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Security in a Greater EuropeThe Possibility of a Pan-European Approach$

Charlotte Wagnsson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780719078828

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719078828.001.0001

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The European Union and the major European powers

The European Union and the major European powers

Chapter:
(p.101) 5 The European Union and the major European powers
Source:
Security in a Greater Europe
Author(s):

Charlotte Wagnsson

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719078828.003.0005

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter evaluates the EU's internal cohesion by extrapolating the findings from the case studies into three major ‘gaps’ in reasoning on security. The gaps revolve, to a significant extent, around the role of norms in international affairs, around the governments' favoured methods of preserving stability, and around the issue of the role of the USA in global security. The chapter extends the analysis by analysing a number of more recent EU documents. It ends by elaborating on the consequences for practical cooperation.

Keywords:   EU's internal cohesion, global security, international affairs, USA

Introduction

The case studies in this volume reveal that the national leaderships of the three leading EU member states placed different emphases on a number of the referent-objects of security. When issues were discussed at a rudimentary level, it is easy to find unanimity. All the leaders, for example, wanted to protect human rights and enhance regional stability. However, words cannot simply be taken at face value, removed from their context. It is sufficient in this context to recall the rhetoric of the Soviet Union and the USA during the Cold War. Both claimed to stand up for democracy, liberty and other norms that symbolise a ‘good’ society and a positive world order, but nonetheless diverged sharply on most of the issues of international politics.1 A closer examination reveals that the EU member states deviated from one another, and none followed completely or agreed totally with the EU-level line.

The fact that the same discrepancies occurred in each of the three cases is particularly striking. The governments had moderate disagreements during the Kosovo crisis but diverged sharply over Iraq, but the framing analysis reveals similar patterns of disagreement during all three crises.

This chapter elaborates on three major differences in the messages given out by the governments, as recorded in the case studies. These ‘security gaps’ represent analytical devices that aim to clarify basic divergences in reasoning on security. Each gap builds on a central dichotomy

The first security gap is labelled ‘principles vs community’ and highlights the role of norms as referent-objects of security. It may seem odd to contrast ‘principles’ with ‘community’, but the dichotomy is intended to illustrate how a government can justify sticking to particular principles even when this harms a community of which it forms part. Conversely, it reveals which government tends to place defence of community above laudable principles. (p.102)

In the latter case, community becomes a strong value per se, which can compete with, and often win over, other kinds of principles. The dichotomy is thus not intended to capture which of the separate leaderships reasoned in terms of norms, and which did not. Such an exercise is less useful, since the case studies envisage that all the governments focused on norms as referent-objects of security. Instead, it provides an opportunity to discuss the level of importance that the leaders attached to norms. Did they treat norms as relative or absolute – as negotiable or not?

The second dichotomy, labelled ‘the status quo vs reforms’, focuses on the governments’ visions of an ideal world order. It revolves around their official analysis of whether the current world order must be protected or reformed.

The third dichotomy is labelled ‘multipolarity vs unipolarity’, and essentially captures whether the governments set out to defend or to reject a unipolar system. While the previous dichotomy focuses on the leaderships’ preferred world order – that is, whether they focused on protection of the existing global economic system based on a market economy, the prevailing normative ideals, and so on – this category focuses on the leaderships’ favoured structure of international system.

The reason for focusing on precisely these gaps is that they evolve from central divergences in the governments’ defence of basic norms and interests that are often linked to historical memories, identity and survival. Standpoints related to sovereignty, the use of force, the structure of the international system and the nature of alliances with other actors in the international arena are all examples of the issues in focus. Differences at the rhetorical level over such fundamental issues can hamper coordination and integration in the European security sphere.

In the second part of the chapter, the ways in which the member states frame security are contrasted with the EU’s standpoints. This analysis is extended by way of a brief review of recent major EU documents and speeches on security. Does the security framing of any one of the three states correspond better with the EU’s official framing than those of the other two, and does the answer depend on what issue-area is in focus? What are the implications of all this for EU ‘actorness’?

National divergences over the three major ‘security gaps’

First gap: principles vs community

British heroes in an unruly world

The first dichotomy can be illustrated using the metaphor of the United Kingdom as an active, upright but lone wolf facing a cohesive tribe. The case studies indicate that the United Kingdom did not define the norms at stake as appropriate primarily because they symbolised a sort of ‘normal’, (p.103) politically correct behaviour that members of the Western community should adhere to. Instead, they were simply righteous, irrespective of the either temporary or permanent standpoints taken by other actors.

This tendency is marked throughout the three crises examined. During the Kosovo crisis, the defence of norms was primary in British reasoning. After the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, its leaders again focused on protecting their preferred norms and way of life in the light of attacks by an evil outsider. In essence, they projected the image that the United Kingdom was performing a good deed for the benefit of the rest of the civilised world. The rationale behind this was that they called their favoured norms ‘universal’, thereby objectively serving the interests of all states.

According to the British logic, military force should sometimes be applied in order to protect the universal norms of liberty, democracy, the rule of law and human rights. The leaders displayed a tendency to search for the most efficient means to protect their favoured norms, even if this meant breaking with the established practices of the international community. In the Iraq crisis, they set out to punish a morally irresponsible actor who violated their preferred norms, even if this goal demanded violation of territorial integrity.

Ulf Hedetoft elaborates on historical explanations for the British taste for moral endeavours: ‘the almost spine-shivering pleasure of putting your life on the line for a righteous cause.’Writing from the perspective of 1995, he notes that the British war mentality – which includes pride in the moral war successes of the past and the belief that ‘the common Brit has genuine grit’ – remains an important part of the Anglo-British identity.2 The findings of the research conducted for this volume confirm that this inclination to consent to warfare for the sake of ‘the right principles’ remains.

The British Labour Party strengthened the tendency to argue officially in terms of norms when it launched its ‘ethical dimension to foreign policy’ in May 1997. The ‘New Labour’ strategy aimed to support the same principles abroad as at home, with a firm conviction that the proliferation of appropriate norms leads to stability and security.3 Robin Cook argued that: ‘Our foreign policy must have an ethical dimension and must support the demands of other peoples for the democratic rights on which we insist for ourselves. The Labour Government will put human rights at the heart of our foreign policy and will publish an annual report on our work in promoting human rights abroad.’4

In 2005, the Labour Party remained committed to the idea that principles are a necessary prerequisite for security. According to the 2005 Labour Party Manifesto: ‘The UN Charter proclaims the universal principles of human rights and democracy. In an uncertain world they are not only right in principle, they are important guarantees of our national security and prosperity too.’5 This reasoning echoes the statements made during the three (p.104) crises examined in this study. Typically, the British depicted the promotion of norms as a guarantee of security, but also of material well-being since the spread of ‘the right’ norms would generate favourable conditions for free trade. From Kosovo onwards, the British stood in defence of liberal norms that could enhance stability. The leadership thus supported an ‘export-of-values’ logic – a logic vigorously contested by Russia – in order to secure ‘the British way of life’.

France and Germany: ‘united we stand’

France and Germany did not rely on a predefined list of uninfringeable norms, but instead defended common norms. Above all, they suggested that members of the international community should agree, and then uphold, a shared code of normatively correct conduct that would sustain their community and strength. Ideally, all members of the Western community should adhere to the same appropriate reasoning and behaviour, which would strengthen existing cooperative structures.

An additional dimension to the French and German logic is that the EU states would serve as an ‘ethical vanguard’ by standing together, and by demonstrating a correct and predictable way of behaving. This would serve as an example to follow for other less law-abiding actors. In the same way that the EU would serve as a model of integration for other regions, the conduct of its constituent parts would serve as a model of good behaviour, and behaviour that was deemed good because it was dictated by common norms negotiated through common institutions (i.e., the EU and the United Nations). This would in turn ensure the long-term and predictable development of a better world governed by fair and democratic processes. In such an ideal world, no government would be left behind, demonised or brought down, but wrongdoers would progressively be reformed and integrated into the community.

