UK news and key policy documents - UK Foreign Policy emphasizes Disarmament while MoD presses ahead with Renewing Trident

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15 December 2007

UK Foreign Policy emphasizes Disarmament while MoD presses ahead with Renewing Trident

A few days before Gordon Brown took over from Tony Blair as Prime Minister on July 1, Blair's last Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, gave an apparently ground-breaking speech at the Conference of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC. In it she made a passionate case for nuclear disarmament, notwithstanding her government's recent decision to start the process of renewing the UK's submarine-launched nuclear weapons, Trident. Since Beckett was about to be replaced as Foreign Secretary, some dismissed her speech as a last attempt to expiate her sins for complying with Blair's insistence that she lead the charge to replace a nuclear weapon system that she had previously seen through and opposed. But it was more than this, for after Brown assumed the leadership, Foreign Office officials and diplomats drew attention to the speech as an important policy statement. Indeed, it was acknowledged that in view of the proximity of her speech to Blair's exit from government, Beckett had consulted with Brown before delivering it.

Less than a month later, on July 19, the new Foreign Secretary, David Miliband laid out his foreign policy stall with a speech at Chatham House, titled "New Diplomacy: Challenges for Foreign Policy".

In mid November, Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave the annual Mansion House speech at the Lord Mayor's Banquet, in which he described his approach as "hard-headed internationalism: - internationalist because global challenges need global solutions and nations must cooperate across borders - often with hard-headed intervention - to give expression to our shared interests and shared values; hard-headed because we will not shirk from the difficult long term decisions and because only through reform of our international rules and institutions will we achieve concrete, on-the-ground results."

Below, compiled by Nicola Butler we reproduce these speeches from Beckett and Miliband and excerpts from selected speeches and statements relevant to foreign and arms control policy, including from Gordon Brown, so that readers can assess for themselves the foreign policy ideas and drivers of Brown's Labour government. To complete the picture from Westminster, we have excerpted a second speech from Miliband, on Europe 2030: Model Power not Superpower, which he delivered at the College of Europe, Bruges, November 15.

Two further documentary excerpts are included, as they are likely to be of interest to Disarmament Diplomacy's readers: the sections on Trident in the Ministry of Defence Accounts, published July 23, 2007; and the Written Statement on Ballistic Missile Defence given by the Secretary of State for Defence Des Browne, just as the House of Commons recessed for its summer holidays on July 25, 2007.

In a fulsome endorsement of US ballistic missile defence (BMD) plans, Browne mentioned that the upgrades at the Fylingdales base (Yorkshire) were complete and that operations would be switched to the new US radar equipment in August. Despite previous government denials, he went on to confirm that new equipment to support the BMD system was being installed and operated by the US government at Menwith Hill, near Fylingdales. Data from this equipment would be shared between the US and UK, and would feed into US missile defences.

The final news section concerns Scotland, and reproduces the First Minister's letter of October 15 to NPT parties, explaining the recently-elected Scottish government's policy objective of making Scotland into a nuclear free country, and inviting support for Scotland to become an Observer at NPT meetings. We also include an official press release on the Scottish Government's Summit for a Future Without Nuclear Weapons, held in Glasgow, October 22.

Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs Margaret Beckett, Speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Non-Proliferation Conference, Washington DC, June 25, 2007

I expect that many - perhaps all - of you here today read an article which appeared in the Wall Street Journal at the start of this year. The writers would be as familiar to an audience in this country as they are respected across the globe: George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn.

The article made the case for, and I quote, "a bold initiative consistent with America's moral heritage". That initiative was to re-ignite the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and to redouble effort on the practical measures towards it.

The need for such vision and action is all too apparent.

Last year, Kofi Annan said - and he was right - that the world risks becoming mired in a sterile stand-off between those who care most about disarmament and those who care most about proliferation. The dangers of, what he termed, such mutually assured paralysis are dangers to us all. Weak action on disarmament, weak consensus on proliferation are in none of our interests. And any solution must be a dual one that sees movement on both proliferation and disarmament - a revitalisation, in other words, of the grand bargain struck in 1968, when the Non-Proliferation Treaty was established.

What makes this the time to break the stand-off ?

Today the non-proliferation regime is under particular pressure. We have already seen the emergence of a mixture of further declared and undeclared nuclear powers. And now, two countries - Iran and North Korea, both signatories of the NPT - stand in open defiance of the international community. Their actions have profound and direct implications for global security. Each of them also raises the serious prospect of proliferation across their region.

In the case of Iran, in particular, if the regime is trying to acquire nuclear weapons - and there are very few either in that region or outside it who seriously doubt that that is the goal - then it is raising the spectre of a huge push for proliferation in what is already one of the most unstable parts of the world.

That alone makes the debate on disarmament and non-proliferation we have to have today different in degree: it has become more immediate and more urgent.

On top of that, we must respond to other underlying trends that are putting added pressure on the original non-proliferation regime. One of those, just one, is the emergence of Al Qaeda and its offshoots - terrorists whom we know to be actively seeking nuclear materials.

Another though is the anticipated drive towards civil, nuclear power as the twin imperatives of energy security and climate security are factored into energy policy across the world. How can we ensure this does not lead to either nuclear materials or particularly potentially dangerous nuclear know-how - particularly enrichment and reprocessing technologies - being diverted for military use or just falling into the wrong hands? How do we do so without prejudice to the economic development of countries that have every right under the NPT to develop a civil, nuclear capability.

And last there are some very specific triggers for action - key impending decisions - that are fast approaching. The START treaty will expire in 2009. We will need to start thinking about how we move from a bilateral disarmament framework built by the US and Russia to one more suited to our multi-polar world.

And then in 2010 we will have the NPT Review Conference itself. By the time that is held, we need the international community to be foursquare and united behind a global non-proliferation regime. We can't afford for that conference to be a fractured or fractious one: rather we need to strengthen the NPT in all its aspects.

That may all sound quite challenging - I meant it to. But there is no reason to believe that we cannot rise to that challenge.

Let's look at some of the facts. Despite the recent log-jam, the basic non-proliferation consensus is and has been remarkably resilient. The grand bargain of the NPT has, by and large, held for the past 40 years. The vast majority of states - including many that have the technology to do so if they chose - have decided not to develop nuclear weapons. And far fewer states than was once feared have acquired and retained nuclear weapons.

Even more encouragingly, and much less well known outside this room, many more states - South Africa, Libya, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Argentina, Brazil - have given up active nuclear weapons programmes, turned back from pursuing such programmes, or - as the case of the former Soviet Union countries - chosen to hand over weapons on their territory.

And of course the Nuclear Weapons States themselves have made significant reductions in their nuclear arsenals, which I will come to later.

So we have grounds for optimism; but we have none for complacency. The successes we have had in the past have not come about by accident but by applied effort. And we will need much more of the same in the months and years to come. That will mean continued momentum and consensus on non-proliferation, certainly. But, and this is my main argument today, the chances of achieving that are greatly increased if we can also point to genuine commitment and to concrete action on nuclear disarmament.

Given the proliferation challenges we face, it is not surprising that so much of our focus should be on non-proliferation itself.

For the reasons I gave a moment ago, stopping and reversing nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Iran has to remain a key priority for the whole international community.

With North Korea the best hope to reverse their nuclear programme remains patient multilateral diplomacy underpinned by sanctions regimes.

As for Iran, the generous offer the E3+3 made in June 2006 is still on the table. Sadly Iran has chosen not to comply with its international legal obligations, thereby enabling negotiations to resume. That forced us to seek a further Security Council Resolution. And we will do so again if necessary.

The US contribution on Iran has, naturally, been critical. It made the Vienna offer both attractive and credible - showing that the entire international community was willing to welcome Iran back into its ranks provided that it conformed to international norms on the nuclear file and elsewhere. And I have no doubt that the close co-operation between the US, Europe, Russia and China has been a powerful point of leverage on the Iranians. We must hope that it succeeds.

The US has also taken the lead on much of the vital work that is going on to prevent existing nuclear material falling into the hands of terrorists and rogue states. That framework is perhaps more robust than ever before - the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, the Proliferation Security Initiative, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and efforts to prevent the financing of proliferation.

Meanwhile, there is some imaginative work going on aimed at persuading states that they can have guaranteed supplies of electricity from nuclear power without the need to acquire enrichment and reprocessing technologies. For example, the work on fuel supply assurances following the report of the IAEA expert group; the US's own Global Nuclear Energy Partnership initiative on more proliferation-resistant technologies; and the UK's own proposal for advanced export approval of nuclear fuel that cannot subsequently be revoked - the so-called "enrichment bond".

But the important point is this: in none of these areas will we stand a chance of success unless the international community is united in purpose and in action.

And what that Wall Street Journal article, and for that matter Kofi Annan, have been quite right to identify is that our efforts on non-proliferation will be dangerously undermined if others believe - however unfairly -that the terms of the grand bargain have changed, that nuclear weapon states have abandoned any commitment to disarmament.

The point of doing more on disarmament, then, is not to convince the Iranians or the North Koreans. I do not believe for a second that further reductions in our nuclear weapons would have a material effect on their nuclear ambitions.

Rather the point of doing more is this: because the moderate majority of states - our natural and vital allies on non-proliferation - want us to do more. And if we do not, we risk helping Iran and North Korea in their efforts to muddy the water, to turn the blame for their own nuclear intransigence back onto us. They can undermine our arguments for strong international action in support of the NPT by painting us as doing too little too late to fulfil our own obligations.

And that need to appear consistent, incidentally, is just as true at the regional level. The international community's clear commitment to a Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in successive UN resolutions has been vital in building regional support for a tough line against Iran.

