Beyond the EU/NATO dichotomy: the beginnings of a European strategic culture

Paul Cornish, Geoffrey Edwards

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131 Citations (SciVal)


The European Union and its member states have moved with considerable speed towards the creation of a European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). Whether what has been achieved so far adds up to a revolution remains a moot point. The Common Foreign and Security Policy of the Maastricht Treaty has not always been noted for its binding character, and too often the debate over security and defence has degenerated into an artificial, zero-sum-type game between Atlanticists and Europeanists. What is required for the success of the ESDP is not simply continued commitment to achieving the Headline Goals set out at Helsinki in 1999, but also the development of what the authors call a ‘strategic culture’, i.e. an institutional confidence and processes to manage and deploy military force as part of the effective range of legitimate policy instruments of the Union. The authors argue that political commitment at the highest levels has been underpinned by the institutionalization, within the Council Secretariat, of the ‘military option’ in the form of the Military Committee and a Directorate General for the EU’s Military Staff (DGEUMS). Even more importantly, there are already signs, especially through such concepts as ‘security sector reform’ and ‘structural stability’, that the EU, through its development and humanitarian programmes, has already recognized the necessity of military solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-603
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Affairs
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2001


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