EU as Security Actor in a Post- Modern Risk Society - IP

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EU as Security Actor in a Post- Modern Risk Society - IP
Triantafyllos Karatrantos
University of the Aegean
Structure of the Presentation
The Modern World, Something is wrong with the State, Welcome
to the Post- Modern new World, Global Risks, The Risk Society.
The Post- Modern (Element, World, Entity)
A Distinct Power (The Civilian Power, The Normative Power)
The Cold War Period
The New Security Environment, The New Threats
EU as A Security Actor, The European Way to Security
A Comprehensive Security Strategy (The “Soft” Instruments,
Priority to Prevention, What For Vs Against Whom?, Globality
and Regionality, Strong means Savage?)
The EU as an international norms promoter rather
than a super-power is less threatening to nonEuropean states and offers a pole around which
support could be built in multilateral fora such as the
UN. This is why international law is so important.
Barcelona Report, “A human security doctrine for
The Modern World
In the modern period, social and political science worked with a
Weberian notion of power.
A world of nation-states wherein territory was carved up into
domains in which each state was sovereign.
According to this modernist world view, law involves a ‘coercive
apparatus’ the purpose of which is norm enforcement within a
community or other social group and this activity is usually
understood to be bound to a particular jurisdiction. The sovereign
nation-state with its claim to a monopoly of coercive force on its
territory is thus the quintessential modern institution (Jessop).
Modernist assumptions about the naturalness of the Hobbesean
state system made this mere common sense. The tragedy of the
Hobbesean international order of modernity was that it was, all
too often, a war of all against all.
Something is wrong with the State
Sociologists of the ‘global system’ (Sklair, 1991) and of social power in
its historical sense (Mann, 1986; 1993) have etched out a rather
different conception. It is not that sovereign states are not important
power actors; they most certainly are, and never more so than during
the modern period.
In the contemporary period these sociologists and others have argued
that it is necessary to recognize that there are important non-state
actors who wield considerable power both globally and regionally.
The former observation encourages us to think about a world order that
comprises not only states, but also large corporate enterprises, religious
movements, non-governmental organizations and a whole range of
other non-state actors who are capable of acting and organizing
Welcome to the Post- Modern new
In the postmodern period our thought has had to come to grips
with the ‘polycentricity of power’ (Stenson)
As Zygmunt Bauman puts it, The kind of society that,
retrospectively, came to be called modern, emerged out of the
discovery that human order is vulnerable, contingent and devoid
of reliable foundations. That discovery was shocking. The
response to the shock was a dream and an effort to make order
solid, obligatory and reliably founded. This response
problematized contingency as an enemy and order as a task. It
devalued and demonized the 'raw' human condition. It prompted
an incessant drive to eliminate the haphazard and annihilate the
Risk is ambivalence. Being at risk is the way of being and ruling
in the world of modernity; being at global risk is the human
condition at the beginning of the twenty-first century. (Bech)
Global Risks
The experience of global risks represents a shock for the whole of humanity. No
one predicted such a development. Perhaps Nietzsche had a kind of
premonition, when he talked of an ‘age of comparing’, in which different
cultures, ethnicities and religions could be compared and lived through side by
Without being explicit he, too, had an eye for world historical irony, that in
particular it is the self-destructiveness not only physical, but also ethical of
unleashed modernity, which could make it possible for human beings to outgrow
both the nation-state and the international order, the heaven and earth of
modernity, as it were.
The experience of global risks is an occurrence of abrupt and fully conscious
confrontation with the apparently excluded other. Global risks tear down
national boundaries and jumble together the native with the foreign.
The distant other is becoming the inclusive other not through mobility but
through risk. Everyday life is becoming cosmopolitan: human beings must find
the meaning of life in the exchange with others and no longer in the encounter
with like.
The Risk Society
Modern societies are shaped by new kinds of risks, that their
foundations are shaken by the global anticipation of global
Such perceptions of global risk are characterized by three features:
De-localization : its causes and consequences are not limited to one
geographical location or space, they are in principle omnipresent.