So what does doing more - and indeed being seen to do more - on disarmament actually mean?

First, I think we need to be much more open about the disarmament steps we are already taking or have taken. Here in the long-standing, and perhaps understandable, culture of increased secrecy that surrounds the nuclear world we may be our own worst enemy. There is little public remembrance or recognition of the vast cuts in warheads - some 40 000 - made by the US and the former USSR since the end of the Cold War. Nor, for that that matter, the cuts that France and the UK have made to our much smaller stocks. We all need to do more, much more, to address that. And I welcome the US State Department's recent moves in that direction.

But we would be kidding ourselves if we thought that this was a problem only of perception- simply of a failure to communicate, although that failure is very real. The sense of stagnation is real enough. The expiry of the remaining US-Russia arms control deals; the continued existence of large arsenals; the stalemate on a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty. They all point to an absence of debate at the highest levels on disarmament and a collective inability thus far to come up with a clear, forward plan.

What we need is both vision - a scenario for a world free of nuclear weapons. And action - progressive steps to reduce warhead numbers and to limit the role of nuclear weapons in security policy. These two strands are separate but they are mutually reinforcing. Both are necessary, both at the moment are too weak.

Let me start with the vision because, perhaps, that is the harder case to make. After all, we all signed up to the goal of the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons back in 1968; so what does simply restating that goal achieve today?

More I think than you might imagine. Because, and I'll be blunt, there are, I was going to say some, but I think many who are in danger of losing faith in the possibility of ever reaching that goal.

That would, I think, be a grave mistake. The judgement we made forty years ago, that the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons was in all of our interests - is just as true today as it was then. For more than sixty years, good management and good fortune have meant that nuclear arsenals have not been used. But we cannot rely just on history to repeat itself.

It would be a grave mistake for another reason, too. It underestimates the power that commitment and vision can have in driving action.

A parallel can be drawn with some of those other decades-long campaigns conducted as we've striven for a more civilized world.

When William Wilberforce began his famous campaign, the practice of one set of people enslaving another had existed for thousands of years. He had the courage to challenge that paradigm; and in so doing helped with many others to bring an end to the terrible evil of the transatlantic slave trade.

Would he have achieved half as much, would he have inspired the same fervour in others if he had set out to 'regulate' or 'reduce' the slave trade rather than abolish it? I doubt it.

Similarly the Millennium Development Goals, the cancellation of third-world debt, increased overseas aid were all motivated by the belief that one day, however far off it might seem, we could "Make Poverty History".

So too with nuclear weapons. Believing that the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons is possible can act as a spur for action on disarmament. Believing, at whatever level, that it is not possible, is the surest path to inaction. If there will always be nuclear weapons, what does it matter if there are 1000 or 10 000?

And just as the vision gives rise to action, conversely so does action give meaning to the vision. As that Wall Street Journal article put it, and again I quote: "Without the bold vision, the actions will not be perceived as fair and urgent. Without the actions, the vision will not be perceived as realistic or possible"

By actions, I do not mean that the nuclear weapons states should be making immediate and unrealistic promises - committing to speedy abolition, setting a timetable to zero.

The truth is that I rather doubt - although I would wish it otherwise - that we will see the total elimination of nuclear weapons perhaps in my lifetime. To reach that point would require much more than disarmament diplomacy, convoluted enough though that is in itself. It would require a much more secure and predictable global political context.

That context does not exist today. Indeed it is why, only a few months ago, the UK took the decision to retain our ability to have an independent nuclear deterrent beyond the 2020s.

But acknowledging that the conditions for disarmament do not exist today does not mean resigning ourselves to the idea that nuclear weapons can never be abolished in the future. Nor does it prevent us from taking steps to reduce numbers now and to start thinking about how we would go about reaching that eventual goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons.

That is why in taking the decision to retain our ability to have nuclear weapons, the UK government was very clear about four things. First that we would be open and frank with our own citizens and with our international partners about what we were doing and why. It is all being done upfront and in public - not as in the past, behind the scenes. Second that we would be very clear and up front that when the political conditions existed, we would give up our remaining nuclear weapons. Third that we were not enhancing our nuclear capability in any way and would continue to act strictly in accordance with our NPT obligations. And fourth that we would reduce our stock of operationally available warheads by a further 20 per cent - to the very minimum we considered viable to maintain an independent nuclear deterrent.

This was our way - and I can assure you it was a difficult process - to resolve the dilemma between our genuine commitment to abolition and our considered judgement that sadly now was not the time to take a unilateral step to totally disarm.

It's the same dilemma every nuclear weapons state faces. And we can all make the same choices in recommitting to the goal of abolition and taking practical steps towards achieving that goal.

Practical steps include further reductions in warhead numbers, particularly in the world's biggest arsenals. There are still over 20 000 warheads in the world. And the US and Russia hold about 96 per cent of them.

Almost no-one - politician, military strategist or scientist - thinks that warheads in those numbers are still necessary to guarantee international security. So it should not be controversial to suggest that there remains room for further significant reductions. So I hope that the Moscow Treaty will be succeeded by further clear commitments to significantly lower numbers of warheads - and include, if possible, tactical as well as strategic, nuclear weapons.

Since we no longer live in a bipolar world, those future commitments may no longer require strict parity. They could be unilateral undertakings. Certainly the UK experience - and indeed the United States' own experience with the reduction of its tactical weapons in Europe - is that substantial reductions can be achieved through independent re-examination of what is really needed to deter: that approach has allowed the UK to reduce our operationally available warheads by nearly half over the last ten years from what was already a comparatively low base. We have also reduced the readiness of the nuclear force that remains. We now only have one boat on patrol at any one time, carrying no more than 48 warheads - and our missiles are not targeted at any specific sites.

Commitments like these need not even be enshrined in formal treaties. The UK's reductions, after all, are not. But clearly both the US and Russia will require sufficient assurance that their interests and their strategic stability will be safeguarded. Part of the solution may be provided by the extension of the most useful transparency and confidence building measures in the START framework, should the US and Russia agree to do so.

And I should make clear here again, that when it will be useful to include in any negotiations the one per cent of the world's nuclear weapons that belong to the UK, we will willingly do so.

In addition to these further reductions, we need to press on with both the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and with the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. Both limit - in real and practical ways - the ability of states party to develop new weapons and to expand their nuclear capabilities. And as such they therefore both play a very powerful symbolic role too - they signal to the rest of the world that the race for more and bigger weapons is over, and that the direction from now on will be down and not up. That's why we are so keen for those countries that have not yet done so to ratify the CTBT. The moratorium observed by all the nuclear weapon states is a great step forward; but by allowing the CTBT to enter into force - and, of course, US ratification would provide a great deal of impetus - we would be showing that this is a permanent decision, a permanent change and in the right direction.

At the same time, I believe that we will need to look again at how we manage global transparency and global verification. This will have to extend beyond the bilateral arrangements between Russia and the US. If we are serious about complete nuclear disarmament we should begin now to build deeper relationships on disarmament between nuclear weapon states.

For our part, the UK is ready and willing to engage with other members of the P5 on transparency and confidence building measures. Verification will be particularly key - any future verification regime for a world free of nuclear weapons will need to be tried and tested. In my opinion, it will need to place more emphasis on the warheads themselves than the current arrangement which focuses primarily on delivery systems. That will become particularly true as numbers of warheads drop.

And we have to keep doing the hard diplomatic work on the underlying political conditions - resolving the ongoing sources of tension in the world, not least in the Middle East and between Pakistan and India. We also need to build a more mature, balanced and stable relationship between ourselves and Russia.

And since I have the non-proliferation elite gathered in one room, let me emphasize the importance this and future UK governments will place on the agreement of an international and legally binding arms trade treaty. Conflicts across the globe are made more likely and more intense by those who trade all arms in an irresponsible and unregulated way. And an arms trade treaty would contribute to a focus on arms reduction and help build a safer world.

And when it comes to building this new impetus for global nuclear disarmament, I want the UK to be at the forefront of both the thinking and the practical work. To be, as it were, a "disarmament laboratory".

As far as new thinking goes, the International Institute of Strategic Studies is planning an in-depth study to help determine the requirements for the eventual elimination of all nuclear weapons. We will participate in that study and provide funding for one of their workshops, focussing on some of the crucial technical questions in this area.

The study and subsequent workshops will offer a thorough and systematic analysis of what a commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons means in practice. What weapons and facilities will have to go before we can say that nuclear weapons are abolished? What safeguards will we have to put in place over civil nuclear facilities? How do we increase transparency and put in place a verification regime so that everyone can be confident that no-one else has or is developing nuclear weapons? And finally - and perhaps this is perhaps the greatest challenge of all - what path can we take to complete nuclear disarmament that avoids creating new instabilities themselves potentially damaging to global security.

And then we have these new areas of practical work. This will concentrate on the challenge of creating a robust, trusted and effective system of verification that does not give away national security or proliferation sensitive information.

Almost a decade ago, we asked the UK's Atomic Weapons Establishment to begin developing our expertise in methods and techniques to verify the reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons. We reported on this work throughout the last Non-Proliferation Treaty review cycle. Now we intend to build on that work, looking more deeply at several key stages in the verification process - and again report our findings as soon as possible.

One area we will be looking at further is authentication - in other words confirming that an object presented for dismantlement as a warhead is indeed a warhead. There are profound security challenges in doing that. We need to find ways to carry out that task without revealing sensitive information. At the moment we are developing technical contacts with Norway in this area. As a non-nuclear weapons state they will offer a valuable alternative perspective on our research.

