INTERNATIONAAL A liberal view on democratisation Should democratisation be a key pillar of the EU foreign policy? A seminar organised by the European Liberal Forum asbl (ELF) with the support of VVD International/Haya van Somerenstichting(The Netherlands) and Prometheus Liberaal Kenniscen- trum (Belgium). Funded by the European Parliament 27 november 2010 Location: Hotel Carlton Beach, Scheveningen, Nederland Moderator: Mark Dijk, former VVD International Secretary
Welcome! My name is Pieter van de Stadt, International Secretary of the VVD board. I am in charge of VVD International, where we take care of VVD’s international contacts and cooperation abroad. The main objective of VVD Inter- national is to maintain and strengthen relationships with sister parties and to contribute to capacity buil- ding of liberal parties in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the developing world. I am pleased to welcome you at today’s seminar, ‘Aliberal vision on democratisation’, organized by VVD International andPrometheus Center of International Knowledge, with the support ofthe European Liberal Forum.A number of prominent members of the international liberal family hasgathered here today. We invite you to join them in an effort to pindown what role democratisation should play in the foreign policy ofthe EU and its member states.We will start with a welcome of myself and of MEP and president ofELDR Annemie Neyts, after which Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs UriRosenthal and Hans van Baalen, president of Liberal International anddelegation leader of the VVD in the EP, will deliver a speech. Our panelwill then continue by discussing the central question of the day:‘Should democratisation be a key pillar of the EU foreign policy?’ In thefinal part of the program we will grasp the conclusions of the day in aresolution (of which you will find a concept in this booklet), that will beoffered to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to the ALDE factionin EP. Furthermore, we will distribute it amongst European liberal par-ties and organisations.I wish you a pleasant and informative day!Pieter van de StadtChairman VVD Internationaal/International Secretary
INTERNATIONAALProgram12h00 Registrations and welcome buffet13h00 Plenary Pieter van de Stadt, Director VVD International Annemie Neyts, MEP and President of ELDR13h15 First keynote speech Hans van Baalen, Leader of the VVD-delegation in the European Parliament and President of Liberal International13h40 Question & Answers14h00 Second keynote speech Uri Rosenthal, Minster of Foreign Affairs The Netherlands14h25 Question & Answers14h50 Coffee break15h15 Panel discussion & Introduction panel members15h25 Introduction of panel members on subject Arjen Berkvens, Chairman of ENoP and Director of AMS Annemie Neyts, MEP and President of ELDR Han ten Broeke, VVD Party, Member of the House of Representatives, Dutch Parliament Dr. Hans Vollaard, Leiden University, The Netherlands15h45 Discussion with the panel16h15 Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, Director Liberal Academy Tbilisi Ivan Grnja, Executive Director LIBSEEN16h40 Resolution16h45 Drafting political advice with the panel and the audience17h15 Closing remarks17h30 Reception
LecturersModerator: Mark Dijk is council member in Utrecht and a member of the VVD Commission on European Affairs. Between 2005 and 2009 he was International Secretary at the board of VVD. He has been actively involved in VVD’s democratisation program for Eastern Europe, also through his past work at the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy. In daily life he works as senior manager at TNT Express.Speeches: Annemie Neyts, member of European Parliament and president of the European liberal party ELDR, started her career as a French teacher. Her transfer to politics brought her an impressive career. Amongst others she worked as election leader in the Brussel-Halle-Vilvoorde district for the Open VLD, as Minister of State and Minister of Foreign Trade and European Affairs. Hans van Baalen is President of the Liberal International and leader of VVD’s delegation in the European Parliament. He is ALDE spokesman on the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Security and Defence Committee, as well as Chairman of the Delegation for relations with Japan. Before entering the European Parliament in July 2009, he was a member of the Dutch Parliament. Prof. dr. Uri Rosenthal is Minister of Foreign Affairs in the current government. He started his career in academics; he was professor political science and public administration in Rotterdam and Leiden. He was a member of the Senate for over 10 years, with the portfolio of Justice, Foreign Affairs and Defence. Since 2005 he was also leading the VVD-fraction in the Senate.
Panel: Han ten Broeke This is his 5th year in parliament as VVDs spokesperson EU, with the recent addition of Defence. He started his career as political assistant to Annemarie Jorritsma, former minister of Transport. He has worked in telecommunications in the 10 years prior to his membership of Parliament. Arjen Berkvens is Coordinator of the European Network of Political Foundations and Secretary General of the European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity. Further- more, he is Director of the Alfred Mozer Foundation of the Labour Party and author of “Becoming a better politician, political skills manual.” He also worked as political advisor and deputy campaign manager at his party. Dr. Hans Vollaard teaches Dutch and European Politics at Leiden University. He received his PhD in 2009 after research on the impact of European integration on borders. Furthermore, he has published on European and Dutch security policy.Our fourth panel member is Annemie Neyts.Foreign experts: Keti Tsikhelashvili heads her own think tank, the Liberal Academy Tbilisi. She has been working with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and VVD International, organising many events aimed at strengthening party capacity and democratisation. Ivan Grnjais is Libseen Executive Director and a valued member of the Croation Peoples Party. He has worked as International Officer of the liberal student network LDSU.
