European security and defence policy - EU a global security actor?

Seminar Paper 2006 35 Pages

Politics - International Politics - Topic: European Union





1. History
1.1. From Maastricht to St. Malo
1.2. From St. Malo to Nice
1.3. From Nice to Copenhagen
1.4. From Copenhagen to Brussels

2. European Security Strategy
2.1. The significance of the Strategy
2.2. A Strategy?

3. NATO and ESDP
3.1. European Autonomy?
3.2. Primary of NATO?

4. Security and Defence Policy in the new European Constitution
4.1. Improvements of ESDP in the Constitutional Treaty
4.1. How does the failure of the Constitutional Treaty affect ESDP?

5. The Future of ESDP
5.1. The call for a European Defence Strategy



* Becher, Klaus, citing Winston Churchill in: Has-been, wannabe, or leader: Europe’s role in the world after the 2003 European Security Strategy, in: Longhurst, Kerry, Zaborowski, Marcin, Old Europe, New Europe and the Transatlantic Security Agenda, p.161


Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


Fundamentalism, war and armed conflicts are fuelling international terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Poverty and disease, economical and political problems lay grounds for failed states, of which more and more seek nuclear weapons. Shortage of resources, oil crises and global warming are imminent perils. Despite this development the trend is to go back to nation states as protagonist of international relations. Despite ever growing globalisation and interdependencies the world seems not to have adequate international institutions to combine their power; nation states are unable to respond suitably. American global leadership seems to be faltering due to ambivalent management of the “war against terror”, the war in Iraq and due to growing lack of interest. European Union is divided in Euro-sceptics, who support response of individual Member states or ad hoc coalitions, and pro-Europe Member states who fail to deliver the essential leadership to deal with the challenges. The European Union is not using its potential. Regardless of the announced commitment to multilateralism and common action, notably in reference to the United Nations, the Member states seem not even capable to deal sufficiently with their inner disunity in matters of international politics. There is doubtless need for a common European approach to this global defiance. The European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy and the included European Security and Defence Policy could be the right instruments to meet the identified threats.[1] But what has been done till now? How is a defence and security policy, the ultimate base for national security and sovereignty, implemented into a common European framework?

Mainly relying on scholars writing for the European Union Institute for Security Studies, the Bertelsmann Foundation and essays from European Foreign Affairs Review this works intention is to give an overview over ESDP. Scholars like Simon Duke, Jolyon Howorth, Asle Toje, Erich Vad, Ralph Dietl, Henrik Breitanbauch, Franco Algieri and many more have written very generously on the topic of European defence and European Security and Defence Policy. With their help this term paper shall give, within its scope, at first a short insight in the development of European Security and Defence Policy. This part is structured in adoption of the Chaillot Papers of the European Union Institute for Security Studies covering this period. In the following three major aspects in respective to European Security and Defence Policy shall be addressed. First, European Security Strategy and the impact on European Security and Defence Policy; is a shared strategy adequate to forge all European Member states into unity? Second, the interconnexion of European defence and NATO; how does an emancipated European Security and Defence Policy interact with NATO and hence with the United States of America? Third, the fourth part will deal with the implication of European Security and Defence Policy and the Constitutional Treaty of European Union as well as the prospects after the failure of the ratification process of the Constitutional Treaty. Is it possible to keep the, so hard fought for, existing framework of European Security and Defence Policy intact? Finally, regarding its volume, this term paper shall account, a possible future of European Security and Defence Policy. Are there enhanced efforts under way to allow a common European approach to the threats of today and perhaps tomorrow? And what are further steps?

Perhaps evidence can be found in this term paper indicating that with the combined effort of all Member states European Union with a credible European Security and Defence Policy can play a significant role in global security and meet the expectation of European citizens, allies, partners, neighbouring states, non-governmental organisations and perhaps the whole world.

