Implementing a Distinctive Approach to Security

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6. Conclusion

The adoption of a European Security Strategy is a major achievement in itself. Until the Iraq crisis, defining a joint agenda for external action for all Member States was considered by many observers to be a necessary, but also a highly unlikely step, given the different views existing within the EU. By convincing the Member States of the necessity of defining a strategy, the Iraq crisis has at least achieved one positive result.

But the Strategy is much more than a formal reconciliation after the divides over Iraq. Building on existing partnerships and policies, the Strategy contains an ambitious agenda for an EU that assumes the responsibilities of a global actor. In order to implement this agenda, the Strategy outlines a distinctive European approach, based on the concept of comprehensive security. Aiming to integrate the full range of the EU’s policies, instruments and capabilities under the overall objective of effective governance at both the global and the regional level, the Strategy renders explicit a comprehensive approach that was already apparent throughout actual EU policies and partnerships. Like all human achievements, the Strategy is not perfect; not on all issues is it sufficiently clear; not all the necessary choices have already been made. But as a tool for policy-makers, the Strategy has enormous potential. This potential cannot be wasted. A strategic culture must be developed; at all times policy-makers must decide and act with the objectives and the approach of the Strategy in mind. This will increase the coherence of EU external action, harmonizing the agendas of all policy fields; it will increase efficiency, putting the available means to better use; and ultimately it will increase efficacy, achieving the objectives that the EU has set.

It is crucial for the success of the Strategy to recognize that it does not just concern security policy in the narrow sense, i.e. the politico-military dimension, but that because of its distinctive and ambitious comprehensive approach it directly covers all dimensions of EU external action. In that sense, it is really more than a Security Strategy – it is a Comprehensive Strategy for External Action.

1 IRRI-KIIB, ‘A European Security Concept for the 21st Century’. Brussels, IRRI-KIIB, 2003,

2 The conference proceedings are available on the IRRI-KIIB website:

3 The EUISS coordinated all three seminars. See:

4 Sven Biscop & Rik Coolsaet, ‘The World is the Stage – A Global Security Strategy for the European Union’. In: Notre Europe Policy Papers, 2003, No. 8, See also: Sven Biscop & Rik Coolsaet, ‘Une Stratégie de l’UE pour la Sécurité: Définir la Voie européenne’. In: Défense nationale, Vol. 59, 2003, No. 10, pp. 125-133.

5 Oxford English Dictionary.

6 Politico-military instruments comprise, inter alia, mechanisms for early warning and peaceful settlement of disputes; confidence and security-building measures (CSBMs), political dialogue and military cooperation; non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament; preventive diplomacy; sanction regimes; observer, humanitarian, peacekeeping, police and peace enforcement operations (which can be summarised under the general heading of peace support operations and which include a civil dimension); and defence operations.

7 Sven Biscop, ‘The UK’s Change of Course: A New Chance for the ESDI’. In: European Foreign Affairs Review, Vol. 4, 1999, No. 2, pp. 253-268.

8 Serge Van Camp, Dominique Collins, ‘Les Etats Membres de l’UE et la PESD, Eléments de Convergence et de Divergence’. Institut Royal Supérieur de Défense, Sécurité et Stratégie No. 78, 2003, 135 pp.

9 ‘Member States must be able, by 2003, to deploy within 60 days and sustain for at least 1 year military forces of up to 50 000–60 000 persons capable of the full range of Petersberg tasks’. ‘Presidency Conclusions. Helsinki European Council, 10–11 December 1999’.

10 ‘to safeguard the common values, fundamental interests, independence and integrity of the Union in conformity with the principles of the United Nations Charter; to strengthen the security of the Union in all ways; to preserve peace and strengthen international security, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter, as well as the principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the objectives of the Paris Charter, including those on external borders; to promote international cooperation; to develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms’.

11 COM (2001) 211 final, ‘Conflict Prevention’, p. 10.

12 Adopted by the European Council at its meeting in Göteborg, 15-16 June 2001.

13 COM (2003) 104 final, ‘Wider Europe – Neighbourhood: a New Framework for Relations with our Eastern

and Southern Neighbours’.

14 ‘Stephan Keukeleire , ‘The European Union as a Diplomatic Actor’. Diplomatic Studies Programme, Discussion Paper No. 7, 2000. Ibid., ‘Au-dela de la PESC. La Politique étrangère structurelle de l’Union européenne’. In: ‘Annuaire français de Relations internationales’, Brussels , Bruylant, 2001, pp. 536-551.

15 Charlotte Bretherton & John Vogler, ‘The European Union as a Global Actor’. London, Routledge, 1999.

16 Arnold Wolfers, ‘Discord and Collaboration: Essays on International Politics’. Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins Press, 1962.

17 Jan Orbie, ‘Conceptualising the Role of the EU in the World: Civilian Power Europe?’ Paper presented at the EUSA 8th International Biennial Conference, Nashville, 27–29 March 2003.

