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Die ständige strukturierte Zusammenarbeit der Europäischen Union – Meilenstein auf dem Weg zur Militärmacht oder Neustart der Friedensmacht EU? By Edgar Göll

Over the last twenty years, the EU has significantly raised its profile in the security and defense policy arena. But there is a mismatch between its claim to be a “global security provider” and the military capacities that this would require. Bernhard Rinke begins by explaining why the instrument of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), as provided for in the Lisbon Treaty (2009), was not activated until the end of 2017. From the peace ethics perspective, it is not so much the foreseeable improvement in military capabilities that is of interest, but rather the question of the model on which these capabilities are based. There are two conflicting options: that of the conventional world power, which averts threats and can advance its own interests due to its military strength, or the concept of the “force for peace”, which relies primarily on civilian, cooperative and rule-based conflict management, including prevention.

In the author’s view, it cannot be clearly determined which of these normative concepts the EU sees itself bound by, or whether recent developments in the field of military cooperation reflect any change in direction. The Global Strategy of 2016 does not define the EU as a purely civilian power. Instead, it emphasizes an integrated approach to conflict, while conceding that “European security and defence must become better equipped.” Nevertheless, politicians certainly regard PESCO as being a major step toward a “security and defense union.” The possibility for this to initiate a long-term shift to the role of conventional world power cannot be completely ruled out, Rinke believes. But at least the much lamented “shortcoming” of the EU – the drawn-out intergovernmental consultation and decision-making process –
is actually more of a virtue, since it serves as a kind of “protection mechanism against a conventional policy of military power.” 

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