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PESCO: Ahead of the strategic review

16-09-2020

Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) was launched in December 2017 with the participation of 25 EU Member States. It operates on the basis of concrete projects and binding commitments, several of which are geared towards strengthening the EU defence sector. PESCO members are committed to increasing national defence budgets and defence investment expenditure, and to investing more in defence research and technology. In addition, they have pledged to develop and provide 'strategically relevant' ...

Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) was launched in December 2017 with the participation of 25 EU Member States. It operates on the basis of concrete projects and binding commitments, several of which are geared towards strengthening the EU defence sector. PESCO members are committed to increasing national defence budgets and defence investment expenditure, and to investing more in defence research and technology. In addition, they have pledged to develop and provide 'strategically relevant' defence capabilities and to act jointly and make use of the financial and practical support provided by the European Defence Fund. Finally, they are committed to contributing to projects that boost the European defence industry and the European defence technological and industrial base. Discussions on long-awaited rules on third-country participation in PESCO projects are ongoing in September 2020. A strategic review of PESCO should take place by the end of 2020. The review will assess PESCO's strengths and weaknesses and it is expected to provide new information aimed at improving the implementation and development of new EU defence capabilities and capacities through PESCO. Critics argue that the end goal of PESCO projects has still to be contextualised within the wider debate on an EU strategic culture and a concrete vision about the ambition of EU security and defence policy. They also emphasise the need to align PESCO priorities with those identified by parallel EU defence initiatives, as well as with the capability needs of the EU. The European Parliament is expected to vote on a resolution on PESCO in October 2020.

Strategic sovereignty for Europe

11-09-2020

The current coronavirus pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of the European Union to external actors, and has enhanced its progress towards 'strategic sovereignty'. This notion signifies the ability to act autonomously, to rely on one's own resources in key strategic areas and to cooperate with partners whenever needed. To fully develop such strategic sovereignty, the EU needs to show political will and strengthen its capacity to act. It has to give up its silo approach to policies and address ...

The current coronavirus pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of the European Union to external actors, and has enhanced its progress towards 'strategic sovereignty'. This notion signifies the ability to act autonomously, to rely on one's own resources in key strategic areas and to cooperate with partners whenever needed. To fully develop such strategic sovereignty, the EU needs to show political will and strengthen its capacity to act. It has to give up its silo approach to policies and address them in a more coordinated manner. It also needs to move progressively towards 'smart power': relying on 'soft power' tools, whilst incrementally developing 'hard power' ones, including a fully-fledged EU defence instrument. Deepening the European project, including by tapping into the still unused/under-used potential of the Lisbon Treaty, will also bring the EU closer to strategic sovereignty, while also allowing it to reap the full benefits of the integration project. A strategically sovereign EU would represent a protective shield preventing powers that are increasingly influential on the global scene from turning it into their 'playground'.

How the COVID-19 crisis has affected security and defence-related aspects for the EU

27-07-2020

This briefing examines the impact that the COVID-19 crisis has had on security and defence-related aspects for the European Union (EU) between December 2019 and June 2020. Based on this analysis, it identifies key problems or questions that require more attention from policymakers in the coming months and years. Four areas are singled out for analysis, as follows. Section (i), on the security environment and implications for strategy, discusses how COVID-19 tends to feed violent conflict and empowers ...

This briefing examines the impact that the COVID-19 crisis has had on security and defence-related aspects for the European Union (EU) between December 2019 and June 2020. Based on this analysis, it identifies key problems or questions that require more attention from policymakers in the coming months and years. Four areas are singled out for analysis, as follows. Section (i), on the security environment and implications for strategy, discusses how COVID-19 tends to feed violent conflict and empowers non-state actors, but also highlights new opportunities to make cease-fires stick. It makes the case for examining in what areas and through what steps Europe can strengthen its self-reliance, unity and strategic leadership capability amidst the growing risk of great power competition. Section (ii), on Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and defence-related mechanisms, capabilities and resources, identifies the growing risk to Europe’s defence budget, capabilities and ambitions and suggests a number of ways in which Member States can manage these risks through fiscal measures, greater prioritisation and collaboration. Section (iii) highlights the multi-faceted positive contributions that the armed forces have made to support civilian authorities at home, but suggests substantial untapped potential to do more in future emergencies. It makes the case for analysing the long-term implications of COVID-19 on readiness and generating forces for overseas operations. Section (iv), on the different ways CSDP operations and missions have been affected by COVID-19 and the ways in which they have adapted to support host countries, makes the case for tackling pre-existing problems with staffing of missions and the resilience of missions to infectious diseases. It also recommends reviewing the rationale and scope for what might be termed ‘health diplomacy’.

