Chubb Fellowship Lecture – João Vale de Almeida

Chubb Fellowship Lecture – João Vale de Almeida


(audience murmuring) (sharp bang) – Ah. So good afternoon, thank
you all for turning out on this very sad, dreary weather. And my apologies to anyone who
was rained on exceptionally hard as you made the
approach to Kroon Hall. But this is such a lovely building. The warm wood I hope everyone
will warm up very quickly as we begin today’s program. It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to this fall semester’s
Chubb Fellowship Lecture with our distinguished guest
ambassador Joao Vale de Almeida the head of the European Union delegation to the United Nations. Now before we begin I
just wanna ask everyone to turn off all cell phones
and refrain from taking any photographs with the exception of our staff photographer. This way we will make
sure that the program will not be interrupted this afternoon. And for those of you who
do not know who I am, my name is Mary Lui. I’m a professor in the
department of history and the program in American studies. I’m also the current head
of Timothy Dwight College. As the head of Timothy
Dwight College I have the honor of serving as the custodian of the illustrious Chubb
Fellowship established in 1941 out of a prior large donation for education purposes. This was made in 1936 by
Hendon Chubb who graduated from the Yale class of 1895. Since establishment the
Chubb fund has adhered to the goals of providing encouragement and aid to students
interested in government and American public affairs. The fellowship initially
aimed to foster among Yale undergraduates an
interest in public service and local and state affairs. And it grew over the years to
include numerous distinguished visitors and national
and international affairs as well as leaders in the world
of the arts and humanities. Since the 1940s the Chubb
fellows lecture series has inspired generations of Yale students to undertake public service
and pursue leadership roles in the hopes of creating
a better world today and for posterity. The fellowship has hosted
four US presidents, George W. Bush, Gerald Ford,
Jimmy Carter, and Harry Truman. In recent years we have
welcomed a wide range of national and international leaders including Wynton Marsalis,
Aung San Suu Kyi, and Shah Rukh Khan. But this quick description of the history and aims of the Chubb
Fellowship I’m delighted that we’re welcoming to
Yale today ambassador João Vale de Almeida. Now introducing the ambassador will be professor James
Levinsohn who is a TD fellow. He’s the Charles W. Goodyear
professor in global affairs at Yale’s Jackson Institute
for Global affairs and professor of economics and management at the Yale School of Management. Professor Levinsohn is
the founding director of the Jackson Institute
and in that capacity he oversees the global affairs
major in Yale College the global affairs MA and the
Yale World Fellows program. He’s a member of the
Council on Foreign Relations and is a research associate
of the National Bureau of Economic Research. His current academic research is focused on estimation of the impacts
of internal migration on household well being in South Africa, and estimating the demand
for sanitation in Bangladesh. So please join me in
welcoming professor Levinsohn to the podium who will
give his introduction of the ambassador. (applause) – Thank you, Mary. Its an honor to be able to
introduce João Vale de Almeida. Ambassador Vale de Almeida is a senior European Union diplomat. He was appointed as EU
ambassador to the United Nations in October 2015. Prior to leading the
EU delegation to the UN the ambassador served as
the first EU ambassador to the United States. During this period he was
critical to the launching of the trans Atlantic trade
and investment partnership an ambitious free trade agreement that is, or perhaps was being negotiated. From 2004 to 2009
ambassador Vale de Almeida was chief of staff for EU
president Jose Manuel Barroso. The ambassador is originally from Portugal which is why I turned to our
own professor Nuno Monteiro when I wondered how the
ambassador’s last name should be pronounced. Nuno bears no responsibility
for my mangling. We are fortunate to have
ambassador Vale de Almeida today as there are so many
pressing EU related issues. We are witnessing the largest migration in Europe since the close
of the second World War and from where I sit this seems to be putting existential
stresses on the EU. We’ve witnessed Brexit,
our own election here about three weeks ago,
and several key elections are forthcoming on the continent. The future of the Paris Climate Agreement is unclear and the US position
on many other important international issues moving
forward is uncertain. In this environment its
a special opportunity to hear from the EU’s
ambassador to the UN. Please join me in welcoming
ambassador João Vale de Almeida. (applause) – Good, good evening. Thank you for coming today
in spite of the weather. Its a great honor and
great pleasure to be here. My name is João Vale de Almeida which is a slightly
different pronunciation. (laughing) But you know I’ve been long
enough time in this job to accept creativity. And when my kids call
me or my wife calls me it sounds a bit strange because
its the real pronunciation but it shows the diversity
in which we live in, and live with and its good. Its good to be called my name
in different pronunciations as it is to be able to engage
with the different people around the world. As it is to discuss and be
faced with different opinions. This is what democracy is. This is what globalization is. This is what a pluralistic society is. And its always good to be able to discuss with people like you, faculty and students and people interested in global affairs. Its also good to come out of New York and to come out of the United Nations and being such a beautiful and
environmentally sustainable building and be with such nice people and I just had a wonderful conversation with a number of members
of the faculty here. So I’d like to thank all
of you for coming tonight. I would like to thank the professor for– Sorry, introducing me. And I hope didn’t destroy
the whole operation here. Is this the right one, yes. Thank you professor Mary
Lui for organizing this. My good friend Mary Evelyn Tucker for being at the heart of the beginning of all this operation. Thank you, thank you all. Thank you the school
for hosting us as well. Its again a real pleasure, a real honor to be able to be here to discuss with you. What can do to help you understand better the way the world goes these days? I think that will be my initial purpose and I will be, I’m absolutely confident that I can describe the world
as it is today in 20 minutes which will leave plenty of time for you to question everything I would have said and prove me wrong on all my assertions. But let me try to do that in
a sort of telegraphic way. So and using where I am
today at the United Nations but what I did before that as a basis and a background for my
view of the world today. I think if you listen to the
debate you have basically two ways of looking at the world today. Two sort of views about the world. One is a benign one and one