Incalculableness : its consequences are in principle incalculable; at
bottom it is a matter of ‘hypothetical’ risks, which, not least, are
based on science induced not-knowing and normative dissent.
Non-compensatibility: the security dream of first modernity was
based on the scientific utopia of making the unsafe consequences
and dangers of decisions ever more controllable. Not only is
prevention taking precedence over compensation, we are also trying
to anticipate and prevent risks whose existence has not been proven.
The Post- Modern Element
The third part of the international system may be called
the postmodern element. (Cooper)
Here the state system of the modern world is also
collapsing; but unlike the pre-modern it is collapsing
into greater order rather than into disorder.
The post-modern system does not rely on balance; nor
does it emphasize sovereignty or the separation of
domestic and foreign affairs.
The legitimate monopoly on force, which is the essence
of statehood, is thus subject to international – but selfimposed – constraints.
The Post- Modern World
The characteristics of the post- modern world are:
the breaking down of the distinction between domestic
and foreign affairs
mutual interference in (traditional) domestic affairs and
mutual surveillance
the rejection of force for resolving disputes and the
consequent codification of rules of behavior.
the growing irrelevance of borders
security is based on transparency, mutual openness,
interdependence and mutual vulnerability.
The Post- Modern Entity
The European Union is the highest developed postmodern entity
Modern Europe was born with the Peace of Westphalia.
Post-modern Europe begins with two treaties. The first
of these, the Treaty of Rome, was created out of the
failures of the modern system: the balance-of-power
which ceased to work and the nation state which took
nationalism to destructive extremes.
The second foundation of the post-modern era is the
Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (the CFE
Treaty): this was born of the failures, wastes and
absurdities of the Cold War.
An ‘unidentified political object’
Jacques Delors used to call the EU an ‘unidentified political object’,
and it is obviously difficult to comprehend the nature and behaviour
of such an object.
Some talk about the E.U. as if it were a state or a state in the
They point to an ever stronger European government in charge of EU
external borders and an ever growing list of functional fields,
ranging from agriculture, migration and trade to foreign policy, antiterrorism and defence.
to the EU’s ever expanding diplomatic service and its growing
military capability.
Europe’s mission in the world and discuss the ‘European security
However, the EU is nothing like a state, nor is it
likely to become one. The Union has no effective
monopoly over the legitimate means of coercion. It
has no clearly defined centre of authority. Its
territory is not fixed. Its geographical,
administrative, economic and cultural borders
It is a polity without coherent demos, a power
without identifiable purpose, a geopolitical entity
without defined territorial limits.
The European Common Foreign and Security Policy is a misnomer
because EU member states are allowed to act outside the EU
framework, and frequently do so, either within the UN framework
or via the OSCE, Council of Europe or NATO.
European foreign and security policies are often carried out by
formal or informal coalitions of the willing, by contact groups or
bilateral initiatives. Europe’s external trade relations are largely
divorced from Europe’s foreign policy.
Responsibility for external trade is shared or split between the
European Commission, the European Central Bank, the Council of
Ministers, the euro area and the member states. (Zielonka,2008)
A Powerful International Actor
Nevertheless, though the Union may not be a state, it is a very
powerful international actor.
With its 27 member states and their nearly 500 million inhabitants, a quarter of the world’s GNP and around 40 per cent of its
merchandise exports, and a comprehensive array of economic,
legal, diplomatic and military instruments at its disposal, the EU is
able to exercise significant influence in various parts of the world.
The euro is one of the world’s most important international
reserve and trade currency, giving substantial influence to the EU
around the world. European norms and regulations are
progressively being adopted across the world.
Europe is also the largest provider of developmental aid.
A Distinct Power
In the past decades, several concepts for the role of the
EU have been advanced, each of them suggesting that
the EU has a particular kind of power in the world.