Then we will be looking more closely at chain of custody issues - in other words how to provide confidence that the items that emerge from the dismantlement process have indeed come from the authenticated object that went into that process to begin with. Here we face the challenge of managing access to sensitive nuclear facilities. We have already carried out some trial inspections of facilities to draw lessons for the handling of access under any future inspections regime.

And last we intend to examine how to provide confidence that the dismantled components of a nuclear warhead are not being returned to use in new warheads. This will have to involve some form of monitored storage, with a difficult balance once again to be struck between security concerns and verification requirements. We are currently working on the design concepts for building such a monitored store, so that we can more fully investigate these complex practical issues.

The initiatives I have announced today are only small ones. But they are, I hope you will agree, in the right direction - a signal of intent and purpose to ourselves and to others. We will talk more and do more with our international partners - those who have nuclear weapons, and those who do not - in the weeks and months to come.

I said earlier that I am not confident, cannot be confident, that I would live to see a world free of nuclear weapons. My sadness at such a thought is real. Mine, like yours, is a generation that has existed under the shadow of the bomb - knowing that weapons existed which could bring an end to humanity itself. We have become almost accustomed to that steady underlying dread, punctuated by the sharper fear of each new nuclear crisis: Cuba in 1962, the Able Archer scare of 1983, the stand-off between India and Pakistan in 2002.

But there is a danger in familiarity with something so terrible. If we allow our efforts on disarmament to slacken, if we allow ourselves to take the non-proliferation consensus for granted, the nuclear shadow that hangs over us will lengthen and it will deepen. And it may, one day, blot out the light for good.

So my commitment to that vision, truly visionary in its day, of a world free of nuclear weapons is undimmed. And although we in this room may never reach the end of that road, we can take those first further steps down it. For any generation, that would be a noble calling. For ours, it is a duty.

Source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, www.fco.gov.uk

New Diplomacy: Challenges for Foreign Policy

Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP, Foreign Secretary, Chatham House Speech, July 19, 2007

This is an exciting and important time in British politics. After 10 years in government, the Labour Party is seeking under new leadership to set out and deliver a renewed vision for the future of the country that builds on the social, economic and political changes introduced since 1997. The battle of ideas over the next couple of years will in my view determine the direction of our country over the next 20. So the stakes are high: will progressive forces establish a new centre of gravity in politics, or will the 20th Century pattern of conservative dominance interrupted by bursts of radicalism become the norm again?

Today I want to address the relevance of foreign policy to the drive to build a better Britain, the priorities for foreign engagement, and the powers available to us to advance our goals. In that context it is right but also symbolic that I give my first speech as Foreign Secretary with organisations that symbolise the old and new strengths we will need in foreign policy: the insight, knowledge and expertise of Chatham House and the capacity for engagement with people on a global scale demonstrated by Avaaz.

Every Foreign Secretary quotes Lord Palmerston, who famously said we have no permanent allies and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests. But is it true? Today, we have permanent alliances. The US is the single most important bilateral relationship. We are committed members of the EU. We are proud of our role in the UN, on the Security Council, and the Commonwealth. These alliances are founded on shared values and embedded in shared institutions. The evolution in foreign policy is driven by changing circumstances and the changing distribution of power, not by changes in values and alliances. This evolution depends on new thinking and new solutions.

My argument today is this: Britain should respond to the real insecurities and opportunities that exist in the world not by retreating from international engagement, but by using our strengths so that we are a force for good for Britain by being a force for good in the world. The old distinction, between foreign policy that affected foreigners and domestic policy that affected our citizens, has collapsed. So foreign policy is about values and interests together.

Britain brings to this task real strengths. A new Prime Minister with a clear view of how the national interest is best served by international engagement. An economy that is increasingly the banker to the world. Culture that is globally admired. Ditto military forces. And alliances that stretch North, East, South and West.

But foreign policy goals and methods must adapt to a series of shifts in the distribution of power: a world where the security threat is not just from excessive state power, but increasingly from terrorism and conflict within failed states; a world where economic prosperity depends on new bargains between industrialized and developing countries; a world where social change is fostered not just through government-to-government relationships but between businesses, NGOs, and faith groups.

In this new context, we need to think how we can deploy Britain's assets - both the soft power of ideas and influence, and the harder power of our economic and military incentives and interventions - to promote the international security and prosperity on which we all depend.

This thinking on a new diplomacy can begin in the Foreign Office, but it needs to draw on the widest base of ideas. I want to end tonight by setting out the questions I am asking of the FCO and want us to work on together - in the seminar rooms of Chatham House and among the million members of Avaaz.

A Better Britain

I am a departmental Minister but also a member of the Government. So it is important I start from the overall aims of the government, and then explain how I think foreign policy can play a role in delivering them.

The new government's project is focused on three core elements, each of which require an active foreign policy.

First, our prosperity relies on a more open Britain - open to new investment and trade, to new people and ideas. In the 21st century, the successful countries of the world will be those that are more open in their social structures, more open in their political structure

Second, our security relies on tackling instability and injustice at home and abroad. It requires cooperation with countries on terrorism, migration and organized crime. It requires collective action on the great existential threats, from nuclear proliferation to climate change.

Third, our mission to give power to people to shape their lives depends not just on local accountability but also global institutions, global agreements and global links.

The vision is a Britain that is a global hub. Just as the City of London acts as the centre of the global financial market, British cities and institutions and ideas can become the hubs for scientific, cultural and political collaboration. But the vision needs to be delivered in new circumstances with new tools.

The Changing Distribution of Power

The environment for diplomacy has been affected by a series of shifts in the distribution of power at international level. 'Balance of power' is no longer a basis for diplomacy. Today, the new diplomacy needs to reflect the new distribution of power.

First, for much of the last century our security concerns were primarily about excessive and expansionist state power, threatening their own citizens or neighbouring countries. Today, some of the greatest threats are likely to emerge in countries where state power is too weak not too strong - too weak to clamp down on the creeping threat of global terrorism. The implication is clear: building the capacity of states must go hand in hand with building democratic accountability. While we have actually seen a substantial reduction in the size of conventional and nuclear arsenals since the end of the cold war, the sense of insecurity felt by our citizens may actually have increased. Across the world, people are demanding more power for themselves. Our task is to make this a force for progress not destruction.

Second, over the next two decades, with the growing strength of China and India, we are likely to see political, economic and military power more geographically dispersed than it has been since the rise to global dominance of the European Empires in the 19th Century. This makes our most important bilateral relationship - with the United States - more not less important. It makes the case for our leading role within the European Union and NATO more obvious than ever. It makes our membership of the Security Council and therefore our work with Russia and China more vital than ever. It makes our determination to champion UN reform - with Security Council membership for a larger group of countries - more relevant than ever. And it actually offers a new basis for a vibrant Commonwealth as a unique network of nations.

Third, there is a mismatch between national power and global problems. The risk of financial crises, climate change, and health pandemics cannot be mitigated by individual countries; they require collective action on a global scale. Managing the risks from globalisation and maximising the benefits requires institutional innovation and the development of the EU reflects this.

Fourth, the power to coordinate at scale can be done without the hierarchies of bureaucracies or the price mechanism of markets - either the helping hand of the state or the invisible hand of the market. Technology is enabling networks to challenge the power of traditional incumbents, economically and politically. In benign forms, it can be seen with Linux challenging Microsoft Windows, Wikipedia challenging Encyclopaedia Britannica or political campaigns such as Make Poverty History, Stop Climate Chaos, or Move On. Less welcome, obviously, is the increasing capacity of extremists and terrorists to coordinate their disparate activities without the vulnerability of a single point of control. The power of technology to connect people across the world needs to be put to strategic use.

The new distribution of power changes the way we need to analyse threats and exploit opportunities. Our security is threatened by terrorist networks using the freedom of an open society, but can be enhanced by the spread of democracy and good governance. Our prosperity is threatened by climate change but can be enhanced by free trade. Our sense of powerlessness is exacerbated by the weakness of international institutions, but can be diminished by the potential of new networks. In other words, there are new sources of insecurity, but also new resources for prosperity.

Soft and hard power

This has implications not just for foreign policy priorities, but how we go about pursuing them. If we are to continue to be a force for good, we need to be smart about how and when we combine the soft power of ideas and influence and the hard power of economic and military incentives and interventions.

The first source of power, set out by the Prime Minister, is winning the battle of ideas.

This means being clear about objectives. Our objective is not domination. It is not to force others to live as we do. In a world as diverse and complex as ours, it is to establish, on however thin a basis, a set of rights and responsibilities, by which we can live side by side. Our aim must be to galvanise all the resources of moderation to block the path of radical extremism. Nowhere is this more the case than in the Middle East, and in the drive for a two-state solution.

We need to be clear about values. For example, the declaration at the World Summit in 2005 that the international community has a 'Responsibility to Protect' populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity marks a vital new stage in the debate about the relationship between human rights and national sovereignty.

So we are right, in my view, to work urgently to avoid a repeat of the 1990s catastrophe in the Balkans, by backing the Ahtisaari Plan for Kosovo strongly.

The battle of ideas also means being clear about facts and evidence - such as whether it is in our financial self-interest to tackle climate change. The Stern Review showed that the UK can have a major impact on debates across the globe by reframing climate change as an economic as well as an environmental challenge. So I believe Margaret Beckett was profoundly right to take the debate about climate change into the Security Council earlier this year, to reflect the importance of climate change to international security.