is a slightly darker one. The benign one basically
says that the world has never been in a better shape. You take peace, you take
prosperity, you take democracy, you take respect for human rights and those who support
these ideas say that we have never seen such
level of accomplishment in all these areas. If you take life expectancy
around the world, we never had such promising
prospects for our lives. Certainly in developed countries but also increasingly so
in developing countries. Child mortality has
gone down tremendously. Access to knowledge and
information and education. Technological developments,
global solutions for global problems. And we are in an
environmental school here. What have we achieved
with the Paris Agreement is unheard of in the past. The Cold War is over. The number of wars around
the world is much less important than it was decades ago. We lifted millions, hundreds of millions of people out of poverty
in the last few decades. There is a new global middle class. And everyday new people
add to this middle class. And terrorism is there, of course, but if you look at the
figures and I came across an interesting figure
of this benign school of thought about the
situation in the world which tells me that the
victims of terrorism in America are less
numerous than the victims of falling furniture in the US homes. So this is some element of a benign view of the world today. There is a darker view of the world and that view of the world tells us that basically the world
is on the brink of chaos. There’s no one in charge. Terrorists, refugees, migrants,
dominate the landscape. And no one cares about it
and no one controls that. The West is in decline and
the rest is not to be trusted. Politicians, businessmen
are basically corrupt. We cannot trust them and
we have to, we people have to take care of things somehow. Our leaders are by definition weak. Weaker than previous leaders. Terror is everywhere. Trade is bad for jobs. The only solution is
close down our borders. This is a darker vision of the world that we also witness and that is present in the public debate. Of course none of these two
views are entirely accurate. None of these descriptions of the world is the right one. But there are elements of truth in both. Both of them describe
parts of today’s reality in the world. But they also translate
or reflect not necessarily the reality but the perception of reality. That people have. That public opinion have. And as someone said before me, politics is a lot about perception. Decisions are very often
and I would say increasingly so, made upon perception. Emotions, feelings, rather
than necessarily facts assessed against reality. So what can we do, what
should we do having as a background these two
opposite views of the world? Having in mind this
intersection between reality and perception of reality. How should we perceive ourselves in trying to understand better
where the world is today? Let me try to help you in a modest way to try to understand where we are. And I’ll take three elements of analysis which I believe are close to facts. There’s a lot of discussion today about what facts are and what truth is. I won’t get into that,
I’ll leave it to you but this is my view of the
facts, lets put it this way. The first one is that I think we are at the end of a cycle. What characterizes cycle that in my view is closing down as we speak. These are 25, 30 years
since basically around the fall of Berlin wall. And these years, these two and
a half decades, three decades have been extremely rich, extremely rich. Extremely fast. This is the period of
what some economists call the hyper globalization. Where basically trade was
growing faster than GDP. Where China came out of,
came out, came of age. And grew at basically two digits per year. This is a time of an accelerated
technological revolution that we are still witnessing today. Which has created the
basis for the next one, for the so called fourth
industrial revolution that is about to happen. This is the period of
trade liberalization. This is a period of
deregulation to some extent. In some areas more than others. This is a period of good
growth of the world economy. Its also a period of increased mobility. Exponential growth of mobility. Of people, of goods,
of services, capitals. Never seen before. This is the period where
social media emerged where connectivity developed. All this happened in a
short period of time. Historically this is
two minutes in history. I like to say that never so much happened that affected so many people in such a short period of time. This is a bad quote from Churchill, and adaptive quote from Churchill. But if he realized, if
you think a little bit its difficult to find 30 years
where so much has changed. You know the end of the Cold War, the end of the Soviet empire. Countries in Eastern Europe
coming into the European Union. Opening up of China,
developments in India, the bricks, the emerging economies. The fall of a number of dictatorships. Southern America and beyond. You name it, a lot happened
throughout this period and in a very fast changing environment. I think its very important to understand how much has changed in
order also to understand how much resistance
there may be to change. And how difficult it is for our societies to adapt to such an
accelerated pace of change. I think this is something we need to keep in the background if we want to understand some of the challenges that we
have today in our societies. The second point is exactly that one. Huge changes during this period. Take the issue of power for instance. When we moved from a
basically bipolar world during the Cold War to
a uni-polar world during a number of years where your
country was predominant. To a situation today where we have an increasing multi-polarity. Or an a polarity or whatever
you want to call it. But if you take a look at
power more attentively you see a transfer and a sharing and an erosion, a diffusion of power. Moving from west to east, north to south. But also moving from
government regulators, public authorities towards
business, towards other actors in the society. You know, national governments lost power in face of globalization for instance. A national regulator has less power today than it had before because the scale of the reality it has to
deal with is not equipped to that scale. And we have not yet found
an alternative level of regulation that
compensates for the weakness of the national level. But we also have witnessed
a diffusion of power from mediators, political
parties, trade unions, different mechanisms of
mediation within a society move from them to the individual. The empowering, or the
empowerment of individuals in our society. So this evolution of power
is extremely interesting and it characterizes to a large extent this period I’m trying to characterize. But you also have an enormous
and fast paced change in our societies, cultural changes. Behavioral changes. The way we approach a number of issues that for many centuries were
