Defence Matters: More Urgent than Ever

Written by | Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

There is a zone of instability almost around the entire European Union. Because of the conflict in Ukraine, a conflict zone has expanded from North Africa and the Middle East also to the eastern part of Europe. The Islamic State and its jihadism have shifted the border of violence and brutality beyond what’s considered a “normal level“. The United States have once again military presence in Europe although they are increasingly demanding that its transatlantic partners assume a greater responsibility for security in their own region. Therefore, Europe doesn’t have any other alternative but to start playing the role of a responsible security actor.
In light of the European Council meeting in June that discussed defense-related matters, two questions arise: “What has been achieved?” and “In what direction should the EU proceed?” In the past, EU leaders used to discuss three topics: increasing efficiency of the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP); improving EU’s capabilities namely in four key areas – satellite communication, unmanned aerial vehicles, aerial refueling and cyber security; and strengthening of the European defense and industrial base with an important role for the Commission.
The above mentioned June meeting constituted a good opportunity to revitalize CSDP and move away from small technical and reactive missions towards the fulfillment of two major tasks: first, to ensure security of the EU itself by contributing to security in its own territory, and second, to increase the CSDP’s capacity to deal with various crises in neighboring regions, and primarily those with the potential to endanger Member States themselves. The deployment of the CSDP more as a strategic tool would mean that the priority of particular operations would depend on what are the EU’s most pressing security interests at the given moment. The Commission should also come to terms with the specific nature of the defense sector and thus implement tailored regulations rather than treat defense sector simply as yet another economic sector operating on free market principles.

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