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European Security and Defence Policy: An Analysis

Info: 5488 words (22 pages) Dissertation
Published: 12th Dec 2019

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Tagged: International StudiesMilitarySecurity


Faced with the challenges and risks arising in the process of economic globalization and world order, Europe is trying to respond adequately to it, namely, creating a general political unity, and forming a European identity. Within the EU there is ramified mechanism of economic, political and legal organs and institutions, carried out the interaction of the member-states of integration associations virtually in all directions.

The political formation of the EU has gained a new powerful impetus after its inclusion of legal and institutional framework in the founding document of the EU – in the Maastricht Treaty, the so-called “second pillar” of the European Union, entitled “Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). At the present stage of EU development the issue about effectiveness of the CFSP and ESDP in particular is staying very acute, that is the question of the effectiveness of the overall approach and collective action in addressing foreign policy issues. This question is urgent in light of events relating to the settlement of a conflict in the Balkans after the collapse of the Yugoslav state in the beginning and end of the 90’s., with the campaign against terrorism after September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington, Madrid in 2004, and London in 2005 and the reconstruction of Afghanistan as well as the situation around Iraq. Recent Russia’s invasion of Georgia on Aug. 7 of 2008 showed that the threat of traditional military confrontation has not disappeared. Therefore, Europe must restructure their armed forces in such a way as to carry out military operations in both security contexts, determining what threats it will face and how best to counter them.

It has been 10 years since the emergence of ESDP. During this time the EU has faced many challenges associated with the implementation of this policy, ranging from lack of resources, institutional weakness, ending with the influence of the world players. Although, it is still early to drew a definite conclusions regarding the effectiveness of ESDP. However, we can talk about some appropriateness of the process that has been established in this trend.

Therefore the aim of this individual research paper is an attempt to analyze the main problems faced by the EU towards the effective implementation of ESDP, and what the possibilities opened up for Europe within the framework of ESDP after the signing of the Treaty of Lisbon. This work is an analysis of the lessons learned in order to integrate them into future development of this institution or any other organizations.

In accordance with the purpose of this work, it is structured into 3 chapters. First chapter will provide an opportunity to explicate how internal and external factors have pushed the EU to establish ESDP, as well as the role played by EU – 3 (France, Germany and Great Britain) in the creation of this policy. Furthermore, it will explore concern about attitude of the US towards the creation and development of this policy.

Second chapter scrutinized an existence of ESDP and highlight the main challenges which has been identified by the analyst for the past 10 years as regards to civil, military and financial resources. I have chosen the entire period of ESDP existence, as this policy is still very young for the definitively assess its ultimate effectiveness and feasibility. In other words, this is analysis of lessons learned.

Third chapter will focus on the possibilities of ESDP. It will examine what changes can be expected in the near future in relation to this policy, in regards to the improvements towards increasing of military and civilian capacities. Furthermore it will underline the main changes and opportunities which brings newly approved Lisbon Treaty.

The work is carried out by argumentative essay method.

This study paper will not analyze all conducted and ongoing missions of ESDP, also it will not touch upon history of ESDP development, as this paper will focus only on problems that interfere with this policy to exist independently and efficacy, and the hidden possibilities of this policy that are not yet fully appreciated. Also, the question concerning relationship between the Greece, Turkey and Cyprus that brings some difficulties in cooperation between NATO and ESDP are not present in this essay.

Political context as an obstacle for the development of effective ESDP on the contemporary stage

Preconditions for the creation of ESDP

In order to understand the marrow of ESDP it makes sense to consider the internal and external preconditions that led to the creation of this policy.

Among the external preconditions are dominated by the end of the Cold War and the events of 9/11 in the U.S. At one time the confrontation with Warsaw Pact had impeding the creation of a truly European system of security, shifting the balance of influence in favor of NATO and the United States. However, in late 1980 the situation began to transform rapidly. The basis and purpose of the transatlantic relationship had changed. Change of the geostrategic situation in the continent, associated with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and, accordingly, the bipolar system of international relations has opened up to Western European countries, opportunities to become more attractive center of power in the sphere of security.