thought to be just there. I’m talking about minorities rights. I’m talking about LGBT rights. I’m talking about same sex marriage. I’m talking about freedom of religion. The inclusion of new religions. All this has introduced in our societies and sometimes we don’t realize that if we don’t step back a little bit and realize how much things have changed. Again to try to better
understand that adaptation is maybe sometimes a
slower process than change. And this dichotomy or
this (foreign language) as the French would say, between change and adaptation is maybe
a source of explanations for some of the problems we have today. The rise of diversity,
it comes with not only the cultural changes
but also with the fact that we live in a global world. That we have access to information to a scale that we never had before. So what I’m saying here today can be heard in China as we speak. And what you are doing everyday is having an impact around the world. The financial crisis was the
vivid illustration of that. We realized very clearly that you know, a subprime mortgage in
California could rock the entire financial system. And a strike in Chinese ports can disrupt the entire supply chain. You know a problem in a
country that represents 2% of the European Union’s GDP can create financial waves around the world. This is the kind of world
we began to live with or to live in, in the last 25 to 30 years. But also the fact that we are living in a global public space. I mean take the issue of
inequality for instance which I will refer later
on, but I was discussing with some of your professors earlier, inequality is there in
some parts of the world it has widened, in some
parts it has narrowed. But the biggest difference is that people are more aware of that inequality today than they were before. And this is a very
important political factor. That maybe times and we
have not yet addressed them. Or the heart of these problems in a way that at the same
times preserves freedom of communication and freedom of expression but also ensures the balance
of the public debate. Maybe we’ll come back to that. And the third point I
want to mention about this period which has an enormous impact in what we live today and
the world we live in today is what happened in the last
five, six, seven, eight years. Which I would call the recent turbulence. It basically started in 2007, eight, nine with the financial crisis,
the economic crisis that was associated with
it and the social crisis that was a consequence in some countries. Which of course exacerbated
some of the problems that were there, brought
them to the surface. And made us realize that we had sort of to catch up with the changes. The whole debate and I
was previous capacities involved in that, the work we tried to do in the G20 to address the financial crisis was clear evidence of an
economic reality not matched by the governance, the
required governance mechanisms to address. It was followed by Syria. Its been five or six
years that we are dealing with an extremely serious crisis in Syria. 500000 people or more
dead out of this conflict. 10 million displaced people
more than five million refugees. And its still ongoing. Aleppo today is a tragedy. And then we had Crimea. The annexation of Crimea
by the Russian Federation. Which we cannot accept,
which we will not accept. But which represents the
end of an understanding how the world should behave following the end of the Cold War. And then we have the
eruption of ISIS, Daesh. A new form of terrorism
which qualitatively changed the fight against terrorism
that we had been engaged before. The bricks, the emerging
economies I mentioned as being one of the new
realities of this period in the last few years
facing a number of problems. So the idea that some had
that the West was decline and the emerging economies
will be the future of our planet, its not
exactly materializing. At least not in such a smooth way as one could have expected. We had the volatility in
the commodities market in very pronounced ways
and we’re still faced with enormous problems in
the banking sector around the world in some
countries more than others. And recently, even more recently in fact in the last semester we
had what I would call two political earthquakes
which came on top of all this. One was the referendum in
United Kingdom determining the future withdrawal of the country from the European Union. And the other was lets
say the unexpected result according to polls of the
presidential elections in the United States. I’m not qualifying either of these events and their outcome, I’m
just identifying them as relevant political events. Which I compare to earthquakes because like earthquakes the
were not necessarily foreseen. And like earthquakes
they can cause damage, they can cause change, and
they can have repercussions. They can even have aftershocks. So they are from a political
science point of view and maybe some political
scientists in the room, they are extremely relevant. But again I’m not qualifying,
expressing any opinion about the result of referendum or the result of the elections. That should be very clear. So this is where we are
in terms of what I believe are three main elements
we should consider today if we want to understand
where we are today. Again, the end of a cycle
of huge, fast change in our societies. This change is having
political, cultural, societal, economic, you name it,
dimensions effecting all the aspects of our
life and the organization of our societies and we
have recent turbulence that came on top of all that to make the– What are these fault lines
in a again, telegraphic way? Its global versus local. Its where the people
think globally and want to live globally or
rather want to concentrate on a more local dimension. Its open versus closed whether we want to continue to have or to keep this trend of openness of our societies. In cultural terms, in economic terms, in political terms or if
we want to close down. If we think that we open up too much and that we have to
correct the cursor somehow. Its the tension between the center, the political center and the two extremes. The far right and the far left. What is happening to the center? Can the center hold
like the poem would say? What is the center, by the way? You know, questions for discussion. Its the tension between
pluralism and populism. Pluralism is acceptance
of difference, diversity as a source of good for our societies. Against populism which is
basically easy solutions for complex problems. And much more than that. But basically a narrower approach to the way we organize our lives. Its liberal democracy versus, you can call it what you want, maybe
authoritarian capitalism. Or authoritarian regimes, I don’t know. Where you combine certain elements of capitalism and where people try to prove capitalism does
not necessarily require a liberal democracy. This tension is there, this
debate is there as well. There’s a debate between multilateralism which is what we try to
do at the United Nations which is based on the
concept of cooperation instead of opposition or conflict. Tension between
multilateralism and the idea of spheres of influence. Geopolitics at its worst. This fault line is also there. So a number of areas in which you know the cleavage, the fault lines I think is the best term I can
