The Reality of European Security Policy

Seminar Paper, 2001

11 Pages, Grade: 2,3 (B)

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1. Introduction

This paper is attempting to outline the reality of the European Union’s (EU) security policy. Therefore it is important to explain the term “security policy”: “Security Policy are all political measures of a state or a state like system that intend to avoid, contain or end violent or boarder crossing conflicts…furthermore all kinds of measures to stabilize the inner security…as well as on international scale the balancing of interest among states…” (Meyers Enzyklopädisches Lexikon volume 12 1977: 674) Security policy is a very complex and difficult field of politics. Objectively seen it means the absence of all kinds of threats to the society. Beyond that there are two types of dimensions involved. First, an individual, national or international approach towards this field of politics is possible. Security Policy depends very much on individuals, so the conception and idea the involved politicians have concerning Security Policy is decisive for the measures taken and later on being called “Security Policy”. Than there is the national idea of Security Policy that has to be respected: the rules, traditions and needs of a particular country. And finally the international side of Security Policy, depending very much on the status and position of the country within the community of states. Secondly there are the various components to consider: Security Policy may not only have military, but as well political, economic, societal and environmental aspects.

(Gariup 2000: http://communities.msn.EUVsecurityseminar)

In this paper it will be attempted to depict that although the EU does not at all fulfil the criteria of a proper security policy it nevertheless has a huge potential if one takes into consideration what could be done if unanimity and/or sovereignty were the nature of EU security policy. Still the EU tries to achieve the implementation of security by exercising a policy of the “smallest common denominator”. Taking this concept into consideration this paper starts with the treatment of the legal texts that constitute the EU as such and that include important articles for the creation of a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the EU. There is going to be a brief outline of the treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam, the Declaration of the Petersberg tasks, the Council of Cologne and the EU summit in Helsinki.

Secondly there is a summary of each important organisation active in Europe and a short attempt to explain the network they form and the cooperation in crisis management.

The fourth paragraph is a “look behind the scenes”, it has to be seen as an attempt to state the reality of EU security policy. As examples serve Bosnia and Kosovo. The fifth chapter is an outlook on the future plans or hopes of the EU and especially a look on the not yet ratified Nice-conference.

The final chapter -the conclusion- then stresses the problems of the EU and refers to the subjects raised in the introduction.

Still this has to remain quite a superficial glimpse on a very controversy discussed topic. This is due to the mass of literature accessible on the one hand and on the other hand the few documents or evaluations available on the most recent issues or particular references to EU policies and actions. The field of Security Policy on EU stage is a very young and quite underdeveloped political agitation ground and thus a very interesting topic.

2. What is the legal basis of EU security?

2.2 Treaty of Maastricht:

The most important legal basis of the EU security policy is the Treaty of Maastricht 1992 as it created the basis of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) in the EU. In this treaty there is as well the aim stated to first form a CFSP, than a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and consequently a Common Defence.

“The member states shall work together to enhance and develop their mutual political solidarity. They shall refrain from any action which is contrary to the interest of the Union…” (Treaty on the European Union Article 11 1992: 15). Although first steps have been taken the Maastricht compromise on Security and Defence is a “complex combination of well-crafted statements, conditions and declarations”…“which left most of the major decisions “…”to an ill-defined future date.” (Marauhn 1996: 83)

2.3 Declaration of the Petersberg tasks:

The Petersberg tasks of 1992 are define the “humanitarian” aspects of “warfare” (Joetze 2000: 3) here the signing nations decided that humanitarian, rescue, peacekeeping and peace-making missions should be a part of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) policy. Later on they were incorporated into Title V of the EU-treaty. Thus “a greater role of the Union in the Petrsberg tasks while at the same time preserving Western European Union (WEU) as a separate defence organization.” (Marauhn 1996: 184) should b achieved.

2.4 Treaty of Amsterdam:

The Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997 intended to render the CFSP into a more efficient intergovernmental instrument by precising it further. “The Common Foreign and Security Policy shall include all questions relating to the security of the Union, including the progressive framing of a common defence policy…” (Treaty on the European Union Article 17 1997: 17). The Petersberg tasks have been in cooperated into the EU treaty, the modalities of how the WEU should be used to fulfil EU tasks, this should be achieved by transforming the decision-making process. Now exceptions from unanimity in the vote are possible.

