Raise of the Midgets. Towards a European Security and Defence Policy.

Term Paper (Advanced seminar) 2003 16 Pages

Politics - International Politics - Region: Western Europe


Table of Content

List of abbrevations

Introduction/ Overview

Short History of European Security and Defence Integration
First Steps: There`s No Europe without the USA
French Initiatives: Visions and Failures

The 1990s: Political Integration in a New World

Driving The Visions of Integration
‘Motors’: France and Germany
‘Brakes’: ’Uncle Sam’ and Great Britain
‘Co-Drivers’: Europe’s Neutral States

Speeding up the Process
Clapping the Brakes: England
Kosovo Crisis: The Old Structures Fail
Turning Over: The Franco-British “Declaration on European Defence”

Progress and Solutions: Basics of an ESDP
Building up ESDP Basics: The Summits of Cologne and Helsinki

Security and Defence - Still State Policies?

List of Literature

List of abbrevations

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Introduction/ Overview

In 1998, Jan Zielonka, professor at the European University of Florence, declared that the Common European Foreign and Security Policy, established in 1991, failed. Furthermore, he found that the European Union should perceive itself as a “civic power” and not try to enter the field of common defence nor grasp the honour of leading the European security matters (Zielonka: 1998). The arguments he presented were very interesting and, over all, quite convincing. But, what happened in the following few months was the complete opposite of what he assumpted. Later that year, the most important sceptic of the European integration in security and defence matters, Great Britain, broke its ‘splendid isolation’. The UK signed (together with its traditional “political opponent”, France) the ‘Saint Malo’ declaration about cooperation in creating a common European Defence. Within one year, the 15 states of the EU grounded the European Security and Defence Policy during their official summits, unofficial meetings, and bilateral agreements – something they had not been able to create in the forty-years long history of the European integration.

Regarding security matters, the European Union is very heterogeneous inside and it will be even more after the near eastern enlargement. The ESDP is organised between both NATO and WEU members, the NATO and non-WEU member Denmark and the ‘neutral and not-allied’ ones (see Diagram). That means, that the ESDP is partly inside NATO and the WEU, partly only within NATO and partly completely outside. As Lothar Rühl noticed (Rühl: 1999, pp. 8-10) – the whole construction was narrower than NATO (before the 1999 enlargement) where only Turkey, Norway, and Iceland were both outside the EU and the WEU. Apart from that amusing “tongue twister”, this heterogeneous structure reflects remarkably in the ESDP policy-making.

This paper briefly presents the long path leading to the 1999 summits of Cologne and Helsinki and explains why the security and defence policy integration did take that long. Second, it introduces the main actors – even if the EU has 15 members, only few of them can be named something like ‘fathers’ of the ESDP. The fact, that the European structures are tightly connected with each other, makes the problem incomplete, without referring to two others security organisations: the Western European Union and The North Atlantic Alliance. Policy of Germany, France or Great Britain are strictly connected with the interests and expectations they set in these structures from one side and with the influence these structures have on states mentioned above, from the other.

Short History of European Security and Defence Integration

The tendency and the first attempts to create a regular cooperation for the security questions among the European states are everything but a new idea, though one cannot perceive recognisable success on this field before the end of the last century.

First Steps: There`s No Europe without the USA

Already in the same decade of the Second World War ending, the allied states made the first attempts to coordinate a defence policy. At the beginning, the key motive was to eliminate a possible rebirth of the German military power, then also to create a barrier defending Western Europe from the more or less probable Soviet aggression. In this context, one has to mention the 1947 French-British Dunkerque Treaty on friendship and common support and the multilateral 1948 Brussels Treaty1. The latter did not only establish the military alliance ‘Western Union’ but also was the first serious, though quickly de-actualised, step into the European after-war integration (Parzymies: 1999, p.31). Its significance was stressed by the fact that the contracting parties decided to enhance the casus foederis in the treaty – “in case of an armed attack in Europe the contracting parts would afford all the military and other aid and assistance.“2

Solely the participating states, seriously damaged in all spheres by the war, were too weak, even together, to play any significant role in international politics. Without the support from Washington, without the American “nuclear umbrella” and the army stationing in Europe, the security of the Old Continent could not have been maintained at the beginning of the ‘Cold War’. First, the Washington Treaty and the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 19493 gave Europe the necessary guarantees. This specific balance of powers, transatlantic partnership, and perception of the US as a ‘somehow European’ state have not changed until nowadays.

