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The Lisbon treaty and ESDP: transformation and integration

By Franco Algieri, Sven Biscop (2008-06-27)

In Egmont papers

In the few years since its inception following the 1998 Franco-British Saint- Malo Summit, the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) has progressed enormously, certainly when compared with the preceding fifty years. A whole new politico-military dimension has been added to the EU. ESDP is not just a paper exercise, as a dozen ongoing operations involving more than 8,000 troops and 500 civilians demonstrate. If other operations in which EU Member States participate are counted as well (national, NATO, UN and ad hoc coalitions) the number of Member States’ armed forces that is constantly deployed stands at 70 to 80,000. Yet these impressive figures also represent more or less the maximum effort that Member States can make today, in spite of the fact that together the twentyseven number nearly 2 million men and women in uniform. Europe’s armed forces thus still face an enormous problem of efficiency and effectiveness. Ten years since the beginning of ESDP is a short time to judge its impact, yet the question must be asked whether the existing mechanisms, those of NATO included, are really sufficient to achieve the required transformation. The Lisbon Treaty and its clauses on ESDP (to be renamed CSDP) offers an occasion to draw up the “state of the union” in this area. On 28-29 April 2008 Egmont – The Royal Institute for International Relations and the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES) brought together practitioners and academics from a wide range of Member States and institutions at a seminar in the Egmont Palace in Brussels, in order to assess Europe’s defence effort, including in the NATO context, and explore the Treaty’s potential to realize a quantum leap. The seminar focussed in particular on the question whether a shift could and should be made from the current national focus of Member States and bottom-up nature of ESDP to a truly integrative approach. This Egmont Paper includes a summary of the debates as well as contributions from a number of speakers. The editors hope it can serve as a useful contribution to the debate on European defence.
(Photo credit: Slugger O’Toole, Flickr)