Thursday, 22 November 2007

New European Security Strategy

The European Council adopted the first holistic foreign policy strategy for the European Union in December 2003. “A Secure Europe in a Better World – the European Security Strategy” (EES) has become the basic document for the ambitions of the EU to become a global player; shortly, to export security to avoid importing insecurity.

The EU leaders and elites are not the only ones to profess the aims of peace and security; there is a demand from the citizens of the European Union for the EU to do more.

Sven Biscop of the Egmont Institute has analysed the European Security Strategy and the delivery of its aims. Despite fuzziness in parts, the EES has become a benchmark and a reference framework for the EU’s foreign, security and defence policy.

According to Biscop, Europe has the potential to be a global power. The adoption of the EES has supported the consolidation of the EU’s international actorness. The EES could yield more benefits by a more institutionalised strategic debate and the evaluation of EU policy. The main question is not whether the EES should be rewritten or not. The question is rather whether the EU is effectively implementing it.

Still, rewriting, or rather an EES 2.0, is on the wall. The work has already started.

Carl Bildt, the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, told a conference in Stockholm:

“The European Security Strategy that was adopted then [late 2003] broke new ground, and there is little doubt that it has stood the test of time and served us well. But it was never meant to be just a stone tablet preserved for eternity, but rather a living document that would evolve and develop as the European Union developed and as its strategic environment and the challenges associated with it evolved. Much has happened since 2003.”

The process of writing a new European Security Strategy offers the European Union an opportunity to assess the new strategic challenges for the EU’s foreign and security policy, to fill in the gaps in the present EES, to try to reach new levels of consistency and coherence and to analyse the present shortcomings of delivery.

Given the fundamental interests at stake, the citizens of the European Union are entitled to real progress towards a more secure Europe in a better world.

Ralf Grahn


A Secure Europe in a Better World – the European Security Strategy; Brussels, 12 December 2003;

Sven Biscop: The ABC of European Union Strategy: Ambition, Benchmark, Culture; Egmont Paper 16; Brussels, October 2007;

Carl Bildt: Speech at the Conference for Global Foreign and Security Policy Challenges and the European Union in Stockholm 8-9 November, 2007;