chapter  6
22 Pages

European Union: Moving towards a European security culture?


When compared to the speed of previous developments in European Union security policy there has been a tremendous expansion of activities since 1999, comprising both institutional innovations and engagements on the ground. Following the decision by EU member states to engage in a peace-enforcement exercise in Kosovo and the announcement of a European Security Policy (ESDP) with a standing military force in 1999, a number of important steps have been taken to promote EU security policy. Of particular importance has been the introduction of the European Security Strategy (ESS) in 2003. Although the ESS is primarily a statement of intent, it has been relatively quickly joined by the steady flow of ESDP missions to various global regions, the formation of a European Defence Agency, the introduction of so-called Battlegroups, and the establishment of policy-making instruments, such as the Political and Security Committee and the Situation Centre. However, the emphasis given in the ESS is more on preventive engagement, non-military instruments and persuasive action than on peacemaking exercises, military instruments and coercive methods. It also commits itself to multilateral efforts and effectiveness. Some see the ESS as confirming the characterization of the EU as civilianized security community (Harnisch and Maull 2001), or suggest it signifies that national strategic cultures converge towards ‘higher preparedness to use coercive means and accept risks, lower thresholds for the authorization of force, and a higher acceptance of the European Union as the legitimate vehicle for conduct of defence policies’ (Meyer 2005: 525-26).