The EU has long been considered to be a part of a broader geopolitical concept. Nevertheless, that vision may be revised in terms of several years if some of the current political processes continue to accelerate. The growing popularity of nationalist approaches, the migration crisis, and Trump’s decisions concerning NATO have already altered the way European states plan to address the issues that are already perceived by some of them as serious threats.
First, it should be mentioned that Europeans still rely on NATO more than on their own Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The policy was based on European Political Co-operation, which was established in 1970. Thus, the mixed success of its precursor still shapes the attitude to the modern policy. For instance, the Yugoslav Wars, unique terrifying conflicts which broke out on European soil three decades ago, were not stopped by European efforts. European states clearly showed reluctance to act decisively and missed the chance to solve the issues by diplomatic means. Meanwhile, NATO, a military alliance, acted immediately and organized multiple operations. Those wars showed future EU-members in Central and Eastern Europe, which of the organizations is actually in charge of the joint military operations and defense policy in general.
What is more, Eastern European states now tend to join NATO before they join the EU. This pinpoints the strong bond between the organization and the union. Despite the growing fears, Europeans still seem to be reluctant to contribute more to strengthening the EU’s military and political might. There are a few tendencies that can provide the reasoning for such stance on the issue, however, one of them can be considered the most important. According to ECFR experts, Europeans generally agree that NATO should remain the backbone of European security, and that the US should remain actively involved in Europe (Dennison et al., 2018). European states have grown accustomed to the fact that the US guarantees their security. Moreover, the EU is mostly enthusiastic about technical support and intelligence cooperation. Even American troops in Europe are not considered equally important. Arguably, countries are not eager to invest heavily in establishing their own institutions, which could provide the same high-quality services.
CFSP seeks to develop and consolidate democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms (Directorate-General for Communication (European Commission), 2019). In my opinion, Western European countries should promote the creation of a new governing body and new tools needed to achieve such goals, especially when the US casts doubts on the performance of future cooperation. Moreover, this could help to further integrate Eastern European countries, which are currently too dependent on American military help.
Dennison, S., Franke, U. E., & Zerka, P. (2018). The nightmare of the dark: The security fears that keep Europeans awake at night. European Council on Foreign Relations Security Scorecard. Web.
Directorate-General for Communication (European Commission). (2019). Foreign affairs and security policy. Directorate-General for Communication (European Commission). Web.