18 In the words of former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt: ‘[…] our number one capabilities gap was not in smart bombs, but in smart policies’. Carl Bildt, ‘We Have Crossed the Rubicon – But Where Are we Heading Next? Reflections on the European Security Strategy versus the US National Security Strategy’. Lecture, Centre for European Reform, London, 17 November 2003.

19 With regard to enhancing CFSP/ESDP, ‘9/11’ thus only accelerated evolutions that were already put in motion by the Union’s experiences on the Balkans.

20 Sven Biscop, ‘In Search of a Strategic Concept for the ESDP’. In: European Foreign Affairs Review, Vol. 7, 2002, No. 4, pp. 473-490.

21 In the words of Commissioner Pascal Lamy: ‘No State, no national parliament would accept to act through the Union if the debate on objectives and principles has not taken place’ (authors’ translation). The European Convention, Working Group VII on External Action, Working Document 10, 15 October 2002, p. 9.

22 E.g. Dr. Wim van Eekelen, the former Secretary General of WEU, called for the formulation of a strategic concept which ‘would develop the notions of comprehensive security, including conflict prevention, democracy building and economic development and also cooperative security with neighbouring regions, but – in order to be credible – should also contain a military capability underpinning the policies of the Union’. The European Convention, Working Group VIII on Defence, Working Document 2, 19 September 2002, p. 4.

23 European Convention, WG VIII 22, Final Report of Working Group VIII – Defence’, 16 December 2002, pp. 3-4.

24 Javier Solana, ‘A Secure Europe in a Better World’.

25 ‘A Secure Europe in a Better World. European Security Strategy. Brussels, 12 December 2003’.

26 Karl W. Deutsch et al., ‘Political Community and the North Atlantic Area. International Organization in the Light of Historical Experience’. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1957.

27 ‘The Alliance’s Strategic Concept approved by the Heads of State and Government participating in the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council. Washington DC, 23-24 April 1999’.

28 OSCE, ‘OSCE Handbook’. Vienna, OSCE, 2000, pp. 1-3.

29 Janne E. Nolan, ‘The Concept of Cooperative Security’. In: Janne E. Nolan (ed.), ‘Global Engagement, Cooperation and Security in the 21st Century’. Washington, The Brookings Institution, 1994. Richard Cohen & Michael Mihalka, ‘Cooperative Security: New Horizons for International Order’. The Marshall Center Papers No. 3, 2001.

30 Or, as defined by former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans: ‘consultation rather than confrontation, reassurance rather than deterrence, transparency rather than secrecy, prevention rather than correction, and interdependence rather than unilateralism’. Gareth Evans, ‘Cooperative Security and Intra-State Conflict’. In: Foreign Policy, Vol. 25, 1994, p. 96.

31 WEU, ‘European Security: A Common Concept of the 27 WEU countries’. WEU Council of Ministers, Madrid, 14 November 1995.

32 UNDP, ‘Human Development Report 1994’. New York, UN, 1994. Commission on Human Security, ‘Human Security Now’. New York, UN, 2003.

33 Kofi Annan, ‘We the Peoples. The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century’. New York, UN, 2000.

34 Amitav Acharya, ‘Human Security: East versus West’. In: International Journal, Vol. 56, 2001, No. 3, pp. 442-460.

35 Lloyd Axworthy, ‘NATO’s New Security Vocation’. In: NATO Review, Vol. 47, 1999, No. 4, pp. 8-11. Ibid., ‘La Sécurité Humaine: La Sécurité des Individus dans un Monde en Mutation’. In : Politique étrangère, Vol. 64, 1999, No. 2, pp. 333-342.

36 Wayne Nelles, ‘Canada’s Human Security Agenda in Kosovo and Beyond’. In: International Journal, Vol. 57, 2002, No. 3, pp. 459-479. Rob McCrae & Don Hubert (eds.), ‘Human Security and the New Diplomacy. Protecting People, Promoting Peace’. Montreal – Kingston, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001.

37 International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, ‘The Responsibility to Protect’. Ottawa, International Development Research Centre, 2001.

38 CSCAP, ‘The Concepts of Comprehensive and Cooperative Security’. Memorandum No. 3, 1996.

39 Council of Europe, ‘Vienna Declaration’. 9 October 1993.

40 Inge Kaul, Isabelle Grunberg & Marc A. Stern, ‘Global Public Goods. International Cooperation in the 21st Century’. Oxford, Oxford University Press – UNDP, 1999, pp. 2-3.

41 This is the definition arrived at by IRRI-KIIB, which under the heading ‘Global Governance: the Next Frontier’ has also elaborated a concept of global governance.

42 Barbara Harriss-White, ‘Globalisation and Insecurity. Political, Economic and Physical Challenges’. New York, Palgrave, 2002, p. 189.