France and Germany were already applying a ‘community’ argument during the Kosovo crisis. They focused intensely on the indivisible nature of the European continent and framed Milosevic’s misdeeds as an attack on European civilisation. They referred to a common responsibility, and portrayed the Europeans as fully unified when responding to this threat. After 11 September 2001, the French and German leaders again placed great emphasis on the need to handle the terrorist threat using multilateral efforts. Typical of this kind of reasoning was German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s argument that multilateral methods were required because security is ‘indivisible’. During the Iraq crisis, France and Germany portrayed common resolve as a kind of efficient deterrence. The idea was to make dictators and potential proliferators of weapons of mass destruction realise that they faced a united, and thereby practicably invincible, international front. This logic stood in opposition to the British emphasis on deterrence by the determined and efficient use of force. (p.105)

The German leaders displayed the strongest inclination to reason in terms of strength by way of community. Whereas the United Kingdom gave priority to a predefined set of norms, ignoring the position of other actors and thereby appearing as a solo flyer, community was foremost in the German rhetoric and multilateralism was presented as the key to stability. Germany signalled a keen ambition to retain and strengthen its position as a key and responsible member of the European security community, demonstrating its willingness to carry its share of the burden with regard to peacekeeping missions.

Yet, the German willingness to stand up for the common good did not lead the leadership to accept easily the idea of military missions. The reluctance of the German leadership to use force in order to impose its favoured norms has a quite specific historical background. Many scholars have elaborated on how Germany’s historical experiences have bred a particular unwillingness to use military force.6 Hedetoft remarks that while the United Kingdom sees itself as a non-military nation forced into military showdowns and taking pride in its heroism and successes, Germany has – since the Second World War – lacked any opportunities to take pride by drawing on memories of heroism during warfare. Moreover, Germany has been affected by the negative memories of a ‘plethora of deaths’.7

German foreign policy reasoning has evolved since the end of the Cold War. Before the Kosovo conflict, the new red-green coalition government of 1998 had adopted a foreign policy programme that focused on non-military conflict management.8 However, the Kosovo conflict demanded a reconsideration of past policies. On 16 October 1998 the vast majority of the members of the German Parliament voted in favour of Germany’s participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) intervention in Kosovo.

The domestic German debate about the Kosovo mission, particularly with regard to the mandate issue, reveals a consciousness about the complexity of the moral and political dilemma.9 The German Green Party, which had traditionally represented a solid pacifism, underwent a tough internal debate about the moral problems associated with out-of-area operations after its party leader Joshka Fischer argued that the party should support a policy of humanitarian intervention shortly after the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995. In the years that followed, humanitarian arguments received broad domestic support from both the political parties and wider public opinion.10 At the time of the Kosovo crisis, the opposition parties – the Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Liberal Democrats (FDP) – supported government policy. Only the Socialist Party (PDS) stood out against German involvement in the war. Most of the German editorials – with the exception of, for example, the Frankfurter Allgemeine, also accepted the leadership’s justifications for an intervention.11 (p.106)

Nonetheless, the case studies confirm that the German leadership’s framing of security was still informed by an awareness of the potential losses of human life that result from armed action. In the case of Iraq, the leaders focused on the risk to civilians and soldiers that would result from an intervention. Moreover, Schröder explicitly linked the German unwillingness to resort to warfare to the German population’s experience of war, which he argued was deeply rooted in the collective memory. The German leaders also deviated a great deal from the British tendency to ‘preach’ morals. Their pacifism was not of a ‘missionary’ kind. Schröder explicitly argued that, while Germany maintained its own opinion on the Iraq crisis, it did not wish to criticise other states on moral grounds.

German reluctance to participate in military ventures, coupled with its unwillingness to preach morals and a strong tendency to promote lawful behaviour, result in a cautious approach to out-of-area missions. An example of this caution was the German domestic debate over a potential leadership role in a mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in June 2006, the aim of which was to ensure that the presidential and parliamentary elections were conducted fairly. Germany had agreed in principle to lead the mission, but only if it had a UN mandate and clearly established goals, and other EU states participated. The domestic debate focused on precisely these issues, revealing a strong preoccupation with a normatively justifiable process.12 To the German leadership, it was not only the goals of a mission, but also the practical process of their fulfilment that had to be morally acceptable and conducted in cooperation with other actors. Germany was particularly wary about the number of lives that might be put at risk during such a mission.

In line with Germany and Russia, France placed a high value on cohesiveness. The French discourse was often coloured by arguments in favour of preserving cohesion and increasing independence and actorness among members of a cultural community that had been forged by a long common history. They stressed the ‘European’ nature of the norms to be preserved and referred to common European traditions and a common culture. During the Kosovo crisis, they argued that it was necessary to ‘cleanse’ Europe by pacifying and civilising the ‘anomaly’ of Serbia – thereby ‘Europeanising’ the Balkan region. The Balkans had to become European, transforming from ‘others’ to become ‘part of us’. It was not primarily universal norms that were at stake in Kosovo, but a ‘certain concept of Europe’. After 11 September 2001, the President of France, Jacques Chirac, referred to France’s particular aptitude for grasping cultural divergences and forging cohesion despite differences. Throughout all three crises, the French leaders focused on preserving the global security community that was guaranteed by the UN. (p.107)

Conclusion: norms in their own right or as resources for community-building

In conclusion, the British message was clear – defence of the right norms, universal rather than European, could contribute to preserving the status quo and sustaining a liberal system that worked for the benefit of the British state and its citizens. France and Germany referred instead to positive norms as particularly ‘European’, and framed such norms as a means of fortifying community. In addition, the French and the Germans pledged adherence to a moral kind of globalisation and signalled a less ardent commitment to market liberalisation.

The leaderships also diverged with regard to how they related to norms. The British tended to treat norms as valuable per se. However, they did not focus as much as the others on the defence of community. They were far more zealous about preserving their national security and independence. Their endorsement of norms seemed closely linked to the process of promoting the national interest. The French and the German leaderships attributed more what may be called ‘secondary value’ to norms. A solution that infringed on commonly accepted standards of behaviour was less applicable, even if it aimed to promote the ‘right’ norms. The ‘community argument’ was central to German and French reasoning during all three crises. The French and German leaderships also placed a heavier moral responsibility on well-regarded members of the international community than the British did. States in the Western community had a particular responsibility to act as positive examples for less obedient actors, towards which it was necessary to show patience and tolerance in order to not distance them any further. In the end, this logic would also serve the national interests of France and Germany, since it would contribute to the creation of a more just, and therefore more peaceful, world.

The second gap: competing world views

British problem solving in defence of the status quo

The United Kingdom applied a status-quo approach throughout the three crises. The leaders framed the crisis in Kosovo as a problem that sprang from the tension between chaos and order. The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, warned of the disorder that would follow if Serbia was not brought into line. The British leadership extended this argument to a global level of analysis, emphasising that Milosevic had to be stopped in order to stop other dictators from destroying international stability. Similarly, in the aftermath of 11 September, the British focused on demonising those who had upset global stability and caused chaos. Finally, the arguments used against Saddam Hussein in 2003 were remarkably similar to those used against Milosevic during the Kosovo crisis. The object was to avert chaos. The status-quo approach led the British leaders to value global stability at the cost of the national sovereignty of states that either challenged security and the regional (p.108) or international order, or sheltered non-state actors that did the same. The British leadership took Kosovo as an example of how crises should be handled in the future.

The British did not place as much emphasis as the others on the role of common institutions in achieving international security. The British framed the Kosovo conflict as a threat not to the EU, but to regional and global stability and ultimately to the British national interest. Also, rather than launching long-term strategic visions of how to strengthen or reform common institutions, the British treated events on a case-by-case basis. They evaluated the crises with regard not primarily to institutional considerations, but to what had to be done according to basic British principles. In the aftermath of the Kosovo crisis, Blair was clear on this point, stressing that attached importance to norms rather than to institutions.

The British followed this problem-solving logic quite strictly. The leaders appeared to analyse the case, apply their moral principles – endorsing the status quo – in order to decide what had to be done, and then promote almost any vehicle that could solve the crisis effectively. The leadership, for example, focused more on reaching an efficient solution to the Kosovo crisis, and less on the fact that the EU states should unite in order to show their strength and protect their shared norms. After 11 September, the British did not advocate reform to the same degree as the other two states, but instead focused more on the need to deal resolutely with the ‘hot spots’ generating instability around the world. The leadership identified the opponent, and focused on tracing and eliminating this enemy. In the case of Iraq, the leaders identified what was threatening – weapons of mass destruction and, later, Saddam Hussein as an individual – and set as their goal to get rid of these threats. As a consequence, the British approach to global security politics may best be characterised as a continuing process in which each problem is treated as a unique event for which an effective solution must be found as quickly as possible to ensure that it does as little harm as possible to international stability and security.