1. History

During the time after the Second World War there have been several attempts, in 1954/55, 1956/57 and 1960/63[2] to establish an autonomous European Security and Defence Policy; the Brussels Pact, the EDC and the WEU were efforts to build an independent European security project. They all have one in common; they all failed to create a lasting European Security and Defence Policy.[3] The idea of Europe as a “Third Power”, as an independent factor in world politics and the discussion of something like a European Foreign and Security Policy and European Security and Defence Policy is as old as the process of creation of European Union.[4]

1.1. From Maastricht to St. Malo

But only after the end of the Cold War, the Maastricht summit 1991 saw the beginning of a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) which “might lead to a common defence”.[5] The way has been paved for the establishment of new European Institutions but the question which organisation, CSCE/OSCE, EC/EU and NATO, will dominate the future security structures of Europe was unclear. In 1992, a few months after the signature of the Maastricht Treaty, the foreign and defence ministers of the WEU met near Bonn and released a declaration which is now known as the Petersberg tasks. This declaration set new missions Europe should concentrate on, as there are “humanitarian and rescue task, peacekeeping tasks, and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacekeeping”.[6]

The new European Security Architecture was still in the making when it became already clear that the war in Yugoslavia let the dynamics invoked by the Maastricht Treaty and the Petersberg tasks collapse. The failure of Europeans to end the war dealt a serious blow to the core of European idea which is based on democratic values which were now violated on its doorstep. European partners had failed to produce a common strategy, the former Yugoslavia seemed not to be yet a serious enough democratic and moral issue to overcome national interests. The humanitarian management was the only common denominator among Europeans.[7]

The ongoing violence in Bosnia lead to a resurrection of NATO and the USA used this opportunity to reform the Atlantic Alliance to there favour; this reform was based on the enlargement of NATO to the east and the establishment of the Combined Joint Task Forces (CJTF). The CJTF was supposed to allow the WEU to operate and maintain military missions by requesting capacities and the command structure of NATO, without doubling existing structures. In 1996 it was agreed in Berlin that the WEU would oversee the creation of a European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) within NATO structures. It was to create a European pillar within NATO to allow European countries to act military where NATO wished not to. Still there were flaws to an independent European defence project. Due to the structure of the reform the use of NATO capacities was only available for NATO members among the European Member states and those forces were still under the rule of NATO council. De facto were WEU missions subject of a possible US veto.[8] The Treaty review in Amsterdam 1997 brought no real changes to the CFSP and ESDI.[9]

Bosnia was a painful learning ground for European Union. The changes after the Cold War have made security a mater of voluntary for each national state. National sovereignty marked the limitations of the policy ratified at Maastricht in 1991. But no member could deal with a conflict like Bosnia alone. Therefore efforts had to be made towards cooperation on foreign policy while taking national prerogatives into account. Another shortcoming of Europeans shown in former Yugoslavia was the “inadequacy of defence institutions founded on territorial defence, the lack of professional armed forces, the absence of a common strategic culture and organisations able to anticipate events and foremost the inability to project significant forces abroad.”[10]

This crisis was evidence for European weaknesses. And without the serious endeavour to improve Europe’s military capabilities its influence and responsibilities will continue to be limited. The disparity between American power and Europe’s inability to resolve conflicts guided the members of European Union to the recognition “[t]he mismatch between European Unions economical resources and its diplomatic clout was clearly unacceptable.”[11]

1.2. From St. Malo to Nice

Especially France and the United Kingdom were affected by the dramatic experiences on the Balkan. For the British Government the operational powerlessness of Europe in the Kosovo illustrated the fear that the imbalance between America and Europe could endanger the very foundations of the Atlantic partnership. The British concluded that the way to remedy this was via Europe and a European defence to build a balanced and healthier basis for the Atlantic relations. And London realised that British interests may at times differ from the US interests and “reliance on the American military meant subservience to American diplomacy”. Britain concluded that after Kosovo there was “a threshold of US intervention” in European security. France had a more pragmatic approach; from 1995 it became apparent for France by the shared experiences that a “full NATO membership did not automatically impede one’s freedom of action”. This eye-opener started a process of rapprochement with the military components of the Atlantic Alliance. With this for the first time European Union’s two key military powers were committing themselves to an European defence project, albeit driven by different motives; the British priority was to maintain the Atlantic Alliance by the means of European Security and Defence Policy, which seemed the best solution, where France ESDP was an all European project that can make use of NATO[12], ESDP was the designated framework for European autonomy. But for a European Security and Defence Policy there had to be more movement by other EU members; this were among others the German’s Constitutional Court decision allowing German troops to take part in international peacekeeping mission and Spain’s decisions to join NATO’s integrated military structures.[13] This new thinking was captured during the still ongoing Kosovo crisis in the 1998 St. Malo declaration of France and the United Kingdom stressing that European Union should develop the means and capacity for independent action. This commitment would not question either NATO or other national defence arrangements.[14]

