European Security and Foreign Policy in a post-Cold War era. A study of France, Germany and Great Britain
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
During the Cold War era, the edifice of the world configuration was built on a bipolar structure. The security of west European countries was not only important in the eyes of the Europeans but also in the American ones. But the end of this era in 1989-91 also put an end to this world structure and brought it into a unipolar one. The US became the world hegemon and Europe started to fear that US security priority would not remain Europe in the awakening of this structure. Therefore, some improvements occurred in terms of EU cooperation security in the framework of the conflict in Kuwait, but the main change happened because of the conflict in Ex-Yugoslavia. Especially Great Britain and France became aware of the need to develop an EU military capability in order to handle autonomous peace-keeping operations, outside of the NATO framework. The EU understood that any action developed by NATO was reliant on the US and without the support of the US the possibility to operate was restrained.
The move towards a more autonomous European security from the cooperation within NATO created a fear of loss of American influence over European politics. However, when the EU stated that NATO would remain the primary organisation to handle European security matters and that the CFSP would only reinforce the European pillar of NATO, the US appeared to support the cementation of this pillar.
France, Germany and Great Britain are contributing actively to the development of this pillar and they have all their reasons to support it. Germany is self-committed to the European integration process and cooperation in order, on one hand, to inhibit the raise of nationalism into Germany and on the other hand, to use it as a mean to play a major role in the international arena. France is a medium size power trying to keep its voice in the world arena. Its presence in the EU is marked by its strong link with Germany to enhance its role internationally. France uses the EU in order to promote its national interests. Great Britain maintains special relations vis-à-vis of the US and has not the desire to commit to any European cooperation that could hurt or threaten this link. But Great Britain changed its attitude towards its foreign and security policy due to its new interpretation of the structure during the Ex-Yugoslavian conflict. Therefore, its policy shifted in the need to develop a closer EU cooperation within the security, even if they stated that NATO still remains the primary organisation to handle European Security. This change is also strategic because Great Britain is motivated to become a EU leader instead of a spoiler.
The EU has to face a number of issues in different areas before it will be able to implement an efficient CFSP. First of all, the military capability gap that has widened the dependence on NATO military assets. Secondly, the difficult decision making process that has to deal with the domestic demands of all MS generated by a reluctance in ceding sovereignty of security matters to a qualified majority vote.
The development of the CFSP has electrified the transatlantic relations creating tensions but nothing that will damage the transatlantic link between the EU and the US. The CFSP will become complementary of NATO and not a competitor at all. The military capabilities and the domestic demands of all EU MS will guarantee this statement. The US will remain an unenthusiastic global actor in a unipolar world, pushing the international agenda in favour of a unilateral approach.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. , 71 p.
CFSP, Security, Foreign Policy, NATO, Unipolar World, Cooperation, National Interests
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-4314ISRN: LIU-EKI/INT-D--05/012--SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-4314DiVA: diva2:20592
Subject / course
Master's Programme in International and European Relations
UppsokSocial and Behavioural Science, Law