Concept note:‘Should democratisation be a key pillar of the EU foreignpolicy?BackgroundDemocratisation is a major theme in international politics. In the begin-ning of the 1990’s a wave of democratisation emerged not only inCentral Europe, but also in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Liberaldemocracy came to be considered a model which would bring prospe-rity and freedom around the world. Various developed countries inclu- ded a special democratisation programme to their development cooperation and/or foreign affairs budgets. Furthermore, many organisations emerged that were specialised in the support for human rights, political parties and elections. The EU has been a frontrunner in this field and has a long and respectable score card in democracyassistance. It is generally held that EU accession has done more for thecause of democratisation and stability in Central and Eastern Europethan any other initiative. Liberal political parties and institutionscontributed to that process significantly.Nonetheless, at the beginning of this century it became clear that thesudden boom of electoral democracies would not automatically resultin sustainable liberal democracies for all countries. Discussionsemerged about whether western democracy was applicable to allcountries, as did discussions about the relationship between demo-cracy and such issues as economic development and security. Thisspurned a debate about the feasibility of this ambitious zeal of sprea-ding democracy around the world, especially as the Bush administra-tion adopted the policy of linking military intervention and democrati-sation.Twenty years down the line, it has become time for westerngovernments to again formulate their position on the matter ofdemocratisation. This seminar aims to discuss among a wide group ofliberal politicians, researchers and practitioners the question: ‘Shoulddemocratisation be a key pillar of the EU foreign policy?’. As theEuropean External Action Service is taking shape, the EU is alsoassessing its position on democratisation. The position of its memberstates on this subject within a context of rapidly shifting developmentcooperation paradigms will be decisive.
Democratisation in the new decadeDemocratisation can mean a lot of different things: from free and fairelections, to the separation of powers, a system of checks andbalances, the rule of law and the protection of human rights. Somemake a distinction between liberal and illiberal democracy so as toseparate true democracies from regimes such as Belarus and Birma,who do organise elections but ignore civil liberties nonetheless.Another oft-heard discussion focuses on whether democracy is feasibleand desirable in all countries, cultures or economies. The example ofChina, which manages to combine staggering growth rates with anautocratic regime, are used by some to question the gains of democra-tisation. However, steep growth figures in long-standing democraciessuch as India, Japan, Brazil, South Africa and Botswana show thattheories around the superiority of benevolent autocracies have little togo by.Although the question what democracy exactly entails is certainly notirrelevant, this seminar tries to steer clear of discussions on semanticsor cultural interpretation. Instead, it focuses on whether our societyshould still want democracy to be a leading principle for associationwith other countries and how this falls amidst other priorities of EUexternal policy.One such other priority concerns trade and economic association.Others are security and stability. As new world powers emerge, such asthe BRIC-economies, Europe reorients in order to try and maintain aleading role at the global scene. To do so, it needs to determine its vantage point vis-à-vis other actors. Economic sustainability and the security of its territory are of primary concern. Ways to achieve this, however, transpire also at the political level. Democracies such as India, Brazil and Indonesia are natural democratic allies to the EU. These emerging economies show that sustainable economic development and democracy do go hand in hand very easily. Both concepts may actuallystrengthen each other, as a result of democracy’s ability to allowcitizens to hold corrupt and weak government into account for theirmisbehaviour.
What does this mean for the EU and its foreign policy? The sustainabi-lity of economic development seems to be enhanced by its beingrooted in democracy, since this offers better guarantees to creating afair and transparent investment climate. EU trade and foreigninvestment therefore seem better off in a more democratic world.Moreover, in an increasingly polarising world the global rise ofdemocracies offers a guarantee for better EU relations amongdemocratic allies in the rest of the world and therefore greater securityfor its citizens. The EU has a rich history as democracy’s birthplace andharbinger of multiparty democracy. As a result, it has a unique globalselling point in assisting local democratisation initiatives withinemerging economies, developing countries and the rest of the world.Support for democratisation cannot occur in a forced manner but isonly sustainable if it entails strengthening existing local initiatives. TheEU should pay careful attention this fact.EEASThe EU is currently developing its own foreign policy. The installation ofthe High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR), Catherine Ashton, can be considered one of the first steps in trying to establish this joint EU foreign policy. After some delay, Mme Ashton has recently begun to shape the European External Action Service (EEAS). One prominent topic on the agenda concerns the implementation of the EU Council Conclusions on Democracy Support of 17 November 2009. This agenda established an EU frameworkfor the development of a more coherent and coordinated policy in thefield of democracy assistance.