We need to find similar ways of leading thought on other areas, whether this is concrete and immediate challenges such as nuclear disarmament and proliferation or longer term challenges such as the future of global institutions.

The second source of power is influence within institutions. Britain acting alone does not possess the power or legitimacy to directly effect change on the scale required. Acting with others we can make a difference.

Multilateral action is not a soft option. Just look at Afghanistan - a country that symbolises our dual goal of protecting our national security and promoting human rights. Our forces are deployed as part of a NATO operation involving over 30 countries, backed by a UN mandate. The military operation is backed by a comprehensive approach including EU and UN investment in development and humanitarian assistance.

Multilateralism does not replace the need for bilateral relationships. If we want Britain to be a global hub we need a strong relationship with the leading global power. The US is our single most important bilateral partnership because of shared values but also because of political reality. The US is the world's largest economy. Engaged - whether on the Middle East Peace Process or climate change or international development - it has the greatest capacity to do good of any country in the world. That is why we welcome the commitment of President Bush to give priority to long term political negotiation on a two-state solution side-by side with short-term humanitarian support for the Palestinian Government, led by President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad.

Some people try to compare our relationship with the US with our position in the European Union. But the EU is not a bilateral relationship - we are members of the EU. That membership is an asset in economic terms - guaranteeing open markets and setting common standards where needed. It is an asset in tackling crime. And it needs to be a greater asset in foreign policy - not substituting for nation states but giving better expression to the common commitments of nation states. That is why we support the proposal to amend the EU Treaties so that we have at our disposal a single Representative to take forward our Common Foreign and Security Policy where all 27 Member States wish to act together and give authority to do so. It just makes sense.

All multilateral institutions need a strong sense of purpose. The EU was founded to tackle a threat that no longer exists: conflict within western Europe. If it is to renew its mandate, it needs to find a new raison d'etre, including, I believe, a focus on addressing one of the greatest threats to our future prosperity and security: climate change. Creating an Environmental Union is as big a challenge in the 21st century as peace in Europe was in the 1950s.

Our longer term challenge is to adapt and strengthen other multilateral institutions and networks to renew their mandates, reform the way they work, and adapt more quickly to new threats and new opportunities.

If ideas and influence are examples of so called 'soft power', then the third source of power - incentives and sanctions - represent harder power. We should use them to maximum effect. History suggests that the attraction of becoming members of 'clubs' such as the WTO, NATO, or most profoundly the EU, is a powerful one. The benefits of free-trade or military protection when linked to states playing by the rules can incentivise reform and establish norms of behaviour. For example, I am a strong supporter of Turkish accession talks with the EU. The prospect of EU membership has built a bridge to a key Muslim country. But it has also in recent years helped contribute to the abolition of the death penalty and improved the rights of women and minorities.

A balanced package of incentives and sanctions are also required to apply pressure. Iran has every right to be a secure, rich country. But it doesn't have a right to undermine the stability of its neighbours. That is why we are taking a dual track approach. We are continuing to discuss further sanctions with the group of nations that comprise the E3+3, an international coalition brought together to address concerns about Iran's nuclear programme. In parallel, through the E3+3 process, we are offering a comprehensive package of incentives. These include reaffirming Iran's right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of the NPT, improving Iran's access to the international economy, markets and capital and support for a new conference to promote dialogue and cooperation on regional security issues.

Fourth, there will be cases where direct intervention will be right.

This can take a range of forms: aid convoys, police training of security forces or deploying peacekeepers. In some areas, however, military intervention will be necessary. It was right in Kosovo in 1999 to deal with the terrible ethnic cleansing going on there. Almost a decade later, it is right that the UN and African Union are working together to put a strengthened force into Darfur to protect vulnerable civilians there, and right too that under French leadership the EU is working on deploying a small military force along the Chad/Darfur border. In Iraq, the Prime Minister has made clear that we will fulfil our international obligations and our obligations to the Iraqi people. Our objective is to support the democratically elected government. Our roles are defined by UN resolutions. Our current efforts are directed towards the development of a strong Iraqi security capacity and the political reconciliation which we know must be at the heart of progress.

We have a range of tools at our command. The changing distribution of power in the world means we must be a force for good by virtue not of choosing hard or soft power, but combining both. In a world of conflicts within states, national sovereignty is no answer to complaints about the systematic abuse of human rights. In a world where challenges cut across country borders, we need more than ever to build regional and global institutions that are more effective and more legitimate. In a world where the 'power to destroy' is greater, we need both economic incentives and guarantees of security combined with a continued role for hard power interventions.

Challenges for the Foreign Office

So Britain under Gordon Brown's leadership has the strength to make a difference in the world, and thereby make a difference to Britain. My job is to ensure that the FCO makes the most effective contribution possible to that drive. After three weeks, I am even more confident that we have the people to be successful. But after three weeks it is also right to share with you questions I am asking about how the Foreign Office can make the greatest contribution.

First, priorities. Given the levers I have just described, where should the UK concentrate its global effort: where are we most needed, and where can most effect change? The FCO currently has 10 'strategic priorities'. All are important. But can any organisation really have 10 priorities? There are important public services that support British nationals and British business overseas, from our consular and visa services to UKTI. But policy priorities need rigour and clarity.

My 'starter for 10' is that in the coming months, we must focus on helping to tackle the causes and consequences of extremism, radicalisation and conflict; we must shape a sustainable global response to the challenge of climate change and the need for low carbon economic development; and we must build a more effective EU to help build prosperity and security within European borders and beyond. But I want your views.

Second, cooperation across UK government. The Foreign Office is a unique global asset. But diplomacy has to be allied to other assets across government, in particular, aid, trade, investment and military intervention. How can we improve coordination across the FCO and other departments on particular countries and challenges?

Third, how can we engage beyond Whitehall, with faith groups, NGOs, business and universities. The old diplomacy was defined by a world of limited information. It was a veritable secret garden of negotiations. And secret negotiation still matters.

But we live in a world where the views of a Pashtun farmer, and the conflict he faces between illegal opium production and legal farming, holds the fate of a critical country in the balance. So the new diplomacy is public as well as private, mass as well as elite, real-time as well as deliberative. And that needs to be reflected in the way we do our business.

Conclusion

My predecessors in the Foreign Office, or at least that part of it which was the Colonial Office, looked out at an Empire. That is no longer the case and never will be the case. But since the decline of Empire Britain has faced a choice - to engage with the world or retreat from it? I am clear about my answer: we must engage.

But those of us committed to engaging with the world have faced profound questions about how to do so. We confront scepticism and fatalism. John F Kennedy got this right. He said foreign policy should be based on 'idealism without illusions'. In this speech I have tried to speak without illusions - about the challenges and the difficulties. But the idealism is still there - above all about Britain's ability to be a global hub which lives out its values and advances them abroad. The job of the Foreign Office is to lead that debate, and with your help that is what we will do.

Source: UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office website, http://www.fco.gov.uk.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Speech to the Lord Mayor's Banquet

November 12, 2007 (excerpts)

Tonight, I want to speak about Britain's unique place in the new world. And where, as a result, our responsibilities lie; how our national interest can be best advanced; and what we can achieve by working together internationally and by contributing to building the strongest and broadest sense of common purpose.

The new context

In the 1820s the then Foreign Secretary George Canning said that he had 'called the new world into existence to redress the balance of the old'. The order of the nineteenth century saw European empires spanning the globe. After World War Two a new international order was defined by the high stakes of the superpower nuclear stand off. Both these world orders shaped by political weight and military power.

In 1989 the old world order dominated by the Cold War came to an end. But how quickly events have disproved those who celebrated the end of the Cold War as 'the end of history'. From Bosnia to Darfur, Rwanda to Afghanistan we have seen a level of disorder and uncertainty that no-one predicted. And no one foresaw the scale of the dramatic and seismic shifts in economy, culture and communications that are now truly global.

Our international institutions built for just 50 sheltered economies in what became a bipolar world are not fit for purpose in an interdependent world of 200 states where global flows of commerce, people and ideas defy borders. With such transformative change comes a clear obligation, but also a great opportunity, to write a new chapter -- to set down for a new era a better 21st century way of delivering peace and prosperity.

Of course the first duty of Government - our abiding obligation - is and will always be the safety of the British people, the protection of the British national interest. And let me affirm our commitment that we will always be vigilant and resolute, never leave ourselves vulnerable, but will at all times support and strengthen our armed forces, our defences and our security. Yet the timeless values that underpin our policies at home - our belief in the liberty of all, in security and justice for all, in economic opportunity andenvironmental protection shared by all - are also ideals that I believe that it is in our national interest to promote abroad. But we do so in a changing world where six new global forces unique to our generation are demonstrating our growing interdependence and pressing the international community to discover common purpose.

First, few expected when the adamantine certainties of the Cold War came to an end, we would have to address the constantly changing uncertainties of violence and instability from failed states and rogue states. The spread of terrorism has destroyed the old assumption that states alone could access destructive weapons. As dramatic in a different way is a third force for change: global flows of capital and global sourcing of goods and services have brought the biggest shift of economic power since the industrial revolution - the rapid emergence of India and China as global powers with legitimate global aspirations. The new frontier is that there is no frontier.

The unprecedented impact of climate change transforms the very purpose of government. Once quality of life meant the pursuit of two objectives: economic growth and social cohesion. Now there is a trinity of aims:prosperity, fairness and environmental care. And as energy supplies are under pressure there is a new global competition for natural resources. New global forces at work - from pandemics to worldwide migration - make the task of overcoming the great social evils of hunger, illiteracy, disease, squalor and poverty even more challenging. And if, as Tom Friedman has written, the defining image of the 20th centurywas a wall representing division, the defining image of the 21st is a web championing connections -- a world where we can rightly now talk not just of the wealth of nations but the wealth of networks. The web cannot be controlled in the end by any single force or any single leader. And what happens within it cannot be predicted from day to day.