This predisposition to focus intensively on the actual threat to or crisis within the Western security order, and to search energetically for a clear-cut resolution to the problem, leaves little room for nuance in the rhetoric. The British leadership exposed a tendency to define the world as dualistic, and characterised by sharp contrasts between good and evil. Actors with irreconcilable policies and principles inhabit this world. The messages during the Kosovo and the Iraq crises were identical: an evil actor had challenged the civilised and ordered world and the only reliable way to re-establish the status quo was to get rid of this deviant actor. The British leadership thus emphasised the tension between chaos and stability in international relations.13 Order was juxtaposed to the evil of chaos. If an actor did not fit into the ideal (p.109) world order, that actor had to be disempowered or deposed. The practice of exclusion loomed large in the British arguments.

The French and Germans: protecting institutionalism and inclusiveness

The French and the German leaders also promoted the cause of greater stability in international affairs, but built up their framing in a different way. As well as highlighting the need for reform, Germany, France (and Russia) showed a clear inclination to treat institutions and structures as referent-objects of security. The message was that a secure world could not be achieved without such cooperative structures.

Above all, the German and French view of order appeared different from that of the British. While the British suggested that the world order at hand was worth defending, the official French and German discourse described the world as unstable and in need of change. Germany and France aimed to reform the world order to enhance stability and justice. They suggested that adherence to common rules of behaviour would guarantee a sense of order in the international system of states, whereas acceptance of the breaking of such rules would generate anarchy.

Germany placed great emphasis on the need to use multilateral, preventive and preferably non-military means in the face of the terrorist threat, arguing that preventive, non-military policies would contribute to solving problems in the Third World and stimulate peace in an ‘indivisible’ world. Similarly, the French emphasised that the unilateral use of force was not an efficient way to solve crises.

During a crisis, the French and the German leaders did not portray themselves as efficient problem-solvers seeking a quick and certain solution to the emergency at hand. They undertook a complex calculation of the pros and cons of each potential solution. Their reasoning started not so much from what had to be done in accordance with ‘righteous’ principles, as from what could be done without too much risk. They placed particular emphasis on which institutional vehicle should be used to solve which crisis, and paid particular attention to any additional relevant circumstances. Depending on the institutional vehicle identified, they discussed the optimal solution with a strict eye on costs and the hazards involved. While the British displayed a great urgency to restore order in the international system, France and Germany did not necessarily allow this to outweigh the fact that a mission could put the lives of soldiers and civilians at risk, affect a region as a whole, and have negative effects at the global level.

The German framing in particular was informed by such a systematic and comprehensive way of reasoning. Of all the actors analysed, the German reasoning was most coloured by this method of logical calculation. The German leaders undertook a sober cost-benefit analysis. They certainly condemned the circumstances prevailing in Iraq, but did not judge the suffering of the Iraqi people to be sufficient cause to risk the lives of soldiers (p.110) and civilians, regional instability and a weakening of the global cooperative structures for dealing effectively with security problems. The tendency to dwell on every case and to make an official judgement with reference to a wide range of available facts – in essence arguing in accordance with Allison’s ‘rational actor model’ – led the Germans to different conclusions in the crises examined. In Kosovo, this line of argument resulted in the conclusion that the benefits of an intervention outweighed the costs, while in Iraq the opposite result emerged from the same kind of logical calculation.

The French reasoned somewhat differently. Their calculation seemed slightly less informed by unbiased reasoning, taking as many facts as possible into account, and slightly more focused on preserving a sense of community among actors. They appeared reluctant to distance other actors in the international arena, and made particular efforts to emphasise that the international community had to make every possible effort to avoid a clash of civilisations. There was a tendency for the French to seek to include as many actors as possible in the French and the European community. France mostly refrained from contrasting opposing parties’ viewpoints and from describing the world in sharp contrasts – as divided into one ‘good’ camp and one ‘evil’ camp. Here, the French leaders lived up to the image of fully fledged diplomats in the international arena. They appeared conscious of their role as diplomats, for example, when placing emphasis during the Kosovo conflict on the fact that the French had pursued a ‘particularly active and intelligent diplomacy’ towards Milosevic.

The French and the Germans argued that although other actors were immoral, they could be tolerated and should be given a second chance. They signalled a greater tolerance inside existing global structures; even though not all nation states lived up to their moral standards, they were still nation states and should be respected as legitimate entities that were entitled to their place in the UN state system. To a larger degree than the British, the French and Germans projected an image of an indivisible world where imperfect actors had to learn to coexist, and where multilateral action was crucial to strengthening the international community and international security.

France and Germany started from a vision of a world that should be managed by means of a common ethical code of conduct that was guaranteed by a few central, shared institutions – the EU and the UN – and by international law. The underlying logic was that, in the longer run, more and more actors would be incorporated in these joint structures. They promoted a world order that was at the same time more flexible and less flexible than the British variant. The inflexibility lay in their understanding of institutions as primary, and their view that actors must adapt to the common rules of behaviour guaranteed by these institutions. A solution could certainly not take any shape. A kind of flexibility may be found in the somewhat more benign vision of other actors than that applied by the United Kingdom. (p.111)

France and Germany transmitted the message that actors can change, and that reforms that would, for example, increase the benefits of globalisation for the poor could facilitate the transformation of certain states into ‘good’ members of the international community.

Conclusion: divergent standpoints on norms and the national interest

This gap has something important to say about different views on norms and interests, and about the links between them. The United Kingdom placed greater emphasis on liberal norms that would benefit the status quo in world affairs, and sustain British security and its lifestyle. The British discourse on an ideal world order thus relied on the framing of certain norms as central to the achievement of this order, and it aimed to satisfy the national interest. France and Germany placed more emphasis on human rights, solidarity and community. Their zeal for common rules of behaviour and for multilateral structures evolved in parallel with their strong support for norms on human rights and global solidarity. The norm of community, it seems, did not only apply to members of the Western world; ideally, every actor should be transformed into a full member of the international community. Such an aim could also be interpreted in terms of national interest, since the ultimate consequence of reform would be to enhance international stability, which in turn would benefit the German and the French states. However, in the official discourse on an ideal world order, significantly more emphasis was placed on solidarity and human rights, and much less on the survival of the economy and normative mores of their respective states. Therefore, the link to the national interest is perhaps as strong as in the British case, but it is significantly less blunt – it is of a different kind – starting from a collective perspective, which at first glance makes it appear slightly less egoistic.

The third gap: multipolarity vs unipolarity

The Anglo-Saxon defence of unipolarity

The British leaders again deviated from the joint approach taken by France and Germany by standing by an ‘Anglo-Saxon’ view of polarity. Both directly and indirectly, the United Kingdom called attention to the positive aspects of a unipolar system based on the authority of the United States and NATO. Their message was that the world needed these powerful actors in order to reduce the risk of ‘spillover’ from unreliable states, and to stop dictators such as Saddam Hussein. They described the USA in a positive manner as a nonexpansionist and peace-loving actor that loyally takes on the burdens of and responsibilities for global security that automatically come with superpower status. Throughout, they expressed gratitude for the US role in the three conflicts and emphasise the need to keep the USA engaged in Europe. Unlike the other leaderships, the British used the maintenance of NATO’s credibility as an argument in favour of bombing Kosovo. They focused much (p.112) more on keeping NATO and the USA engaged in European and global security, and on keeping these actors strong. The British did not portray the strengthening of the EU as a security actor as a goal per se. Instead, they argued that the EU should take on a greater responsibility primarily in order to keep the USA engaged in Europe.

Blair projected the image of the United Kingdom as a mediator – a bridge between Europe and the United States. The British argued that the EU should take on a larger responsibility with regard to peacekeeping, but justified this stance not with reference to the need to strengthen the EU, but to satisfy the US demand that the EU should take on a larger share of the burden of peacekeeping in Europe. Moreover, the British did not refer to Europe in terms of an organiser for multipolarity. The EU should increase in importance for practical reasons, but not at the cost of NATO and the USA – and certainly not in opposition to these actors.

