Study Programme on European Security (SPES) — Selection

In response to the Call for Appli­ca­tions for the Study Programme on European Security (SPES) conducted by the IEP and funded by the Volkswa­gen­Foun­dation, appli­ca­tions were received from a total of more than 100 researchers from twenty different Central and Eastern European countries. Fifteen candi­dates were invited for selection inter­views held from 5 to 6 May 2009 at the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP), Berlin.

In the individual inter­views with the selection committee, open questions were asked regarding the planned policy papers. The chosen approaches to the papers and working methods were also clarified. Additionally, the inter­views discussed the expected impact of the research projects on the debate of the future of European security as well as the relevance partic­i­pating in the programme would have towards the candidate’s career.

The proposed policy papers of the invited candi­dates covered four thematic clusters:

NATO and EU at the crossroads

The invited candi­dates took part in a scien­tific seminar on current and future challenges of the two existing security actors in Europe, NATO and the EU, conducted by Professor Walther Stützle, German Institute for Security and Inter­na­tional Affairs (SWP), Berlin.

Professor Stützle started by claiming that the current diplo­matic relationship between Europe, the United States and Russia should be considered a big achievement in modern history. One concrete result of political and power changes in the global order was the  break­through of new concepts. Whereas ‘deter­rence’ had been a key concept during the Cold War, ‘cooper­ation, partnership and integration’ have been newly emerging principles in the Post-Cold War era. On this note, Prof. Stützle stated that nowadays political leaders can discuss peace and security issues without any fear of conflict, war or division. Also, the idea to set up global stability under a common security umbrella prevents partner countries from becoming enemies.
Prof. Stützle empha­sized that the demise of the Soviet Union not only generated new forms of cooper­ation but also deprived NATO of its strategic concept. Therefore, a new strategic concept was needed to clearly define NATO’s future prior­ities, missions and limits. According to Prof. Stützle, serious reflection must be made on the reorga­ni­zation of the Alliance into an effective European security system including Russia.
Looking at the EU’s position in NATO, Prof. Stützle raised some important questions: Will Europe remain an unequal partner of the United States? Or will NATO and the EU be able to find a reasonable balance of cooper­ation with the perspective of a long-term restruc­turing of the Alliance into a real, new, two pillar structure founded upon the United States on one side and a deeper integrated Europe on the other.
Prof. Stützle stated that even today the EU is able to be a respon­sible security actor. The Georgian crisis showed that the EU can play a crucial role in managing disagree­ments and become an agent for security and stability in its neigh­borhood.
Additionally, Prof. Stützle reminded the partic­i­pants that, since their creation, great achieve­ments had taken place within the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP). However, the EU member states shied away from going beyond inter­gov­ern­mental cooper­ation. As Professor Stützle put it, the enlarge­ments in 2004 and 2007 reempha­sized the reluc­tance to surrender sover­eignty in this field.

Prof. Stützle finally focused on internal rifts concerning European treaty reform. While the ongoing uncer­tainty over the Lisbon Treaty started when Irish voters rejected it, the ratifi­cation of the treaty has also not been completed in the Czech Republic, Poland or Germany. Prof. Stützle expressed regret that German President Horst Köhler decided to put the ratifi­cation of the Lisbon Treaty on hold until the German Consti­tu­tional Court’s decision on the compat­i­bility of the treaty with the German Grundgesetz.
The speech was followed by an intense discussion which revealed the contro­versial potential of certain topics, such as a long-term restruc­turing of NATO or the relationship between the EU, Russia and the United States.