The December 2013 European Council summit is due to debate the EU’s security and defence policy. Many expect the summit to give renewed impetus to European defence, as economic austerity has had a severe impact on the defence budgets and military capabilities of EU Member States (MS).
Moreover, the EU’s future ability to protect its interests and act as a security provider may be affected by a range of factors. These include an unpredictable strategic environment, the announced US “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific region, and the lack of investment in defence.
The importance of greater cooperation in further developing the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), in closing capability gaps and in strengthening the European defence industry is increasingly underlined in both academic and official circles. Strengthening CSDP constitutes the object of recent EU proposals – a Commission communication and a report from the High Representative (HR/VP). It has also been a recurrent demand from the United States (US) and NATO, which expect Europeans to assume a bigger share of the security burden.
However, MS are still reluctant to cooperate fully in an area they consider clearly a matter of national sovereignty.