George Orwell was not quite right: the technology revolution he foresaw is not a controlling force enslaving people, but for the most part a liberating force empowering them. In the old order power affected people but could not easily be affected by them. But once powerless people now have the potential to be heard andsee their impact felt in places far away. And because our world is now so connected and so interdependent it is possible in this century, for the first time in human history, to contemplate and create a global society that empowers people.

Why do I believe this is not only possible but essential? Because we cannot any longer escape the consequences of our interdependence. The old distinction between 'over there' and 'over here' does not make sense of this interdependent world. For there is no longer an 'over there' of terrorism, failed states, poverty, forced migration and environmental degradation and an 'over here' that is insulated or immune.Today a nation's self interest today will be found not in isolation but in cooperation to overcome shared challenges. And so the underlying issue for our country - indeed for every country - is how together in this new interdependent world we renew and strengthen our international rules, institutions and networks.

My approach is hard-headed internationalism: - internationalist because global challenges need global solutions and nations must cooperate across borders - often with hard-headed intervention - to give expression to our shared interests and shared values; - hard-headed because we will not shirk from the difficult long term decisions and because only through reform of our international rules and institutions will we achieve concrete, on-the-ground results.

Building a global society means agreeing that the great interests we share in common are more powerful than the issues that sometimes divide us. It means articulating and acting upon the enduring values that define our common humanity and transcending ideologies of hatred that seek to drive us apart. And critically - and this is the main theme of my remarks this evening - we must bring to life these shared interests and shared values by practical proposals to create the architecture of a new global society.

Britain's alliances

Through our membership of the European Union - which gives us and 26 other countries the unique opportunity to work together on economic, environmental and security challenges - and the Commonwealth, and through our commitment to NATO and the UN, we have the capacity to work together with all those who share our vision of the future. And I do not see these as partnerships in competition with each other but mutually reinforcing.

It is no secret that I am a life long admirer of America. I have no truck with anti-Americanism in Britain or elsewhere in Europe and I believe that our ties with America - founded on values we share - constitute our most important bilateral relationship. And it is good for Britain, for Europe and for the wider world that today France and Germany and the European Union are building stronger relationships with America.

The 20th century showed that when Europe and America are distant from one another, instability is greater; when partners for progress the world is stronger. And in the years ahead - notwithstanding the huge shifts in economic influence underway - I believe that Europe and America have the best chance for many decades to achieve historic progress....

- working ever more closely together on the project of building a global society;

- and helping bring in all continents, including countries today outside the G8 and the UN Security Council, to give new purpose and direction to our international institutions.

And while no longer the mightiest militarily, or the largest economically, the United Kingdom has an important contribution to make. Just as London has become a global hub linking commerce, ideas and people from all over the world, so too our enduring values and our network of alliances, can help secure the changes we need.

A new framework for security and reconstruction

Today, there is still a gaping hole in our ability to address the illegitimate threats and use of force against innocent peoples. It is to the shame of the whole world that the international community failed to act to prevent genocide in Rwanda. We now rightly recognise our responsibility to protect behind borders where there are crimes against humanity.

But if we are to honour that responsibility to protect we urgently need a new framework to assist reconstruction. With the systematic use of earlier Security Council action, proper funding of peacekeepers, targeted sanctions - and their ratcheting up to include the real threat of international criminal court actions - we must now set in place the first internationally agreed procedures to prevent breakdowns of states and societies.

But where breakdowns occur, the UN - and regional bodies such as the EU and African Union - must now also agree to systematically combine traditional emergency aid and peacekeeping with stabilisation, reconstruction and development.

There are many steps the international community can assist with on the ladder from insecurity and conflict to stability and prosperity. So I propose that, in future, Security Council peacekeeping resolutions and UN Envoys should make stablisation, reconstruction and development an equal priority; that the international community should be ready to act with a standby civilian force including police and judiciary who can be deployed to rebuild civic societies; and that to repair damaged economies we sponsor local economic development agencies ---- in each area the international community able to offer a practical route map from failure to stability.

New initiatives in non-proliferation

And just as we will continue to be a leading nation in negotiating nuclear arms reductions, so we must be at the forefront of meeting the challenge of preventing nuclear weapons proliferation. And with more sophisticated after-the-fact detection of the source of nuclear materials there must be a determination to hold to account both active providers and potential users.

I propose internationally agreed access to an enrichment bond or nuclear fuel bank to help non-nuclear states acquire the new sources of energy they need. But this offer should be made only as long as these countries renounce nuclear weapons and meet internationally enforced non-proliferation standards.

The greatest immediate challenge to non-proliferation is Iran's nuclear ambitions, hidden from the world for many years in breach of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Iran has a choice - confrontation with the international community leading to a tightening of sanctions or, if it changes its approach and ends support for terrorism, a transformed relationship with the world.

Unless positive outcomes flow from Javier Solana's report and the IAEA, we will lead in seeking tougher sanctions both at the UN and in the European Union, including on oil and gas investment and the financial sector. Iran should be in no doubt about our seriousness of purpose.

Small arms kill every 90 seconds so as we call for an Arms Trade Treaty, Britain is willing to extend export laws to control extra-territorial brokering and trafficking of small arms, and potentially other weapons. And having led the way by taking two types of cluster munitions out of service, we want to work internationally for a ban on the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of those cluster munitions which cause unacceptable harm to civilians.

The renewal of the international institutions

To build not just security but environmental stewardship and prosperity free of global poverty, I want a G8 for the 21st century, a UN for the 21st century, and an IMF and World Bank fit for the 21st century.

And to achieve this I want to play my part in helping the European Union move away from its past preoccupation with inward looking institutional reform and I will work with others to propose a comprehensive agenda for a Global Europe - a Europe that is outward looking, open, internationalist, able to effectively respond both through internal reform and external action to the economic, security and environmental imperatives of globalisation.

I said my approach was hard headed because I am conscious of weaknesses in international institutions that need to be addressed, aware that while resolutions matter results matter even more, determined to judge success not by the number of initiatives in conference halls but by practical action for change, and resolute in my determination that we need fewer rather than more international bureaucracies. Indeed, we need a new network of change-makers - often non-governmental organisations - which deliver concrete action on the ground.

Long term but now also interim options must be examined to reform a UN Security Council - whose permanent members do not include Japan, India, Brazil, Germany, or any African country - to make the Council more representative, more credible and more effective.

The G8 has to increasingly broaden to encompass the influential emerging economies now outside but that account for more than a third of the world's economic output. And we need a new coalition of democracies and civic societies joining together as allies for progress, with leaders in politics, economics and civil society all pushing forward reform.

International efforts against terrorism are not a short-term struggle where we get by through ad-hoc improvisation: this is a generational challenge. Global terrorist networks demand a global response. And if there are to be no safe havens for terrorists, and no hiding places for those financing and harbouring terrorism, we should work for a concerted global strengthening of law enforcement, financial supervision and policing and intelligence cooperation.

Financial disruption in one country can now affect all countries. The IMF should be transformed with a renewed mandate that goes far beyond crisis management to crisis prevention - not only responsible in the manner of an independent central bank for the independent surveillance of the world economy but becoming its early warning system.

As we move to a post 2012 global climate change agreement, we need a strengthened UN role for environmental protection. And while we strengthen the World Bank's focus on poverty reduction, it must also become a bank for the environment. So as its new President Bob Zoellick has argued, it should recognise that the poorest countries are the most vulnerable to climate change - and help them to adapt and to finance low carbon economic growth.

Over the summer in places of turmoil as different as Darfur and Burma - where we will continue to pressure and persuade - the international community has shown how it can come together.

In Afghanistan we will work with the international community to match our military and security effort with new support for political reform and for economic and social development.

And today and together we call on President Musharraf of Pakistan to restore the constitution and implement the necessary conditions to guarantee free and fair elections on schedule in January; release all political prisoners, including members of the judiciary and human rights activists; to pursue energetically reconciliation with the political opposition; honour his commitment to step down as Chief of Army Staff; and relax restrictions on the media.

Nor will we shirk our obligations to the people and new democracy of Iraq and to the international community. As we move next month from our combat role to 'Overwatch' in Basra Province, we will support economic development to give the people of Basra a greater stake in the future.

And with the personal leadership of President Bush and the peace initiative involving all 22 states of the Arab League, there is potentially a window of opportunity to achieve - thanks to the political courage of Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas - the creation of a viable Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel.

For this we need not only a road to Annapolis but a road from Annapolis: the December donors conference in Paris; Tony Blair's painstaking work for which I thank him; and Britain's economic road map for reconstruction in the West Bank and Gaza....

Whether in the Middle East or across the developing world, indifference to the plight of others is not only wrong, but not in our interests. That is why we continue to do all we can to reach a world trade agreement that will be of most benefit to the poorest.

But the global poverty emergency cannot be solved by one organisation or even a coalition of governments on their own: we now need the concerted efforts of private, public and third sectors working together ------ a new public-private alliance founded on promoting trade and growth.

The injustices people inflict on one another are not god-given but man-made and we have it in our power to become the first generation in history to deliver to every child the long overdue basic right to education. And today we also have the science and medicine to be the first generation to eradicate the preventable diseases of TB, polio, diptheria and malaria -- and eventually to cure HIV and AIDS.