France and Germany: defending multilateralism and multipolarity

France and Germany reacted against a British vision that would allow intervention in sovereign states in order to protect human rights and democracy. They stood firmly by the UN multilateral system and discussed multipolarity in positive terms. Multipolarity and multilateralism were indirectly posed as mutually reinforcing; the world would function more easily according to a multilateral logic if the major actors were organised in a multipolar structure, and vice versa. The French stated that a cooperative and multipolar approach was essential to a successful approach to global problems.

France and Germany argued in favour of containing NATO while simultaneously enhancing the importance of the UN and the EU. Collective security, in their view, was the most efficient way to achieve international stability. Fischer enthusiastically described reaction to the events of 11 September 2001 as a new beginning for multilateralism and for a cooperative approach to international relations.

Germany and France also agreed that the EU should stay independent from the USA. France even articulated a will to realise multipolarity. From Kosovo onwards, the French leadership portrayed its vision of Europe as a central pole in a multipolar world, and as an ‘organiser of multipolarity’. The French warned that unipolarity could result in the reign of ‘the law of the strongest’ in world affairs. They downplayed the significance of NATO in the Kosovo crisis. Like the Germans, they argued that NATO should not be allowed to intervene in international conflicts without the consent of the UN Security Council.

Conclusion: divergent standpoints on polarity

The third gap pertains to tensions emerging from the governments’ varying understandings of polarity. This dimension turned out to be quite central to the leaderships’ reasoning on issues related to security. Many of the political (p.113) leaders described their ideal version of the international structure, sometimes in an indirect way but on other occasions in a more direct fashion. Some of the leaders frequently elaborated on their ideal vision of an international order, while others only occasionally spoke in terms of polarity.

In the British version, unipolarity was a normatively favourable order. In a unipolar world, a benign hegemon – the USA – would lead the international community in a favourable way. It would take on a special responsibility to protect members of the international system from attacks by wrongdoers, and unselfishly oversee the best of the system. In contrast, in the French and German framing, multipolarity was portrayed not only as an order that could create stability and peace and thus sustain national interests, but also as a normatively just order. Multipolarity was framed as ‘good’ per se because it would serve as a guarantee that the ‘law of the strongest’, that is, brute force, would not rule in international relations. Moreover, in contrast to unipolarity, multipolarity would help to bring more states towards common goals. The working of the system would not only depend on the hegemon. Therefore, multipolarity would strengthen multilateralism, which in turn was considered a normatively good way to address international problems.

The EU and the great powers: splits and convergences

It is a conclusion of this study that the EU is more liable to harmonise with France and Germany than with the British on what primarily ought to be protected in times of crisis. The EU’s tendency to emphasise the protection of human rights, institutionalism and multilateralism; its pursuit of an enhanced actorness that can contribute to the evolution of multipolarity; its tendency to defend the UN rather than the USA; and its tendency to express reservations with regard to how security threats should be handled chime better with the analytical and rule-based approach of Germany and France than with the more unconditional, passionate and problem-solving approach of the United Kingdom. The tendency of the French and German leaders to defend institutionalism, multilateralism and international society makes their political messages more compatible with the EU policy line.14

There are, however, as is demonstrated below, exceptions to these tendencies. In this section the EU’s standpoints are contrasted with those of the three member state governments in order to deepen the understanding of the nature of the rifts between member-state level and the EU level. This section draws on the results of the framing analysis and revisits the major standpoints taken by the EU in the security sphere.

The three gaps between the member states that are highlighted above are closely interconnected.Views on polarity are naturally linked to visions of an ideal global order. There are also links between polarity and community in (p.114) terms of alliances, which are a central component of discussions of polarity. The shadow of the USA looms large in all three dichotomies.

Support for multilateralism and institutionalism is a highly significant characteristic of EU security policy. The EU placed great emphasis on the need for multilateralism during the crises examined, in particular after 11 September 2001 and during the Iraq crisis. One natural consequence of this was that it prioritised the UN, while appearing hesitant about US domination of world affairs. Moreover, the framing analysis demonstrates the EU’s intention to confirm itself as an actor in the international arena, and to act as a counterweight to the USA.

The EU’s approaches to polarity, institutionalism and the nature of international cooperation converge with the French and German standpoints. Although Germany officially held to its Cold War pro-US stance, its leadership’s priorities on institutions, common rules of behaviour, multilateralism and international law reveal a substantial rift in relation to the USA. This estrangement became more evident when the administration of President George W. Bush adopted an increasingly unilateralist stance on security issues. In addition, although Germany promoted NATO’s continued engagement with European security, it did not give NATO a mandate to intervene in crises similar to that of Kosovo in the future. France also converged with the EU’s views on polarity and multilateralism. Its steadfast promotion of the UN, and its emphasis on international community, multilateralism and multipolarity, were coupled with a strong desire for EU Europe to stay independent of the USA. Unlike the British, the French supported the EU’s ambition to become a pole in a multipolar world, thus avoiding a unipolar world steered by a single superpower.

The United Kingdom stood closer to the USA, anxious to ensure that the US government remained engaged in European and global security policies. The framing analysis reveals that whether arguing in favour of new principles of intervention, deterring dictators, capturing bin Laden, preserving liberal norms or ousting Saddam Hussein, preserving the NATO alliance with the USA was central to the British arguments. The British wished to remain a primary partner of the USA, and to keep the superpower engaged in international and European security.

These standpoints correlated with the British government’s unwavering support for the norms of liberty and democracy, their defence of the status quo in international affairs and their approval of unipolarity. During the Kosovo crisis, Blair linked the United Kingdom’s support for a range of favoured norms to the idea of a ‘third way’ in international affairs, marked by a kind of active internationalism. This third way would provide globalised solutions to globalised problems. Blair hinted that he and the US President, Bill Clinton, agreed on the need to pursue such a path: (p.115)

This speech has been dedicated to the cause of internationalism and against isolationism. On Sunday, along with other nation’s leaders, including President Clinton, I shall take part in a discussion of political ideas. It is loosely based around the notion of the Third Way, an attempt by centre and centre-left Governments to redefine a political programme that is neither old left nor 1980s right. In the field of politics, too, ideas are becoming globalised. As problems become global – competitiveness, changes in technology, crime, drugs, family breakdown – so the search for solutions becomes global too.15

Blair finished his speech with an appeal to the US public never to fall again for the doctrine of isolationism, since ‘the world cannot afford it’. He promised that ‘in Britain you have a friend and an ally that will stand with you, work with you, fashion with you the design of a future built on peace and prosperity for all, which is the only dream that makes humanity worth preserving’.16

It is evident that as well as loyalty to the USA, the idea of global market liberalisation was central to the British framing. In this logic, liberal norms would more or less mechanically solve global problems and ensure success and stability. This approach does not fit easily with the EU’s passion for forging a more just world order. France and Germany, in contrast, harmonised with the EU’s ambitions to reform the world order, and to work preventively by harnessing globalisation in order to boost security.

Moreover, the EU’s focus on prevention and its hesitance to use force - as well as its ambition to harness globalisation to create a more just world - also match the official French and German approaches to security better than the British approach. The French inclination to promote prevention is compatible with the EU’s overall security aims. The German scepticism about the use of military means also converges with the EU’s standpoint. The EU’s ‘broad toolkit’ and its belief in diplomacy as a tool correspond with the typical French inclination to emphasise the force of diplomacy, and with the German approach to security as ‘indivisible’, requiring a comprehensive approach. While the EU, and France and Germany focused on root causes, non-military means and long-term strategies to address security problems, the British rhetoric dealt much more with immediate and visible threats. The British used less energy to promote prevention and more zeal to target the direct causes of disorder.

The framing analysis also demonstrates that the EU focused extensively on human rights as a referent-object of security, particularly in its response to 11 September. Ever since the adoption of the Amsterdam Treaty in 1997, the EU has developed its commitments in the human rights area with particular passion. The Cologne European Council in 1999 decided to draw up a Charter of Fundamental Rights.17 The focus on human rights is slightly more pronounced in the German and French statements examined (p.116) during the crises. The United Kingdom placed somewhat more emphasis on promoting democracy.

