chapter  5
17 Pages

The defence dimension

It is most unlikely that the EU will ever have its own army, but it is building up substantial military capabilities, largely for peace-keeping purposes, and has gained valuable experience in several small but important missions in different parts of the world. The EU’s failure in the Balkans during the 1990s was the catalyst that propelled the Union to agree the Helsinki Headline Goals (HHGs) in 1999. There is strong public support for the EU to play a greater role in security policy but less support for spending more on defence. Given the limited resources, it is important that the EU meets its military targets and secures better value for its expenditure on defence. The creation of the European Defence Agency (EDA) is a step in the right direction. In the aftermath of the Iraq crisis, Solana produced a security strategy paper that outlined potential threats to the Union and how the EU might best respond. This was a welcome first step for the EU in moving towards a common security doctrine. The EU has also made limited progress in defining a new relationship with NATO.