And with a special UN meeting next year, it is my personal commitment to work with all people of goodwill to achieve these goals.

By history and conviction, we - Britain - are bearers of the indispensable idea of individual dignity and mutual respect. But we act to build a different, better world because we judge that it too is the best defence of our own future. We know that Britain cannot be a safe and prosperous island in a turbulent and divided world. A better world is our best security, our national interest best advanced by shared international endeavour.

So this is our message - to ourselves, our allies, potential adversaries and people who, no matter how distant, are now our neighbours: Our hard-headed internationalism means we will never retreat from our responsibilities. At all times justice in jeopardy, security at risk, suffering that cries out will command our concern.

From the early years of this young century we can already discern what Britain, the first multinational state, has always known: that success requires that people of different races, religions and backgrounds learn to live in harmony with each other.

We have already seen what our values have taught us: that progress depends upon openness, freedom, democracy and fairness. And we are finding that prosperity like peace is indivisible and to be sustained it has to be shared.

And ... without environmental sustainability, justice and prosperity are both imperilled and that the best route to long-term economic growth lies in action to tackle climate change.

These lessons are not an excuse to relax or rest or be complacent but a summons to act with utmost resolve. For the pressing challenge for Britain and for the international community is to harness these insights in a sustained endeavour to reform and renew our global rules, institutions and networks.

Upon this rests our shared future: a truly global society empowering people everywhere; not yet here, but in this century within our grasp.

Source: Downing Street website, www.number10.gov.uk

Europe 2030: Model Power not Superpower

Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP, Foreign Secretary, College of Europe Speech, Bruges, November 15, 2007.

I feel a strong sense of personal history in delivering this lecture today. My father was born in Brussels, my mother in Poland. My family history reflects the strife which divided the Continent and the values which later united it.

This college reflects that history too. You have a sister college in Poland. The vision of your founder, Henri Brugmans, a hero of the Dutch resistance, was fired by memories of dark days listening to BBC reports of resistance struggle against fascism. And the people we honour this year, Anna Politkovskaya and Hrant Dink, were exemplars of our basic commitment to freedom of expression, a founding value of the EU.

But my speech tonight is not about history. It is about the Europe that you, the students gathered here, will inherit in the future.

President Sarkozy has suggested we need a Groupe des Sages to focus on the Europe of 2030. Today I want to enter that debate, not to engage in a piece of futurology, but to suggest how the EU can help to shape the world of 2030.

My argument is this:

The prospects and potential for human progress have never been greater. But our prosperity and security are under threat. Protectionism seeks to stave off globalisation rather than manage it. Religious extremists peddle hatred and division. Energy insecurity and climate change threaten to create a scramble for resources. And rogue states and failing states risk sparking conflicts, the damage of which will spill over into Europe.

These threats provide a new raison d'etre for the European Union. New because the unfinished business of internal reform to update our economic and social model is on its own not enough to engage with the big issues, nor the hopes and fears, of European citizens. For the EU because nation-states, for all their continuing strengths, are too small to deal on their own with these big problems, but global governance is too weak. So the EU can be a pioneer and a leader. Our single market and the standards we set for it, the attractions of membership, and the legitimacy, diversity and political clout of 27 member states are big advantages. The EU will never be a superpower, but could be a model power of regional cooperation.

For success, the EU must be open to ideas, trade and people. It must build shared institutions and shared activities with its neighbours. It must be an Environmental Union as well as a European Union. And it must be able to deploy soft and hard power to promote democracy and tackle conflict beyond its borders. As Gordon Brown said on Monday there is no longer a distinction between 'over there' and 'over here'.

Twenty Years on from the Bruges Speech

Let me begin with some reflections on Britain's relationship with Europe. 'We British are as much heirs to the legacy of European culture as any other nation'. The churches, literature and language of the UK 'all bear witness to the cultural riches we have drawn from Europe.' 'Without the European legacy of political ideas we could not have achieved as much as we did'. 'Our destiny is in Europe'.

Those are not my words. They were delivered by Margaret Thatcher to this College in 1988 in her famous Bruges lecture.

But despite these words, Mrs Thatcher's speech was haunted by demons. A European superstate bringing in socialism by the back door. A country called Europe that stripped individual nations of their national identity. Utopian ideals and language that obstructed practical progress. These were the demons that led her some years later to conclude that far from being vital to Britain's progress: 'In my lifetime Europe has been the source of our problems, not the source of our solutions'.

These demons still haunt some people. But I agree with my predecessor as Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd who said in 2005: 'The myth that we are threatened with a European superstate is still nourished in the Conservative cul-de-sac. Certainly there are Continental idealists who bitterly regret that it has faded away, but faded it has, as has been clear since Maastricht'.

Open markets, subsidiarity, better regulation and enlargement are now far more part of the conventional vocabulary of European debate than a United States of Europe, centralised taxation or a common industrial policy. The truth is that the EU has enlarged, remodelled and opened up. It is not and is not going to become a superstate.

But neither is it destined to become a superpower. An American academic has defined a superpower as 'a country that has the capacity to project dominating power and influence anywhere in the world... and so may plausibly attain the status of global hegemon'.

There is only one superpower in the world today - the United States. There may be others on the horizon, such as China and India, but the US has enormous economic, social, cultural and military strength. In terms of per capita income alone it will remain by far the dominant power for my lifetime. For Europeans, that should not be a source of dread: there is a great shared project for Europe and America, to embed our values and commitments in international rules and institutions.

The EU is not and never will be a superpower. An EU of 27 nation states or more is never going to have the fleetness of foot or the fiscal base to dominate. In fact economically and demographically Europe will be less important in the world of 2050 that it was in the world of 1950.

Our opportunity is different. The EU has the opportunity to be a model power.

It can chart a course for regional cooperation between medium-sized and small countries. Through its common action, it can add value to national effort, and develop shared values amidst differences of nationality and religion. As a club that countries want to join, it can persuade countries to play by the rules, and set global standards. In the way it dispenses its responsibilities around the world, it can be a role model that others follow.

This speech is intended to set out the basis of such progress.

Global Europe

The EU has been defined for the past 50 years by a focus on internal change: by a Franco-German bargain over industry and agriculture, by the creation of a single market and the drive for basic shared social standards; by EMU. And the need to attend to internal policy problems remains.

We should be immensely proud that in the post second world war period Europeans drove down levels of economic inequality and social injustice. That is the cause that brought me into politics. And the modernisation of our social and economic systems is essential to preserve those gains. That is why the UK is fully engaged in the current debates about policy reform in Europe. But that will no longer be enough. The defining challenges of the 21st century are global in scope, not national. We have spent a decade or more debating institutional reform; everyone who has participated is exhausted; and the rest of the European population are either bored or angry. The EU must now apply itself to managing the risks and maximising the benefits of the next wave of globalisation, both for its own citizens and around the world. This is where we need new thinking.

The insecurities and threats of 2030 are clear. A Europe at war not within its borders, but struggling to cope with forces beyond its borders. Global capital, people and goods with whom it has not made peace. Religious extremism and division on its doorstep. Energy insecurity and climate change which threatens our security as well as our prosperity. Conflict and instability in regions where we have economic as well as moral interests.

To avoid that future, we need to base our next generation Europe on four principles.

Europe Open to the World

My starting point is that a model power in the 21st century must be one that looks outwards. As Jose Manuel Barroso said, '...global Europe must be an open Europe'.

So my first guiding principle is that we must keep ourselves open - open to trade, open to ideas and open to investment.

This is not a foregone conclusion. Across Europe, it is tempting for producers to seek the shelter of tariffs, for environmentalists to yearn for a return to a (it has to be said) mythical world of self-sufficiency, for communities to fear unplanned migration.

I understand the concerns. Openness creates risks and insecurities as well as opportunities. Our national welfare states must help people adjust to rapid economic and social change.

This is tough. Migration is a big issue. And while Europe can be a magnet for the world's best talent, it cannot be a tent for the world's poorest people. Without some migration, an ageing and declining population will leave Europe facing economic stagnation and unsustainable social security bills. But integration of new communities is vital. We shall only tackle the root cause of migration - the poor economic prospects in neighbouring countries - if we continue to open up our markets. That is why, on economic and social grounds, the case against economic protectionism is overwhelming.

Openness - to new investment, new products and new services - provides the competitive spur needed to raise our game. An open regulatory environment provides the basis for the highest value. If we hold back on open trade, we will only hold back the process of modernising our economies and raising productivity. We will force European consumers to pay higher prices. We will strengthen the hand of protectionist lobbies beyond our borders. We will deny millions of African farmers a lifeline out of poverty.

If we have the courage to press for more free trade and investment, and act as a model power in going further and faster than other countries, we will enrich ourselves and the rest of the world. That is why we need to put European agriculture on a sustainable and modern footing: reduce tariffs, open up energy markets and complete the creation of a single market in services.

This is not a race to the bottom. Europe is a model for reconciling economic dynamism with social justice. We must use the power of the single market to export these values. We have already seen how the single-market can pull up standards in the rest of the world. Thanks to the Reach Directive the chemicals in Chinese-made products have to comply with European standards. The size of our market means that European low carbon standards can become the global standard-setter.

Shared institutions and shared activities

My second guiding principle is that we should use the power of shared institutions and shared activities to help overcome religious, regional, and cultural divides, especially with the Islamic world.

There is, after all, a bleak scenario for 2030: a world more divided by religion, both between and within countries. Greater threats - both at home and abroad - from terrorists and rogue states. Growing hostility towards the West. Rejection of the global economic changes that many people believe has made us rich at their expense.

