The EU as Defense Community

With the publi­cation on 7 June 2017 of the “Reflection Paper on the Future of European Defence” the European Commission, as part of the so-called White Book process, took up the debate about the possible estab­lishment of a Defence Union. This discussion of the future of this policy field is supported by extensive groundwork laid by the European Council with its decisions from December 2016 and by the High Repre­sen­tative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy with her Initiative for Imple­menting the new EU Global Strategy, as well as by the Commission itself with its Defence Action Plan. Based on these already-intro­duced initia­tives, and a well-founded analysis of the current challenges of European security and defence policy, the Reflection Paper concep­tu­alises three possible scenarios for the further deepening of existing European security cooper­ation: “Security and defence cooper­ation”, “Shared security and defence” and “common defence and security”.

The goal of this workshop discussion was to rank the reform options and projects of more inten­sified cooper­ation concretely proposed in the Reflection Paper with regards to deepness of integration and examine the feasi­bility of each option and project. To that end, a selection of the projects proposed by the Commission were first placed along the axis of “more vs. less integration”, along with additional projects that, while not named in the paper, were nonetheless deemed important to consider. Subse­quently, the partic­i­pating experts had an initial oppor­tunity to prioritise the various projects and proposals. Related reform measures were then clustered according to these weightings. These were located not only as regards the degree of integration (“more vs. less”), but also with concern to which projects could be achieved with all member states and which were only feasible under the principle of differ­en­tiated integration. Finally, all of the discussion partic­i­pants had once more the oppor­tunity to rank the discussed proposals, in order to thus deliver a recom­men­dation for coming reform steps.

Read the full report here.