In turn, increasing economic role of the EU gave rise to the desire of European leaders to complement its overall diplomatic and military instruments, without which the influence of the EU in international affairs would remain marginal. Throughout the 1990’s the EU was looking for such tools. However, early results have been mediocre – a common foreign policy and security policy has not become a really common and was incapable to avoid a tragedy in the Balkans.[1] Therefore, the emerging sense of security vacuum in Europe made closer positions of the Member States (EU MS), which led to the materialization of ESDP.

Conventional military forces, which are used to build in Europe, did not meet the challenges and threats inherent in post-bipolar world, it was the necessity to build up forces with flexible structure capable of performing non-traditional military functions. To maintain the security framework at the present level were required expensive systems. And the resolution of crisis situations required the presence of highly mobile units, equipped with the latest weapons and communication systems. The military budgets of the most nation-states have been unable to meet the requirements of the military sector developments. As a result, Europe has left two options: to continue to rely on the United States or attempt to integrate into the military sphere and create own forces.

After a while a new stimulus for the development of an independent ESDP had appeared, such as disagreement with U.S. unilateralism and U.S. domination of NATO. The differences in the positions of the U.S. and Europe emerged during the conflicts in the Balkans and, most clearly during the Iraqi crisis. European alertness has been provoked by the actual transformation of NATO in the conductor of the American global strategy. Therefore, the European states felt that they can not rely entirely on the U.S. as a guarantor of security in the region, and doubted that Washington’s policy towards Europe would be consistent with their preferences and priorities. Consequently, it became clear that if the EU seeks to influence global policy agenda, rather than follow in the wake of the United States, it will ultimately require the readiness and ability to use harsh means to ensure security. Thus, the creation of ESDP was the most appropriate mechanism through which urgent problems would be solved.

The EU – 3 (Britain, France and Germany) and their role in development of ESDP

The real breakthrough in the European cooperation in security sphere were the agreements reached at the Franco-British summit in Saint-Malo (December 1998). In the summit declaration had been mentioned about the need to provide opportunities for EU autonomous military operations, so that the EU would be able to take decisions and conduct military action in cases where the [Atlantic] Alliance is not involved [in the resolution of the crisis].[2] The negotiations, initiated by the British side, were not limited by the declarations and the European Council in 1999 and 2000s had been taken a number of decisions in order to strengthen the CFSP and create ESDP. At the Cologne summit institutional framework of ESDP has been fixed, and afterwards at the Helsinki summit stated the main goal, later transformed into ‘catalog of forces’. This goal was about creation by the year of 2003 such capabilities that would allow operational deployment of forces with the strengths of 50-60 thousands of troops (quick reaction force) that could sustain themselves at least one year, the final regulations were finally found in the Treaty of Nice, signed in February 2001.

Up till now, there is a disagreement among the EU – 3, about how the EU can become a more effective and influential actor in the world and what relations it must build with the US. These differences are associated with different approaches to the European integration in general. It will be considered, the role have been playing by Britain, France and Germany in ESDP, and what the major differences of their visions towards the implementation and essence of this policy.

The first point which is noteworthy to point out is the question ‘What ESDP is for?’ and we could find distinctively different approaches from the Three, where the British believe in a “transatlantic Europe”, the French espouse the concept of Europe as a power, whilst the Germans are deeply committed to the idea of Europe as “an agent for peace”.[3] Further it will expose these approaches more deeply.

For a long time, Britain remained a staunch ally of the US, and did not felt the necessity to create anything out of the NATO military structure. But, after the events in Bosnia and Kosovo, the situation has radically changed in the opposite direction. The interests of the US and Britain during these conflicts were differed because the methods of solving such problems did not coincide.[4] All this led to the fact that Britain began to support and develop the idea of the EU military independence from the NATO and the United States. This approach has been similar to France; however on the other hand in the matters concerning their long-term visions these ideas weren’t match. The reason for this was that both countries with one hand would like to make the Europe as a power, which would be able to influence and respond to the world events, but on the other, each of them had their own idea of what role the EU should play in security and defense in long term period. Britain is keen to develop strong Europe’s security actor, which would be able to significantly contribute to the NATO capabilities and will not duplicate it, from the France perspective which is partly similar to the British, but on the other hand would like to build up separate security institution ‘Europe as a power’ ultimately capable for the common defence. However, France’s point of view is that the Europe and the US would not compete in any manner, only interact and complement each other as regional powers.