find in my poor english to define these tensions in our societies. Where the debate is taking place. The confrontation is taking place and where sometime, somehow
a new consensus must emerge. This means what? This means that some
of the old assumptions that we had about the way
we organize our countries in the world are obsolete somehow. You know, the right, left divide. What is right and left
today in our societies? Tell me in your country,
in our countries in Europe how do you define right and left? I take the issue of trade, of free trade. The far left and the
far right have exactly the same position. They don’t want it. Exactly the same arguments. Difficult to distinguish what
is left and what is right. The big ideologies of the 20th
century are basically gone. That debate is over to a large extent. But we are struggling to find concepts that sort of organize our thoughts and organize ourselves
around those concepts. Its very interesting because we are at the same times discussing
very crucial, serious issues about the way we organize ourselves but the conceptual side is not following. Its maybe a transition period
but a very interesting one. But all this creates space
for I mean two realities that we see coming up very strongly. One is the role of religions
in a political debate. And the role of nationalism. And you know, lets see how this evolves but its part and its linked
to the evolution we’ve seen in the political debate. Another reality today, and I mentioned it briefly earlier is the role of emotion and perception in the political arena. But also manipulation of
emotions and perception. This is, you can tell me
it happens all the time in politics since Rome
and Greece and beyond. Obviously so, this is
part of human nature. But I think we are attending degrees of relevance of these dimensions which we’ve never seen before. And this replaces reason,
this replaces facts in our political discourse. It has to do with social media. It has to do with the different way we communicate among ourselves. It has to do with the
simple fact, for instance, that we tend to listen only
to the people we agree with and we tend to read and tweet and retweet comfortably
only with the people that we agree with. This is not good because
we are crystallizing the differences. We are not reducing the difference. We are not approaching the opposite sides of an argument, you are crystallizing these boxes of understanding of reality. When I was, I don’t want
to talk too much about the United States but I
think this is a good example. Again it happens in Europe as well. I was following the campaign in 2012. I was ambassador to the United States and I went to some
meetings and one day I went to both sides and it was very interesting to see that in one side
there were watching only one TV channel on the
other side they watching only one TV channel, they
were different TV channels. And this for me was an
anecdotal, empirical illustration of a larger and much
more important reality which is that we
increasingly live in silos and its not a very comfortable
place to be in a silo, right? And it doesn’t add and
doesn’t help finding the solutions that we need today. The issue of inequality is
I think extremely important. And I think we have all
overlooked it for too long. In the sense that you
know, I think we thought that economic development,
growth in trade, a liberalization, growth will eventually solve all the problems. Will eventually spread out
in more or less equal terms around our societies,
that is not the case. We have seen globally a reduction in inequality, if you consider the overall big balances,
equilibriums around the world. Again we lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. And that should not be underestimated as a positive result of
the period I’m trying to describe but we have
increased inequality in certain countries,
certain parts of the world. And we have not yet addressed that issue. In a way that increased inequality, which by the way is exacerbated
by an increased awareness of that inequality
because of the circulation of information, is now
seriously threatening the very principle of globalization. And the very principle of free trade and opening of our economies. So for that reason as much
as for the very good reasons of addressing the issue of people living in difficult circumstances, I think this is one of the major reasons that the international community
needs to address and soon. In the mean time there
is a world out there. There is a planet out there and there I think this is
something that is not changing. It has not changed and will not change. Its clear for me that the
single most important thing that unites us is not a party. It is not a tribe, its not a gender, its not a conviction,
its not a university. Its not a guru, its not a god. What really unites us all is the fact that there is so far only one place in the universe where we can live and that is called planet earth. There is no planet B. So this is a reality that has not changed in the last 30 years. It will not change unless we found a way to live on Mars. It will not change in the next 30 years. It may change if we don’t take care of it. It may change in the wrong direction that we can no longer
live in the only place where we are supposed
to live in this universe and this is of course the whole
debate about climate change, pollution, biodiversity, you name it. And here again in this area, this period that just preceded us,
has been extremely rich. And we have made enormous progress. And I think in this school
of, very much linked to environment, we must
recognize, we must rejoice about the fact that we
made enormous progress in awareness and
effective political action to fight climate change. We are a long way from what
we had in the 60s and the 70s where those of us, maybe those of you who were talking about these issues were seen as radicals, eccentrics,
and worse things than that. This now at the center
of the political debate the center of the political decision. I’m very proud of the European
Union’s role in all this. We have been pioneers. We started our first
environmental action program in European Union, goes back to 1973. There was some important
developments around those days also in the West but with less
obvious political consequences. So it is not that old but we have today a global agreement on the
fight against climate change. Its quite impressive. I remember very well in 2007 I was Chief of Staff of President
of European Commission which is a sort of European
executive government. And we put together the
first meaningful climate slash energy package. And so we approved it, and now we’re going to our member states and
then we started talking to our partners around the world. Because typically there ain’t much you can do about climate change
if you don’t do it together. So we started talking and
we were pretty much alone. I looked to my right, I looked to my left, I looked back and I didn’t
see any people following us. We went to the G8 and
apart from the Europeans not much happening. Most of the people were in
denial about climate change. And then progressively,
gradually we build up a case and that’s where we are today. Our approach is a mix of