Autor externo

Christoph O. Meyer, Sophia Besch, Prof. Martin Bricknell, Dr Ben Jones

European Defence Fund: Multiannual financial framework 2021-2027

15-05-2019

In June 2018, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal on a European Defence Fund, including a budget allocation of €13 billion in current prices for the 2021-2027 period. The proposal aims to streamline and simplify the current legislation by integrating the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (research window) and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (as one part of the capability window) into a single fund. The main aims of the fund are to foster the competitiveness ...

In June 2018, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal on a European Defence Fund, including a budget allocation of €13 billion in current prices for the 2021-2027 period. The proposal aims to streamline and simplify the current legislation by integrating the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (research window) and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (as one part of the capability window) into a single fund. The main aims of the fund are to foster the competitiveness and innovativeness of European defence and to contribute to the EU's strategic autonomy. In this regard, the fund would support collaborative industrial projects; co finance the costs of prototype development; encourage the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises; and promote projects in the framework of permanent structured cooperation. Synergies are expected with other EU initiatives in the field of cybersecurity, maritime transport, border management, Horizon Europe, the space programme and the European Peace Facility. In April 2019, after several trilogue meetings, Parliament and Council reached a partial agreement on the programme, covering the content, but not, among other things, budgetary issues. Parliament adopted its position at first reading in April. Further discussions on the outstanding issues can be expected once Council reaches agreement on the overall multiannual budget. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

What role in European defence for a post-Brexit United Kingdom?

30-04-2019

'Europe's security is our security', states the 2018 British National Security Capability Review. The expected departure of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) will not alter geography, and the UK will remain a European country. The UK and the countries of the EU share the same strategic environment and, by default, the same threats to their peace and security. Historically, pragmatically and geographically, they remain deeply linked from a security and defence perspective, and there ...

'Europe's security is our security', states the 2018 British National Security Capability Review. The expected departure of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) will not alter geography, and the UK will remain a European country. The UK and the countries of the EU share the same strategic environment and, by default, the same threats to their peace and security. Historically, pragmatically and geographically, they remain deeply linked from a security and defence perspective, and there is political consensus on the need to nurture this linkage. Official documents from the British government also confirm this: the UK is exiting the EU, not Europe. In legal terms, after leaving the EU, the UK will become a third country to the EU and cooperation will continue on that basis. While the EU's common security and defence policy has an established precedent in cooperating closely with third countries on missions and operations, albeit without providing them with decision-making roles, the EU's new defence integration initiatives are currently exploring third-party cooperation. As the UK played a founding role in developing the EU's security and defence policy, it is naturally deeply interconnected with the other EU Member States in this area. As one of the EU's biggest military powers, the UK brings a particularly valuable contribution and know-how to the field. Both parties have made commitments to ensure as close as possible a partnership in foreign policy, security and defence matters. The area of security and defence has the potential to result in a positive post-Brexit tale.

Establishing the European Defence Fund

26-10-2018

One of a number of MFF-related impact assessment reports, this IA provides a comprehensive overview of the problems facing European defence development, as well as the general objectives that the proposed European Defence Fund is meant to address. It would nevertheless have gained by including a more detailed explanation behind the merger of the two financing windows, as well as a more detailed analysis of impacts. Finally, the lack of more specific objectives appears to have weakened the analysis ...

One of a number of MFF-related impact assessment reports, this IA provides a comprehensive overview of the problems facing European defence development, as well as the general objectives that the proposed European Defence Fund is meant to address. It would nevertheless have gained by including a more detailed explanation behind the merger of the two financing windows, as well as a more detailed analysis of impacts. Finally, the lack of more specific objectives appears to have weakened the analysis of monitoring mechanisms and it is unclear how stakeholders' views have fed into the analysis.

The future of the European Defence Agency (EDA)

18-07-2018

The aim of the workshop, held on 22 November 2017, was to discuss the future of the European Defence Agency (EDA) against the backdrop of framing a common Union defence policy. The first speaker, Dr Christian Mölling, provided an analysis of the issue of defence cooperation among EU member states and the difficulties it faces. In this context, he described the role and power of the EDA as well as possible options for its future. The second speaker, Professor David Versailles, focused on capabilities ...

The aim of the workshop, held on 22 November 2017, was to discuss the future of the European Defence Agency (EDA) against the backdrop of framing a common Union defence policy. The first speaker, Dr Christian Mölling, provided an analysis of the issue of defence cooperation among EU member states and the difficulties it faces. In this context, he described the role and power of the EDA as well as possible options for its future. The second speaker, Professor David Versailles, focused on capabilities and competencies as well as on the interaction between civilian and military capabilities. The presentations were followed by a debate involving members of the Security and Defence Committee of the European Parliament.

