European Strategic Autonomy and Small States' Security
In the Shadow of Power
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This book analyses whether the EU’s drift towards European strategic autonomy presents a challenge or a window of opportunity for its small member states to advance their security interests.
The volume presents small states’ perceptions of European strategic autonomy, highlighting their expectations and concerns. The chapters focus on the depth and breadth of European strategic autonomy, national security considerations, assessment of the impact on transatlantic relations, the expected outputs and its potential impact on the EU’s institutional structure. It also shows how systemic circumstances and the interests of powerful states, either belonging to the EU (France, Germany, and Poland) or having a significant say in European security architecture (the US), establish opportunities and constraints for the small states to shape European strategic autonomy. In particular, the study focuses on the diverging interests of the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Hungary and the Netherlands. It demonstrates that, in most cases, European strategic autonomy is perceived not as an alternative to NATO but as a supplementary element that could facilitate the development of national military capabilities, indigenous defence industries and resilience to non-military threats. Ultimately, the book suggests that national approaches towards European strategic autonomy mainly stem from pragmatic national security and foreign policy considerations, while largely ignoring grand strategic ideas.
This book will be of much interest to students of European politics, security studies, and International Relations.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Small States, International Institutions and European Strategic Autonomy
2. European Strategic Autonomy: The Origins Story
3. Revisiting France’s Commitment to Defence integration: A Case of Political Functionalism
4. Germany: The Renewed Quest for Strategic Autonomy
5. Poland’s Resilient Atlanticism
6. US Foreign Policy during the Biden Presidency: A Reset in the US Approach Towards the EU Strategic Autonomy?
7. Through the Estonian Looking Glass: Can NATO’s Credible Deterrence and EU Strategic Autonomy Succeed Simultaneously?
Viljar Veebel and Illimar Ploom
8. Military Capabilities First, Politics Later: Latvia’s Approach to European Strategic Autonomy
9. European Strategic Autonomy in Lithuania’s Foreign Policy Discourse
10. European Strategic Autonomy: Opportunities and Threats for Denmark
11. Belgium and European Strategic Autonomy
Alain De Neve
12. Dutch Security and Defence Policy: From Faithful Ally to Pragmatic European
Sabine Mengelberg and Jörg Noll
13. A Reluctant Supporter: The Hungarian Perspective on European Strategic Autonomy
Tamás Csiki Varga
14. Shared Values and Common Borders: Why Greece Views European Strategic Autonomy as an Opportunity
15. Conclusions: Domination of Pragmatism Towards the European Strategic Autonomy
Giedrius Česnakas and Justinas Juozaitis
Giedrius Česnakas is a Professor at the General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania, heading undergraduate and graduate political studies programmes.
Justinas Juozaitis is a Policy analyst at the Centre for Defence Analysis at the General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania, and a lecturer at the Faculty of Political Science and Diplomacy at the Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania.
'In a world that is too often preoccupied with great power politics, this book is a much-needed and timely contribution for understanding the other side of international relations, small states. It should be required reading for anyone wishing to examine contemporary European politics and security.'
Marc Ozawa, NATO Defense College, Rome
'By bringing together for the first time scholars from small states to write about European small states’ perceptions of, and engagements with, European strategic autonomy, this book addresses an important gap in the academic literature on European defence. It is a crucial introduction for those interested in the subject.'
Lukas Milevski, Institute of History, Leiden University, the Netherlands
'This monograph, in arguing that the concept of European strategic autonomy is both a challenge to and an opportunity for the national security interests of the small states of the EU, presents vital lessons for all small states facing the vicissitudes of Great Power assertiveness and aggression.'
Bernard Loo Fook Weng, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore