we must work together.  We all  realize
   that  the developed world needs the Third World's help with a  number  of
   parameters that rank high on the political agenda - demographic pressure,
   degradation  of the environment, nuclear proliferation and  overarmament,
   the drug trade, organized crime and AIDS are the names of the game.
   The  global dissemination of information means that ideas  can  circulate
   and  public opinion can adopt a common way of thinking to such an  extent
   as to justify talk of a universal conscience.  The oppressors will go  on
   oppressing, of course, the victims of persecution will continue to  flee,
   and  as barriers come down in one place they will spring up  in  another.
   But  it  is more and more difficult to remain  ignorant  or  indifferent;
   hypocrisy  and  impunity are under  attack.  International  apathy  about
   human  rights violations will not be able to hide behind the  pretext  of
   immutable,  inviolable  national  sovereignty much  longer.  In  all  the
   debates going on now, the moral duty to come to the assistance of peoples
   whose very life is threatened is regularly brought to the  fore;  despite
   difficulties of implementation, it might well become a legal duty.
   There  is  a  downside to this relatively optimistic  vision,  one  which
   focuses  on  the  limitations,  the ambiguities,  the  fragility  of  the
   familiar trends which I have just described.
   Limitations not least because economic integration remains primarily  the
   preserve of the Community, the United States and Japan.  These Big  Three
   of  the  international  economy  represent  only  13.5%  of  the  world's
   population,  even if they do account at the moment for two thirds of  its
   output.  For   some   the   alternative  scenario   to   integration   is
   fragmentation;  they  would  refer to that part of the  developing  world
   where  the  demographic change is slow to emerge, where  the  process  of
   economically  catching  up  has ground to  a  halt,  where  revolutionary
   ideologies are far from dead and buried.  At a time when there is so much
   talk  of the "global village" it is surely paradoxical that part  of  the
   southern  world seems almost to be removing itself from history,  closing
   the door, hostile to penetration from outside.
   Limitations  also  to  the birth of what I  have  called  the  "universal
   conscience".  The  information  explosion, the development  of  the  open
   economy, the spread of democracy, do not prevent us taking very different
   roads.  Far  from it.  The upsurge in fundamentalisms provides  the  most
   striking example.
   For the rapid globalization of the economy is also a source of anxiety to
   peoples  keen to strengthen their sense of belonging to communities  with
   which  they identify, on which they have a hold.  In extreme  cases -  so
   much  in evidence - claims and counterclaims can cause  conflict  between
   peoples  who  have  long lived side by side.  And  the  problem  here  is
   serious,  because the right to self-determination is just as important  a
   principle  today  with the throwing-off of the communist yoke as  it  was
   yesterday in the days of decolonization.
   I would add - and I will not go into detail - that economic  integration,
   unless  it  is  backed by a strong political will,  will  not  in  itself
   produce   stronger  international  institutions  or  help  create   world
   government.  This  is  why, although the need for a new  world  order  is
   self-evident,  our  era  is one of trial and error  or,  as  the  harsher
   critics among us would have it, of impotence, inability to take on  world
   If  we  are  to resist the forces  of  fragmentation,  protectionism  and
   exclusion,  we must be more than just aware of  our  interdependence.  We
   must move on and manage it, setting common objectives and applying common
   rules.  Can  the  European  Community, the product of  a  very  different
   context,  born of hostility and incomprehension, provide a blueprint  for
   the creation of this new world order?
                      The European Community contribution
   The Community experiment in interdependence in a common framework without
   being under the domination of any one nation must be the longest-running.
   It has its limitations, but it is a living process and an enriching  one.
   In the context of a new world order it is certainly worth observing, even
   if the principles governing it cannot necessarily be reproduced.
   Let  us  deal  right away with an objection  that  many  have  considered
   significant,  but  which will hardly stand up to  close  examination  any
   longer:  that is the image of Fortress Europe, the European Community  as
   an economic bloc.  Unlike the attempts at regional autarky in the  1930s,
   the European Community has shown for a long time that it is a factor  for
   growth  in  international trade and its  increasing  liberalization.  Our
   trading  partners are gradually being won over to the idea that  regional
   integration  has  a dynamic impact on all, and the European model  is  an
   inspiration  for others - witness the recent agreements concluded by  the
   United States, Canada and Mexico.
   So,  having disposed of that canard, let me come to what seems to me  the
   most  interesting  aspect  for  the  matter  at  issue:  the   principles
   governing  the Community, and their relevance to the establishment  of  a
   new world order.  Thirty-five years after the European Community was  set
   up,  I  believe  it is not too presumptuous to claim that  it  still  has
   something revolutionary about it, that it is something of a  "laboratory"
   for  the  management of interdependence.  What are  these  principles?  I
   would pinpoint four.
   The  first  principle  may seem very remote, given  the  failure  of  the
   collective  memory; that is, exchanges and cooperation  between  peoples.
   At  a  time  when  hatred, or simply ignorance and  fear  of  others,  is
   troubling   that  part  of  Europe  which  has  just  emerged  from   the
   totalitarian nightmare, let us not minimize our gratitude to the men  and
   women  who  gathered  at the Hague Congress in 1948 -  first  among  them
   Sir Winston Churchill -  and  set  their  faces  against  any  notion  of
   revenge, of congenital distrust between peoples.  They rejected the  view
   that "To the victor belong the spoils" - a philosophy which had dominated
   many postwar treaties, in which the germs of the next war are planted  in
   the peace settlement, which seek first to satisfy instincts for power and
   short-term  interests.  The founding fathers of Europe had the wisdom  to
   set  our  countries on a path of solidarity and cooperation  which  would
   seem  to make any return to the old demons impossible.  Our peoples  have
   learned to know each other, to talk to each other and to appreciate  each
   other;  this  is the key to everything.  Naturally, it does not  preclude
   differences of opinion and arguments, but in the final analysis there  is
   a determination to work out positive compromises.