Then, Germany’s position has always remained under restraint, which was dictated by the lessons of the past. Compared with Britain and France, Germany’s spending on defense sector was very small. And the idea of establishing ESDP, which gave them an opportunity to increase its military power, has found support in political circles very fast. Although, its opinion concerning ESDP functions was different from the others. The EU has been represented by the Germany, as an ‘agent for peace’, and methods of peaceful resolution of the conflict were the key point in its policy.

The second difference of the Three is how they perceive ESDP: as military or civilian power, regional or global organization. For example, France feel despondent about the fact that most of the operations conducted under the framework of ESDP are civilian. The fact remains, the majority of military operations are carried out by the NATO, not by ESDP, and those that are conducted using NATO resources (Berlin Plus agreement). But despite that, France is trying to be involved in all the missions with the military character, because they believe the EU would be perceived as the security actor only under condition that they could project military power, not only civilian. Germany’s vision is characterized as a counterbalance to the French position and does not distinguish military power as main tool for the strengthening of the EU position as a security actor; its remain opinion that military force in dealing with non-military security issues will not be successful. Although, at the same time not very much opposing building of the EU as a military power. Finally, Britain is quite pleased with the current balance of military and civil elements of ESDP.[5] They see ESDP as a very unique tool which is able to integrate civil aspects in military operations; moreover it is not duplicating or hindering NATO operations, even quite the contrary. But unlike Germany, they perceive military power as a robust tool in international arena and additional method of the influence in foreign policy.

Finally, it is true the idea of the creation of ESDP has born because of the conflicts in the Europe’s backyard (i.e., Balkans); however after a decade the EU has been broaden their span of the operations quite significantly. The global role of the EU is formulated in the ESS in ethical terms of defending human rights and promoting democracy and solidarity (Petersburg tasks). Nonetheless, despite the general vision of the Three towards the global role of ESDP, some specifications ought to be made. Firstly, it is noteworthy to underline that the visions of France and Britain are getting to the same direction concerning mentioned issue, because it is relatively dictated by the permanent seats on the UN Security Council, as well as former colonial majesty of these countries. Moreover, one can clearly recognize that both countries paid special attention to the Africa. On contrary, Germany has usually not perceived the EU as a global actor, as it is dictated by the troublesome history. In the beginning they saw ESDP as a solution to the threats within the EU, but later they began to agitate the questions of the Caucasus, especially in Georgia. This could mean that Germany is reviewing its role as both the EU’s role in the light of globalization.

Therefore we may conclude that lack of unity in outlook of these countries, is a certain barrier for further development of ESDP. At the beginning of ESDP creation it was foreseen to become a common policy, but in reality decision-making process is based on intergovernmental cooperation which raises some additional obstacles during this process. Certainly it doesn’t mean that each country should change its opinion, but still general model for solving different situations and questions, as well as common vision of ESDP essence should be established. Nonetheless, despite all mentioned above ESDP working and developing, that is the fact that EU – 3 can find compromises. Thus, these difficulties can be resolved, if compliance of the Three will be greater.

