CSDP defence capabilities development

10-01-2020

For several decades, European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Member States have worked closely to coordinate and, in some cases, jointly develop their military capabilities. Both NATO and the EU ask Member States to provide military capabilities to meet agreed force requirements. European states also cooperate increasingly closely over ways to increase efficiency and improve interoperability. Yet both EU and NATO force requirements suffer from longstanding capability shortfalls. Neither modest growth in defence spending nor deeper cooperation have yet been sufficient to fill these gaps. Spurred on, however, by the impact of the 2008 financial crisis and the recent deterioration in security in the east and to the south of Europe, EU Member States have sought to re-invigorate their approach to collaborating on the development of defence capabilities. They have overhauled existing measures and introduced new initiatives, notably the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) and Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). While it is too soon to judge the effectiveness of these initiatives, they do significantly extend the scope for action in this field. Success, however, will only be assured if EU Member States support the new ‘top-down’ initiatives while also delivering on their own ‘bottom-up’ commitments to funding and deeper levels of cooperation.

For several decades, European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Member States have worked closely to coordinate and, in some cases, jointly develop their military capabilities. Both NATO and the EU ask Member States to provide military capabilities to meet agreed force requirements. European states also cooperate increasingly closely over ways to increase efficiency and improve interoperability. Yet both EU and NATO force requirements suffer from longstanding capability shortfalls. Neither modest growth in defence spending nor deeper cooperation have yet been sufficient to fill these gaps. Spurred on, however, by the impact of the 2008 financial crisis and the recent deterioration in security in the east and to the south of Europe, EU Member States have sought to re-invigorate their approach to collaborating on the development of defence capabilities. They have overhauled existing measures and introduced new initiatives, notably the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) and Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). While it is too soon to judge the effectiveness of these initiatives, they do significantly extend the scope for action in this field. Success, however, will only be assured if EU Member States support the new ‘top-down’ initiatives while also delivering on their own ‘bottom-up’ commitments to funding and deeper levels of cooperation.

Extern avdelning

Dr Ben Jones, Teaching Fellow in European Foreign Policy, King’s College London, UK