The EU as a global peace actor? A challenge between EU conflict management and national paths.
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This paper raises the question of a policy for conflict in the making for the EU: the European Defense and Security Policy. After a brief presentation of our analytical method, we structure the paper in three axes. First, where does CSDP come from and what are its main objectives? Then, what is European specificity in developing specific crisis management tools, and how do these tools work and socialize the diplomatic and politico-military actors involved? Last but not least, how does CSDP interplay between Brussels and the member states? What does CSDP change for them, and what are its obvious and more pregnant limits up to now? CSDP constitutes a way for the Europeans to exit the world order of the Cold War and aims at providing the EU with a median way of crisis and conflict management between the approaches developed by traditional international organizations as NATO, the UNO or the OSCE. CSDP incarnates also the commitment of the three leading countries in defense and security matters in Europe–France, Great Britain and Germany- to overcome the shock of the Balkans crisis where Europe had been characterized by its division and inability to act effectively to solve the conflict. Therefore the member states had built specific organs, tools and procedures in the framework of CSDP. The originality and added value of the EU with its crisis management policy as the heart of CSDP is to propose an integrated approach combining military and civilian instruments. This however raises several fundamental questions. CSDP still lacks cross-pillar coherence, particularly regarding the financing of CSDP operations. This also raises the question of the interplay between Brussels and the member states: deploying troops is still a national sovereign decision and EU states keep on analyzing situations in the light of their national security interest. Yet CSDP combined with the new trends in military socialization since the 80’s constitute a strong incentive to reform both the armies and military education. Thus CSDP seems to be a hopeful way of developing a European crisis management policy putting into light the assets of the EU in this area.
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