Experts debate European safety at Regent's University London

16 December 2016

The Senior European Experts Group (SEE) and Institute of Contemporary European Studies (iCES) jointly launched the 'EU's New Global Security Strategy' background paper at Regent's University London, whilst discussing the external challenges facing Europe and internal security threats.

Speaking at the launch, Lord David Hannay – a cross bench member of the House of Lords and former Head of the Middle East Department of the Foreign Office explained:

"The EU is currently bowed down, whether from lack of stability in the Eurozone, migration or BREXIT, and now from the election of an American president who poses challenges to things the Europeans have taken for granted for decades. 

"It is wise to recognise the huge shift away from a European Union that has given space to idealism, and is now having to give way to realism.

"An important new element to emerge is the disappearance of the distinction between internal and external security policy. 

"Who seriously believes that Europe can effectively combat terrorism without both assertive action against organisations such as IS and Al Qaeda, and at the same time strengthening intelligence and police cooperation?"

Lord Hannay was joined by Dame Mariot Leslie, the UK’s permanent representative to NATO from 2010 to 2014. Referring to the EU's new global security strategy, she commented:

"Defence is so little understood in this country that reading this strategy will do no one any harm. It speaks of the EU having intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, which only exist within NATO at present.

"It is hard to envisage front page headlines that say 'there are going to be lots of committees studying spreadsheets,' but anyone who has been involved in defence planning knows it is those processes, and the culture that goes with them, that engenders military reform."

Joining the expert panel was Professor Michael Clarke, past Director General of the Royal United Services Institute from 2007 to 2015, and a specialist adviser to the House of Commons Defence Committee. He added:

"Power is a strange concept in international relations and I think we are living through a decade of changing power currency. The United States is a power projector, while the EU has magnetism. 

"Hard power is not just military strength, it could be economic sanctions that try to change behaviour, while soft power includes persuasion and attraction. 

"It seems that hard power has made a tremendous comeback. Russia used this to change facts on the ground in Crimea. The various parties in Syria think they have more to gain by fighting than coming to the table. Trump take a Nixonian view of the world and try to use the sheer power of the US to make big deals.

"This is a wonderful time to be an analyst. It's a lousy time to be a policy-maker."

In concluding their analysis of the EU's new global security strategy the experts' background paper finds clear evidence of the political leadership and financial resources needed to make a reality of the bold vision it has adopted.


›› All news

 

Last updated: 19 December 2016