The EU can help lead the search for an alternative. The EU itself represents a triumph of shared values. Now we need to find and express shared values across religious and not just national lines, so that Europe and its Muslim neighbours enjoy strong, unbreakable ties, and peace allows us to talk, debate, trade, build businesses, build communities and build friendships. We can do this only by creating shared institutions and engaging in shared activities that provide a living alternative to the narrative which says the West and the Islamic world are destined to clash.

There are obvious immediate needs:

  • in Iraq, where we are moving forward together to bolster the forces of economic development and political reconciliation
  • in the Middle East where the EU Action Plan needs to be a vital part of the road from Annapolis to a viable Palestinian state alongside a safe and secure Israel
  • and in Lebanon, where the EU has almost 8,000 thousand troops deployed to help preserve stability.

But our top priority must be to keep our promises on enlargement. As Vaclav Havel said in December 2002, 'the vision of becoming part of the EU was... the engine that drove the democratisation and transformation of' Central and Eastern Europe. Enlargement is by far our most powerful tool for extending stability and prosperity.

Countries that are already on the accession path - Turkey and the Western Balkans - must be given full membership as soon as they fully meet the criteria. And Turkey and all Cypriots need to play a constructive role in UN efforts to solve the Cyprus problem and unify the island on a bi-zonal and bi-communal basis.

If we fail to keep our promises to Turkey, it will signal a deep and dangerous divide between east and west.

Beyond that, we must keep the door open, retaining the incentive for change that the prospect of membership provides.

Being part of Europe should be about abiding by the shared rules - the acquis - that embody our shared values by respecting our separate identities and traditions.

Not all countries will be eligible for full membership, or show the will to join. So we should take the European Neighbourhood Policy a step further. We must state clearly that participation is not an alternative to membership, or a waiting room. And we must offer access to the full benefits of the single market.

The first step would be the accession of neighbouring countries - especially Russia and the Ukraine - to the WTO. Then we must build on this with comprehensive free-trade agreements. The goal must be a multilateral free-trade zone around our periphery - a version of the European Free Trade Association that could gradually bring the countries of the Mahgreb, the Middle-East and Eastern Europe in line with the single-market, not as an alternative to membership, but potentially as a step towards it.

Finally, we need to create more shared activities to build shared values and bring us closer to our neighbours. ERASMUS student exchanges have been hugely successfully over the last 20 years in fostering a common understanding and common identity between European students. Some 150,000 students participate every year, taking the opportunity to absorb another culture and learn another language. Let us set the goal that by 2030 a third of our ERASMUS exchanges will be to countries beyond our borders, including those of the Middle-East and North Africa.

Preventing Conflict

My third guiding principle is that a model power should champion international law and human rights not just internally, but externally too. We need to live by our values and principles beyond our borders, not just within them.

Peace and democracy has settled across our continent. To that extent, the EU has been an extraordinary success. But, as the wars in the Balkans showed, our record is not perfect. And our task will not be complete until the final piece in the Balkans jigsaw - Kosovo - is resolved.

But in the future the main threats to our security will come from farther afield. From failed or fragile states, where law and order dissolve, where the economy stops, where arbitrary violence rules, and terrorists can operate at will. We can see the terrible effects in Darfur and Chad today.

From rogue states, that defy and endanger the international community by breaking the common rules we have all agreed to abide by. And from non-state actors - like Al Qaeda - hell-bent on destroying our way of life.

Europe is well equipped to contribute a positive response to these threats. Like NATO, its members have shared values which can generate the political and military commitment for decisive action. But like the UN, its member states have the full spectrum of economic, development, legislative, political and military tools.

We must begin by establishing a wider consensus on the rules governing the international system. We must use the legitimacy and political clout of 27 members to enshrine the principle of Responsibility to Protect at the heart of the international system. We must be prepared to uphold commitments made under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We must mobilize member states behind the establishment of an Arms Trade Treaty.

We must also overcome the blockages to collaboration with NATO. We welcome the signs of increased willingness on the part of key partners to do so.

First, European member states must improve their capabilities. It's embarrassing that when European nations - with almost 2 million men and women under arms - are only able, at a stretch, to deploy around 100 thousand at any one time. EU countries have around 1,200 transport helicopters, yet only about 35 are deployed in Afghanistan. And EU member states haven't provided any helicopters in Darfur despite the desperate need there.

European nations need to identify the challenges we face; the capabilities we consequently need; then identify targets for national investment in equipment, research, development, and training necessary to make more of our armed forces; work together for efficiency; and back it up with political drive.

A second thing we must do is to strengthen our ability to respond to crises in a more comprehensive way. Increasing our capacity to put peacekeepers into the field - whether on UN, EU or NATO missions - is a crucial part of cooperation.

As the Prime Minister set out earlier this week, military forces should be deployed on peacekeeping duties with civilian crisis management experts as an integral part of the operation. There is limited value in securing a town if law and order breaks down as soon as the troops move on. There is limited gain in detaining terrorists and criminals if there is no courthouse to try them in or jailhouse to hold them in. Security without development will soon alienate local populations. Development without security is impossible. They are two sides of the same coin.

Third, we must use our power and influence, not just to resolve conflict, but prevent it. We must show we are prepared to take a lead and fulfil our responsibilities. Javier Solana and George Robertson, working together for the EU and NATO, brought Macedonia back from the brink of civil war in 2001. Our military deployment to north-eastern Congo in helped plug a critical gap in the UN's presence there in 2003. We have built on UN sanctions to increase pressure on countries like Iran and Sudan. And where the UN has been reluctant to act - as on Zimbabwe and Burma, where the regimes continue to oppress their people - we have introduced our own measures.

Environmental Union

My fourth guiding principle is that any model power in the 21st century must be a low carbon power, so the European Union must become an Environmental Union.

More than any other area, the decisions we take on energy now will affect the world we inhabit in 2030. The investment cycles for new power plants, new pipelines, and new transport technology stretch across decades.

In the decisions made at the Spring Council last year, the EU showed its ambitions to be model power on climate change. By setting unilateral targets, with the offer to go further if others do, we are using our political clout to increase the pressure on others to act. By backing those targets with regulations and a carbon price, we are beginning to use our economic clout to transform product markets too. But to become an Environmental Union but we must go further. We must set ambitious, long term regulations to phase out carbon emissions in key areas, transform product markets through the standards we set, and gain economic advantage in environmental innovation.

The priorities are clear: We must agree a timetable for reducing average vehicle emissions to 100g/km by 2020-2025 (compared with average EU emissions of 160 g/km), on the road towards a zero-emission vehicle standard across Europe.

We must ensure that by 2015, we have 12 demonstration projects in Carbon Capture and Storage, and that by 2020, all new coal-fired power stations must be fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage.

We should ensure the long term future of the EU ETS, to include more sectors of our economy, and to become the hub of a global carbon market which generates the incentives and the funding for the shift to low carbon power and transport not just in Europe but in developing countries. The third phase of the EU ETS provides an opportunity to scale up and reform the CDM - to move it from a focus on individual projects, to groups of projects or whole sectors. We have already agreed to extend the EU ETS to include aviation, but we must also consider the case for surface transport. And we should consider moving from individual countries setting their own allocation to harmonised allocations on the road to cap-setting done centrally. As the European Central Bank regulates money supply for the eurozone, it is worth thinking whether the idea of a European Carbon Bank could in future set limits on the production of carbon across Europe.

Discussions on the future of the EU budget must take account of this context. The current budget will be worth 860 billion euros over 7 years. The three tests for the future of the EU budget are clear: is it advancing national and European public interest? Is grant spending the right tool to achieve our objectives, or could regulation, or loan-finance, provide a better alternative? And is it demonstrating sound financial management?

Over time, I believe that points to aligning the budget more closely with the external global challenges we face, in particular, a focus on climate change. Environmental security not food security is the challenge of the future.

Conclusion

It is telling that those who are near us, want to join us. And that those who are far away, want to imitate us. The EU can claim major successes.

The single market has created peace and prosperity out of a continent ravaged by war. Enlargement has transformed Central and Eastern Europe. European forces across the world are active in preventing and resolving conflict.

These are real achievements. The common view is that they represent a triumph over institutional arrangements. But the constitutional debate shows that people don't want major institutional upheaval. Unanimity is slow but it respects national identities. The commission is not directly elected but that is exactly why it avoids the temptation of national and political affiliation and offers a wider European perspective.

The lesson, I think, is that in politics we tend to overestimate our ability to influence events in the short term, but we hugely underestimate our ability to shape our long term future. That is particularly true for the European Union.

Across Europe, people are feeling a divergence between the freedom and control they have in their personal lives, and the sense of powerlessness they face against the great global challenges we face: from preventing conflict and terrorism to addressing climate change, energy insecurity, and religious extremism. They are confident about personal progress, but pessimistic about societal progress.

Europe has the chance to help fill this void. There is a clear choice. Focus on internal not external challenges, institutions rather than ideals. Fail to combine hard and soft power, the disciplines and benefits of membership with the ability to make a difference beyond our borders. The result: the return of protectionism, energy insecurity, division with the Islamic world, and unmanaged migration from conflict. Or Europe can look global and become a model regional power. We can use the power of the EU - the size of our single market, our ability to set global standards, the negotiating clout of 27 members, the attractions of membership, the hard power of sanctions and troops, the power of Europe as an idea and a model - not to substitute for nation states but to do those things to provide security and prosperity for the next generation.

We are pragmatic. We have missed some opportunities. But pragmatism and idealism should be partners. And the UK is determined to make them so.

