The past decade has hadprofound implications for European security – and consequently also for European defence policy. On the negative side of the coin, the continent has experienced the return of full-fledged geopolitical rivalry between Western powers and Russia. At the fore¬front of emerging challenges, cyber-attacks have started to demonstrate a range of different ways in which societies may become threatened and in which harm may be inflicted. New challenges have also emerged with regard to terrorism, migration, and extremism. However, on the positive side of the same coin, the sheer experience of these challenges has forced Europe – its political class and decision makers – to think more robustly about the develop¬ment of an ambitious European defence policy. This piece is part of a series of policy papers representing the GLOBSEC European Security Initiative (GESI), the overall aim of which is to propose an avenue for enhancing European defence competence, based on an increased and sustained emphasis on equipment build-up and training and exercises. Through enactment of these measures, the existing capability imbalance between the two shores of the Atlantic can be narrowed and gradually balanced over the long-term.
The purpose of this paper is to present the current state of play in terms of the EU’s defence and security capacity and initiatives. Placing these current EU security and defence arrange¬ments into dialogue with a vision for the future of the bloc, the paper proposes specific recom¬mendations for mobilizing constructive change in the near future. The first section looks at the path walked thus far in terms of achievements and shortcomings. The second section discuss¬es current plans and goals for cooperation and the final section outlines specific proposals that are required to get there expeditiously.