I am delighted to be here today. And as a woman, it is a special pleasure to see so many women in the audience.
Mr Vice President, it is a special pleasure to listen to you and to reflect on what has happened from what we call the Obama-Biden 1 administration and the challenges you have identified four years ago. My proposition would be that the challenges that we face in what we call security grow, change and develop and are no less real today and probably more diverse. When I think of security challenges, I think of cyber security, I think of terrorism, I think of military aspects, of climate change and I think of many other ways in which the security of the citizens of Europe, the US and the world can be challenged by events and by situations.
I am also reminded this week of how we can watch situations deteriorate in a world of 24 hour media, when we have the capacity to be connected. It is nonetheless a fact that some things can change very rapidly and demand that we act very quickly. And those responses need to also be calibrated and coordinated and to fit in to a spectrum - what I think is extremely important to remember is something again you mentioned, Vice President Biden, and I passionately believe in, which is a comprehensive approach. There is the immediate response, there are short term responses that need to be put in place, and there are long term challenges that need to be faced and to be dealt with and those require the sort of collaboration and partnership that the transatlantic partnership has so often demonstrated but which also engages with many others across the world.
I also recognize that in a changing world we are faced with economic challenges that require us to get smarter about what we do, and smarter about how we do it. We have to use our resources differently, more effectively and we have to pull them together and work together. Going it alone is an unlikely proposition in this era.
I want to give just a few examples of what I mean. This week in Brussels, 27 Foreign Ministers under my chairmanship met and with us was the President of Somalia. When I went to Magadishu last August it was by no means clear that that would be an outcome that I could have looked forward to. The President of Somalia came to thank Europe for 20 years of engagement with the people of Somalia and the promise of many more. We have put in place a whole system of how we operate, of how we support that country, into its future. That is for me what the purpose of the Lisbon treaty and the creation of this role was all about. Missions that helped to prevent piracy. The Atalanta Mission, working closely with operation Ocean Shield and with many countries across the world. Piracy has been reduced by 95% over the last few years. Missions to train over 3000 Somalian soldiers so that they are capable of providing security for their own people, of not just reducing the capacity of Al-Shabaab to operate but ensuring that they are driving them away; and to ensure that the countries of the region have the right kind of maritime security of their own; that they can control their own shores; and ensure the scourge of piracy is got rid of.
But is also about, as the President described, each community having a school, having a well, having a health centre, having a police station, having the capacity to provide economic activity for the many young boys, of 14 and 15, who found the life at sea as a pirate a better option than the option that was provided for them on the land. A dramatic change was needed, a dramatic transformation, the building of institutions, the rule of law, the judiciary, the capacity of a government to move beyond Mogadishu to take control and to offer a new beginning for the people of the country.
It is a comprehensive approach and the first people that will tell you that is so necessary are the military. The military who go off on the front line on behalf of citizens, of nations, and of the world ; who are willing to put themselves in that situation. They are the first to tell you need much much more.
And with our partners now in Mali. The support for the French action, the immediacy that was needed, the collaboration of other countries of the European Union. Some of them were mentioned last night, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany and others. Coordination now runs through a clearing house in the European Union, coordination to ensure that we put the missions on the ground that are going to ensure the Malian army can act itself, and in support of African forces and in support of the roadmap that will take Mali forward not just militarily but politically, in support of the people of the north and in support of democracy.
These are the important ways in which we have to learn to act and to put in place comprehensive approaches. Without them, any single action will be less than it can be and risks being an action that must be repeated. In that collaboration, the Transatlantic partnership is of enormous and strategic importance. I was very privileged to spend a lot of time and a lot of travelling time with Secretary Clinton whom I wish well in whatever career she chooses next and I look forward very much to work with Secretary of State John Kerry.
In our work, we have travelled to the Western Balkans in support of the Pristina/Belgrade dialogue and I want to pay tribute to the bravery of those in Pristina and Belgrade who have put aside history to come together. I want to say to all of you that these next two weeks are going to be crucial.
We need all of you to support what the politicians are going to do in support of a lasting peace in the Middle East, in our work to support countries that are going through dramatic change where they need not just political support but economic support. In our work together with the Ukraine, in putting pressure on Belarus, in looking to help Afghanistan not just in 2014 but in many years to come, and in collaborating in Asia.
These are fundamental ways in which Europe and the US work together and will need to work together into the future. But the EU's collaboration is with the US and many others. With Russia in our neighbourhood, Sergei and I have talked about the challenges of how we support the processes to unfreeze what we call frozen conflicts, some of which seem frankly rather hot to me. How we work in the partnership for modernisation together to build economic links between our economies, our people, how we deal with the challenges of our neighbourhood, how we ensure that as we live in the same land that we have the best possible relationships and that we work together to find the best solutions.
The European Union is working too with NATO. We ensure through the EDA that we are able to make sure that our pooling and sharing work is consistent and works well with smart defence. How we ensure that we learn the lessons of past conflicts and ensure that we have the capabilities of the future. We have much more to do but it is a journey nonetheless that we need to be on. And ensuring that we collaborate in the best way possible with Strategic Partners across the world.
With Brazil, with India, with China: in-depth dialogues.
But also how we work when we look to institutions like the United Nations. How the voices of the international community come together, and how we ensure through our work with the Arab League, with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, how we work with the African Union to ensure the strength of our commitment in support of the changes and developments in different parts of the world.
So my proposition is that we have to do things better, but doing things better means doing things together. Without that, we will not be able to deal with the spectrum of engagement, the way in which we determine the spectrum from isolation to full relations. And how we move across that spectrum, the challenges that we face across the world, where sometimes isolation is vital, where sometimes full engagement is vital and when most often we are moving between the two.
I am privileged on behalf of the Security Council to lead what we call the E3+3, or as I hear across the Atlantic, the P5+1. The purpose that we have set ourselves is to persuade Iran that we mean to have confidence in the peaceful nature of their nuclear programme. We shall never cease to strive to find ways to bring them to the table and to have that diplomatic solution and we are very much engaged right now in trying to move forward on this. The collaboration of the nations including of course the US, Russia, China and the 3 European nations engaged in this is so vital. It is the political pressure and the economic pressure that makes Iran realize the importance of this. And it is also the fulfilment of our own responsibilities, because if you sign up to something not only do you have a responsibility to keep to what you have said, you have a responsibility to ensure that others will do too. That is the kind of collaboration that the world needs to see more of and which we need to push forward and I say to Iran that I hope they respond to that.