2.5 The Cologne European Council:

The meeting of the European Council in Cologne in June 1999 -that has to be seen in the context of the Kosovo events- decided to finally give the EU the military and decision- making capacity to play its full role on the international scene. The council provided for the transfer from the WEU to the EU of the necessary functions to carry out its new tasks. Particularly the accomplishment of the Petersberg tasks has been made an issue. ( 20.1.2001). Furthermore Javier Solana has been made High Representative to enable Europe to speak outwardly with one voice and to direct the Common Security Policy.

It has been decided to create the necessary institutional and military qualifications within the EU for a proper functioning of military crisis management; than to integrate the WEU into the EU, and as well to improve and strengthen the non-military crisis management of the EU.

2.6 EU summit in Helsinki:

The EU-summit in Helsinki in December 1999 is another step towards a common Defence Policy within the EU, the creation of a mobile intervention group (50.000 to 60.000 within 60 days for one year) until 2003. While the NATO should remain responsible for the common defence the EU wants to engage further into the Petersberg tasks. Another issue was the creation of more civil instruments for crisis-prevention and an action plan to strengthen the non-military crisis management. It was also decided that the participation of non-member states into EU actions is possible.

This summit mainly put the tasks into more concrete terms, by the implementation of a permanent political-military council that can properly handle a crisis. Than a Rapid Reaction Force (RRF) for inventions on Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), United Nation (UN) or EU stage. The creation of a data pool and a new secretary within the Council for civil crisis management. And last, but not least a new source of money, a crisis reaction fund within the Commission.

(compare and http://communities.msn.EUVsecurityseminar)

3. How do the NATO, OSCE, WEU and EU work? - overview on the most important facts

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

This graphic (Pfetsch 1997: 221) depicts very well the European landscape concerning the organisations providing security. It is a simplified, but nevertheless appropriate version. Only the Council of Europe is not going to be dealt with in the following -this is due to its smaller influence and importance.

3.2 NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation):

After the Cold War there has been a modification in NATO policy, first there has been a “change from a mainly defensive” (Cottey 1998: 46) concept towards an “out of area- concept” (Cottey 1998: 51). That implies more European independence of action appropriate to the “new security concerns” (Lenzi 1998: 43). A necessary new strategy is achieved by the creation of a European security and defence identity (ESDI) 1999 and the North Atlantic Co- operation Council (NACC) in Brussels. Now it is possible for the EU to use NATO equipment via the WEU (creation of the Combined Joint Task Forces (CJTF)) without US participation (although the US was only willing to do this when having a right to a decisive say). NATO provides the WEU and thus the EU with the means to intervene into a possible conflict within the European boundaries. It ensures as well the activity of world power NO° 1 into the European field of action and thus provides a certain amount of security. Another aspect of modification within NATO is a major reform of Nato’s command system “providing for flexible coalitions of the willing” (Cottey 1998: 45). These coalitions may embark on humanitarian, peacekeeping or peace-enforcement actions outside the NATO area. NATO is an important factor for the creation of a European teamwork as it created many co-operational corpses (e.g. Germany/Denmark/Poland). There is also a programme with Russia called the Partnership for Peace (PfP) that implies cooperation.

3.3 OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe):

The OSCE can be characterised as a Pan-European, multilateral, diplomatic organisation with institutionalised consultation and negotiation. The OSCE is more a diplomatically active organisation and is seen as one of the centre pillars of Europe’s Post Cold-War security system. (Hyde-Price 1998: 23). It is “the only pan-European body” (Hyde-Price 1998: 24) and deals with three main-issues: 1.) Security concerns, 2.) Economic, scientific, technological, environmental co-operation 3.) Humanitarian concerns. Since 1990 it is a permanent organisation, still not treaty based and now includes as well democratisation, minority rights, conflict prevention and post conflict rehabilitation. It promotes and codifies shared values and standards of behaviour. It constantly monitors the human rights respectations of its members, stands for military transparency and arms control. The OSCE is an instrument “concession to the objective of increasing security by reducing military threat perceptions” (Park 1998: 11). So it touches the various dimensions of security (political, military, economic and human) and therefore creates an arena of discussion and inspires political restraint although it is not legally binding.

