More Union in European Defence

The “More Union in European Defence” CEPS Task Force report ‘roadshow’ is drawing to a close. Following the avant-première at the 2015 CEPS Ideas Lab at the end of February, the report was launched in Riga at the 6th Interparliamentary Conference on Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). In the eight intervening months, the report has been presented by different Task Force members, including the chairman Javier Solana, in Brussels, London, Madrid, Helsinki, Rome, Reykjavik, Washington, Paris, Berlin, Alpbach, Tallinn, Warsaw, Oslo, Amsterdam and Prague. Plans are being made to re-visit Paris. The report has so far received most traction in Germany, where both the Ministry of Defence and the Bundestag are building upon some of the Task Force’s recommendations. Many of the ideas contained in this report also resonated in Michel Barnier’s paper “In Defence of Europe”, published in June by the European Political Strategy Centre, the European Commission’s in-house think tank. During its annual conference in Madrid in October, the European People’s Party also embraced many of the Task Force’s recommendations. The ‘swing’ states in terms of permanently structured defence cooperation in the EU are France (because of its tradition of cooperation with the UK on European defence) and Poland (which prefers to rely on the hard power projected through NATO). The US is supportive of the idea, as indirectly it would also strengthen the European pillar within NATO.