US attitude toward ESDP

No less important factor is the U.S. attitude to ESDP. American view towards European security concept is resemblance to an opponent who does not agree with the arguments put forward, but believes that the honest expression of negative attitudes towards them will look clearly in unethical manner. One of the key factors influencing the U.S. position on the European security concept is its interaction with the structure of the North Atlantic Alliance. On this account quite explicitly suggested U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, explained: “Our position is very clear – we support ESDP, which is friendly to NATO”[6]. On the other hand, Principal Analyst for European Union Affairs, US Dept. of State, David Armitage highlighted other US arguments against the existence of ESDP as follow:

  1. there would be competition for scarce financial resources;
  2. it could lead to a potential mismatch in doctrine, standards, and requirements, which would make interoperability (a perennial NATO problem) even harder to achieve;
  3. erecting new institutional structures would confuse and complicate procedures and policies that already existed within NATO. [7]

U.S. attitude to ESDP depends on U.S. policy, which is based on U.S. global leadership by deterring the emergence of rival powers.[8] As a result, the U.S. tries to keep ESDP within NATO.

It is true that NATO-EU relations are based on agreements of “Berlin Plus”, which were signed in December 2002 and entered into force in March 2003. So, it’s easy to see why Washington seemed that “Berlin Plus” gives it some advantages. EU guaranteed access to opportunities and resources of NATO planning for the implementation of EU operations for crisis management, and in return the United States expects from the EU a greater commitment to modernize its military capabilities. Main premises of Berlin Plus was that ESDP would reinforce NATO, not undermine it, and would ensure the advancement of the American position of “three principles”: there is no uncoupling of NATO, no duplication of resources and no discrimination against non – EU members of NATO[9].

Besides, U.S Congress and administration were also encouraged by the fact that a close friend of the United States, United Kingdom, endorsed the project. However, European countries have not agreed to increase their military commitments in terms of defense spending and personnel. As noted in the U.S. Congressional Research Service, “French officials long time argued that the EU should strive to become a counterweight to the United States on the international stage, and consider ESDP as a means of enhancing the political credibility of the EU”[10]. Therefore, the United States has every reason to revise the terms of the treaty of ‘’Berlin-Plus”.

Moreover, US worry that stronger ESDP would create European caucus inside NATO. Videlicet, NATO MS that are not EU members could be faced with unified front on the part of EU members in discussions within NATO. EU enlargement, however, has diminished the prospect of such a caucus emerging.

Nevertheless, recently the US attitude to ESDP has been changed towards more positive direction. Firstly, US understood that EU posse’s stronger base to tackle with the civil questions. Secondly, in 2005 US political elite with the G. Bush in a lead announced that they actually support more powerful and unified Europe. Over and above, 9/11 that was an example of new security challenges brought to acknowledgement of necessity to gather all efforts together in order to solve these problems.[11] Therefore, powerful Europe is in the area of the US interest.

As seen from the above relationship between U.S. and EU is quite complex. In the words of F. Stephen Larrabee, there are several steps that could persuade United States that ESDP strengthens rather than weakens the transatlantic relationship.

First, due to the fact that the EU and the US interests on some security issues are different, especially concerning participation on some recent conflicts. The US should agree that EU should be able to plan and act as an autonomous organization outside of Alliance. Therefore, EU should develop their capabilities if they want to play on their own in the conflicts of EU interest. The main intent is to assure development of EU security capabilities in an apparent manner which further would strengthen the ability of US and EU to efficiently deal with potential security threats.

Second, establishment of common strategies concerning transformation process of the defence issues of both players, the EU and the US. In the other words common treat perceptions and military doctrines, or at least well-matched, would be a great advantage in the future relationship between these parties.

Third, it is necessary for NATO and the EU to build up system that would enhance quick and comprehensive response in crises time. Primarily it consists of planning mechanisms, force generation and ameliorate political consultation.

As a final point, US should accept that the EU is becoming an ever more important political and security actor.[12]

To conclude this chapter, I would emphasize that ESDP has been created during the hard time for the Europe, when it has faced such challenge, as remain under the NATO security umbrella, which showed that it will not always work in compliance with the Europe security issues, or make a real breakthrough towards the role of an independent actor in the World arena. Eventually step forward has been made, so at present the Europe has demonstrated itself competent at all areas, not only economical questions, but also in the defence and security sphere. Significant part of ESDP establishment has been made by the EU – 3, however the Three showed not only progress in the history of the Europe, but to some degree doom ESDP to future problems, because of the different visions on future of this policy. Then, the relationship with the US as well as its partial influence on the Europe should not be forgotten. In other words, political context of ESDP is tangibly hampers the effectives of its development for the reason of inability of the EU – 3 to get to the common point of view, also because of the indirect influence of the US through the NATO, which for a long time has been a strong guarantor for the European defence and still remain to be such. In the next chapter will be analyzed two main problems which hamper development of ESDP, namely resource and institutional difficulties. Great role in the resolving of these problems plays ability of states to find compromises, and primarily in concern of the MS.