Shortly after the St. Malo Declaration the German presidency worked the bilateral initiative into a European Security and Defence Policy.[15] The decisions made in May 1999 at the WEU Council and then in June at the Cologne European Council caught the mood of St. Malo and lead to a range of institutional changes; the WEU was to be largely absorbed by EU and appropriate political and military structures were to be put in place. As there were: the High Representative for CFSP (HR-CFSP), the Political and Security Committee (PSC/COPS) dealing with all aspects of CFSP and ESDP, European Military Committee (EMC) and European Military Staff (EMS).[16] Member states stated their determination by the will to give European Union “the capacity for autonomous action, backed up by credible military forces, the means to use them, and a readiness to do so, in order to respond to international crisis without the prejudice to actions by NATO.”[17] Clearly there was a motivation to become less dependent from the USA and a desire to counter possible American unilateralism by offering a credible countervailing pole in the transatlantic partnership. This shift in Europe’s policy was summed up in appointing Javier Solana as High Representative of the CFSP. Adrian Treacher cites Joylon Howorth by stating that with Solana Europe had a face to the world which incorporated “seniority and pro-activism”, “Atlanticism” and “Europeanism”. From Cologne it was apparent that ESDP was to be intergovernmental in practice and consequently institutionalized within EU Council. The non-existence of any treaty in the Cologne declaration implied no transfer of sovereignty and allowed national prerogatives to remain intact.[18]

One year after St. Malo in December 1999 EU Member States devoted themselves in Helsinki to the Headline Goals of creating a Rapid Reaction Force by 2003 to act upon the Petersberg tasks.[19] By this ambitious project ESDP ceased to be a direct derivate of NATO, although, as the British emphasised, NATO’s pre-eminence was acknowledged. With the takeover of the KFOR in 2000 by EROCORPS under Spanish command EU displayed the seriousness of ESDP.[20] Due to the experiences made in Yugoslavia there is also a strong and peculiar civilian aspect on ESDP concerning conflict prevention and crisis management. In June 2000 the Feira European Council listed four priority areas where capabilities had need to be build up: the police, the means to strengthen the rule of law, civil administration and civil protection. With the takeover of the UN’s International Police Task Force (IPTF) 2003 in Bosnia-Herzegovina this aspect became reality.[21] The Capabilities Commitment Conference in Brussels November 2000 bore the pledge of the Member States to contribute national forces to this Rapid Reaction Forces on voluntary basis. But an analysis of the catalogue of forces intended by the countries showed immense capability shortfalls.[22]

1.3. From Nice to Copenhagen

The December European Council in Nice in 2000 institutionalised the temporary decision-making structures and made sure of their efficiency. It cemented new arrangement and structures by making permanent the various decision-making structures, liaison with NATO, the use of NATO assets, arrangements with non-EU countries and the incorporation of most WEU functions and assets. Importantly in Nice it was agreed that there is no need for changes of the Treaty of European Union. The Nice Declaration stated again that it is the aim of EU to act autonomously in the field of security and defence, that EU will have the potential to carry out missions without the USA, but does not imply a will to act alone or in opposition to American policy.[23] The year after Nice was described by Nicole Gnesotto as a year of “routine and revolution”. Routine, because the fifteen Member States needed the time to implement the ratifications of the previous summit. Revolution, because the strategic landscape of Europe was to be changed forever by the terrorist attacks of 11th September 2001. But then routine again, because developments in ESDP continued along the outlines of the previous year, regardless the political mobilization.[24]

After Nice the institutional aspects of ESDP have been worked out and permanently established.[25] Despite the operational shortfall ESDP was declared partly operational in Leaken 2001.[26] To remedy the operational shortfalls European Capabilities Action Plan (ECAP) has been accepted by all Member States.[27] As mentioned, 2001 was overshadowed by the terrorist attacks on September 11th; in the Extraordinary Council of European Union was therefore declared the fight against terrorism as a priority for EU.[28] During the Seville European Council 2002 a declaration was agreed to that stated that “fight against terrorism will continue to be a priority objective […] and a key plank for external relations”. EU specified that CFSP and ESDP can play a role in the fight against terror.[29]


[1] Ortega, Martin, Troubled Waters, EU ISS Bulletin No.16, October 2005, Paris.