However, the EU does not converge best with France and Germany in all areas. There are instances in which the official documents and statements correspond better with British reasoning. The framing analysis shows that in the run-up to the Iraq war, the EU Commissioner for External Relations, Chris Patten, reflected the more uncompromising British problem-solving approach when arguing that an intervention might become necessary. In line with the United Kingdom, the EU also displayed a far-reaching missionary zeal, displaying a readiness to impose objectively ‘just’ norms on non-EU actors – by way of force if necessary – as a condition for membership or as a condition for enhanced cooperation with the EU.

Tendencies for continuity and change: gaps sustained

A review of some of the major EU documents and statements made in the years following the three crises might help to discern whether the EU has evolved more in the direction of the United Kingdom’s view on security, or remains more in line with France and Germany. The exercise provides an indication of which of the competing national ways of framing security corresponds best with the EU level, and in which ways. Causal links cannot be established – even if the EU has usurped an idea originally voiced by a specific member state it is likely to have been translated into an ‘EU discourse’, which diverges somewhat from that of its ‘source’ at the member-state level. Yet, it is possible to establish whether in recent years the EU’s major message on central issues in the security sphere has moved closer to the corresponding message of one member state than to that of the others.

The content of major EU documents and statements in 2003–06 indicates that the EU’s preferences as explored in the case studies were reinforced rather than weakened. The EU appears to have continued to evolve in a way that converges more with French and German views on security than with those of the United Kingdom.

First, the EU continues to prioritise prevention over immediate problem solving. It has maintained and strengthened its focus on the root causes of terrorism and on forging a better and more just world. The EU Security Strategy confirms the EU’s commitment to and responsibility for building a better – a fairer, safer and more united – world.18 In her introductory address to the European Parliament, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the new Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, defined conflict prevention, crisis management, human rights and effective multilateralism as ‘priority issues’ for the EU. She also introduced a new concept – that of ‘human security’.19 Two years later, she called human security a ‘philosophy underlying the EU’s approach to security’. The approach entails (p.117) that security can only be achieved through development and development only through security. Ferrero-Waldner brought yet another aspect of prevention to the fore – the issue of security sector reform, which aims to create effective armed forces, police services and justice institutions as a prerequisite for the security of a state and its people.20

Successive EU Neighbourhood Policies (ENPs) are another example of the EU’s approach to security using preventive means. In relation to its close neighbourhood, the EU backs an enduring strategy based on a functionalist logic according to which long-term cooperation will produce more common norms that will enhance security. The message is that the EU will promote shared prosperity and values in its close neighbourhood. The ENPs trace the root causes of political instability in the EU’s neighbourhoods to economic vulnerability, institutional deficiencies, conflict, poverty and social exclusion.21 For example, in The European Neighbourhood Policy of May 2004, the EU reiterates that the countries bordering both the EU and Russia should commit to shared (EU) values, such as ‘respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights’.22 The significance of the ENPs is marked by the fact that Ferrero-Waldner was also given the title ‘Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy’. She often begins her addresses by envisaging the ENP as a central part of the EU’s security policy.23

The EU remained focused on mitigating the negative effects of globalisation.24 This ambition also converges better with the French/German standpoint on globalisation than with that of the British. Moreover, the EU also continues to exhibit a degree of caution with regard to the use of force, a policy stance that corresponds better with the German/French line than with the British stance. For example, the EU counterterrorism strategy mentions military means only as a resource when handling the aftermath of terrorist attacks, or to protect military forces active in international missions.25 The Security Strategy also emphasises other means, such as stronger diplomatic capabilities that can improve communication between actors and teach them to understand ‘the foreign’ better, thus minimising the risk of open confrontation and the use of force.26

Finally, the EU strengthened its support for effective multilateralism in its 2003 Security Strategy, claiming that ‘no single country is able to tackle today’s complex problems on its own’. The strategy reflects the EU’s strong focus on institutionalism and abidance by rules supporting the ‘development of a stronger international society, well functioning international institutions and a rule-based international order’. The document commits the EU to international law and to strengthening the UN.27 The counterterrorism strategy also clearly reflects a commitment to institutionalism and multilateralism. It aims to construct an international consensus and international standards on the fight against terrorism, particularly through the UN and (p.118) other international and regional organisations. Cooperation with the USA is not primary but only secondary, behind action through the UN.28 Ferrero-Waldner emphasises the importance of securing a rules-based, multilateral international order for the future.29 The 2006 EU White Paper ‘Europe in the World’ confirms that the EU member states are ‘committed supporters of multilateralism’.30

Nonetheless, the British have left some important imprints on the Security Strategy. The strategy states that the EU can punish states that refuse to abide by international law. This leaves an opening for the EU to follow the British path towards violating sovereignty in order to impose ‘correct’ norms on other actors, coming closer to realising its goal of a good international society:

A number of countries have placed themselves outside the bounds of international society. Some have sought isolation; others persistently violate international norms. It is desirable that such countries should rejoin the international community, and the EU should be ready to provide assistance. Those who are unwilling to do so should understand that there is a price to be paid, including in their relationship with the European Union.31

Moreover, while the particular French and German passion for human rights is reflected in the EU documents,32 so also is the British prioritisation of democracy. In addition to the human rights dimension, the significance of arguments referring explicitly to democracy is visible throughout the major EU documents. In her introductory address to the European Parliament, Ferrero-Waldner particularly emphasised the EU’s commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms, but she also mentioned democracy.33 Ferrero-Waldner also argued in 2006 in favour of endorsing the ‘right’ values internationally:‘If we are to preserve an international order based on the rule of law and respect for those values we hold dear – human rights, democracy, good governance - we need to be using all means at our disposal to persuade emerging powers to sign up to it now.’34

Finally, in line with the British, the EU Security Strategy deals not only with long-term prevention, but also with the direct causes of disorder, for example, regional conflicts, failed states and the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction. Furthermore, even though the strategy does not exactly extol the USA and NATO, it does refer to their significance in the security sphere.

Normative issues as obstacles to cooperation

Recalling the essence of the three ‘security gaps’ outlined above, it is reasonable to conclude with regard to the third gap that the EU’s standpoints are more in line with those of France and Germany than those of the United (p.119) Kingdom. The EU strongly supports multilateralism as the best form of governance of international relations, a stance that is not compatible with an acceptance of US unilateralism and unipolarity. It also demonstrates more affinity with France and Germany with regard to the second gap. It is somewhat less suited to accommodate the British taste for resolute problem solving, and more able to accommodate the French and German preference for far-reaching reform of the world into a more ‘just’ order, using preventive strategies and, if possible, by non-military means. The European Commission’s methods of working, in terms of long-term neighbourhood strategies and ambitious development schemes, are typical examples of preventive activities aiming to create a more just world.35 Yet, with regard to the first gap – ‘principles vs community’ – the EU is torn between its ambition to promote law-abiding, common and multilateral behaviour, on the one hand, and its taste for normative missions on the other. The EU’s inclination to promote ‘objectively’ good norms corresponds with the United Kingdom’s passionate missionary stance with regard to the export of norms.

These diverging government standpoints on the role of norms in international security are perhaps the most central obstacle to the pursuit of greater unity in the EU. Among the three member states, the United Kingdom placed most emphasis on the endorsement and extension of democracy, the principles of the market economy and liberal norms. France and Germany used more zeal to promote human rights and the observance of rules in the international arena, such as, for example, respect for the UN and for national sovereignty. They were also less impatient with actors that did not live up to their normative standards. Norms appeared somewhat more negotiable for France and Germany than for the United Kingdom. France and Germany focused less on the contrasts between the good and the bad, but argued that the world was an imperfect place that many actors must try to cohabit in relative peace. Some ill-behaved actors had to improve, but this would take time and would also require effort on the part of the Western governments, by way of reforming the entire global system into a more just world order. Norms were important, but only of secondary importance; the main priority was to preserve functional relations between actors.

The EU is situated somewhere between these two different philosophies, while leaning towards the Franco-German position. In line with the United Kingdom, the EU projects a far-reaching missionary profile, and displays a readiness to impose ‘objectively just’ norms on non-EU actors. Yet, it is important to note that although the EU’s inclination to promote norms corresponds with the British focus on norms, the latter promotes intervention primarily for the sake of spreading democracy and order, and for humanitarian reasons. In contrast, Lucarelli and Manners note that the EU appears to favour intervention on humanitarian grounds, rather than to (p.120) spread democracy.36 This observation corresponds to the findings of the framing analysis. The EU placed more emphasis on prevention and humanitarian action than on ‘spreading democracy by force’. The EU strategy for spreading democracy is more based on long-term schemes aimed at encouraging democratic movements, in particular in its nearest neighbourhoods.