regulatory initiatives, legislation, market mechanisms,
extremely important, and financial support for
adaptation and otherwise. Its been successful. Its not been easy, Copenhagen
was not a glorious moment. Paris was a great success. We have 2020 goals, 2030 goals, 2050 goals in the European Union. Paris Agreement is great
but its not enough. First we need to make sure
that it is really implemented and then we have to reassess
and see how much we need to do. But first and foremost we need to preserve the Paris Agreement. We need to make sure that it goes forward with a degree of consensus,
international consensus between developed and developing
and emerging countries. This is a critical challenge
that we need to focus on today. I was very happy, excuse me
for this personal remark, I think it was in the beginning of October when I got green light from Brussels to present the instruments of ratification by the European Union
of the Treaty of Paris, of the Paris Agreement. And I went to the treaty
room in the United Nations and officially presented the documents. And this very simple,
modest fact, you know a guy in a dark blue suit
looking bureaucrat, whatever. Giving a piece of paper
to some other bureaucrat on the other side, this
simple gesture triggered the entry into force
of the Paris Agreement in the beginning of November. So this was very meaningful
for me personally. Very meaningful for the European Union that those of us who
were sort of pioneering the fight against climate
change, at the political and institutional level were also the ones that triggered
the entry into force of the Paris Agreement. But its not enough that
it enters into force, we need to implement it. Today we have I guess, 111 or
12 countries that ratified. This corresponds to more
than 75% of the CO2 emissions around the world. If it stays like that, if it
grows because other countries will ratify, because many
other countries have signed, we are on the right track. And I’m encouraged by what
I hear from everywhere that people intend to
pursue on that track. This is the right track. So as far as we are
concerned, European Union, we did our homework, we inspired others, we led a coalition, we brought
along the United States and China critical
elements of this coalition behind the fight against climate change and now we have a deal and the deal is now being implemented. Ministers met in Marrakesh a few days ago on the first ever meeting of the parties of the Paris Agreement. Its on track, it should go on. It makes a lot of sense
and its a great victory of this period of the
last two or three decades that we did to make sure
it comes to good results. So benign view or darker view of the state of the world today? Its up to you to decide. I choose to be optimistic. I want to keep hope alive about our world. I trust the wisdom of
mankind against all odds. I trust the commitment and the energy of the younger generation which is well represented here tonight. I am sure they would not let us down. And what my generation, the generations of my parents, those of
us who lived after the war and built the world as it is today, I think we did a good
job to be very frank. We solved some problems,
we created others. That’s the nature of things. But I trust that we can
with a younger generation build an even better world. I take this very meaningful
award, the Chubb award and the fact that we invited me here as an additional incentive to continue my modest contribution
at the United Nations inside the European Union
to make this a better world. I’ll trust that will be the case. That we’ll overcome the
difficulties we have today and that if you invite
me in five years time as a simple observer
we will have certainly a good discussion here about the fact that the world is, the benign view is maybe the one that we should endorse. And that we’ll continue
on the right track. Thank you very much. (applause) Thank you, thank you (applause) – So the ambassador has generously agreed to take questions. I think when all of you
walked into the auditorium you should have received
a card and a pencil. So I ask now that you
fill out your questions and one of the aids will come and collect and I will be stationed over there to read your question. So I will return the
podium to the ambassador. – Thank you. – [Mary] So, is this on? So while we’re waiting I do
have a question to start us off. If you are ready, have
you caught your breath? – Absolutely. – [Mary] So I too would
love to be in the camp of the benign view and
the optimistic view. So would love to hear
a little bit more about the last point you left us off with. With the Paris Agreement and what more– I would love to hear a
little bit more about the question of corporate power and the concerns about the
ways in which multinationals may or may not comply
with the Paris Agreement and reduction of emissions. So I’m curious if you think there is a particular challenge
that extends beyond the diplomatic community
but most certainly in terms of the corporate
business communities and how to get compliance as you create that lovely image of
bureaucrats passing paper, I would love to hear
more about the mechanisms of compliance and control
that you’re envisioning. If we are imagining a world where the benign view, and
that the Paris Agreement will indeed go forward, and it will be ratified fully, thank you. – Yeah I think the issue is, and its a little bit the
history of the European Union and our success is a combination of sort of top down
regulatory, legislative action. Which is absolutely indispensable, with market mechanisms
and market common sense. I think what we managed to
do inside the European Union, for instance bringing
together energy and climate. Was to create the right,
lets say narrative. The right case, the right concept for the economic operators which is the ones you’re referring to. To understand where their
interests would lie. And I think what we’re doing
with climate change today if you take the case
of China for instance, is the understanding
that there are benefits to be gained by embarking
in this new process. So its not only compliance in the sense of top down you know regulatory pressure on economic operators, its the combination of that with the actually interest of the economic operators. That’s why I’m so confident
that the Paris Agreement will evolve because there is
a strong economic case for it. And you have to couple the Paris Agreement with another very interesting product of multilateralism which
is the agenda 2030, the sustainable development goals. The 17, and I invite you to read them. Its, I’m always impressed when I go back to these 17 sustainable development goals. Its a wonderful agenda and
if we implement all that the world is certainly going to be a better place in a few years time. But if you combine the two you have a very strong economic
case for the development of a green economy, to the development of a sustainable way
of using our resources and you know, come on. Its very difficult to live in Beijing and New Delhi these days. With the degree of
environmental pollution. And its not me coming
from a developed world in a nice blue suit saying
this to people suffering there its them saying that they