43 Joseph S. Nye, ‘The Paradox of American Power: Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go it Alone’. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002.

44 ‘Mr Man Patten is busy, busy, busy!’. In: European Voice, 27 March 2003.

45 ‘Presidency Conclusions. Brussels European Council, 12 December 2003’.

46 Gerrard Quille, ‘Making Multilateralism Matter: The EU Security Strategy’. In: European Security Review (ISIS Europe), 2003, No. 18, pp. 1-2. See also: Caroline Pailhe, ‘Un Concept stratégique utile mais dangereux’. Brussels, GRIP, Note d’Analyse, 6 January 2004,

47 Teun Van de Voorde & Merijn Van den Eede, ‘Internationaal terrorisme als een fenomen van transities’. In: Carl Devos (ed.), ‘Schijn of scharnier? Politieke trendbreuken in de jaren negentig’. Gent, Academia Press, to be published 2004. David C. Rapoport, ‘The Four Waves of Rebel Terror and September 11’. In: Charles W. Kegley Jr. (ed.), ‘The New Global Terrorism. Characteristics, Causes, Controls’. Upper Saddle River (NJ), Prentice Hall, 2003, pp. 36-52.

48 Sven Biscop, ‘Euro-Mediterranean Security: A Search for Partnership’. Aldershot, Ashgate Publishing, 2003, 178 pp.

49 That in this chapter the notion of ‘new’ threats is still being used, whereas this distinction has been abolished in the chapter on the security environment, seems to be a minor oversight.

50 The first draft specified these Eastern neighbours to be Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus, a formulation which left the accession candidates not joining the Union in 2004 completely without mention. Perhaps another reason for omitting a specific reference to these three States can be sought in the wish not to infringe too much on what Russia still considers to be its sphere of influence, in view of the envisaged strategic partnership with Russia.

51 On 7 July 2003 the EU appointed a Special Representative for the South Caucasus (Council Joint Action 2003/496/CFSP. In: Official Journal L169, 2003, pp. 74-75).

52 Cyprus and Malta, which join the EU in 2004 and thus move over to the other side of the table; and Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey; Libya has been invited to join as soon as it formally accepts the Barcelona acquis.

53 Barry Buzan, ‘People, States and Fear. Second Edition. An Agenda for International Security Studies in the Post-Cold War Era’. Hemel Hempstead, Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991.

54 William Wallace, ‘Looking after the Neighbourhood: Responsibilities for the EU-25’. Notre Europe Policy Paper No. 4, July 2003.

55 The Commission proposes inter alia the following incentives: extension of the internal market and regulatory structures; preferential trade relations and market opening; perspectives for lawful migration and movement of persons; integration into transport, energy and telecommunications networks and the European research area; new instruments for investment promotion and protection; and support for integration into the global trading system. In this regard, the protectionist nature of the Common Agricultural Policy is particularly sensitive.

56 Adler & Barnett define a ‘pluralistic security community’, that can evolve from ‘loosely’ to ‘tightly coupled’ as ‘a trans-national region comprised of sovereign States whose people maintain dependable expectations of peaceful change’. (Emanuel Adler & Michael Barnett (eds.), ‘Security Communities’. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998).

57 This reflects the conclusions of the three seminars, where it was generally felt that more attention should be devoted to the conflict.

58 Sven Biscop, ‘Opening up the ESDP to the South: A Comprehensive and Cooperative Approach to Euro-Mediterranean Security’. In: Security Dialogue, Vol. 34, 2003, No. 2, pp. 183-197.

59 The Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

60 ‘Strengthening EU’s Relations with the Arab World’.

61 The same holds true for Art. III-193 §2 of the Draft Constitution, which rephrases the general objectives of external action to include inter alia ‘sustainable economic, social and environmental development’ and ‘stronger multilateral cooperation and good global governance’ – the latter notion is a peculiar combination of two quite distinct concepts which will hopefully not escape the scrutiny of the legal experts.

62 Rik Coolsaet, ‘International Terrorism: Symptom of a Sick World Order’. Paper presented at the IRRI-KIIB conference ‘Why 9/11? The Root Causes of International Terrorism’, Brussels, 20 November 2003,

63 COM (2003) 526 final, ‘The European Union and the United Nations: The Choice of Multilateralism’.

64 There is a minority school in international law that has a wider interpretation of the right of self-defence in Article 51 of the UN Charter, claiming it to include the possibility of pre-emptive action in case of an imminent attack, i.e. at a time between the moment when an enemy is perceived to be about to attack and the actual launching of that attack, and even then only if there is an urgent necessity of self-defence against this attack and there is no alternative to self-defence. The US National Security Strategy goes a lot further by allowing ‘anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack’, a formulation that appears to do away with the condition of the ‘imminence’ of an attack; in effect, this is not pre-emptive action, but preventive war, which inherently violates the Charter.

65 The first draft spoke of States that ‘persistently violate international norms
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