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The Libyan Operation and Europe’s Role in Defence and Security

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  • December 20, 2011

    In the medium-term, and as witnessed during the recent operation in Libya, there may not be any dramatic change regarding the impact and shape of the Common Security and Defence Policy. For now, the CSDP and NATO are still compatible because the CSDP’s initial goals are still unfulfilled; but in the future, how its relationship with NATO will evolve is uncertain. If European countries were to strongly boost their military capabilities, to the point that they fulfil the initial goals of the Saint-Malo Declaration, one may see the beginning of a new era of increased European contribution to defence and security. At the same time, this would pose new issues for its relationship with NATO and the United States in terms of sharing the burden of such responsibilities. In any case, the transatlantic relationship will also depend on the quality of the relationship between the United States and its European allies. As of today, seen as a whole in the multiplicity of its policies and within a broader understanding of the concept of security, part of a larger foreign policy framework, the European Union seems to be responding to an evolving world and has more and more means to articulate a relevant position that will enable it to be the meaningful and effective global actor that it has aspired to become. Yes, Libya led Europeans a little further, but much remains to be done to turn Europe into a single, effective and efficient actor in the field of defence.

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