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Security and Defence

 

The “security” theme has assumed a central role in the European agenda, in its multiple dimensions, far beyond that, albeit crucial, of military defence. Over the last few years, the CSF, in collaboration with the IAI, has provided significant insight into the costs of a “non-Europe” in the defence field. Today the focus will shift towards the new EU strategic framework and the relaunch of the integration process in the field of security, especially after the presentation, last June, of the new Global Strategy for the European Union by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini.

It is evident today the extent to which crisis and wars in the areas neighbouring Europe have made security policy a priority, for Italy above all with respect to the southern Mediterranean. Its priority has emerged within a context where, as stated above, the distinction between “internal” and “external” is blurred, starting from the impact of migration, alongside other changes that require the more active and autonomous role of Europeans: from the scaling down of the US’s commitment in Europe, to the need to balance containment, dialogue and, ultimately, cooperation with Russia, to the push towards a reduction in domestic waste and duplication in the military sector in times of economic crisis.

In 2017 the CSF aims to explore the issues of the EU’s joint military capabilities, especially in light of the proposals made by the Italian government (a sort of “Schengen for defence”, even outside the Treaties) as well as the French and German government. Many areas of possible collaboration can be identified, starting from the creation of a unified command primarily for EU military and civilian missions, the strengthening of Battlegroups, joint incentives and programmes for an effective European defence industry (also related to the theme of “European federal industry”). The future exit of the UK, which, on the one hand, deprives the EU of considerable military capacity whereas, on the other hand, it removes an obstacle to integration processes in this field.

At the institutional level, the features and possible application forms of the “Permanent Structured Cooperation” should be further explored. It allows – under the Treaties in force – a group of states, which so wish and have the means to do so, to move forward in the integration process up to laying the foundations of a future common defence, i.e. a “Defence Union”. Meanwhile, the institutional and operational procedures through which the EU will address the problem of the European common borders should be monitored, starting from the functioning of the new Border and Coast Guard Agency (based in Bulgaria).