[2] Dietl, Ralph, Kontinuität und Wandel – Zur Geschichte der europäischen Zusammenarbeit auf dem Gebiet der Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitik 1948-2003, in: Meier-Walser, Reinhard C.(Hrsg), Gemeinsam sicher? Vision und Realität europäischer Sicherheitspolitik, Neuried 2004, p.26 (in the following cited as: Dietl, Ralph, Kontinuität und Wandel).

[3] For more details read: Dietl, Ralph, Kontinuität und Wandel, p.19 – 86.

[4] Dietl, Ralph, Kontinuität und Wandel, p.26.

[5] Haine, Jean-Yves, ESDP: an overview, Institute for Security Studies, online < http://www.iss-eu.org/esdp/01-jyh.pdf> [accessed 22.02.2006], p.1 (in the following cited as: Haine, Jean.Yves; ESDP overview).

[6] Missiroli, Antonio, Background of ESDP (1954-1999), Institute for Security Studies, online < http://www.iss-eu.org/esdp/02-am.pdf> [accessed 22.02.2006], p.1 (in the following cited as: Missiroli, Antonio, ESDP Background).

[7] Dietl, Ralph, Kontinuität und Wandel, p.75f.

[8] Dietl, Ralph, Kontinuität und Wandel, p.78.

[9] Missiroli, Antonio, ESDP Background, p.2.

[10] Haine, Jean.Yves; ESDP overview, p2.

[11] Treacher, Adrian, From civilian power to military actor : EU's resistable transformation, European Foreign Affairs Review, No.9, 2004 online < http://www.swetswise.com/link/access%5Fdb?issn=1384-6299>, p. 59 [accessed 22.02.2006], (in the following cited as: Treacher, Adrian, EU’s transformation); see also Haine, Jean.Yves; ESDP overview. p.3.

[12] Treacher, Adrian, EU’s transformation, p.62.

[13] Haine, Jean.Yves; ESDP overview, p.3.

[14] Missiroli, Antonio, ESDP Background, p.1.

[15] Haine, Jean.Yves; ESDP overview, p.3.

[16] Haine, Jean.Yves; ESDP overview, p.4.

[17] Haine, Jean.Yves; ESDP overview, p.3.

[18] Treacher, Adrian, EU’s transformation, p.63.

[19] Lindstrom, Gustav, The Headline Goal, Institute for Security Studies, online < http://www.iss-eu.org/esdp/05-gl.pdf>, [accessed 22.02.2006], p.3, (in the following cited as: Lindstrom, Gustav, The Headline Goal).

[20] Treacher, Adrian, EU’s transformation, p.64.

[21] Haine, Jean.Yves; ESDP overview, p.5.

[22] Lindstrom, Gustav, The Headline Goal, p.2.

[23] Treacher, Adrian, EU’s transformation, p.64.

[24] Gnesotto, Nicole, ESDP 2001; routine and revolution, in: Rutten, Martje, Chaillot Papers 51, From Nice to Laeken. European defence: core documents Vol. II, Institute for Security Studies, Paris, April 2002, online <http://www.iss-eu.org/>, [accessed 22.02.2006], p.vii (in the following cited as: Gnesotto, Nicole, ESDP 2001).

[25] Missiroli, Antonio, ESDP bodies, Institute for Security Studies, online < http://www.iss-eu.org/esdp/08-bodies.pdf>, [accessed 22.02.2006], p. 1-3,. (in the following cited as: Missiroli, Antonio, ESDP bodies).

[26] Treacher, Adrian, EU’s transformation, p.65.

[27] For deteils on ECAP see Schmitt, Burkhard, European Capabillities Action Plan (ECAP), Institute for Security Studies, Paris, 2005, online < http://www.iss-eu.org/esdp/06-bsecap.pdf>, [accessed 22.02.2006].

[28] Haine, Jean.Yves; ESDP overview, p.5.

[29] Ortega, Martin, Petersberg tasks, and missions for EU military forces, Institute for Security Studies, online < http://www.iss-eu.org/esdp/04-mo.pdf>, [accessed 22.02.2006], p.2 (in the following cited as: Ortega, Martin, Missions for EU).


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European Europäische Union Anfang Jahrhundert




Title: European security and defence policy - EU a global security actor?