European Strategic Culture

Taking stock and looking ahead

Authored by: Christoph O. Meyer


Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  October  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415588287
eBook ISBN: 9780203098417
Adobe ISBN: 9781136226953


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The rapid evolution of the European Union’s security and defence policy since 1999 visible in Treaty amendments, strategy papers, institutional differentiation and carefully delimited missions has always been accompanied by scepticism about its political foundations. To what extent have all these developments been driven by a relatively detached Brussels elite supported by the short-term tactical interests of national leaders, rather than a sustained and deep-rooted convergence of political ideas and norms about the use of force? Will the EU be able and willing to act in times of crisis (Biscop, 2004)? Even at the beginning of the ESDP process, Paul Cornish and Geoffrey Edwards (Cornish and Edwards, 2001) argued that European defence and security policy needed a common strategic culture to function. They defined it as the ‘institutional confidence and processes to manage and deploy military force as part of the accepted range of legitimate and effective policy instruments, together with general recognition of the EU’s legitimacy as an international actor with military capabilities’ (Cornish and Edwards, 2001: 587). Two years later, the European Security Strategy echoed this call for ‘a strategic culture that fosters early, rapid and when necessary robust intervention’ (European Council, 2003).

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