Obstacles which hampers development of the effective ESDP

Institutional pathologies of ESDP

This subsection will address the main shortcomings of the institutional architecture of ESDP. Taking into account the main question of this work, the explanation about all institutions and their functions would be skipped. Thus, emphasis will be placed only on these problematic points that hinder ESDP effective existence.

Since the inception of ESDP it was envisaged that the EU would largely pay attention to civil elements of security, but unfortunately the creators of the institutional architecture missed this important point, and suggested such basis for the institutional structure where military part has playing predominant role.

Firstly, it’s necessary to stress that many of experts argue that the EU build up ESDP taken as an example the NATO institutional structure. The main institutions in ESDP are the Political Security Committee, a political body that controls the institution, and the EU Military Committee with the EU Military Staff. This corresponds to NATO’s North Atlantic Council (NAC), the Military Committee (MC) and the International Military Staff. The British official was fast to point out that the architects of ESDP were aware that NATO’s institutional design, in which the NAC and the MC are often not well coordinated, was not optimal, but they did not discuss the issue of trying to redress this set up.[13] As a result one can observe quite complicated cooperative actions between these bodies of ESDP, during the preparation phase and realization of their plans. The actual EU military crises response planning process at political and strategic level could be seen at Annex 2.

Secondly, taking into consideration the treats what nowadays facing ESDP during its operations one can clearly identify the need for close cooperation between military and civilian in their coherence discussion. Some speakers argued that institutional coherence between the Council and the Commission had improved greatly in recent years, for instance in Georgia. But some processes are very slow – the Commission, for instance, cannot easily re-direct aid spending to a country where there is an ESDP operation (i.e. Chad). Plus the Commission, in particular ECHO (its humanitarian aid agency), must remain neutral in conflicts and avoid becoming politicized.[14] Expert commentator on peacebuilding and security issues Rory Keane insist that the Union had constructed some crisis management capability and a foreign policy, but suffered from poor coordination between the two. The Lisbon treaty seeks more coherence between the Council and the Commission.[15] From these arguments one might conclude that ESDP doesn’t have practical useful chain of command and possesses significant internal difficulties.

Thirdly, after analyze of the development of institutional architecture of ESDP throughout the last few years, I can clearly see two problematic issues related to this policy. The first and main problem is that the structure of EU crisis management at the political, strategic and operational level remains weak. I could even say that this structure does not meet the ambitions of the EU on carrying out a large number of operations. In fact, notably on the civilian side, it is already stretched to the limit. On the military side, in the absence of EU operational headquarters, the Union remains a non-autonomous actor and the availability of national HQs to plan and run ESDP operations has proven intermittent. [16] Besides, at present time an important area of concern remains to be improved which is experience and expertise of the staff in Brussels-based bodies that can ensure proper planning and conduct of operations, both civilian and military ones.

Despite of everything mentioned above the MS diligently working on closing of these institutional gaps. Enormous role in improvement of the institutional shortages will be played by the Lisbon Treaty, which is already a fact that MS trying to find compromises.

The essence of the resource problems of ESDP at the present time

Financing ESDP

The first aspect to point out is the fact that the EU does not have its own defense budget. On the other words, each country decides itself how much it needs to spend on defense sphere. Therefore, the EU itself cannot change it, because it is not within its authority. In general, all EU member countries spend over 200 billion Euros on defense, ranking second place in the world after the U.S.[17] Which seems to confirm the idea that such amount of money would be enough for the effective existence of ESDP, if there were a common budget.

