A new step towards a common European defence

2017-05-10, by José Enrique de Ayala Marin, from Fundación Alternativas

EU security has reached a critical point unparalleled since the end of the cold war. The threat of Jihadism, instability in Eastern Europe, failing states and human
trafficking are problems it must deal with at a moment at which the United States is seeking to play a lesser role in European defence. Although as many as 34 civilian and military operations have been conducted during the 16 years in which the CSDP has been active, this instrument is far from being sufficient to meet the EU's security requirements.

Executive Summary:

EU’s  security has reached a critical point unparalleled since the end of the cold war. The threat of Jihadism, instability in Eastern Europe, failing states and human trafficking are problems,  which must be dealt with when the United States is seeking to play a lesser role in European defense. Although as many as 34 civilian and military operations have been conducted during the 16 years in which the CSDP has been active, this instrument is far from being sufficient to meet the EU's security requirements.

Of the various areas in which the CSDP must now be strengthened – which range from strategy definition, the development of common capacities to financing, as well as the force structure, the most important is Command and Control, a point that has been resolved at the political-strategic level, but remains pending at the military-strategic level due to the lack of a permanent European operational headquarters (OHQ).

The problem can only be resolved by creating a permanent, joint, combined, modular and sustainable European Operational Headquarters (EOHQ) with the planning, command, control and coordination capacities being able to carry out this responsibilities in close coordination, with the commander of civilian operations and the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability.

An EOHQ would give the CSDP the visibility and rapid response capability, and  it must work effectively in an increasingly unstable environment which heightened security measures and the launch of new operations is inevitable. Its establishment would have a multiple effects in that it would lead to other initiatives that would pave the way for the expansion of the CSDP – a crucial step towards the common European defense envisioned in EU Treaties that should be a key EU objective.

Promoting the creation of this structure and participating in its realization should be one of the priorities of those Member States, including Spain, that are in favor of strengthening the CSDP as part of a process of political convergence, such a measure is considered to be the most appropriate, urgent and effective action to afford European citizens a higher level of security, and a collective contribution towards the achievement of the paramount goal of peace.

This paper has been granted authorization to use and reproduce by Fundación Alternativas. For academic purposes only. Executive summary is based on the paper.

Copyright © Fundación Alternativas and the Spanish Ministry of Defence© José Enrique de Ayala Marín

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