European Defense: From Strategy to Delivery

Written by | Monday, August 1st, 2016

Magriet Drent and Dick Zandee (Neetherlands Institute of International Affairs- Clingendael)

In 2003, the Union published the European Security Strategy. With this document, it decided to share the responsibility for global security and the building of a better world. However, new security challenges are emerging and these need to be addressed in that spirit. Not surprisingly, it was in 2015 that the EU decided to create a new global strategy for its foreign and security policy, whereby this document was presented to the public in June 2016. Related to this is the plan to create the White Paper of the CFSP, a document that should be very closely related to the EU’s new global strategy.

In the future, the EU will have to come to terms with new threats that are becoming increasingly complex. The Union should moreover take a much greater responsibility for the crises in its neighborhood. It is a highly worrying development that rather than having a circle of friends in its immediate neighborhood, an arch of instability has been formed, involving a number of conflicts and tensions, all along its southern and southeastern border. Therefore, the Union should now primarily aim to solve two of its most pressing security problems. The first one concerns Russian revisionism, which will likely become an even more critical issue affecting European security. The second problem is the continuing turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa. The instability in these areas is accompanied by mass migration, which currently represents a major security challenge for the EU.

These areas, which the new global strategy has taken into account, do also correspond with other spheres. These include, for example, maritime security, the fight against terrorism and cyber-terrorism. These points should be elaborated more in the context of the planned creation of the new White Paper of the CFSP. The text for this policy must also take into account the new tasks, such as international intervention and stabilization, the territorial protection of the Union and the training and support for regional organizations or directly for individual nations.

Thus, the EU is currently facing a number of new challenges that will need to be dealt with. The complexity of the given threats will, however, require much more systematic solutions. The future EU security strategy in these above outlined areas should therefore not remain only on the paper, but, on the contrary, it should be quickly implemented.

(The study can be downloaded here:

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