   Second  principle:  the control of economic  interdependence.  There  are
   three  aspects  to  this  in  the  Community.  First  of  all  there   is
   competition,  which  stimulates:  the approach of the single  market,  to
   which firms have reacted well in advance, has revived national  economies
   which  were in relative decline;  mentalities are changing, the stage  is
   set for keener competition, a more open attitude to the outside  world.
   Then  there  is cooperation, which  strengthens:  examples  are  research
   policy, which should be closer to our firms, training and redeployment in
   industries  faced  with  far-reaching  change,  and  the  development  of
   infrastructure  networks.  Finally there is solidarity, which  brings  us
   closer  together:  this is embodied in the policy of economic and  social
   cohesion, which is designed to give each region a real chance and sets us
   on  a  growth  path  which  will  be  beneficial  to   all.  Competition,
   cooperation, solidarity:  these are the three inseparable aspects of  the
   organization  of  Europe,  the  management  of  interdependence  in  this
   continent of ours.  In other words, a positive-sum game.
   Third principle:  the importance of the law, which ensures that the rules
   are  accepted by all the players, so avoiding diktats and the  domination
   of one state over the others.  Each member country, whatever its size  or
   strength,  can  say  its piece and make its contribution  to  the  common
   venture.  The  European Community is a community governed by  law,  where
   the  Court  of  Justice plays an essential role, and  where  one  of  the
   Commission's duties is to see that the rules are observed by  all.  Hence
   the emergence of a political entity which is not easy to classify,  where
   sovereignty   can   be  limited,  shared  or   combined,   depending   on
   circumstances;  and  it is because the rule of law is observed  that  the
   Community can be managed jointly, in confidence and transparency.
   Finally, the fourth principle:  the need for an effective decision-making
   process.  This  is  because,  without strong institutions,  the  will  to
   cooperate is by itself not sufficient:  the institutional set-up must  be
   such  that we are forced to achieve results, i.e. to take  decisions  and
   act.  To  my  mind the authors of the Treaty of Rome made  a  fundamental
   innovation  in  giving the Community a memory enabling it to  act  and  a
   decision-making  system  enabling  it to go beyond the  limits  so  often
   encountered by conventional international organizations.
   But  can  these  four  principles, which make for  the  solidity  of  the
   European Community, be transposed for the construction of a world  order?
   Are they sufficient to make the Community a strong and stable constituent
   part of that order?  These are the two questions I would like to  address
   in conclusion.
   Is  it  possible to draw conclusions from the Community  experiment,  the
   laboratory I talked about earlier, that will help us to build a new world
   order?  My  answer is "Yes, but".  Yes, because in economic and  monetary
   matters the order created is infinitely more stable internally than  what
   went  before.  Yes, because the discipline deriving from common rules  is
   gradually  penetrating  our countries, and that is the sine  qua  non  of
   fruitful cooperation.
   But  the set-up cannot be transposed as it is.  First of all because  the
   differences between levels of development are enormous.  And then because
   civilizations, our conceptions of man, nature, society and even democracy
   itself,  are  very different.  In the Community we have a great  deal  in
   common  on these points.  But this is not true everywhere on our  planet,
   if  only because democracy is still far from being the  ruling  principle
   for everybody.  And finally because giving birth to
   institutions  to which sovereignty is to be transferred and which are  to
   be  given power to manage cooperation and settle disputes is a  slow  and
   arduous process.
   To  convince ourselves of this we have only to think back to the woes  of
   the League of Nations, whose failure so marked Jean Monnet, or to measure
   the progress made in recent years by the United Nations;  but let us  not
   forget  the  obstacles still lying in its path.  Think also of  the  gulf
   between  the hopes that were pinned on the CSCE and its  achievements  to
   date.  There  is  still  a  long way to go to  make  the  United  Nations
   stronger; we should not close our eyes to the difficulties.  Let us  make
   use of our experience, but with modesty and humility.
   The  contribution  that the Community as such can make to the  new  world
   order can, to use an image from the plant world, be considered  something
   of  a  hybrid,  what  is  produced by crossing  a  world  power  with  an
   international organization.  I have been struck by the gradual  emergence
   of the Community in this dual role on the international stage.
   First it is an entity which is gradually equipping itself with the  means
   of  influencing world affairs, commensurate with what unites us  and  the
   essential common interests of the Member States.  I do not doubt that the
   Community  will thus be contributing to a more stable and more  equitable
   world  order,  as is testified by the declarations  which  the  Community
   signed jointly with the United States in 1990 and with Japan in 1991.
   It is also a mediator and arbitrator, when you think of the upheavals  in
   Central  and  Eastern  Europe and the Community's role  in  the  Yugoslav
   conflict  -  our  observers on the spot and our  presence  at  the  peace
   conference today alongside the United Nations in Geneva.  There is also a
   support  function, when you consider the interlinking of the  Community's
   humanitarian aid operations with those of non-governmental  organizations
   and  UN agencies.  This is a new departure which is worth thinking  about
   for  the future, and it raises a new question:  where do the  rights  and
   duties of "interference" start and finish?  The Community is perhaps in a
   better position than others to give an unbiased answer to this question.
   The  conclusion,  Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,  is  that  the
   Community's  contribution  to a new world order is,  like  the  Community
   itself,  something original: a method which will serve as a reference,  a
   body whose presence will be felt.
* * *

Side Bar