Mr. Pedro Serrano, Deputy Secretary General, Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) & Crisis Response, European External Action Service (EEAS), European Union
The session was part of the ICT's 16th World Summit on Counter-Terrorism: "Unpuzzling Terrorism". Mr. Serrano reviewed the European Union's counter-terrorism efforts, noting that the EU identifies three areas of conflict: Eastern Ukraine, Iraq and Syria, and Libya. He stressed that these conflicts cannot be resolved only through military action and highlighted the importance of moderating actions such as cease-fires and peace talks.
Mr. Serrano’s speech provided a broad overview of the current security situation of the EU. He began by stressing how Israel is a key partner of the EU in the fight against terrorism. According to Serrano, the EU is currently focused on three areas of conflict: Eastern Ukraine, Iraq and Syria, and Libya. He stressed that Libya is a major concern for Europe due to its proximity, but also said that this conflict cannot be solved just through military actions. He added that narratives need to be set straight for the fight against radicalizing to be successful. He stated that the EU has engaged operationally in Libya with maritime operations in order to disrupt the business of human traffickers, to enforce the arms embargo, and to train the Libyan Coast Guard. The EU has also engaged with the GNA to rebuild the Libyan police and maintain its boarders.
Following the discussion of Libya, Serrano talked about the conflict in Ukraine and stated that the EU rejects the annexation of any sovereign land. Serrano pointed out that Russia’s actions in Ukraine have led to sanctions against them. He then underscored that the EU is working to support the governments of Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova who all have territories that are occupied by Russia or Russian-backed factions.
With respect the conflict in Iraq and Syria, Serrano says the EU has been supporting the moderating actions of the UN and they hope that the current cease fire will hold. He also noted that the EU has increased their support of the global coalition against the Islamic State, and that the EU has been financially assisting the governments of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey for the fight against the Islamic State. He goes on to state that the EU supports the peace process between Israel and Palestine and that the EU supports a two state solution and an end to the occupation of the West Bank.
With respect to the non-Arab parts of Africa, Serrano claims that the EU is working to ensure stability in the horn of Africa, from Mauritania to Somalia. He says that the EU is engaged in supporting and building security and defense forces in multiple African countries. According to Serrano, the EU has three missions that focus on building police infrastructure in Mali. Serrano explained that the EU aims at extending these programs to Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Chad, especially as these countries face the threat posed by Boko Haram. Serrano also described the EU’s military training operation and maritime operation to combat pirates in Somalia.
Serrano then quickly touched on the EU involvement in Afghanistan and in the Balkans, and argued that there needs to be more focus on counter-terrorism efforts in southeast Asia. Serrano concluded his speech by stressing that plans need to lead to meaningful action or they are useless, and that the EU plans to expand their military cooperation with NATO in the future.