Ministry of Defence Accounts (Trident excerpts)

Published, 23 July 2007

Independent Nuclear Deterrent

30. The UK's Trident submarine force continued to provide a constant and independent nuclear deterrent capability at sea, in support of NATO and as the ultimate guarantee of our national security. The MoD continues to make the necessary investment at the Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston to ensure that it has the requisite facilities and skills to maintain a safe and reliable Trident warhead stockpile and to prepare for decisions, likely to be necessary in the next Parliament, on the possible refurbishment or replacement of the existing warhead. [page 35]

Deterrence

77. Deterrence aims to convince a potential adversary that the consequence of a particular course of action outweighs the potential gains. All the UK's military capabilities, conventional and nuclear, have a role to play in this. The fundamental principles underpinning nuclear deterrence have not changed since the end of the Cold War. However deterrence in the 21st Century is going to be more complex in a multi-faceted and more fragmented security environment, populated by an array of potential adversaries and presenting less predictable security challenges. The UK's deterrence posture must therefore remain flexible enough to respond to these potential challenges, in whatever form they present themselves. The publication in December 2006 of the Government's White Paper The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent (see essay on page 60), which Parliament approved in March 2007, sets out this position against a particular range of possible future risks and challenges. Nuclear weapons continue to provide the ultimate guarantee of the UK's security by deterring and preventing nuclear blackmail and acts of aggression against the UK's vital interests that cannot be countered by other means. The UK will retain only the minimum amount of destructive power required to achieve deterrence objectives. The Government deliberately maintains ambiguity about precisely when, how and at what scale the UK would contemplate using nuclear weapons. To do otherwise would simplify the calculations of a potential aggressor by defining more precisely the circumstances in which the Government might consider the use of the UK's nuclear capabilities. However, the Government has made clear many times over many years that the UK would only contemplate using nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances of self-defence and in accordance with the UK's international legal obligations. [page 55]

The Future of the UK's Nuclear Deterrent

The United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent has been a central plank of our national security strategy for fifty years. Over this time no country has ever used a nuclear weapon, nor has there been a single significant conflict between the world's major powers. The UK's nuclear deterrent, within NATO, helped make this happen. Following detailed assessment and analysis, the Government set out its plans to maintain the UK's nuclear deterrent capability in a White Paper, The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent, published in December 2006. After three months of extensive public and Parliamentary discussion and debate, the House of Commons voted in March 2007 to endorse the Government's plans.

The timing of these decisions was driven by the life of the Vanguard class submarines and the time it will take to develop replacements. The Department's analysis demonstrated that it was highly unlikely to be technically feasible or cost effective to extend the life of the Vanguard class beyond around 30 years, which already represents a five-year extension to their original design life. Equally, all the Department's experience, and that of industry, France and the US, is that it will take around 17 years to design, build and deploy new ballistic-missile carrying submarines. Given that the second of the Vanguard class is expected to leave service around 2024, this means detailed concept and assessment work needs to begin in 2007 if the UK is to avoid a risk of a gap in deterrence coverage.

The Rationale for retaining a Nuclear Deterrent

The Government believes that the concept of deterrence is just as relevant now as it was during the Cold War. Deterrence is about dissuading a potential adversary from carrying out a particular act because of the consequences of your likely retaliation. This is not an especially complex or unique concept. Nor does it have anything inherently to do with nuclear weapons, or superpower blocs. The United Kingdom's and our Allies' conventional forces are themselves a form of deterrent; they can and do deter various different kinds of states and non-state actors even in today's post-Cold War world.

But nuclear weapons are unique in terms of their destructive power, and as such, only nuclear weapons can deter nuclear threats. No country currently possesses both the capability and intent to threaten the United Kingdom's vital interests with nuclear weapons. But the Government has concluded that it is impossible to be certain that, over the next 20 to 50 years, such a threat may not re-emerge. This is not just a question of uncertainty, although it is important to be realistic about the potential to predict with confidence the strategic developments over these extended periods. There are also identifiable risks and trends of concern. Large nuclear arsenals remain around the world, some of which are being modernised and expanded. Despite international efforts to counter nuclear proliferation, the number of countries with nuclear weapons continues to grow, albeit less quickly than some have predicted. And the Government remains concerned at the implications should international terrorists get access to nuclear weapons.

The Government will continue to maintain only the minimum capability the United Kingdom requires. But it believes the best way to achieve the goal of a world in which there is no place for nuclear weapons is through a process of international dialogue and negotiation. The next steps in this process should be the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the beginning of negotiations without preconditions on a Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty which, if successful, would end the production of weapon-useable nuclear material. But this will inevitably take time. And in the interim, the Government has a responsibility to take the steps necessary to ensure our national security and this includes retention of a minimum, independent nuclear deterrent. [page 60]

Renewing Trident

The White Paper set out three main decisions:

  • to extend the lives of the current Vanguard-class submarines from their original design life of at least 25 years to 30 years, and to start work to procure a new class of ballistic-missile submarines to replace the Vanguard-class;
  • to participate in the life extension programme for the Trident D5 missile, to enable us to keep that missile in service through to the 2040s; and
  • further to reduce the number of operationally available warheads from fewer than 200 to fewer than 160.

Key to the decision to retain a submarine based deterrent was the requirement to ensure the credibility of the United Kingdom's deterrent posture. And fundamental to credibility is the need for the deterrent to be invulnerable to pre-emptive attack, to be able to sustain a high degree of readiness, and to be able to deliver the required destructive power wherever might be required for effective deterrence. There were no credible alternatives to retaining a submarine-based system. All the other options were significantly more vulnerable to pre-emptive attack and all were at least as expensive as the submarine option, some significantly more so. This analysis also led to the conclusion that it was necessary for the foreseeable future for the United Kingdom to continue the existing posture of continuously maintaining a single submarine on deterrent patrol.

The Government's initial estimate is that the cost of procuring a new class of submarines will be in the range £11-14Bn (at 2006-07 prices) for a four submarine solution. This investment will not come at the expense of the conventional capabilities that Armed Forces need. Participation in the Trident D5 life extension programme will cost around £250M and the estimate also includes some £2-3Bn on renewing infrastructure to support the deterrent over the lifetime of the new submarines. The Government will also continue to invest in sustaining capabilities at the Atomic Weapons Establishment. The bulk of these costs are likely to be incurred 2012 to 2027. Once the new submarines come into service, the running costs of the nuclear deterrent are expected to be similar to those of today.

Future Decisions

The Government envisages placing contracts for the detailed design and manufacture of the new submarines in the period 2012-14. It has yet to decide whether the United Kingdom will require a fleet of three or four submarines to meet future deterrent requirements. Four Vanguard-class submarines are needed to sustain continuous deterrent patrols, but work will be undertaken to assess the scope for sufficiently radical design, operating and support changes to enable the MoD to maintain continuous deterrent patrols with a fleet of only three. It is likely to be necessary to decide on any refurbishment or replacement of our existing nuclear warhead in the next Parliament. Such a programme might involve procurement costs of some £2-3Bn. Decisions on any replacement for the Trident D5 missile are unlikely to be necessary until the 2020s. In all this, the Government will continue to work closely with the United States. Details of this collaboration were set out in an exchange of letters between the Prime Minister and the President of the United States, signed in December 2006.

Source: Ministry of Defence, www.mod.uk.

Ballistic Missile Defence, Written Statement by the Secretary of State for Defence Des Browne MP

House of Commons, Written Statement, 25 July 2007, Column 71WS

The Secretary of State for Defence (Des Browne): On 5 February 2003 the Secretary of State for Defence announced the Government's agreement to a request from the US to upgrade the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System radar at RAF Fylingdales. The UK already makes a contribution to US capability in the area of missile warning, through our operation of the radar at RAF Fylingdales. That upgrade process is now complete and we expect that the radar will switch its operations to the new equipment from August 2007. There is no change to the existing UK-US mission for the radar and the station remains under full UK command. Its primary mission is to warn of ballistic missile attack, with secondary functions of space surveillance and satellite warning. The radar will contribute to the US ballistic missile defence system, alongside a global network of other US-owned sensors based on land, at sea and in space and the data it produces is shared between the UK and US military authorities. The UK will have full insight into the operation of the US missile defence system when missile engagements take place that are wholly or partly influenced by data from the radar at RAF Fylingdales.

Also, at RAF Menwith Hill, equipment will be installed and operated by the US Government to allow receipt of satellite warnings of potentially hostile missile launches, and will pass this warning data to both UK and US authorities. The data will also be fed into the US ballistic missile defence system for use in their response to any missile attack on the US. This will guarantee the UK's continued access to essential missile attack warning data, as well as enhancing the US's ability to deal with any attack aimed at their country.

25 July 2007 : Column 72WS

The Government welcome US plans to place further missile defence assets in Europe to address the emerging threat from rogue states. We welcome assurances from the US that the UK and other European allies will be covered by the system elements they propose to deploy to Poland and the Czech Republic and we have been exploring ways in which the UK can continue to contribute to the US system as well as to any future NATO missile defence system.

These developments reflect the Government's continuing commitment to supporting the development of the US missile defence system. We continue to regard this system as a building block to enhance our national and collective security. NATO has made no decisions about acquiring missile defence for the alliance, and we want to examine how the US system can be complemented and built upon to provide wider coverage for Europe. We have no plans to site missile interceptors in the UK but will keep this under review as the threat evolves. We also want to reassure Russia about the defensive nature and intent of the US system as it develops and to take forward alliance cooperation with them in the field of missile defence.

Source: House of Commons Hansard, www.parliament.uk.

Compiled by Nicola Butler