European Unity, Transatlantic Strength and Global Vision

  • Petr Boháček
  • 4.1.2019 07:39

There is no need to rehash the long list of developments that have undermined European security in the last few years and led to the expansion of European integration into this sensitive area. What is, however, needed is a constant reevaluation of the direction the European foreign and security policy takes. This text does not aim to offer an exhausting dive into the many complex issues it touches on, but rather it hopes to connect them in a narrative pointing to the main obstacles in strengthening Transatlantic security – its asymmetrical nature, European weakness and fragmentation. The last part of our four part series will look towards the future and offer a possible path for Europe to strengthen its defence as well as the Transatlantic partnership.

 

The asymmetry in Transatlantic relations between the dominant US and weak Europe remains the main source of its political, strategic and technological weakness. Instead of aiming for illusionary autonomy, the EU should strengthen the Transatlantic relationship on all fronts by building up indispensable defense capabilities to convince Washington of the utility of the partnership. European strength must be based on a solid consolidated defense and industrial policy. The EU has to ensure the defense integration initiatives and funding remain inclusive for weaker Eastern European countries and their strategic and industrial preferences. This will inter alia require a clear division of labor and synchronization between the EU and NATO in all aspects of defense planning, capability development, and military objectives. Europe needs to improve defense spending, technological weakness, and capacities as well as to follow industry trends and growing reliance on commercial actors. Investments in dual-use and civilian technologies and research within the EU single market can provide better economic and political rationalization for spending growth.

 

"The EU should strengthen the Transatlantic relationship on all fronts by building up indispensable defense capabilities to convince Washington of the utility of the partnership."



In the context of growing space ambitions, space assets reliance and the weakening of NATO, the EU should utilize space policy to deepen cooperation and interdependence and move the Transatlantic bond into the 21st century. The proposed EU Agency for Space Program should integrate, with appropriate funding, all space security aspects including SST, Space Debris, Space Weather and NEOs, to avoid inefficiency and duplication of the national inter-governmental model. The EU space security policy and capacities should be based on Transatlantic coordination and interdependence to improve effectiveness and to create a new standard for space security international cooperation.

 

New Transatlantic Dynamic Needed

It took two world wars before American isolationism transformed into building the Transatlantic partnership. The bond is not at all self-sustainable. Europe must make itself indispensable to the United States if it wants democratic values to have global weight. This requires a united European approach.

To bridge the divide in the EU, Eastern Europe must be able to secure its own PESCO projects and the benefits of the EDF. This will help to build true EU-wide industrial and defense policy and strengthen NATO’s deterrence capabilities by honoring the need to secure the Eastern flank. To achieve this, the EU and NATO ought to find ways to synchronize their different planning processes and military ambitions into a system that is interdependent, mutually beneficial and does not require states to choose between commitments to one or the other. Investing into the single European market and industrial base can also help justify defense spending rather than relying on the simple Buy American approach for security guarantees.

 

"To bridge the divide in the EU, Eastern Europe must be able to secure its own PESCO projects and the benefits of the EDF."

 

Yet, building stronger capacities goes beyond defense spending. Military assets are increasingly dependent on commercial and private providers for products but also for innovation and development. Stronger defense capabilities are increasingly dependent on investments into civilian research, education and dual-use technology. The growing reliance on space for defense exemplifies these trends and further, the non-military nature of the main threats to space assets calls for more cooperation to confront them.

Following up on these trends, the European Union is zeroing in on utilizing its space assets for their defense value. But copying the defense sector, the growing ambitions raise questions about an effective division of tasks and effective and coordinated cooperation between European players but also across the Atlantic – an issue concerning civilian and military space activities.

 

"Finding a united and consolidated industrial and policy model is a necessary step to making Europe a strong and indispensable Transatlantic partner."

 

Connecting these themes discussed throughout the text is a lack of Transatlantic sync. Its source can be tracked to an asymmetrical relationship based on European weakness. Finding a united and consolidated industrial and policy model is a necessary step to making Europe a strong and indispensable Transatlantic partner. Another prevalent dynamic points to the importance of civilian technological development but also the non-military nature of threats. As all security, not only in space, becomes more and more global, avoiding the illusion of autonomy or independence will be important in finding ways to build a new mode of international cooperation in light of the deteriorating liberal world order. There is no reason to think that Europe isn’t fit for finding such new transnational cooperative models.

Read the previous parts of the series on:
Transatlantic Asymmetry and European Weakness
Future Trends for Transatlantic Security
European Space Ambitions


This paper was prepared for the Association for International Affairs within the project „Future of the Czech security and defense policy and the role of NATO and the EU“, which is supported by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. The paper does not reflect the views of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. This publication is supported by NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division. The full version can be found here.



About author: Petr Boháček

Partners

Tento web používá k analýze návštěvnosti soubory cookie. Používáním tohoto webu s tím souhlasíte. Další informace