A clue to the reasons behind this difference might be that the British leadership emphasises the export of norms as a successful method, while the EU places even more emphasis on being a normative example. The EU displays a strong tendency to portray itself as a good example of successful regional integration for the benefit of peace, democracy and other positive values. The plan is not just to accomplish a direct export of ‘good’ norms to non-members, it is also to a significant extent a strategy to project itself as an attractive model for other, less developed, regions and actors. This logic chimes better with the French and German tendency to place responsibility on members of the Western community to act as role models for less well-behaved actors, than with the United Kingdom’s readiness to go to war for the sake of the right norms.

Overall then, the EU’s official message seems to converge somewhat better with that of France and Germany, but the tendency is mitigated by a small number of affinities with the United Kingdom, in particular with regard to its passionate belief in the positive effects of ‘good norms’ on international relations.

Implications for the EU’s actorness

The multilevel divergences uncovered and outlined above imply that the EU cannot be characterised as a united actor in the security sphere. The EU’s official policy deviates from that of some of its key member states in a variety of ways, and the member states differ from one another. The 2006 White Paper ‘Europe in the World’ highlights the importance, but also the difficulties, of forging a single EU voice in the realm of security. The paper makes a range of suggestions in order to make the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) more effective and coherent. It directs special attention to the importance of convergence at the rhetorical level, arguing that the member states must make increased efforts to bring their official messages on security into line:

Even when the EU has clear objectives and an agreed course of action, the impact and effectiveness of our action is often hampered by mixed messages as well as slow and complex implementing procedures. The EU therefore needs to consider action in the following areas:

Ensuring that, once a policy decision has been taken by the EU, all actors integrate this into their diplomatic and public messages as well as in their own policy development.37

(p.121)

As this study demonstrates, this ambition is not so easy to achieve. Even the Security Strategy contains evidence of the insoluble tensions between the preferences of the major member states. The strategy is by itself evidence of the difficult problems ahead with regard to the diverging security standpoints of EU member states. In addition to the tensions discussed above, the strategy does not take a clear stand with regard to the difficult issue of inclusion vs exclusion. The framing analysis indicates that the British more easily fell prey to exclusion, while the other two states focused more on inclusion. The strategy tries to accommodate both stances, suggesting, as is noted above, that states that have placed themselves outside the bounds of international society should rejoin, but if they do not ‘there is a price to be paid’.38

The Security Strategy also mirrors the tension between the British promotion of liberal market values and the German and French preference for harnessing globalisation, and does not take a clear stand in favour of either. It simply notes that ‘Flows of trade and investment, the development of technology and the spread of democracy have brought freedom and prosperity to many people. Others have perceived globalisation as a cause of frustration and injustice.’39 These words bear witness to the fact that the EU cannot solve the underlying tensions. At most, it can make formal compromises.

Despite all the tensions exposed in this chapter, the EU has developed its actor capacity since the Kosovo crisis in 1999. An EU military force has been created, new political and military bodies established in Brussels and, by 2010, thirteen Battle Groups, deployable within ten days, are to be created in order to make interventions more efficient.40 The EU also acted in the field, for example, by sending its first military operation outside Europe in 2004, in a mission, carried out without assistance from NATO, to the DRC to attempt to contain ethnic violence.41 One year later, it sent its first mission to Asia – a monitoring mission intended to monitor the implementation of the peace agreement between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).42

The concrete process of strengthening the EU’s actorness has been accompanied by visionary statements portraying an actor with a truly global perspective in the security sphere. The High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, argues that the EU has a moral obligation to play a global role:

It is my belief that in this global age a Union of our size, with our interests, history and values, has an obligation to assume its share of responsibilities. We could, in theory, walk away from these responsibilities – but we could not escape the consequences of doing so. However, I am convinced that the same reasons that give the European Union responsibilities – our size and interests, our history and values – also equip us to take responsibilities. The question, therefore, is not whether we play a global role, but how we play that role.43

(p.122)

Moreover, official statements, the Security Strategy and a range of other official documents bear witness to the fact that the EU has developed something of an identity independent of the member states. The EU projects its identity by means of its claim to function as a role model for other actors. The ‘role-model discourse’ indicates a tendency to think of the EU as an actor similar to traditional nation states, in the sense that it possesses something that can be compared with national pride. It has a history of successful institution building that has served to strengthen peace, human rights and other positive values in its neighbourhood. This is portrayed as something unique to be proud of, and as something distinctively European that can be exported to other regions of the world.

Another characteristic trait is the EU’s particular way of combining the export of values with enthusiastic law-abiding institutionalism. The EU does approve of exporting values, but it places great emphasis on correct procedures; all out-of-territory action has to be legitimised by international law and given UN consent. Another particular feature is the EU’s focus on longterm structural reforms in other regions, with the aim of stabilising and reforming areas outside its own territory.

The EU also stands out by its tendency to treat security from a ‘moral’ perspective. The case studies revealed a focus on the root causes of security problems, and an inclination to attempt to make the processes of globalisation more ‘moral’. The EU’s taste for moral endeavours is combined with a strong drive for multilateralism and institutionalism that also contribute to the forging of a distinctive ‘EU identity’.

The emerging EU identity – the institutional reforms, the new tasks in the security sphere and the high-flying ambitions for the future – are clear achievements for the EU in its capacity as an actor in the international security arena. They bear witness that not only France and Germany, but also the United Kingdom welcome the EU taking a more active role in the security sphere. Work to strengthen and give more substance to the CFSP and the ESDP has therefore progressed, even in spite of the diverging views on a major issue in international affairs – Iraq. Cooperation in the field of security was not directly damaged by the Iraq crisis, but actually deepened.

This conclusion is supported by Maria Strömvik’s research findings, which reveal that the EU’s foreign policy cooperation has intensified during or soon after transatlantic disagreements over international security issues. However, these new achievements have not been linked to the controversial issue itself. It seems that when experiencing difficulties in one field, in order to compensate for its shortcomings, the EU tends to advance cooperation in a related foreign policy area where progress is still feasible.44 Strömvik concludes that: ‘the EU’s collective foreign policy is successively pushed to new levels when some or all EU members disagree with the US (p.123) on issues related to international security management, and the new levels are subsequently locked in by new or improved institutional agreements.’45

Competition with the USA for global power in the security sphere thus seems to be a major driving force for the EU. The EU’s organisation has grown stronger out of every crisis, deepening and widening cooperation in the security sphere, and expanding its institutional structure. Even after 11 September, when the EU was in a way bypassed by the USA’s unilateral handling of the war in Afghanistan, it was strengthened as an actor and it improved its relations with Russia.

Howorth even argues that the differences between British ‘Atlanticism’, French ‘exceptionalism’ and German ‘pacifism’ have faded, turning into ‘a common acceptance of integrated European interventionism, based not solely on the classical stakes of national interest, but also on far more idealistic motivations such as humanitarianism and ethics’.46 This study does not wholly support such a suggestion. Differences have diminished somewhat in the sense that German ‘pacifism’ is now negotiable, the French and British are more firmly committed to the common European integration project, and all three proclaim adherence to intervention on the basis of humanitarianism and ethics.

Hence, the major problem is not a lack of will on the part of the major member states to maintain the EU as a central player in European security, but that they do not agree on in which direction the EU should develop. There are substantial differences of emphasis between the three states, made obvious with utmost clarity by their inability to face the Iraq war united. The case studies confirm strong ongoing differences between the United Kingdom, on the one hand, and Germany and France, on the other.

A pessimist would conclude that the EU’s zeal for reform after every crisis or disagreement between the member states that springs from diverging norms does not contribute to finding a solution to the origins of the dispute. In this interpretation, the new initiatives are most of all techniques for diverting attention – both the member states’ and the external world’s – from the EU’s weaknesses in the area of security policy. When confronted with shortcomings in one area, the EU tends to highlight its successes in other areas. By focusing on the implementation of institutional reform, and on new tasks and challenges – such as launching new, groundbreaking military missions – differences are partly concealed.