3.4 WEU (Western European Union):

The WEU is an important part of the new EU defence identity as it provides the military resources and experience. The tasks of the WEU are the Common Defence (so very similar to NATO) and to fulfil the Petersberg’s Tasks of humanitarian rescue missions, peacekeeping and peacemaking, including the sending of combat force into crisis areas. Actually these Organisations do co-operate on the field of integration (EU East enlargement). The WEU is legally able to act autonomously, but practically would not do so. The WEU “can act either on behalf of NATO or on behalf of the EU” it will “even take a mandate directly from the OSCE or of course from the UN” (Lenzi, 1998: 8). A problem of the WEU is that it is in an “awkward institutional position” (Flockhart and Rees 1998: 75) poised between the NATO and the EU. The “Western European Union is”…”not an executing agency of the European Union…” (Lenzi 1998: 8); that pretty much describes the situation of the WEU although it could act alone it would practically not do so.

3.5 EU (European Union):

The means of the EU to put the tasks of a common policy forward: to develop common strategies concerning Russia, Ukraine, Mediterranean and the Balkans to have common positions (on geographical and topical issues) in the member states, conclusion of international agreements and common representation of the European states during international conferences, but no transfer of sovereignty, contact with third countries, the Commission usually has diplomatic representations on its own. Furthermore there is the CSDP that should be realized as soon as possible. The High representative -Javier Solana- a coordinates a certain amount of policy planning. Also an early warning unit is installed that is supposed to monitor, analyse and to detect security crisis. The character of the EU as an international organisation is “humanitarian, civil-economic, crisis-prevention and post- conflict rehabilitation” (Lenzi 1998: 10). The EU has the power to request the WEU to “elaborate and implement decisions and actions of the Union which have defence implications” (Wyatt-Walter 1997: 223). (for the text in paragraph 3. refer to http://communities.msn. … and

4. The actual measures or the reality of European Security policy briefly illustrated

“Militarily the European Allies also lack the capability to undertake large-scale military operations, particularly peace enforcement operations” (Cottey 1998: 58). This always has to be kept in mind when thinking about the fact what Europe do -there is a lack of possibility due to factual shortcomings of equipment.

4.1 Bosnia:

The events of the Bosnian war represented an opportunity and a difficulty at the same time: it was an opportunity for the EU concerning the possible establishment of a precedent for conflict resolution and as well to establish a communitarian dimension of Security Policy. On the other hand the conflict took place in the phase of the extremely delicate Maastricht negotiations and thus Europe was not as free to act as it could have been.

When the conflict first broke out the US did not interfere as it was heavily engaged into the Gulf War: so this was seen as the hour of Europe to take action. The EU mediated between the conflict parties by founding an Arbitration Commission. But soon it became clear that no common EU action was possible. A good example is that Germany unilaterally declared its intention to recognize Slovenia and Croatia as independent states. Although this became a EU attitude later on it slowed the common action down decisively. The European troops that were finally deployed in October 1992 (UNPROFOR) were constraint by rules of engagement to the protection of the humanitarian aid mission. The fact has been that the EU adopted a position of neutrality and a definition of EU commitments in humanitarian terms. It provided substantial amounts of humanitarian assistance, but maintained a position of neutrality. Another fact is that the EU actions clearly were dependent on American Power, examples therefore are: the lack of a proper military satellite observation system and the 1992-96 military operations in the context of the Yugoslav conflict. The EU has been limited to seeking to maintain civil order by deploying a Police Contingent in Mostar. The eclipse of the communitarian EU approach was the formation of a contact group in early 1994, but this was in favour of the strongest member states that had themselves surrendered to the initiative of the US. This shows how strong the national politics and interest still prevail. The only guiding principle the EU could finally agree on was the defence of human rights. (Cafruny 1998: 133- 149)

