26 May, Saturday

Defense has been the field in which EU member states have most protected their national sovereignty - European expert-EXCLUSIVE


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Eurasia Diary conducted interview with Rosa Balfor, expert on European studies regarding the common security and defense unity.

Картинки по запросу Rosa Balfour

Eurasia Diary: From your opinion, what is the contribution of the establishment of the European Defense Unity to common security in Europe?

Rosa Balfour: The political evolution in Europe’s security and defense debate is more important than the concrete impact on Europe’s defense capabilities. Defense has been the field in which EU member states have most protected their national sovereignty, so it has been exceedingly difficult to make progress on cooperation. The past year has seen more progress than during the past decade. This does not make Europe suddenly capable of defending itself; it does send a strong political message about the commitment of European member states to supporting each other on defense and security.

Eurasia Diary: How can you assess the role of European institutions-European Council, Commission and parliament in the reinforcement of security and defense in Europe?

Rosa Balfour: Defense remains intergovernmental; hence the prime agency is with the member states and national institutions. However, by putting together a financial package to support research and cooperation in the defense industry sector, the Commission provides key incentives for member states to cooperate. This gives it a role in the discussion which otherwise it would not have.

Eurasia Diary: From point of your view, why the Global Strategy for European Union’s Foreign and  Security is necessary for the security and defense of the European Union?

Rosa Balfour: The EU Global Strategy has been one of a number of initiatives which all have contributed to pushing this debate forward. The big shift occurred in Germany prior to the Brexit vote, when Berlin decided to increase its defense spending in the context of NATO requirements and when it decided to support France in its counter-terrorism efforts in the Sahel. Once the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, France and Germany immediately seized the opportunity to affirm a commitment in order to strengthening cooperation on security and defense. The EU Global Strategy provided a plan on how to move forward.

Eurasia Diary; How can you estimate the role of Bratislava Declaration in the development of European defense and security unity?

Rosa Balfour: The Bratislava Declaration reflected developments which were already taking place, as explained in answer 3. It was an affirmation of EU unity at 27 rather than a game changer.



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