don’t want to live like that. And the political pressure will be such and is already such in
these and other countries to the political authorities
to move in the right direction. I think the evolution of
China, which I praise here as far as climate is concerned. Is a good illustration of that. You know, they moved from a situation in which back in the early days of the climate negotiations
where they basically were saying, you made it
you have to pay, full stop. To a position in which they understand we did not necessarily make it for a number of decades, even centuries,
but we are certainly making it now and we want to benefit from this new phase, you know
leap frog, move forward in terms of the use of new technologies. Create a new set, a new environment that will help our environment and I think this change in the Chinese position which again I praise,
is a good illustration of how reality comes to haunt you and reality imposes on you a
number of political choices. So I think combination
of regulatory pressure and the economic evidence of benefit on the medium and longterm will bring us to the right situation. – [Mary] Okay I now
have a lot of questions so apologies if we do
not get to your question. I’ll do my best to get through these. So testing your skills as
a diplomat at this point, what kind of influences
from the American campaign result to Asian countries,
especially China? I think the question may be affect Asian countries especially China. How do you think China
and other Asian countries will be getting involved in
sustainable development goals? You started to explain
a little bit of that. – No I think, what I see
with my Chinese colleagues in New York at the United Nations is a very strong engagement of China in the multilateral system. I think there has been a change. The way the Chinese diplomats engage in all the discussions. Their commitment to our core agenda. We have our differences of course. Lets be clear about that. But as far as multilateralism is concerned as far as the role of UN is concerned. You know that China is becoming very fast the most important financial contributor to the United Nations. They are very active on
peace keeping operations and in many other areas. And again I saw the report of the meeting of the next Secretary
General of the United Nations which by the way is a Portuguese citizen. Thank you. And an excellent person and he’ll be an excellent Secretary General. Reports of this meeting in China yesterday and the day before. You know, look at that because it shows a great deal of convergence between China and the United Nations agenda. Again, we have our differences in a number of areas but I’m confident that China will play an increasingly important role in the multilateral system including on the climate change agenda and the sustainable development goals. – [Mary] So there are
several questions here that are about the EU specifically and particularly around,
I assume these are coming out of questions around Brexit. But I’ll read a couple of them. – What a surprise. – [Mary] In a climate of euro skepticism what do you see as the future
of the European project? And what would you say to the claim that the international order
is increasingly technocratic and undemocratic? – Well first of all,
well I’ve been working for the European Union I think
now for 30 something years so you don’t expect me to
say this is not a good idea. (laughing) I actually think its a great idea. I think the construction
of the European Union is the most significant
conflict prevention, peace building, and
peace keeping operation in the history of mankind. You can quote me on this. Its a nice quote by the way. (applause) But in fact if you see that we were able to bring, we I mean, all the generations that contributed to it. Think of where Europe was
after the second world war. Think of where Europe is today. We started with six
countries, we now have 28. We brought all the countries that were behind the iron
curtain into a democratic space. Countries like Portugal
and Spain or Greece that lived with right wing dictatorships. I lived 17 years in a dictatorship. So don’t tell me that is not an issue. It is an issue. And this is what Europeans did. I mean the European Union did. I mean we raised the levels
of prosperity, security, social protection,
education in our societies. We have today more than
half a billion people living in a framework of
democracy, no death penalty, individual freedom, rule
of law, market economy, strong social protection,
education system, environmental awareness
and concern and action. This is what European Union is today. And it is still appealing
to a number of countries. Take the Balkans. The prospect of European accession or accession to the European Union is the single most important driver of reconciliation and
change in the Balkans. Take Ukraine. You saw huge demonstrations with this flag more than you see in the
European capitals by the way. So a good example from
our Ukrainian friends. You see that the idea is still alive. Do we have problems? Of course we have problems, don’t you? We all have problems. I mean our countries
are difficult to manage. The world is in a difficult place today as we discussed earlier. Of course we have problems. But I don’t think we
have a better solution than staying together. I mean someone said one day
that all European countries are equal the difference being that some, sorry all the European
countries are small. The difference is that some
have not yet realized that. And the fact is that if you
look at the global scale, I mean all individual, taken individual, all the European Union
countries are too small to face the challenges we have today. But together we can count. We are the most important economic block in world still today. More than half a billion people. And so I’m confident that we will overcome whatever problems, and we have had a few in the past few years
as we had in the past. But I want to stress one point that sometimes is a little bit overlooked. Our process is an incremental one. That is we move forward as we can. We move forward from maybe
one crisis to the other. Maybe from one opportunity to the other. We don’t have a blue print that says, back in 1957 we gonna do this,
this and that with this, no. We moved forward as the conditions
were favorable for that. We slowed down here, we accelerated there and we overcame one crisis
here and one crisis there. And so I’m very confident
that European Union will stay for very long but we need to address some important
issues that are there. Some are common to United States. The rise of populism for
instance, we discussed it earlier. Some structural economic issues, you know. An aging society. The issue of competitiveness,
demography, you know. You know them, some of
them you have here as well. But I think the sense of belonging to a common project. The sense of not being able really to exercise our full
sovereignty in total isolation is a very strong one. On Brexit and the consequences
of Brexit some people were expecting this to be, to trigger a downgrading of the acceptability or the enthusiasm of the
support for the European Union. The polls show the opposite. There has been an increasing support for the European Union
