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The EU security strategy: good in the trash?

(BRUSSELS2) This is the observation of Sven Biscop. Europe needs a new security strategy, writes the “Europe” research director of the Egmont Institute in one of his “Security policy briefs”. “ Adopted in 2003, the strategy has lost its relevance. It's logic “, he explains. After a while, " every strategy reaches its expiration date ". But, more importantly, this text today turns out to be unsuitable for “conduct policy and action ". The work carried out in 2008 was intended to update the text. But he was " insufficiently concrete and not forward-looking enough ».

The 2008 update work 
“insufficiently concrete and not prospective enough”

The time for review has come

The current strategy, if it retains a certain relevance in terms of “how to do it”, remains in fact very “ wave » on what to do. “ Without a more comprehensive strategy, preventative action and rapid response, two of the strategy's key goals, are virtually impossible, as demonstrated by the initial improvisation in Libya ". The time for revision has come, stresses S. Biscop. " There is a perfect opportunity » with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. And in the “ context of financial constraints, prioritization is more necessary than ever». « Europe must undertake significant efforts in diplomatic, economic, military and civil matters on a certain number of issues”he insists.

A new strategy in 2013

The objective would be to achieve success in 2013. Like its birth in 2003, with a Europe divided over Iraq, the 2013 strategy would make it possible to “ transform the division of the Union and the lack of strategy on Libya "in one" positive energy ". It is the European Council which, according to him, is the “ the only structure capable of providing real impetus for the development of collective capacity ».

The “open” method followed for the 2003 strategy should be retained, making it possible to involve a wide audience (diplomats, parliamentarians, thinks thanks, etc.). This new strategy would take up the EU's objectives of promoting its 4 fundamental values ​​(" security, prosperity, democracy and equality ") in the world. It should set clear objectives and priorities: the defense of the territory of the Union against any military threat, the preservation of routes of communication and commerce, the security of energy and other natural resources, etc.

Three priorities

For S. Biscop, among the priorities, it is necessary to revitalize the neighborhood, by pushing democracy and making conditionality “ more consistent, effective and credible » ; develop a vision for reforming the multilateral architecture; define priority regions where the CFSP could find expression as “ decision-making tool for operations and capacity building.

download the study here

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

One thought on “The EU security strategy: good in the trash?"

  • It doesn't seem to me that the priorities are again the conceptual. The current situation, the weight of intergovernmentalism, the very particular speeches of Catherine Ashton and the highlighting of toolboxes make the proposal, if not illusory, at best precocious. If a document is to come out, it is more of a European Security-Defence White Paper specifying the synergies to be carried out, the military programs to be harmonised, the capabilities to be managed collectively. These are the priorities, not a new high mass that would distract us from the essential. The real questions revolve around the future of the Battelgroups and the CSP (stillborn?), the degree of “robustness” of Atalanta, the entryism of the European Commission in defense matters, the weight of Parliament European Union, budget reductions decided on a national basis without collective consultation, revision of the Athena mechanism, etc. We cannot resolve the technological stalls, the national withdrawals, the two-speed CSDP and the instrumentalization of the “small” countries by the “big” European States through a new Security Strategy. Convergence in terms of security and defense must come from operations, capabilities, pooling and specializations. These are the real priorities, especially these days. Drafting a new European Security Strategy will not wake up a CSDP that is weakened from within and from without. Let's not look for false leads and let's be attentive to the relationship between France, the United Kingdom and Germany, because it is only if the three sets are in phase that the CSDP can really “take off again”. By dint of writing “bibles”, we will end up “de-Europeanizing” security-defence, because the real stakes will be elsewhere and the “participants” will not wait for the EU to move forward. And we know full well that the EEAS, the COPS and above all the capitals make European security strategy without having to re-read their missal, without requiring official updates. The question then being to determine where the cursor is located between the States and the EU in a field that is still highly sovereign.

    André Dumoulin (ERM and ULg)

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