4.2 Kosovo:

The military events are not of a significant importance concerning this paper as the EU once again has not been able to decide on a common policy and thus once the US was involved and decided what to do. Kosovo very much can be seen as a “bad beginning…for a Common European Defence Policy” (Joetze 2000: 15). Moreover the EU has not at all the military power to execute air strikes as it has been done by NATO. Of course the EU contributed indirectly via the member states and the WEU to the military action, but the decision making process was in the hands of NATO and its most powerful member state. So the EU once again missed a chance to “establish itself as a political factor” (Joetze 2000: 23). The type of action the EU is actually exercising is very much financial, economic and humanitarian. One could also state that the EU “too often assumes the role of a paymaster and leaves the political control to the United States” (Joetze 2000: 17). According to this statement the spending of the EU in the South-East of Europe are particularly high: in 1998 7.5 million €, in 1999 505 million € and in 2000 360 million € (paper on the European Union Assistance 2nd edition 2000 source: These figures show that the EU is very active in “soft, but efficient nature” (Joetze 2000: 21) via the troops deployed in Kosovo -KFOR- “post conflict cooperation by providing material resources and inspiring regional cooperation” (Joetze 2000: 21).

5. What is the outcome of the Nice-conference (7.-11. December 2000)?

“Nice did not change anything concerning the reinforced cooperation” (Pierucci 2001: speech), this is not a very differentiated statement, but nevertheless there is truth in it. This representative of the Commission did not want to imply that nothing at all changed, but rather that concerning the cooperation the decision making process has not become easier. This is especially accurate concerning the CFSP/CDSP as taking a decision in this very nationally guided area has always been very hard.

In Nice it was once again emphasised that the operability of the EU should be achieved as prompt as possible. A declaration concerning the implementation is due to be launched at the Laeken summit in Belgium. General guidelines formulated by the General Council are:

- Improvement of the EU’s abilities in civil crisis management
- Defining of the future role of the political committee
- Role of the future military staff of the EU
- Regulations concerning the NATO-member states, not part of the EU and the EU- candidate states: in case they want to join possible intervention missions of the EU. And on the issue of CFSP that if single countries or groups of countries smaller than the EU or not part of the EU want to take common action In both cases the Nice Conference decided that it is possible. If the concerned countries do coordinate their action with the Commission and the High Representative Javier Solana. They thus have the task to check that the states’ proposed action is in one line with the EU- policy. Cooperation in terms of armament has to be checked as well, the only exception is the defence policy.” (Ehrlich, Proissl 2000: 13)
- Mechanisms of cooperation between the NATO and the EU
- Declaration on the field of use of military abilities (

The Nice Conference concentrated mainly on other aspects important for the EU especially the enlargement and being legally and institutionally ready for it. Consequently there has not been a focus on CFSP/CSDP. As long as there is no simplified decision making process or even a supranational cooperation the situation remains the same and only smaller components may be changed. A positive aspect is the creation of a mobile intervention group. This is highlighted by the fact that there is a very recent link on the Europa sever that is called “EU military structures”. The creation of this intervention troop gives the EU for the first time ever an opportunity to act in military means. The aim of the EU certainly is to be ready for the next incident or humanitarian emergency case and than act with more political decision power.

6. Conclusion

There has to be a redefinition of the Security Policy after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War means that the old instruments of security have to be renewed. NATO as it used to be is outdated it was a system of deterrence and only concentrated on defence. Now as the “Evil Empire” is not that evil anymore the Western World needs another kind of strategy. First of all more co-operation with the former enemy is necessary and secondly a change concerning the military aspects is vital. A new kind of army that is prepared for “humanitarian warfare” and quick intervention has to be created. This observation is a very European (meaning EU) concept so the EU is very up to date with its approach towards security.

There are many diverse problems that block the EU; the most fundamental ones are probably:

- The leadership question: “I don’t think we Europeans will soon solve the problem of leadership, because we each want to be leaders or when we do not want to be leaders, we do not accept that someone else becomes a leader.” (Lenzi 1998: 11) could be solving the problem of integration. If there is a European authority to act no one needs a leader out of a national government. In order to solve this problem it would help if there was a political leader or visionary to guide the European integration. At the moment there are no politicians that truly take a stand for Europe or form a motor of integration.
- The problem of decision taking and unanimity: First there has to be an agreement on how decisions on the stage of Europe could be taken more efficiently. That has to be solved and then the question concerning a possible supranational approach in this political field.
- The question: to act or not to act: “we Europeans will only act alone, if NATO does not want to act: either because of the unwillingness of the U.S. or as the crisis is too small and thus a purely European matter.” (Solana 2001: 13) But would the EU really intervene in a crisis without backing from the NATO partners.