since the referendum. I’m addressing the issue of
the United States election’s consequences on the world
because I leave that to you. – [Mary] So some of these
questions regard your work and your role, in
particular as EU ambassador to the UN how hard is it
to reach a common position among the 28 members of EU? Do you see your role as a facilitator of different positions or
more as working towards a specific EU vision? – Well very interesting question. Its you know, I’ll try
to describe my role. I first have to maximize the impact of the European Union by maximizing the capacity that we have of
agreeing on common positions. That is my first role when I wake up is to make sure that
all my 28 sort of more or less going the same direction. And that’s a very stimulating
thought every morning in front of the mirror. And we actually do achieve quite a lot. You know the most recent statistics show that more or less that we vote the same way, that we
have a common position on more than 93 or 94% of
the votes that take place or the positions we are to take. This is incredibly successful. We’re talking about 28 countries. Spread out in a continental scale with different cultures,
different languages, different traditions,
different economic interests, different dimension coming
together around same position. So this is my first and
my team of course, role. And for that we do, I chair and host a weekly meeting of all the ambassadors and my colleagues they keep on
meeting all their colleagues. We do more than 1000 meetings
a year or coordination. This is the process. And then the second stage is
when we have a composition I go to the security
council and then speak on behalf of the 28. Or to the general assembly. And my colleagues negotiate
with others on the basis of 28. So we represent 28. And this is very interesting,
very stimulating. Its an honor to do that. When I speak on the security council on behalf of 28, not bad. I think my father would be proud. And sometimes, most of time we have a number of other countries
that align themselves with our position. So sometimes I’m speaking on behalf of 35 and more countries. So this rallying power of European Union because we provide the
example, is very strong. And so I’m optimistic about the future. I’m very happy to do the work I do. Its not easy sometimes
but its very rewarding when we get there. And most of the time we do get there. – [Mary] Speaking of security. One of the questions is could
you talk about security risks the EU currently faces and the, I think this and the EU
army in the new future. Possible creation of the EU army. – Yeah. We are not planning to have an EU army. That’s not in the plans. What we are doing and today as we speak or a few hours ago in
Brussels, we came out with a number of proposals,
what we call European Defense Action Plan,
which is basically about not creating a European army. Again this is not in the books. This is not our goal. The goal is to strengthen the cooperation and the links between
European Union armies. The armies of the member states. Creating an economic space
for defense procurement, for instance. So that we concentrate
our meager budgetary means in a more efficient way. So better output with more
or less the same input. This is what we’re
talking about, efficiency. Effectiveness of our defense effort. Because, first part of your question, we are facing new security threats. And this is part I didn’t
have time to develop that but this is part of
what has been happening in the last few years. You know, during the Cold
War we knew our enemy. We knew what they looked like. We knew their names. We had a few spies we could know a little bit more than that as well. So this was a very familiar
environment, right. It was very comfortable in a way. You know there was always
this nuclear threat above our heads but it was quite
predictable in a certain way. What is the situation today? I mean most of the time we
don’t know who we are fighting. We don’t know their faces,
we don’t know their names. They don’t even have a territory. They don’t even have an army. They don’t even have an
ambassador we can talk to. I mean its a very
different sort of situation that we have today and if
you look at Europe today we have a sort of ring of fire around us. You start in Ukraine,
Crimea, you go through Syria. Iraq, Libya, northern Africa. I mean its not an easy place. And its our backyard, its our backyard. You know I, no I won’t say this one. But I see Morocco from my
kitchen window in the garden. Not referring to anybody else. Just an idea that came to me. But that’s the reality, we are very close to our neighborhood. You know you see the migration problem. People cross a few miles
in the Mediterranean and then they are in Italy, Malta, Spain. So this is a reality. There the terrorism threat upon Europe is even bigger than upon the United States as we unfortunately know. So we need to address all this. We want to address it
in full complimentarity with NATO, let there be
not doubts about that. This is not an alternative to NATO. This is a complimentarity to NATO. And so I think there
are new security risks, there is new security
awareness and new political initiatives taking place in Europe. But not towards an EU army. – [Mary] These two questions
follow up one aspect of what you described, the challenges of refugees for example and security. I’ll read both of them. The EU prides itself on the concept of open borders that
helps form the foundation of the single market. Is the movement of refugees
jeopardizing this principle? Is adding Turkey the answer to the EU’s refugee movement problems? And then the other question that’s similar is the free movement of
persons a nonnegotiable prerequisite of access
to the single market? – Yeah many questions in your question. Lets take the refugees situation. So I don’t want, we
should not underestimate the importance and the complexity of what we have been facing in
the last two or three years. And still face today. There’s first a humanitarian dimension. So people are dying in the Mediterranean. People are dying in
crossing towards Europe and our first concern
has been to save lives. In the Mediterranean for instance. To create the best possible
conditions for that. To fight smuggling because
people are making money out of the sufferance of
refugees and migrants. And this is something
that we need to address as a matter of priority and
that is what we have been doing. The other issue is of
course how do we accommodate this influx of people coming to Europe? And this is a more complex problem because of the nature of our system. We have 28 countries
with different degrees of awareness, experience,
of diverse societies. And some of our countries
simply don’t have that awareness or that
experience or that capability in political terms to
move as fast as others in addressing these issues. So there’s a need for us
to find the right balance between different positions. The other issue is that
you would not solve the issue of refugees and migrants simply at the destination end
of the problem, right. It has at least two other dimensions. The transit countries
