"When we get off the train, he limped towards the stairs. For us this is normal, a part of our lives that we have always lived with as far back as I can remember. Unable to speak because a cramp has formed, he says, just above a murmur, that he can make it up the stairs on his own. So I stand back and watch him struggle up the stairs."

2. Eastern Europe seems to struggle

in Conflicts 2019 · EN · Europe 2019 · NATO 2019 · Skepticism 2019 109 views / 5 comments
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   Europe  Germany

GEOMETR.IT  esjnews.com

* Obstacles in strengthening Transatlantic security – its asymmetrical nature, European weakness and fragmentation.

There is no need to rehash the long list of developments that have undermined European security in the last few years and led to the expansion of European integration into this sensitive area. What is, however, needed is a constant reevaluation of the direction the European foreign and security policy takes.

To offset this trend, national industrial capacities ought to be incorporated into the EU-wide industrial base to survive. National demand on its own won’t be sufficient to resurrect former Warsaw Pact capacities. EU acquisition synchronization would arguably reduce costs, ensure interoperability and help to substitute old Soviet equipment, through long-term sustainable investment, into the European single market.

On the industrial level, this can mean an integration of small SMEs into EU-wide supply chains and a resurrection of specific dual-use industrial, scientific and research capacities to justify growth in defense and research and development (R&D) spending.

This process, however, requires policy planning. Beyond terrorist attacks and migration (the main security concerns of European citizens in the last few years), EU defense ambitions continue to be formed mainly by France and thus limited to crisis management (meaning North Africa). Eastern Europe should be able to use EU defense initiatives to contribute to NATO’s deterrence policy on the Eastern Flank. An effective division of such strategic tasks requires bringing NATO and the EU together.


NATO remains the main guarantor of European security, ensuring collective defense of member states in the case of a “big war”. The ambitions of EU defense cooperation are fundamentally different from those of the Alliance. Even the last EU initiatives stress crisis management, conflict resolution, peacekeeping missions and overall security outside of Europe. Division of labor and effective synchronization between the EU and NATO are thus problematic.

“Different systemic approaches to defense planning engrained in each organization remain an issue.” 

  • A key question remains as to what type of capabilities their defense planning processes will produce. Considering their different political-military goals, any synchronization and coordination of the timing and outcomes of the two respective planning processes would be problematic.
  • Questions also hang over the ambition of PESCO to develop capacities for the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) while ensuring dual deployability for both the EU and NATO.
  • For small and medium-sized countries, such synchronization can be highly complicated in a situation where the two organizations require different capabilities (crisis management in the EU vs. collective defense of NATO). The overlap between what military functions the EU and NATO aim to develop is only partial. Coordination and planning requirements for PESCO together with the big demands of the NATO Defense Planning Process (NDPP) could force understaffed and underfinanced defense ministries to choose which to honor.

Another issue is different systemic approaches to defense planning engrained in the characteristics of each organization. The US-dominant NDPP is a cyclical four-year and top-down process with a politically-decided catalog of required capabilities while the EU’s Capability Development Plan (CDP) is sequential, and consensus-based.

 The CDP is evolving into the main tool for arbitrating shot-term and long-term needs and setting up capability requirements for PESCO, EDF and CARD. Such a process is more time consuming, based as it is on a clear consensus and the motivation of each country.

While the EU reached an agreement to allow participation of third countries in PESCO, the question remains whether a PESCO-built capability involving non-NATO members can be deployed or used for NATO purposes. A reversed Berlin Plus deal of 2002, which allowed the EU to use some military structures and capacities of NATO, seems needed here.

One of the main challenges of the CDP as the lead agenda-setting tool for EU defense plans will be to balance short-term military capability requirements (with the risk being quick purchases of non-European off-the-shelf products to satisfy the needs) and long-term development of the European defense industry reflecting trends in future warfare.

 Establishing what these trends and future requirements are, will be critical in striking the balance within the EU as well as between the Union and the Alliance.

The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at:  esjnews.com



  1. Some members of the secret police remain in place. Others took advantage of the state-asset fire sale that came with the dismantling of centrally planned economies and are now quietly powerful players.

  2. Some members of the secret police remain in place. Others took advantage of the state-asset fire sale that came with the dismantling of centrally planned economies and are now quietly powerful players.

  3. Most of Central and Eastern Europe’s former Communist countries tried to purge their societies of Soviet-era secret police and informers in the aftermath of Communism’s collapse. But the closer they were to Russia, the less effective their purges were

  4. Poland screened tens of thousands of people in the early 1990s, but the process lost steam — until the nationalist Law and Justice Party came to power last year and revived it.

  5. The referendum was just the latest chapter in the mudslinging that had bedeviled Romanian politics since the country joined the European Union in January. But as chaotic as the governmental crisis there has been, it has had plenty of competition from other countries on the eastern periphery of the EU, where chaos, insults between rival political camps, and governments struggling to stay afloat seem to have become the norm.

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