The idea of a new power underwent a renaissance, and
it was joined with many scenarios and types, such as ‘a
magnetic force,’ a ‘gentle power,’ a ‘normative power,’
a ‘European superpower,’ a ‘quiet superpower,’ a
‘Kantian paradise,’ a ‘post-modern state,’ a ‘middle
power,’ a ‘neo-medieval empire’ and a ‘responsible
Among these various concepts I will focus more closely
on civilian power and normative power
The Civilian Power 1
The concept of ‘civilian power Europe’ finds its origin in the thoughts and
plans of Duchêne.
Although such a definition is very open to different interpretations and
various views on the role of Europe after the creation of the Union, the
main principle at the basis of all the debate on civilian power is that the
European shift from being a military power to an entity pursuing new
strategy could stabilize the region and allow Europe to play a new role
in the international framework.
As Duchêne states, “Europe would be the first major area of the Old
World where the age-old process of war and indirect violence could be
translated into something more in tune with the 20th century citizen’s
notion of civilized politics. In such a context, Western Europe could in a
sense be the first of the world’s civilian centers of power.”
The Civilian Power 2
According to Zielonka EU implies exercise of power through
enlargement, democracy promotion, diplomatic mediation of
conflicts, ‘export’ of commercial regulations, and
development aids.
Zielonka argues that Europe is playing a successful role in
the international arena by exercising a pure civilian power
which is the combination of three key features:
the centrality of economic power to achieve national goals
the primacy of diplomatic cooperation to solve international
and the willingness to use legally binding supranational
institutions to achieve international progress
The Normative Power 1
Ian Manners suggests a different analysis about the actual future of
the EU, which takes into consideration another means used by Europe
in the international arena, the so called ‘normative power.’
We refer to this kind of strategy when the state or a political entity
has the ability to shape the image of what is right and wrong and of
what is normal and abnormal.
Some scholars, like Manners, Nicolaidis, and Sjursen consider the
classical analysis as an inappropriate one because it concentrates
too much on empirical emphasis of EU’s institutions and policies.
The normative view, instead, focuses on the understanding of the EU’s
international identity, common principles, and willingness to
disregard Westphalian conventions.
The Normative Power 2
When Manners talks about Europe, he states that, although
the EU has its foundation in civilian power made up of
diplomatic cooperation and legally binding supranational
institutions, this is not its highest potential, but a means to
play the most powerful role in promoting the standards of
action and behavior for the rest of the world.
 Such ability, although dramatically powerful, is somehow
intended to be used in a positive way for the sake of global
benefits under the guidelines of peace, liberty, democracy,
rule of law, and respect of human rights which are
considered as the core norms of the EU.
Sanctions and Coercion
It would be wrong to identify the Union with soft power alone.
The concept of soft power, as spelled out by Joseph S. Nye, is
based on diplomacy. Soft powers shape institutions by setting
agendas. They also rely on their normative power of attraction to
spread values.
The Union not only applies soft power of this kind, but has also
used economic power to further its objectives, including the
instruments of sanctions, bribes and even coercion. Consider, for
instance, the mega-fine of $1.4 billion imposed on Microsoft for
failure to comply with European regulatory demands to end
allegedly anticompetitive business practices.
The Cold War Period
During the Cold War, Europe’s security was essentially defined in
politico-military terms, as the avoidance of direct military danger by
a clearly identified foe.
This uni-dimensional definition was a product of the bipolar
constellation, in which Europe’s security was deemed to hinge on
avoiding armed conflict on the European continent by maintaining a
nuclear and politico-military balance of power between the US and
the Soviet Union.
So European security policy was forged under American leadership,
mostly within the framework of NATO, and was essentially limited to
defence policy. The non-military dimensions of security were
regarded as being of much less consequence, as were developments
in other parts of the world.
The New Security Environment
The end of the cold war produced a drastic change in Europe’s security
The collapse of the Soviet bloc and of the Soviet Union itself meant the
end of a direct and major military threat to Europe’s security.
Accordingly, defence policy became less important.
