Annual Baltic Conference on Defence (ABCD) 2017

European Defence Cooperation: Out of the Shadows?

 

“As Europeans we must take greater responsibility for our security. We must be ready and able to deter, respond to, and protect ourselves against external threats.”

-  Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy presented by High Representative Federica Mogherini in June 2016.

 

The deteriorating security situation and various crises both in and around Europe are directly affecting the citizens of the EU. The decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union and the calls of the new US administration for Europeans to significantly increase their share of the burden for the continent’s defence, are further transforming the security landscape affecting Europe.

During challenging times acting together makes us stronger. The EU’s toolbox already includes an impressive array of instruments, ranging from the political and societal to the economic. But does Europe lack the political will and military capabilities necessary to meet the level of ambition set by the EU’s Global Strategy?

In 2016 several new initiatives were launched and ideas proposed to increase the EU’s role in the security and defence field and translate the EU Global Strategy into concrete policy deliverables. These include activating the Lisbon Treaty provisions for Permanent Structured Cooperation and the Commission’s European Defence Fund. Likewise the EU and NATO agreed to take forward co-operation in a number of areas of common interest..

The conference will explore whether the European Union is up to the challenges and ready to become a true actor in security and defence. Do we share a vision and what are we prepared to do within the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)? What kind of resources and capabilities are needed to translate new ambitions into reality? Has European defence cooperation finally got off the ground and is defence now a priority for our politicians? What are the limits of the European defence cooperation?