and the origin countries. So we need to look at the root causes of this migration flow. One of them is the crisis in Syria. That’s why we have been so active in trying to support political solution for the Syrian problem. We have supported the UN in their efforts. We have engaged ourselves
very actively into this. But other root causes
is the underdevelopment in for instance, sub-Saharan Africa which is the source of many of these migrants. So what we are developing right now is new creative arrangements with transit and origin countries in order to address the problem in its entirety. And we made an agreement with Turkey which is working well. And we are now in a new
generation of agreements with origin countries, namely a number of northern African, some
sub-Saharan countries as well. And this is what we’ll do in the future. To concentrate on that
and the deal is basically let’s help those countries create the jobs for the people who are
looking for jobs in Europe and in doing so share with them both the responsibility of
addressing the problem but also the benefits of economic redress. So this is a complex reality
requiring complex solutions. On the Brexit question
about free circulation I think we are not yet there, right. Let me briefly address the Brexit issue because I know its important for you. First of all, we respect the
choice of the British voters. It was a democratic choice, we
have nothing to say about it. If you want our opinion,
I think a majority of us on the continent
would have preferred the British people to stay
in the European Union. I certainly do think that
would have been better for the European Union and I believe also better for the United Kingdom. But I am not British, the British have the right to decide so full respect for the democratic decision. Secondly, we are to a large
extent in uncharted waters. Never before has a country requested to leave the European
Union and we introduced the provision in the present
treaty, in the Lisbon Treaty. Beautiful city by the
way, that you should– (laughing) That you should visit one day. If you have not yet done so. But the Treaty of Lisbon
has for the first time in the history of the European Union a provision addressing the possibility of a country leaving the European Union. Which is the famous Article 50. And the article basically
says that a country that wishes to do so, to
leave the European Union has to trigger that article
through formal requests for the the starting of negotiations. And these negotiations
should take place during a period of two years,
after which if there is an agreement the
agreement is implemented. If there is no agreement the country will have to leave anyway. This Article 50 has to be triggered by the country that wants to leave. Not by those who want to stay, obviously. And the United Kingdom has not
yet triggered that article. And so we are not discussing
any issue formally with them until they do so. The Prime Minister announced that they will do so sometime in March of next year. We are waiting for that to happen. In the meantime no formal
negotiations take place. So its very difficult for
me to anticipate positions in that negotiations
but I’m of course aware of the debate that is taking place. You know we have a set
of rules in our system. This set of rules is consistent. It is coherent, it encompasses
a number of elements of which four fundamental
freedoms are interlinked. And including the free
circulation of people. So in abstract its very
difficult to imagine that we can disentangle
these four freedoms in a way that is still
coherent with our treaties. But that’s as far as I can go now because the issue is not yet on the table. We don’t know yet how
the United Kingdom wants to approach it and I
don’t want to prejudge on their position. – [Mary] Okay so we’re down
to our last few questions and almost outta time. Two of the questions want to take up the question of the
benign versus darker view that you’ve laid out. I’ll ask one of these questions first. Vladimir Putin seems
like a malevolent force. Is there something you
can tell me about him that will ease my mind? I’m not asking that question. Someone else out there is asking. But I wouldn’t mind easing my mind too. – Well. I think its up to him to
reply to that question. Yeah. I think I’ll stop there. I think I’ll stop there, now I mean just in the confidence of this room which by the way its being streamed so– And maybe translated into
Russian, no I mean I– The relationship with
Russian for Europeans is very important because if there is one thing you cannot
change it is geography. They will be our neighbors,
we’ll be their neighbors. And we have thousands of
kilometers of border with Russia and we have economies
that are quite interlinked and the history, and the
culture, and all that. So there is a future
for EU Russia relations. We are going through
slightly difficult times for reasons you well know. But I’m sure we will find ways
to first separate the issues. You know, not linking issues which are not necessarily linked. Stick to our values and our principles and state them very clearly. But in areas where we
can cooperate well we are ready to continue to cooperate. Take the Iran deal, for instance. Where we, the cooperation between us and Russia and the US and China was critical to allow the deal
that we reached with Iran. And we did this at the same
time where we’re having very difficult discussions
with the Russians about Ukraine and Crimea. So I think there’s ways and means for us to find the balance but
we will never compromise on a number of principles
as I said earlier. – [Mary] So I think a follow up to that is given the benign versus
darker views you spoke about how do you view the responsibility of the EU to protect these
values that you’re speaking of so that they may continue to evolve and be applied in the future? – Yeah I mean if you
want to be credible you have to be coherent. If you compromise on your
values how can you be an advocate for those values
towards the rest of the world? Is as simple or as complicated as that. And so I think we will
stick to the formula that we in order to be coherent we need to be credible and vice versa. So we’ll see as you
continue to us on forefront of the fight for human
rights wherever the issue or the violation of those
rights takes place you will find us as we have,
and we just finished some work in the UN on the committee that deals with human rights. And we were leading the
fight on death penalty. On DPRK, on freedom of
religion and belief. On a number of areas
in which on the rights of the LGBT community. All that on the rights of women, children. I mean we are on front
front of those rights. And for us to be effective there we need to be absolutely coherent
on the internal front as we are today. For instance you cannot be a
member of the European Union if you have death penalty in your country. As simple as that. If you do not uphold fully human rights. So these are fundamental
pillars of our construction. – [Mary] I think on that strong note this is a good place to
end and thank you again so much for your time. (applause) – Thank you. (applause)

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