Autor externo

Dr Christian MÖLLING; Dr Valérie MERINDOL and Dr David W. VERSAILLES

The further development of the Common Position 944/2008/CFSP on arms exports control

16-07-2018

In view of the upcoming review of the EU Common Position 944/2008/CFSP on arms exports, the aim of the workshop was to provide an overview of the context in which this process will take place together with a set of possible outcomes the review could produce. The speakers from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), first defined the context by describing how, since the EU Common Position was adopted in 2008, EU member states performed in terms of military expenditure, arms production ...

In view of the upcoming review of the EU Common Position 944/2008/CFSP on arms exports, the aim of the workshop was to provide an overview of the context in which this process will take place together with a set of possible outcomes the review could produce. The speakers from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), first defined the context by describing how, since the EU Common Position was adopted in 2008, EU member states performed in terms of military expenditure, arms production and arms transfers. Recent measures adopted at the EU level to boost defence industrial cooperation were also indicated as part of this framework. The speakers also highlighted the divergences in member states’ export policies which emerged in the last decade, most recently during the conflict in Yemen. They then provided a number of options that could be taken into consideration during the 2018 review, covering both adjustments to the language of the criteria and the user’s guide and measures to improve the implementation of the EU Common Position, the quality of reporting and to increase coherence and coordination of the EU export control regime.

Autor externo

Dr. Sibylle BAUER, Mark BROMLEY, Giovanna MALETTA – Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

2018 NATO summit: A critical time for European defence

10-07-2018

On 11 and 12 July 2018 the NATO Heads of State and Government will meet in Brussels for the 28th NATO summit. The summit comes at a time of tension in transatlantic relations, but also of continuing threats and challenges posed to the alliance. Against this background, leaders will focus on strengthening defence and deterrence, modernising the alliance and enhancing relations with the EU. Burden-sharing among allies is set to be one of the most controversial items on the agenda. In 2018 only eight ...

On 11 and 12 July 2018 the NATO Heads of State and Government will meet in Brussels for the 28th NATO summit. The summit comes at a time of tension in transatlantic relations, but also of continuing threats and challenges posed to the alliance. Against this background, leaders will focus on strengthening defence and deterrence, modernising the alliance and enhancing relations with the EU. Burden-sharing among allies is set to be one of the most controversial items on the agenda. In 2018 only eight out of twenty nine NATO members are estimated to be reaching the 2 % of gross domestic product (GDP) defence spending target. The Brussels summit aims to push forward the agenda, decisions and actions agreed upon at previous summits, notably in Wales (2014) and Warsaw (2016). Yet there are fears that the insistence of US President Donald Trump that the focus be placed on burden sharing and demands that the NATO allies spend more on defence, might lead to the side-lining of other items on the agenda. The situation is aggravated by the current climate in transatlantic relations, which has deteriorated since the most recent G7 summit in Canada. The summit in Brussels will also seek to secure progress on EU-NATO cooperation, aiming to produce a second joint statement, following that agreed upon in Warsaw in 2016. After two years of increased EU action to build up strategic autonomy in defence through initiatives such as PESCO and the European Defence Fund, cooperation with NATO is critical when it comes to taking European defence forward.

NATO Summit and European defence [What Think Tanks are thinking]

10-07-2018

NATO heads of state or government will meet in Brussels on 11 and 12 July for a keenly awaited summit. Some analysts and diplomats fear a tense atmosphere, following US President Donald Trump’s tough treatment of European allies at a recent meeting of the G7 group of developed countries, and his imposition of steep tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium from the EU. President Trump is expected to pressure many NATO members to increase their military spending level to the agreed 2 % of GDP guideline ...

NATO heads of state or government will meet in Brussels on 11 and 12 July for a keenly awaited summit. Some analysts and diplomats fear a tense atmosphere, following US President Donald Trump’s tough treatment of European allies at a recent meeting of the G7 group of developed countries, and his imposition of steep tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium from the EU. President Trump is expected to pressure many NATO members to increase their military spending level to the agreed 2 % of GDP guideline, with particular emphasis on Germany. The NATO summit precedes President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 16 July in Helsinki, where some analysts speculate some rapprochement might take place. President Trump’s unpredictability and his widely criticised attitude towards President Putin is causing unease at home and abroad regarding the potential outcome of this summit. This note offers links to commentaries and studies on NATO and European defence by major international think tanks. Earlier papers on the same topic can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are Thinking', published in December 2017.

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