This method provides officials with the opportunity to continue framing crises as ‘wake-up calls’, and then boldly to envisage new ways forward. The problem is that there are few indications that the wake-up calls result in a process that will in the end resolve the basic differences. The EU instead appears merely to direct the actors’ attention towards a new kind of goal, around which they can unite. Hence, the actors become occupied with new processes and new tasks, and avoid engaging in an open discussion about (p.124) their basic divergences in the security sphere. During the Iraq crisis, the German Foreign Minister, Joshka Fischer, acknowledged the shortage of honest attempts to converge, warning that the EU member states had not yet united around which world order to promote, and must engage in a discussion of whether it should be cooperative and multilateral, or unilateral.

The rejection of the draft constitutional treaty in the French and Dutch referendums in 2005 signifies another halt to major reforms in the security area, such as the appointment of a foreign minister representing both the Council and the Commission with a Joint External Service, and the agreement of a solidarity clause. These kinds of reforms are crucial if the EU is to function as an effective actor in the security sphere, since it cannot rely on accord among the member states in the face of concrete and controversial security issues. If a new EU constitution had been agreed, the EU might have acquired new tools that could have facilitated the handling of critical situations, similar to the EU’s internal divergences over Iraq, in the future.

However, the next time the EU faces a similar crisis, it will most probably become paralysed once again. As long as the member states officially disagree, it will be extremely difficult for the EU to express a consistent, independent line of argument. In this interpretation, the series of ‘wake-up calls’ from Kosovo onwards make the EU appear as a ‘bigger’ and more comprehensive actor in the international arena because of its institutional development and practical achievements in terms of missions, but not as a more cohesive or strategically operative actor. While the EU’s powers increase, it is somewhat unclear how these powers could or should be used. The EU remains a vehicle in the hands of its most influential member states, and it will be steered by the outcome of disputes arising from differences pertaining to fundamental issues in the security sphere.

In the periods between acute crises, these tensions might not be very visible, and they need not necessarily hinder effective actorness. As long as the EU has the financial means, the EU can promote both democracy and human rights, it can ‘harness globalisation’ and target terrorists and proliferators of weapons of mass destruction. In times of sudden crisis, however, such as the Iraq war – where basic interests and values pertaining to sovereignty, the nature of alliances, or basic norms are at stake – the EU risks becoming trapped between the security logics of its major member states. Clashing logics of security among member states will inevitably hamper its activism from time to time.

Yet, in the author’s analysis, the implications of the EU’s relatively weak actorness for its overall aims in international affairs are not all negative – there can be positive implications as well. Traditional great powers, such as Russia and China and to some extent the USA, appear to be opposed to the EU’s further development into a strong, influential, ‘ethical power’ in world affairs.47 An EU with a less pronounced profile, emerging from its nature as (p.125) a multifaceted, divided actor, would probably seem less threatening, or less troublesome, to many traditional states than a powerful actor with far-reaching moral ideals and a capacity to act on them. Indirectly, a ‘weaker’ EU, with fewer high-flying and unambiguous ambitions, could serve to minimise conflicts with Russia, China and the USA. This might in turn favour the incremental growth of a cooperative and largely multilateral international system, which would clearly be in line with what is perhaps the EU’s most central aim in the security sphere.

Notes

(1) For example, in 1947 George Kennan accused the Soviet leadership of totalitarian rule and expansionism. Kennan, G., ‘The sources of Soviet conduct’, Foreign Affairs 25 (1947). In the same year, the leading Soviet ideologist Andrei Zhdanov accused the USA of waging an anti-democratic policy, depriving European countries of their independence, and so on. Zhdanov, A., ‘Soviet policy and world politics’, The International Situation (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1947).

(2) Hedetoft, U., Signs of Nations (Aldershot: Dartmouth Publishing Company, 1995), p. 206

(3) Cook, R., ‘Speech on the government’s ethical foreign policy’, 12 May 1997

(4) Ibid

(5) British Labour Party, The Labour Party Manifesto 2005: Britain Forward not Back (London: Labour Party)

(6) Howorth, J., ‘Discourse, ideas and epistemic communities in European security and defence policy’, West European Politics 27:2 (2004), pp. 211–234; Berger, T., ‘Norms, identity, and national security in Germany and Japan’, in P. Katzenstein (ed.), The Culture of National Security (New York, Columbia University Press, 1996).

(7) Hedetoft (note 2), pp. 207–208.

(8) Sozialdemokratischen Partei Deutschlands/Bündnis 90 / Die Grunen 1998, ‘Aufbruch und Erneuerung Deutschlands Weg ins 21’, Jahrhundert. Koalitionsvereinbarung zwischen (von 1998).

(9) Duke, S., et al., ‘The major European allies: France, Germany and the United Kingdom’, in A. Schnabel and R. Thakur (eds), Kosovo and the Challenge of Humanitarian Intervention: Selective Indignation, Collective Action, and International Citizenship (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2000), pp. 133–134

(10) Ibid., p. 133–134; Takle, M., ‘Towards a normalisation of German security and defence policy: German participation in international military operations’, ARENA Working Papers 2:10 (2002).

(11) Eilders, C. and Lüter, A., ‘Germany at war: Competing framing strategies in German public discourse’, European Journal of Communication 15:3 (2000),pp. 415–428

(12) Dempsey, J., ‘Merkel under fire over Congo mission’, International Herald Tribune (20 March 2006)

(13) Hellman, M., (2006) Televisual Representations of France and the United Kingdom Under Globalization (Stockholm: Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, 1995)

(14) The British recognised the need for joint action in view of the terrorist threat, but did not exhibit strong support for multilateralism per se. In the British argument, the (p.126) essential issue was not the method or philosophy, but that the threat was dealt with resolutely.

(15) Blair, T., ‘Doctrine of the international community’, Speech at the Economic Club, Chicago, 23 April 1999

(16) Ibid

(17) European Commission, EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

(18) Council of the European Union, ‘A secure Europe in a better world: The European security strategy’, 12 December 2003, pp. 1, 16.

(19) Ferrero-Waldner, B., ‘Address to the European Parliament’, 5 October 2004.

(20) Ferrero-Waldner, B., ‘The EU’s role in protecting Europe’s security’, Conference on Protecting Europe: Policies for enhancing security in the European Union, 30 May 2006.

(21) Communication from the Commission, ‘Wider Europe’.

(22) Dannreuter, R., European Union Foreign and Security Policy: Towards a Neighbourhood Strategy (London: Routledge, 2004)

(23) Ferrero-Waldner, B., ‘Address to the European Parliament’, 5 October 2004, ‘The EU in the World’, Speech at a European Policy Centre breakfast briefing, 2 February 2006, ‘The EU’s role in protecting Europe’s security’, Conference on Protecting Europe: Policies for enhancing security in the European Union, 30 May 2006.

(24) Ferrero-Waldner, B., ‘The EU in the World’, Speech at a European Policy Centre breakfast briefing, 2 February 2006, ‘The EU’s role in protecting Europe’s security’, Conference on Protecting Europe: Policies for enhancing security in the European Union, 30 May 2006. The European Security Strategy calls for ‘a better distribution of the benefits of globalisation’.

(25) Council of the European Union, ‘Counter-terrorism strategy’, 30 November 2005, pp. 15–16.

(26) The European Security Strategy calls for ‘Stronger diplomatic capability: we need a system that combines the resources of Member States with those of EU institutions. Dealing with problems that are more distant and more foreign requires better understanding and communication’, Council of the European Union (note 18),p. 12.

(27) Council of the European Union (note 18), p. 10.

(28) ‘The EU will promote efforts in the UN to develop a global strategy for combating terrorism. Continuing to make counter-terrorism a high priority in dialogue with key partner countries, including the USA, will also be a core part of the European approach’, Council of the European Union (note 25).

(29) Ferrero-Waldner, B., ‘The EU in the World’, Speech at a European Policy Centre breakfast briefing, 2 February 2006.

(30) European Commission, ‘Communication from the Commission to the European Council of June 2006: Europe in the world – Some practical proposals for greater coherence, effectiveness and visibility’, 8 June 2006, COM (2006) 278 final.

(31) Council of the European Union (note 18), p. 12.

(32) The Strategic commitment reads ‘To combat terrorism globally while respecting human rights, and make Europe safer, allowing its citizens to live in an area of freedom, security and justice’, Council of the European Union (note 25).

(33) Ferrero-Waldner, B., ‘Address to the European Parliament’, 5 October 2004.