The alliance however, did not give the absolute guarantee of military help in case of attack of a third country. The contracting parts decided to take only “such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force”.4 Comparing with the clear casus foederis of the Brussels Treaty this was definitively one step back. Especially France, which decided to restore its leading position in Europe at any cost, was not satisfied and looked for a new solution. In addition, other states were interested in broad cooperation, also in security matters, with only European states as participants, though they did not exclude connection and cooperation with the NATO.

French Initiatives: Visions and Failures

In October 1950, the same year when the idea of economic integration emerged (creation of the European Steal and Coal Community), the French Prime Minister, René Pleven, suggested the creation of the European Defence Community endowed with its own European Army. The participants were to be six ECSC states5, the aim was to create a strong and integrated Europe, and to get the defeated and controlled Western Germany into the emerging European structures without giving the possibility to rebuild an only national German army and to make war between France (and other states) and Germany inadmissible.6

The treaty establishing the European Defence Community and enabling creation of the European Army was signed two years later, though it never came into power, as the French (sic!) Assembly refused to ratify it7. With the leader’s withdrawal, all non-economic plans of integration had to be abandoned. Moreover, the states could not agree on the extent to that their sovereignty could have been limited and they were not prepared for such a revolutionary step. Worth notifying is that on this stage of European integration one tried – and failed – to introduce the military cooperation before the political one. The next four decades proved that any autonomous common defence of Western Europe could not have been introduced before developing the economic structures8, before creating a strong European identity and before elaborating the mechanisms of cooperation in the foreign policy of the EC (see: Table 1).

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It is wrong to think that the most important state at that time, France, simply gave up the idea of a political and military integration of Europe. “Rules” of general de Gaulle and the 1961 Fouchet Plan (see: Table 1) proved that Paris never resigned from creating such European structures, in which the “Hexagon” would play the leading role. The previous drawing back from the military structures of NATO (1955) proved that France would never accept the American domination in Europe. The failure of this brave concept made France interested in creating close bilateral contacts between the strongest on the continent: 1962, it offered the United Kingdom military, including nuclear, cooperation and signed the treaty on friendship and cooperation (1963 Elysee Treaty) with Germany. All this was to lead to the creation of a “European Europe”, equipped in own defence, including nuclear forces and, most of all, entirely being independent from the US, though allied with the NATO.

Only – the European partners of France did not support this point of view. For one more decade, Great Britain opposed European economic integration, critically observed imperialistic ambitions of France, and instead built up a special partnership with the USA. Western Germany could only focus on its economic development and fight with its own past; politically ‘Bonn’ was dependent on the three western allied states.9


1 With following states as signatories: Belgium, France, Great Britain, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands.

2 The Brussels Treaty Article IV; the Modified Brussels Treaty Article V.

3 Signatories: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, Holland, Norway, Portugal, UK, USA.

4 Article V of The North Atlantic Treaty, Washington 04.04.1949

5 The six members of the ECSC were: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands.

6 That time works on EPC (using ESCS and EDC structures) began. One of the aims of the EPC was to “guarantee a coordination of the foreign policies of the Member States” (Weidenfeld/ Wessels: 1999).

7 The reasons for the veto of the French Assembly were to sustain its sovereignty and autonomy. France demanded to be able to draw back its troops from the European Army whenever it needed (e.g. war in Indochina). Secondly, there was still a lack of trust towards the German partner and the unsolved question of the Saarland. The French Assembly resigned from the EDC because it was afraid of strengthening Germany and limiting the French liberty in its foreign policy. (Moens/ Anstis: 1994, p.7)

8 The 1957 Rome Treaties were on the EEC and on Euratom.

9 In result, Western Germany practically resigned from the military clause of the Elyseé Treaty. The clauses on both states as the driving forces of political and economic cooperation stayed. (comp.: Steltemeier: 1998, p.55; Zieba 2000, p.22)


ISBN (eBook)
File size
776 KB
Catalog Number
Institution / College
Free University of Berlin – OSI - Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science
1,3 (A)
Europapolitik European Politics Security Defense Defence Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitik NATO ESVI ESVP ESDP




Title: Raise of the Midgets. Towards a European Security and Defence Policy.