Thus, it is worth to start with question how ESDP missions financed? The answer is that in compliance of the Treaty of European Union operating expenditure incurred in implementing CFSP and ESDP decisions is charged to the budget of European Communities (European budget), except for the operations that have military character.[18] In other word, EU have a common budget they have to allocate money for definitive period of time, with a special procedures which is not very clear and fast, which should be the first aspect of the financing system for the crises response operations in order to win the time for the preparation of the mission.

Then, it should be noted that there is a difference in the budgeting between military and civilian operations in the framework of ESDP. Thus, civilian operations are financing by the EU and related to the CFSP budget (EU Budget, Heading 4: EU as a global player).[19] If we analyze all the costs of the section «EU as a global player», we can see that it is only 3% of the entire section. Moreover, after analyzing the specific data in Annex 1 you can see a decrease of CFSP budget on 14% compared with last year, which is in my opinion not enough if we look back at the problems with the financing in ongoing missions and take into account that EU should be ready for the new threats which the World possess nowadays.

Furthermore, the decision-making process of the allocation of money from my perspective is not very consistent and it is as follows, following a proposal from the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament – the two branches of the EU budgetary authority – agree the exact size of the CFSP budget. The dialogue between the Council and the Parliament is crucial in this context, and it has not always been smooth. This is perhaps inherent to a policy area such as CFSP where, by Treaty, the EP has the last word on the budget but limited say on substantial political decisions.[20] Thus after analyzing the decision-making process of the European budget, I came out to the solution that it is obvious picture of bureaucratic system, what is in my point of view unavoidable situation in any intergovernmental organization.

However, in case of preparatory actions for the preparation of the crises response missions has been made significant changes between 2006 and 2007, such as enabling the Commission to fund ‘preparatory measures’ from CFSP budget. Moreover in 2008, the Commission adopted a framework decision specifying what costs the preparatory measures for ESDP operations can cover the procedure to finance them. The specificity of these measures is that they can make funds available before the relevant legal act is adopted.[21] Therefore, the first step towards activation of mission and preparation for it could be partly supported from the first day.

Conversely, it is still lack of financing for ESDP missions as one could witness in the Financial Framework 2007-2013, where the CFSP budget for is €1.98 billon.[22] The budget is expected to cover crisis management operations (civilian ESDP missions only), conflict prevention, conflict resolution and stabilisation, non-proliferation and disarmament measures and EU Special Representatives. Besides, two problems had been directly associated with the 2007-2013 EU budgets in the word of the researcher from German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Annegret Bendiek:

  • lack of democratic control over common defence policy activities and the related spending;
  • MS have provided insufficient resources to fund the EU’s ambitions become a fully-fledged actor in its foreign and security policy, meaning that additional money has to be diverted from sources outside the budget.[23]

It is important to add that ESDP military operations are financing through separate inter-governmental arrangements the so called ‘Athena mechanism’, which is covering preparatory phase of the operations. All the MS (except Denmark) contribute to certain expenditure, strictly defined, according to a fixed coefficient depending on their GDP scale.[24] However, this funding only covers 10 % of total operation costs. In other words, the biggest burden for the operation covers by contributing nation. The ATHENA budget (financed by 24 MS) in 2005 it was approximately 60 million Euros, for 2006, the budget was about 68 million Euros[25] Overall, there is ongoing work concerning increasing the budget for Athena mechanism by the MS, but yet no consensus has been found between them.

Military capabilities

The first issue is that the EU does not have its own Armed Forces, as well as its own defence budget. Therefore, each MS maintain autonomy of their Armies, and can decide about contribution to every particular mission. Regardless of significant EU expenditure on defence sector, MS did not change completely their Armed Forces posture after Cold War toward nowadays global security challenges. In Annex 3 we can see the progress of ESDP military capabilities by comparing MS equipments in 1999 and 2009.

Besides, it is ongoing transformation of the Armed Forces of the MS from the previously Cold War doctrine; therefore, in 2008 the 27 EU governments had reduced their armed forces to 2 million personnel, and j

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