(34) Ferrero-Waldner, B., ‘The EU in the World’, Speech at a European Policy Centre breakfast briefing, 2 February 2006.

(35) Bretherton C. (p.127) and Vogler, J., The European Union as a Global Actor (London: Routledge, 2006), Chapter 5

(36) Lucarelli, S. and Manners, I. (eds), Values and Principles in European Union Foreign Policy (London: Routledge, 2006), p. 204

(37) European Commission (note 30).

(38) Council of the European Union (note 18), p. 12.

(39) Council of the European Union (note 18), p. 3.

(40) A Battle Group is a battalion-sized force consisting of 1500 troops.

(41) Council of the European Union, ’Council Joint Action 2004/570/CFSP of 12 July 2004 on the European Union military operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina’.

(42) Solana, J., ‘Statement welcoming launch of Aceh Monitoring Mission’, Brussels, 15 September 2005.

(43) Solana, J., ‘Intervention at the inaugural session of the 2002 conference of ambassadors’, Palazzo della Farnesina, Rome’, 24 July 2002

(44) Strömvik, M., To Act as a Union: Explaining the Development of the EU's Collective Foreign Policy (Lund: Department of Political Science, 2005), p.180

(45) Ibid

(46) Howorth (note 6), p. 213.

(47) Wagnsson, C., ‘The EU as strategic actor, “re-actor” or passive pole’, in Jan Hallenberg and Kjell Engelbrekt (eds), European Union and Strategy:An Emerging Actor(London: Routledge, 2007)

Notes:

(1) For example, in 1947 George Kennan accused the Soviet leadership of totalitarian rule and expansionism. Kennan, G., ‘The sources of Soviet conduct’, Foreign Affairs 25 (1947). In the same year, the leading Soviet ideologist Andrei Zhdanov accused the USA of waging an anti-democratic policy, depriving European countries of their independence, and so on. Zhdanov, A., ‘Soviet policy and world politics’, The International Situation (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1947).

(2) Hedetoft, U., Signs of Nations (Aldershot: Dartmouth Publishing Company, 1995), p. 206

(3) Cook, R., ‘Speech on the government’s ethical foreign policy’, 12 May 1997

(4) Ibid

(5) British Labour Party, The Labour Party Manifesto 2005: Britain Forward not Back (London: Labour Party)

(6) Howorth, J., ‘Discourse, ideas and epistemic communities in European security and defence policy’, West European Politics 27:2 (2004), pp. 211–234; Berger, T., ‘Norms, identity, and national security in Germany and Japan’, in P. Katzenstein (ed.), The Culture of National Security (New York, Columbia University Press, 1996).

(7) Hedetoft (note 2), pp. 207–208.

(8) Sozialdemokratischen Partei Deutschlands/Bündnis 90 / Die Grunen 1998, ‘Aufbruch und Erneuerung Deutschlands Weg ins 21’, Jahrhundert. Koalitionsvereinbarung zwischen (von 1998).

(9) Duke, S., et al., ‘The major European allies: France, Germany and the United Kingdom’, in A. Schnabel and R. Thakur (eds), Kosovo and the Challenge of Humanitarian Intervention: Selective Indignation, Collective Action, and International Citizenship (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2000), pp. 133–134

(10) Ibid., p. 133–134; Takle, M., ‘Towards a normalisation of German security and defence policy: German participation in international military operations’, ARENA Working Papers 2:10 (2002).

(11) Eilders, C. and Lüter, A., ‘Germany at war: Competing framing strategies in German public discourse’, European Journal of Communication 15:3 (2000),pp. 415–428

(12) Dempsey, J., ‘Merkel under fire over Congo mission’, International Herald Tribune (20 March 2006)

(13) Hellman, M., (2006) Televisual Representations of France and the United Kingdom Under Globalization (Stockholm: Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, 1995)

(14) The British recognised the need for joint action in view of the terrorist threat, but did not exhibit strong support for multilateralism per se. In the British argument, the (p.126) essential issue was not the method or philosophy, but that the threat was dealt with resolutely.

(15) Blair, T., ‘Doctrine of the international community’, Speech at the Economic Club, Chicago, 23 April 1999

(16) Ibid

(17) European Commission, EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

(18) Council of the European Union, ‘A secure Europe in a better world: The European security strategy’, 12 December 2003, pp. 1, 16.

(19) Ferrero-Waldner, B., ‘Address to the European Parliament’, 5 October 2004.

(20) Ferrero-Waldner, B., ‘The EU’s role in protecting Europe’s security’, Conference on Protecting Europe: Policies for enhancing security in the European Union, 30 May 2006.

(21) Communication from the Commission, ‘Wider Europe’.

(22) Dannreuter, R., European Union Foreign and Security Policy: Towards a Neighbourhood Strategy (London: Routledge, 2004)

(23) Ferrero-Waldner, B., ‘Address to the European Parliament’, 5 October 2004, ‘The EU in the World’, Speech at a European Policy Centre breakfast briefing, 2 February 2006, ‘The EU’s role in protecting Europe’s security’, Conference on Protecting Europe: Policies for enhancing security in the European Union, 30 May 2006.

(24) Ferrero-Waldner, B., ‘The EU in the World’, Speech at a European Policy Centre breakfast briefing, 2 February 2006, ‘The EU’s role in protecting Europe’s security’, Conference on Protecting Europe: Policies for enhancing security in the European Union, 30 May 2006. The European Security Strategy calls for ‘a better distribution of the benefits of globalisation’.

(25) Council of the European Union, ‘Counter-terrorism strategy’, 30 November 2005, pp. 15–16.

(26) The European Security Strategy calls for ‘Stronger diplomatic capability: we need a system that combines the resources of Member States with those of EU institutions. Dealing with problems that are more distant and more foreign requires better understanding and communication’, Council of the European Union (note 18),p. 12.

(27) Council of the European Union (note 18), p. 10.

(28) ‘The EU will promote efforts in the UN to develop a global strategy for combating terrorism. Continuing to make counter-terrorism a high priority in dialogue with key partner countries, including the USA, will also be a core part of the European approach’, Council of the European Union (note 25).

(29) Ferrero-Waldner, B., ‘The EU in the World’, Speech at a European Policy Centre breakfast briefing, 2 February 2006.

(30) European Commission, ‘Communication from the Commission to the European Council of June 2006: Europe in the world – Some practical proposals for greater coherence, effectiveness and visibility’, 8 June 2006, COM (2006) 278 final.

(31) Council of the European Union (note 18), p. 12.

(32) The Strategic commitment reads ‘To combat terrorism globally while respecting human rights, and make Europe safer, allowing its citizens to live in an area of freedom, security and justice’, Council of the European Union (note 25).

(33) Ferrero-Waldner, B., ‘Address to the European Parliament’, 5 October 2004.

(34) Ferrero-Waldner, B., ‘The EU in the World’, Speech at a European Policy Centre breakfast briefing, 2 February 2006.

(35) Bretherton C. (p.127) and Vogler, J., The European Union as a Global Actor (London: Routledge, 2006), Chapter 5

(36) Lucarelli, S. and Manners, I. (eds), Values and Principles in European Union Foreign Policy (London: Routledge, 2006), p. 204

(37) European Commission (note 30).

(38) Council of the European Union (note 18), p. 12.

(39) Council of the European Union (note 18), p. 3.

(40) A Battle Group is a battalion-sized force consisting of 1500 troops.

(41) Council of the European Union, ’Council Joint Action 2004/570/CFSP of 12 July 2004 on the European Union military operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina’.

(42) Solana, J., ‘Statement welcoming launch of Aceh Monitoring Mission’, Brussels, 15 September 2005.

(43) Solana, J., ‘Intervention at the inaugural session of the 2002 conference of ambassadors’, Palazzo della Farnesina, Rome’, 24 July 2002

(44) Strömvik, M., To Act as a Union: Explaining the Development of the EU's Collective Foreign Policy (Lund: Department of Political Science, 2005), p.180

(45) Ibid

(46) Howorth (note 6), p. 213.

(47) Wagnsson, C., ‘The EU as strategic actor, “re-actor” or passive pole’, in Jan Hallenberg and Kjell Engelbrekt (eds), European Union and Strategy:An Emerging Actor(London: Routledge, 2007)