Where does CSDP fit in EU foreign policy?
Nick Witney, Senior Policy Fellow, ECFR —
The Lisbon Treaty describes CSDP as ‘integral’ to Europe’s foreign policy. Yet European leaders’ actions belie any such belief. The EU has gone ‘missing in action’ in north Africa: ‘pooling and sharing’ is discussed but not practised. Governments aborted the EADS/BAES merger, for narrow national reasons.
This lack of seriousness about defence stems from intervention fatigue, and the absence of any direct military threat. But the hegemony of the West is finished; the US is pivoting to Asia; and Europe is being rapidly marginalised. It needs to exploit all its assets, including its armed forces, to continue to count in the world.
The missing understanding is how the military can be used as a tool of statecraft. Europe’s ability to offer assistance and training, intelligence and arms, should be a key conduit of influence – for example, with the new democracies of north Africa.
Europeans need to re-think the global strategic environment, and how their armed forces can support foreign policy. The European Council should commission a European Defence Review, to produce both a strategic re-assessment and proposals for major integrative projects.