Apart from all these fundamental problems, “the EU in particular has to come to be perceived as an influential actor in non-military issues” (Flockhart, Rees 1998: 72) First of all it has to be mentioned that the EU has been engaged more into social-economic measures, as it did not have an armed force yet. This could change after the creation of the RRF. In general the EU is more into the field of “soft security”-issues “ also includes economic, political, environmental and societal factors” (Flockhart and Rees 1998: 72); according to this definition the EU provides a Soft Security by cooperation, money, know how, pp. This is a very useful aid in day-to-day life situations, but in crisis situations when a rapid reaction or even a rapid military reaction is necessary the EU usually blocks itself due to national quarrels.

Within NATO only the US has the power and the will to initiate major military intervention. This is clear, the EU does have the intention or the capability to embark on military missions without the US or the approval of the US. “a single European state would not be powerful enough to provide strong political or military leadership and the necessary resources for a large-scale peace enforcement operation” (Cottey 1998: 58) The steps taken by the EU lead into the right direction, by creating a RRF, a new military structure, simplifying cooperation between the WEU and the EU, cutting redundant military structures and building new and necessary up to date ones. So the preconditions are met, the will on the EU stage is there. The only thing that lacks now is the unanimous will of all the member states to act.

As well a new co-operation among the European states is necessary as Europe now has to and wants to stand on its own military and political feet. We have to be able to care for our own security.

7. Bibliography

Cafruny, Alan (1998) The European Union and the war in former Yugoslavia: the failure of collective diplomacy, in Cafruny, Alan and Peters, Patrick (eds.), The Union and the world: The political economy of a Common European Foreign Policy, The Hague, London and Boston: Kluwer Law National

Cottey, Andrew (1998) NATO transformed: the Atlantic Alliance in a new era, in Park, William and Rees, Wyn (eds.), Rethinking security in post-Cold War Europe, London and New York: Longman

Ehrlich, Peter and Proissl, Wolfgang (11.12.2000) Das Ergebnis von vier zähen Gipfeltagen, Financial Times Deutschland

Flockhart, Trine and Rees, G.W. (1998) A core Europe? The EU and the WEU, in Park, William and Rees, Wyn (eds.), Rethinking security in post-Cold War Europe, London and New York: Longman

Hyde-Price, Adrian (1998) The OSCE and European Security, in Park, William and Rees, Wyn (eds.), Rethinking security in post-Cold War Europe, London and New York: Longman

Joetze, Günther (2000) The European security Landscape after Kosovo, Bonn: ZEI-discussion paper C64

Lenzi, Guido (1998) The WEU between NATO and EU, Bonn: ZEI-discussion paper C4

Marauhn, Thilo (1996) Building a European Security and Defence Identity: The evolving relationship between the Western European Union and the European Union, Bochum: Universitätsverlag Brockmeyer

Meyers Enzyklopädisches Lexikon Band 21 (1977), Mannheim, Wien, Zürich: Lexikon Verlag Bibliographisches Institut AG

Wyatt-Walter, Holly (1997) The European Community and the Security dilemma, 1979-92, London and New York: Macmillan Press LTD

Park, William (1998) Introduction: rethinking European Security, in Park, William and Rees, Wyn (eds.), Rethinking security in post-Cold War Europe, London and New York: Longman

Pierucci, Andrea -commission representative- (26.1.2001) Speech on the Nice Conference, Brussels: International Conference of the Observatoire Social Européen

Interview with the High Representative of the EU Javier Solana (5.2.2001) Solana fragt nach Hintergedanken der USA, Financial Times Deutschland 2.2.2001 27.1.2001

http://communities.msn.EUVsecurityseminar 28.1.2001

NOTE: all translations from German sources into the English language by the author

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The Reality of European Security Policy
European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)
Proseminar European Security
2,3 (B)
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ISBN (eBook)
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Reality, European, Security, Policy, Proseminar, European, Security
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Alexandra Briemle (Author), 2001, The Reality of European Security Policy, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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