Catherine Ashton is currently assessing her position on theimplementation of these Council Conclusions in the new EEAS. At stakeis the EU’s capacity to address the interconnections betweendevelopment, the quality of democracy and security and stability inthird countries. Placing democratisation together with these issues atthe top of the EU’s foreign agenda allows Europe to use its uniqueselling point to better its own cause and that of other countries at thesame time. However, in order to do so, EU member states will first needto press Mme Ashton to include this priority. Secondly, the EU will haveto increase the coherence and co-ordination of its policy instrumentsfor democracy assistance. Thirdly, in doing so it is to build strategicpartnerships with European democracy support organisations that candeliver EU support professionally in partnership with local institutions.This seminar aims to come to a joint policy recommendation on thismatter, thus assisting the government of the Netherlands in bringingforward a joint position at the European level.Finally, this seminar intends to offset a similar debate among liberalsworldwide. That debate should allow liberals to reflect on recentdemocratic developments and to reformulate how best to assist theirpeers in bringing about more sustainable democracies, both in Europeand worldwide.
Resolution on enhancing democracy assistance by theEU and its member statesEuropean liberal institutions, gathering in Scheveningen, The Nether-lands, on 27 November 2010,Considering that the 1990’s brought about a wave of democratisation,that in the years thereafter the accession of Central Europeancountries to the EU did more for the cause of democratisation andstability of this region than any other initiative, and that liberal politicalparties and institutions contributed to that process significantly;Noting, however, that in recent years support for democratisation hascome under pressure and as a result of forced democratisationattempts in Iraq and Afghanistan, in combination with the economicsuccesses of such non-democratic states as China and Singapore;Observing, though, that the cases of India, Brazil, Indonesia and manyother emerging economies around the world show that sustainableeconomic development and democracy do go hand in hand;Believing that democracy’s capacity to allow citizens to hold corruptand weak government into account for their misbehaviour strengthenseconomic development;Noting that the entrenchment and sustainability of economic develop-ment in any society is enhanced by its being rooted in democracy, sincethis offers better guarantees to creating a fair and transparent invest-ment climate;Believing that in an increasingly polarising world democratic countriesform natural allies, that the global rise of democracies therefore gua-rantees the EU better relations with the rest of the world and thusgreater safety for its citizens;Emphasizing that the EU, through its rich history as democracy’s bir-thplace and harbinger of multiparty democracy, has a unique globalselling point in assisting local democratisation initiatives within emer-ging economies, developing countries and the rest of the world;Observing that no two democratic systems are the same and that alldemocracy assistance is therefore to carefully take into account localcontexts and demands so as to avoid imposing beliefs on others;
Call upon the European Union and its member states:To implement the EU Council Conclusions on Democracy Support of 17November 2009 in the new European External Action Service (EEAS);To better the capacity of EU policies to address the interconnectionsbetween development, the quality of democracy and security andstability in third countries;To build strategic partnerships with European democracy supportorganisations that can deliver EU support professionally in partnershipwith local institutions, however always prioritising local demand andhome grown initiatives.Call upon European liberal institutions:To organise similar discussions on prioritising democracy assistance inall member states and to formulate proposals for follow up andimplementation;To assist sister organisations elsewhere in their democratisationattempts, and to single out political parties as key drivers in thewell-functioning all multiparty democratic systems.
About the organisersThe VVD International/Haya van Someren has a long history in suppor-ting liberal parties in Eastern Europe in building up their party organi-sation, strengthening their campaign techniques, etc. Since the foun-dation of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy in 2000,VVD International has also been engaged in supporting democratisa-tion processes elsewhere in the developing world, such as in the SouthCaucasus and Africa, Latin America and Asia.Founded in the fall of 2007, the European Liberal Forum, asbl (ELF) is thenon-profit European political foundation of the liberal family. ELF bringstogether liberal think thanks, political foundations and institutes fromaround Europe to observe, analyse and contribute to the debate onEuropean public policy issues and the process of European integration,through education, training, research and the promotion of active citi-zenship within the EU.Prometheus Liberaal Kenniscentrum is a strong advocate of democrati-sation and the rule of law. In their bilateral contacts with liberal col-leagues from all over the world they have always pleaded for humanrights, democracy and equal rights. Prometheus Liberaal Kenniscen-trum has supported democratisation processes in their policy work andwill continue to do so in the future.ColofonVVD Internationaal/Haya van SomerenLaan Copes van Kattenburch 52 INTERNATIONAAL2500GV Den HaagTel. +31 70 316 30 61Website: www.internationaal.vvd.nlEuropean Liberal Forum asbl.Square de Meeûs 38/401000 Brussels (Belgium)Tel:+32 (0)2 401 61 11Mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgWeb:www.liberalforum.euPrometheus Internationaal KenniscentrumMelsensstraat 341000 Brussels (Belgium)Tel: +32 (0) 2 549 00 20Fax: +32 (0) 2 512 60 25E-Mail: Ruben.Lecok@openvld.beWeb: www.liberaalkenniscentrum.be