The EU Member States had long ceased being a threat to one another,
and through enlargement the deeply integrated European ‘security
community’ was to be extended to Central and Eastern Europe.
But the end of the cold war also triggered a wave of inter- and intraState armed conflicts in the vicinity of the EU.
Although they have not threatened the EU directly, they have produced
negative spillover effects.
The New Threats
In the absence of a major military threat, other factors that can
constitute the underlying causes of terrorism or of armed conflict
between or within third States, or that can intrinsically affect the
values and interests of the EU, have come much more to the fore
organised crime, illegal immigration, social and economic
underdevelopment, lack of democratic institutions and respect for
human rights, failed States, ineffective multilateral institutions,
environmental problems etc.
Another element is the growing awareness of the importance of
values in international relations, such as democracy and respect for
human rights and an effective international legal order.
The number of international players – State and non-State, legal
and illegal – has increased too.
Security is evidently becoming a multidimensional concept.
A Security Actor
The EU has become a security and defence actor of
importance since the end of the Cold War particularly since
1998, and the famous St Malo declaration by France and
While the EU is now developing a military capability,
acquiring military and crisis management experience and
building capacity on the military–strategic side in its own
organization, it is also developing a global strategy, as set
out in the European Security Strategy of December 2003.
“there has been a major development in EU security policy
over the last ten years.” (Bailes, 2008)
The Main Question
The main research question: “the EU will be
a ‘different’ military actor from a state or
a military alliance like NATO.”
The Ethical Question
The deeply ethical question of which values and interests
warrant the use of the ultimate tool of the state, with its
specific attendant risks, is at the core of the EU’s ethical
agenda. The concept of human security is a candidate for
the ‘values’ part that relates to humanitarian intervention,
but not for the ‘security’ part that relates to the fight
against terrorism.
At the outset it is clear that the EU does not purport to
have a military security policy that relates to such
questions. The EU’s use of force is limited to crisis
management alone.
The Military Tool
The military tool is deployed no longer in defence of
existential survival, but in defence of values such as
democracy, the rule of law and human rights.
Few if any interventions take place for purely
humanitarian/human rights reasons, but such factors clearly
play an increasing role.
This has to do with the salience of new self- styled actors in
security policy (NGOs, churches, public, media) and with
global communications. The key issue now, therefore, is not
that the military tool must be deployed by the state, but
rather that it is deployed with legitimacy.
The Barcelona Report
‘Human rights have become much more prominent, and an
intervention that uses traditional war-fighting means, such
as bombardment from the air, may be unacceptable when
viewed through the lens of human rights.’
‘Unlike in classic wars where only states bore
responsibility, armed forces have to act within a legal
framework that applies to individuals.’
There should be a legal framework with local
responsibility, they argue, and clear links between the
military actors and local population—without, however,
detailing how this might work out in practice.
The European Way to Security
Over the years, a distinctive European approach to security has
emerged, which is characterized by a broad, multidimensional or
comprehensive notion of security, which starts from the
interdependence between all dimensions of security – political,
socio-economic, environmental, cultural and military – rather than just
focusing on the latter; hence the need to set objectives and apply
instruments in all of these fields.
A further characteristic is a focus on dialogue, cooperation and
partnership, or cooperative security.
In its 2001 Communication on Conflict Prevention11 e.g. the
Commission proposed to address the ‘root causes of conflict’ by
promoting ‘structural stability’, defined as ‘sustainable economic
development, democracy and respect for human rights, viable
political structures and healthy environmental and social conditions,
with the capacity to manage change without resort to conflict’.
A Comprehensive Security Strategy
A comprehensive security strategy starts with the recognition that
there are various dimensions of security in the current international
environment and therefore that the underlying causes of potential
threats to the security of the EU are very diverse in terms of both
nature and origin.
Kirchner and Sperling dub this ‘the new security agenda’. It is
concerned with the ability to protect the social and economic fabric
of society, to act as gatekeeper between desirable and undesirable
interactions and to foster a stable international economic and
political environment.
