Policy Paper 65
 

Will Europeans ever agree on the use of military force?

Jan Techau, Director, Carnegie Europe —
Europeans are not per se unwilling to use force to achieve political goals. They only seem to be unwilling to do so in the framework of the EU. The perceived absence of a shared threat, the differences in strategic culture, the institutional weaknesses, the lack of resources, the lack of ambition and trust, and the fact that, with NATO, a better alternative is at hand for the management of Europe’s hard power concerns, make it unlikely that the EU will become a relevant military operator any time soon. The structural, political impediments to more cohesive defense cooperation go so deep that economic pressure alone will not be enough of an incentive to unite their military activities within CSDP. But if member states want EU foreign policy to become more relevant, they can’t forever dismiss hard power as a tool for the EU. A serious conversation is needed at the highest level about shared threats, interests, goals and means.

|   13/02/2013             |   Jan Techau             |   Europe in the world
Policy Paper

 

 

This Policy Paper is a contribution of Jan Techau (Carnegie Europe) to the project Think Global – Act European (TGAE). Thinking strategically about the EU’s external action directed by  Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute (report available in March 2013, dir. Elvire Fabry, Senior Research Fellow, Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute).

 

Europeans are not per se unwilling to use force to achieve political goals. They only seem to be unwilling to do so in the framework of the EU. The perceived absence of a shared threat, the differences in strategic culture, the institutional weaknesses, the lack of resources, the lack of ambition and trust, and the fact that, with NATO, a better alternative is at hand for the management of Europe’s hard power concerns, make it unlikely that the EU will become a relevant military operator any time soon. The structural, political impediments to more cohesive defense cooperation go so deep that economic pressure alone will not be enough of an incentive to unite their military activities within CSDP.

But if Member States want EU foreign policy to become more relevant, they can’t forever dismiss hard power as a tool for the EU. A serious conversation is needed at the highest level about shared threats, interests, goals and means.

 

 

 

 

 

Before the publication of the final report presenting the key recommendations of the 16 think tanks involved in the project, 5 series of Policy Papers address the following key challenges: CSDP, EU neighbourhood, strategic resources, migration and economic policy.

 

This policy paper is part of the series entitled “How can Europeans be taken seriously with lower hard capacities?” which includes contributions by Jean-Pierre Darnis (IAI, Rome), Ronja Kempin (SWP, Berlin), Daniel Keohane (Fride, Brussels) and Nick Witney (ECFR, London). 

 
Go to the other contributions of the defence series >>

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