The Task Force on Cooperation in Greater Europe believes the current crisis is putting the security of everyone in Europe at risk and is potentially pitting nuclear armed adversaries against each other in a highly volatile region. In its second position paper on Crisis Management in Europe in the context of events in Ukraine, the Task Force calls for both sides to :
Exercise full military and political restraint not only themselves but also on the part of all of their relevant allies and partners in the wider East and South-East European region. Other frozen conflicts in Georgia, Transdnistria and Armenia-Azerbaijan exist. Escalations in any of them, triggered by third parties acting independently as in the case of the recent downing of flight MH17, could deepen and widen the crisis between Russia and the West even if neither side intends it.
The Task Force also calls for both sides to :
Embrace increased military to military communication, information exchange and transparency measures in the interests of avoiding unintended military engagements between NATO and Russia. There have already been several near misses and action is needed both to reduce their likelihood and increase leadership decision time in a context where thousands of nuclear weapons remain on high alert on both sides.
Engage in direct dialogue with each other on underlying issues of concern in the NATO-Russia relationship, not least on fundamentally differing interpretations and narratives with regard to the principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act.
The Signatories of the Task Force paper include :
Malcolm Rifkind (former UK Foreign and Defence Secretary)
Des Browne (former UK Defence Secretary)
Vyacheslav Trubnikov (Former Director, Russian Foreign Intelligence)
Igor Ivanov (former Russian Foreign Minister)
Adam Daniel Rotfeld (former Polish Foreign Minister)
Paul Quiles (former French Defence Minister)
Herve Morin (former French Defence Minister)
Anatoly Adamishin (former Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the UK)
Özdem Sanberk (former Turkish Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs)
Volker Ruhe (former German Defence Minister)
Alexei Gromyko (acting Director of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences)
Tarja Cronberg (former Finnish MEP and former Director of the Copenhagen Peace Research Institute)
In their first position paper published in January 2014, the Task Force argued that if Europeans did not begin pursuing a new, Greater European cooperative project, then divisions between the EU and Russia could create a new period of confrontation in Europe. This paper can be found here.
The Task Force is supported by independent research from a consortium of think-tanks : the European Leadership Network (ELN) in London ; the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) in Moscow ; the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) in Warsaw and the International Strategic Research Organisation (USAK) in Ankara. For further information please visit the Task Force’s website.