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Research Report


Jan Joel Andersson
Sven Biscop
Bastian Giegerich
Christian Mölling
Thierry Tardy
Copyright Date: Mar. 1, 2016
Pages: 56
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 5-8)

    Recent tragic events — first in Paris and now in Brussels — have abruptly reminded Europeans of their vulnerability. And the fact that these terrorist attacks have been carried out at the heart of the EU ‘homeland’ has underlined the urgency — after the shocking experiences of 2014 in Ukraine — to strengthen Europe’s own resilience and collective ability to prevent, deter and respond to hostile actions. While this is surely not a purely military task, it nevertheless has a tangible military dimension — and this may also change the current conversation on European ‘defence’.

    After a loss of momentum...

  2. (pp. 9-12)

    ‘Defence matters’ has become a well-established mantra in capitals across Europe. After more than two decades of ‘strategic time-out’ characterised by budget cuts and limited expeditionary crisis management abroad, European leaders are once again pressed to focus on how to defend their territories, citizens and open societies.

    Three major developments — in the east, south and west — have pushed defence back onto the agenda in Europe. While each of these recent developments is driven by different dynamics and root causes, they combine to underline the urgent need for Europe to re-think and reorganise its defences. The Russian occupation of...

  3. (pp. 13-16)

    In this future, we outline the consequences for European defence if EU governments continue to apply the same logic of defence capability reduction that they have since the end of the Cold War. Indeed, this process has intensified due to the fiscal crisis, leading to a loss of over 20% of capabilities between 2008 and 2014, with further losses likely as a result of recent decisions that have still to come into effect. The price to pay could be a power vacuum in the European neighbourhood in the near future, which could be filled by third parties and lead to...

  4. (pp. 17-20)

    This future illustrates the state of defence in Europe if all EU member states would simply follow through with their stated intentions over the last few years. While there currently is investment in EDA projects to develop and acquire European strategic enablers, as well as pooling and sharing of capabilities in clusters of EU member states, the pace is not nearly as intense as one would expect after reading official statements and announcements. Picking up the pace could still align reality with the rhetoric, but many opportunities have already been lost since we did not live up to our own...

  5. (pp. 21-26)

    In this future, we look at European defence as a fully developed and equipped multidimensional peace operations-oriented policy that takes precedence over any other conception of defence and that is part of an effective comprehensive approach. Such a future is certainly plausible when one considers the fact that European defence collaboration has mainly taken shape as CSDP operations over the last 15 years. This ‘peace operations’ conception of defence has by and large prevailed over a more combat-oriented approach in several European states, and is reflected in the kind of operations that have been carried out under various international umbrellas...

  6. (pp. 27-30)

    In this future, NATO and the transatlantic alliance with the US is the undisputed centre of European defence collaboration, as envisioned already in the 1990s. Indeed, before CSDP was born, European countries actively pursued a European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) within NATO, which was endorsed at NATO’s 1994 Brussels Summit and reaffirmed at the Madrid Summit in 1997. At the time, a number of EU member states were of the opinion that Europe’s contribution to international security would best be organised as a strengthened European pillar within NATO. Several US administrations had voiced similar ideas while at the same...

  7. (pp. 31-36)

    This future is based on the concept of supranational European defence collaboration that dates back to the very beginning of European integration efforts after World War II. In October 1950, French Prime Minister René Pleven called for a European Defence Community (EDC) parallel to the emerging European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the creation of a European army under a supranational authority, funded by a common European budget. This European army, supported by a common European armaments and equipment programme, was to be placed under the authority of a European defence minister who would answer to a European Defence...

  8. (pp. 37-38)

    The choices we make today have consequences for tomorrow. This Chaillot Paper envisions these consequences by presenting five possible European defence ‘futures’ based on different political choices. Our goal as authors of this publication is not to argue that one future is better than another, but rather that there will be one and that we have the power to shape that future. We have tried to cover a broad variety of possible future outcomes, but, of course, the five presented are not the only options and some of them can be combined.

    However, in whichever plausible future we can imagine,...