This agenda goes beyond the politico-military dimension, which
nonetheless remains a vital element, so for Kirchner and Sperling ‘a
broader, holistic definition of the relationship between the “new”
and “traditional” conceptualisations of security’ is required.
The “Soft” Instruments
In order to achieve these twin objectives, a comprehensive security
strategy looks beyond the traditional confines of security policy, i.e.
beyond the use of politico-military instruments.
it aims to integrate a range of external policies, which together
offer a broad set of instruments that have a worldwide scope and
that address the different dimensions of security.
This range of policies covers all three pillars of the EU; it includes
inter alia external trade, development cooperation, international
environmental policy, international police, justice and intelligence
cooperation, immigration policy, foreign policy (multilateral
diplomacy and the promotion of the values of the EU) and politicomilitary measures.
The overall objective of this range of policies, which functions as an
integrating mechanism, is the promotion of the core global public
Priority to Prevention
A comprehensive security strategy gives priority to
active prevention of conflict and instability as opposed
to a reactive and curative approach, which would be
much more costly in both human and economic terms.
Global public goods are the angle from which
prevention can be tackled in the most encompassing
and fundamental way.
Accordingly, rather than being threat-based, a
comprehensive security strategy is a positive approach
that aims at achieving positive objectives, GPG, through
global governance, in the interests not only of the EU
but also of human beings everywhere.
What For Vs Against Whom?
What for?’ rather than ‘against whom?’ is the question that
determines policy.
A comprehensive security strategy will thus be able to avoid the
classic ‘security dilemma’ of over-emphasizing threats, leading to
unnecessary military build-ups and in return provoking distrust and
military measures on the part of others.
In the terms used by Buzan, comprehensive security amounts to an
‘international security strategy’, i.e. a strategy addressing the root
causes of threats by trying to change ‘the systemic conditions that
influence the way in which States make each other feel more (or
less) secure’, as opposed to a ‘national security strategy’, aimed at
reducing one’s own vulnerability by taking defensive measures.
Globality and Regionality
At the level of regions, States and individuals, insufficient access to
GPG provokes tensions and armed conflict and, in case of a major
deficiency, can destabilize the international system as such.
Comprehensive security therefore by necessity demands global
action: prevention must aim to safeguard and improve access to
GPG worldwide. This global scope does not contradict the specific
EU role vis-à-vis its neighbourhood envisaged in the Strategy.
This is not a question of a hierarchy of priorities: an effective system
of governance at the regional level is a component of the overall
objective of global governance; because of globalisation, stability
of the world order as such is equally important as stability in our
Rather the modus operandi differs: whereas at the global level the
EU chooses to act through the multilateral architecture, in its
neighbourhood it seeks to assume leadership itself.
Strong means Savage?
The comprehensive security concept is not contradictory
with defining the EU as a ‘civilian power’, contrary to
what inter alia Smith claims.
This is in line with Maull’s definition of civilian power as
including military power ‘as a residual instrument’
This leads Stavridis to the assertion that ‘thanks to the
militarizing of the Union, the latter might at long last be
able to act as a real civilian power in the world’
As Gnesotto states, ‘the great debate of the 1980s
over Europe as a civil power or a military power
definitely seems to be a thing of the past […] what the
Union intends to become is a sui generis power’.
A will to act is tantamount to the need for the EU to behave as a global
Or, in the words of the Laeken Declaration adopted by the European
Council in December 2001: ‘a power wanting to change the course of world
affairs […]’
For the EU to become a power, it must have the will and the capacity to
weigh on the course of international events and influence the other players
on the international stage.
The EU and its Member States must consciously and collectively muster the
will to form one of the poles of a multipolar world and pursue their own
distinctive policy: comprehensive security.
effective multilateralism’ as a global objective and with regard to the EU’s
neighbourhood in particular; which amounts to global governance in a
whole range of policy fields, corresponding to the notion of GPG, putting to
use all instruments available to the EU, in cooperation with States, regions
and international organization.
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