Realism, International rder and Securit

Time to move beyond the 2016 European Union Global Strategy

Authored by: David García Cantalapiedra

The Routledge Handbook of European Security Law and Policy

Print publication date:  October  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138609990
eBook ISBN: 9780429465918
Adobe ISBN:


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The launch of the 2016 European Union Global Strategy (EUSG) was a response to the adaptation by the European Union and the European institutions themselves to the new international environment, which has changed radically since the launch of the previous European Security Strategy (EES) in the year 2003. In June 2016, the European Council received, from the HR/VP Federica Mogherini, a new strategic vision, “A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy” (often referred to as EU Global Strategy or EUGS), with a CSDP with a more defined role, opening a process for enhancing the effectiveness of and strengthening military capabilities and the European defense industry through an “implementation package”. No doubt, the process and creation of such document represented a remarkable achievement in the European integration process. However, this was happening in a less than favorable context: first, the EU was still in the wake of the 2008 Great Recession and in the midst of a refugee/immigration crisis not seen since the end of World War II; second, it was one of the terrorist’s bloodiest periods on European soil in ten years; third, the Ukraine crisis had marked European security with a dangerous conflicting dynamic since 2014, with a worsening of relations with Russia; moreover, the United States had been turning toward other more pressing interests in the Indo-Pacific and, under the Trump administration, was not so keen on the defense of the Liberal International Order; and finally, affecting the deepest core of the European integration process and its reputation, there was the decision by the United Kingdom to leave the EU. This environment has created a discouraging scenario for European integration, European security, and for the future EU’s global role. But probably the most serious long-term strategic problem that the European Union faces goes right to the core of the EU’s mission and vision: a declining ability to sustain an already embattled Multilateral Liberal International Order. According to this background, and paradoxically, the process towards a more realistic strategic review is a demanding necessity for the EU.

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