Conference Agenda

Panel 906: Strategizing European Security: Needs, Deeds and Acceptability
Wednesday, 08/Sept/2021:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Monika Sus, Hertie School / Polish Academy of Sciences
Discussant: Kolja Raube, KU Leuven


Strategizing European Security: Needs, Deeds and Acceptability

Chair(s): Monika Sus (Hertie School), Gustavo Muller (KU Leuven)

Discussant(s): Kolja Raube (KU Leuven)

This panel looks at the process of strategizing European Union security and defence that is understood as a multistep process of assessment of the current challenges and key drivers that will impact EU security and defence in mid- and long-term perspective, and conceptual development of strategies and their translation into policy actions. Thus, on the one hand, the panel reflects upon the social and political process of elaborating a security and defence strategy within a multilevel governance system with diverse national and international actors as well as institutional stakeholders, including their methodological and conceptual frameworks and security perceptions. On the other hand, it advances a tripartite approach to strategizing EU security and defence that connects the needs and challenges of present-day global governance and international relations as well as potential future developments, the capacity and practice of institutional and legal structures of the European Union, and the social acceptability of policy and reform initiatives. Furthermore, three papers offer innovative empirical analyses of the EU’s approaches towards specific issue-areas, namely the Arctic, space policy, and security and development.


Presentations of the Symposium


Strategizing beyond CSDP - External Action Plus and Security

Kinga Brudzinska1, Chad Damro2
1GLOBSEC, 2University of Edinburgh

Over recent decades, the European Union’s external relations have expanded considerably. In addition to the CSDP and CFSP, EU external action includes policy areas that have long been considered part of external relations, such as trade, development, and humanitarian action. Likewise, a growing number of traditionally internal policy areas are developing important external dimensions, such as climate change, health, competition, and research. As noted in the EU’s Global Strategy and European Defence Action Plan, such policies hold promise for increasing the effectiveness of EU security and defence policy but also present institutional, political, legal, and other challenges for strategizing and implementing a more coherent and joined-up external action. This contribution analyses the internal and external factors that condition the need, practice, and acceptability of a joined-up security strategy across the CSDP, CFSP and these other increasingly important policy areas of external action.


Strategizing Institutional Governance Structures and Legal Capacities in CFSP and CSDP

Ramses Wessel1, Viktor Szep2
1University of Groningen, 2Hungarian Academy of Sciences

The EU’s Common Foreign, Security and Defence Policy found its way into the Treaty 30 years ago, but it is still confronted with ‘specific rules and procedures’ that seem to stand in the way of its effectiveness. This contribution will identify ways to improve the CFSP’s functionality, on the basis of both existing scholarly work and an empirical assessment of the geographical and thematical focus of the last 10 years of the Union’s foreign policy. By focusing on legal rather than political solutions, it aims to contribute to ongoing debates on the effectiveness of CFSP. Making use of the gradually accepted ‘normalisation’ of CFSP, we will identify a number of legal tools that could be used to suggest strategic options and choices to improve CFSP and to allow it to meet its Treaty brief to ‘cover all areas of foreign policy and all questions relating to the Union’s security’.


Acceptability of EU Strategic Action and Crisis Response Initiatives: Challenges for Member States

Eva Michaels, Robert Kissack
Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals (IBEI)

This paper develops an analytical framework conceptualising the acceptability of strategic action within EU security and defence policy, a core element of the tripartite methodology presented in the special issue. ‘Acceptability’ is understood as a dynamic rationale for foreign policy action that becomes permissive through social construction. Changes in national narratives that can prompt acceptance, refusal, or hesitation vis-à-vis EU common positions and strategic goals have been neglected in discussions of EU foreign policy. Specifically, the paper theorises the processes through which a narrative becomes permissive, or non- permissive, and how this is translated into common knowledge in the national context. The applicability of the framework is tested in the (hard) case of crisis response with military means, a core element of the EU’s ambition to be a global security actor, where the deployment of forces is required at short notice and likely in regions peripheral to the foreign policy priorities of member states.


Strategizing Security: Regional Power Contestation Through Development Policy

Meltem Muftuler-Bac, Nihat Mugurtay
Sabanci University

The European Union and Turkey find themselves competing in different parts of the world, especially utilizing their development aid. The power contestation between Turkey and the EU provides a new angle for the EU’s Global Strategy. This paper compares the EU’s and the Turkish global development aid allocated to different regions and recipients across the world. In recent years, Turkey has enhanced its visibility in development aid, with a meteoric rise in the aid it allocates to multiple different recipients. As a candidate country for EU accession, it carries a potential to contribute to the EU’s development agenda and wider security objectives on the African continent, as well as in the Balkans. However, there seems to be an ongoing power contestation between the EU and Turkey in terms of their aid allocation, targeted policy changes in the recipient countries. Regional power politics play an important role in shaping non-traditional donors' global Official Development Assistance (ODA). Turkey's rise as an emerging donor and its rivalry with other traditional donors has become markedly clear after the Arab Spring. At the same time, its regional power struggle with the EU has also become visible in such countries as Somalia – with implications for the EU’s security projection and strategy towards the region. We analyse this power competition, especially in Africa, which emerges as the leading region where aid- dependency and limited statehood co-exist. Overall, our findings illustrate the extent to which the EU finds itself in competition with Turkey over different geostrategic priorities and reveal new security challenges through development policy agendas.


Missing out on Action? Assessing the EU’s Strategic and Policy Actions in the Arctic

Hanna Ojanen, Hiski Haukkala
Tampere University

The Arctic is rising in global importance. The climate change is opening up both opportunities and risks in the region. This article will analyse and assess the EU’s policies and strategies towards the region. The article uncovers the dual nature of the EU’s approach towards the Arctic. On the one hand, the EU can be seen as uniquely suited to address the multitude of economic, societal and soft security related challenges stemming from the region. On the other hand, the EU has found it very difficult to establish a recognized role for itself in the region and has been forced to make do with the policy windows it has been endowed by other actors –the Arctic states, great powers and regional organisations. The article examines the approaches and strategies the EU could pursue to increase its impact and leverage in the future and the development of its relations with the established regional actors. It also touches upon the rapid militarization of the Arctic and ponders what that entails for the future of the CSDP and the EU’s role in the Arctic region.


Strategizing CSDP: The Case for a Robust EU Space Policy

Jan Wouters
KU Leuven

The European Union has been indicating in recent years that it wants to follow a more geopolitical course in the conduct of its policies. However, this may be, for the time being, one has to wait for such a more geopolitical orientation in the EU’s unfolding space policy. Until now, the EU’s space policy initiatives have largely focused on the “integrated” policies of the Union, i.e. the policy fields covered by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (such as on growth and investment, industry and digitalization, science and research, external relations), and much less on the “harder” defence dimension. The rather meagre budget allocation for the more “defence”-related aspects of the EU’s space policy (Space and Situational Awareness (“SSA”) and the new Governmental Satellite Communication agreed by the Council in December 2020 do not bode well in this respect. Nevertheless, some of the ongoing PESCO projects are related to space or have space elements included in their focus, such as the European Military Space Situational Awareness Network, which aims at developing a sovereign EU military SSA capability covering all orbits. Still, this remains ad-hoc projects rather than a comprehensive policy. The present paper argues that a more strategic and holistic inclusion of space into the CFSP, and more in particular, its CSDP, is urgently needed. This is especially true given the quickly evolving external environment, including the aggressive new space doctrines and programmes of the US, China and Russia, and the tendency towards the “militarization” of outer space, necessitating more critical thinking about how to fully integrate the space dimension in all aspects of the CSDP.