The EU Must Become a Crisis Management Leader
The EU's Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) has not risen to recent challenges, in Libya in particular. The EU should institutionalize a more responsive structure that will ensure rapid military response where and when necessary. Such a structure will also be depended upon for securing European borders while concurrently preventing EU member states from responding to crises as a European pillar of NATO.
A summary of NATO's engagement in Libya following the 2011 uprising could potentially signify that the Alliance had been active in the region since its formation. In actuality, OUP was NATO's first ever military involvement in North Africa. The EU by contrast developed the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EUROMED) with the long-term goal of enhancing regional security and free trade. From this follows the deduction that the EU has since conception had a more normative and economic-driven relationship with both MENA and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, and should have sought to intervene at the start of the 2011 uprising in an effort to secure its relationships. However, the EU failed to adhere to the Obama doctrine of "leading from behind" and ultimately accept a lead role toward enforcing UNSCR 1973 (Right to Protect).
Military humanitarian responses are expected to be swift, else a repeat of the 1994 Rwandan genocide will be experienced. However, the structure of the foreign policy decision-making process of the Union is slow and was instrumental in preventing a hasty coordinated EU military response into Libya in 2011 and even Kosovo in 1999. Article 23 of the Treaties of the European Union (TEU) mandates decision-making regarding defense to be enforced only by unanimity, thus there is an inability to override a veto. With 28 member states (and counting) this structure will ultimately result in slow response, especially in cases of impeding genocide that often result in mass migrations into Europe. It is in the EU's best interest to institutionalize a more responsive structure that will ensure rapid military response where and when necessary. Such a structure will also be depended upon for securing European borders while concurrently preventing EU member states from responding to crises as a hired arm (European pillar) of NATO. So far, CSDP has not risen to the challenge. The first steps toward attaining a more useful military unit would be for the office of the High Representative to improve the structure of the EU's crisis management operations. This can be done by advocating a relationship between all member states that transcends the Berlin Plus Agreement, but ensures regional and international security for the Union as a single unit. Such a military-driven relationship could potentially scare Russia. In which case the Union will need to reassure its neighbors that it is not acting out of ambition or the need to aggressively create a status quo, but rather it aims to maintain a regional security force that will also respond hastily in the event of a humanitarian crisis abroad.
While the Kosovo war of 1999 may have revealed Europe's unpreparedness to move toward collective security autonomy, the Libyan crisis unveiled Europe's incoherent security policies. An instance of foreign policy incoherence within the Union was revealed when France expected the intervention into Libya to be an exclusive EU (CSDP) mission, while Britain under Cameron was comfortable with participating in the mission within the NATO framework. German chancellor, Angela Merkel, by contrast, "described herself as fundamentally skeptical" of military action. France and Britain eventually initiated separate missions on March 19, 2011, but later unified under NATO leadership on March 31 in a code-named mission, Operation Unified Protector. Even though the security relationship between EU states is not tense, its problematic nature is indeed relevant enough to possibly prevent military humanitarian assistance to countries in desperate need. Libya had the potential to serve as the perfect CSDP mission and set the EU on an independent security management path. The most effective way to curb the problems of incoherence will be to continue to follow through with the EU Plan of Action which is aimed at enhancing CSDP Support to UN Peacekeeping missions.
Financing a military unit that can equate NATO is rather expensive, and because the Lisbon treaty does not charge military operations to the EU's budget, funding has remained a bone of contention when security issues are concerned. Whether the EU would ever take up a leadership role in regional crises remains not only a question of willingness, but one of capability. As it stands, France is willing but not capable of assuming a pivotal security role on behalf of the Union in crises management operations. Countries like Germany and Britain are capable of financing a more independent military force for the EU, but are unwilling to commit to the responsibility.
Clotilde Asangna holds a masters in International Relations and is currently finishing a six month long internship.
- Atlantic-Community.org in Transition
- Towards a More Inclusive Transatlantic Partnership: Update on the 2nd Atlantic Expedition
- Topic of the Month: The Future of Health Care
- Do We Need Data Donations?
- eHealth - Tele-Monitoring and Tele-Medicine - Digital Innovation in the Life Science Sector in Germany