European Strategy in the 21st Century: New Future for Old Power, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

European Strategy in the 21st Century

New Future for Old Power, 1st Edition

By Sven Biscop


154 pages

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pub: 2018-12-20
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This book argues that Europe, through the European Union (EU), should act as a great power in the 21st century.

The course of world politics is determined by the interaction between great powers. Those powers are the US, the established power; Russia, the declining power; China, the rising power; and the EU, the power that doesn’t know whether it wants to be a power. If the EU does not just want to undergo the policies of the other powers it will have to become one itself, but it should differ in its strategy. In this book, Sven Biscop seeks to demonstrate that the EU has the means to pursue a distinctive great power strategy, a middle way between dreamy idealism and unprincipled pragmatism, and can play a crucial stabilizing role in this increasingly unstable world.

Written by a leading scholar, this book will be of much interest to students of European security, EU policy, strategic studies and international relations.


'Biscop has emerged as one of the most prolific and thoughtful analysts of Europe’s security and defence arrangements. In this new book, he offers a densely argued case for the EU to assume its role as a great power capable of holding its own in the shifting arena of twenty-first century international politics. The key will be "principled pragmatism", a sophisticated but elusive combination of hard-nosed interests and deeply held values.'Jolyon Howorth, Harvard University, USA

‘An excellent and very readable book, explaining clearly and simply the necessity for the European Union to have an active and robust foreign and security policy, based on a core strategy, rather than the ''hesitant acquiesence'' that exists at present. An active policy that advances and protects Europe's interests in an uncertain and rapidly changing world; the interests being, at base, to secure its democracies and the welfare of its people.’-General Sir Rupert Smith, former NATO DSACEUR and author of The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World

'This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the European Union’s foreign policy and security strategy. … Presenting a new theoretical narrative about the global role of the European Union, this book allows readers to understand and explain how the future strategy of the bloc should be shaped. It makes a substantial contribution by encouraging new thinking about the EU’s global role and by advancing scientific research on strategy.'--Cornelia-Adriana Baciu, International Affairs

Table of Contents


1. Values and Geopolitics: Europe Is Who and Where It Is

2. Strategy: What Can Europe Do, What does Europe Want?

3. Europe and the (Other) Great Powers

4. Europe and its Neighbours

5. Europe, Military Power and NATO

6. European Defence and Maybe Even a European Army

7. Brexit, Strategy, and the EU: Britain Takes Leave

8. Conclusion: Which Europe Are We Doing This For?

About the Author

Sven Biscop is a Professor at Ghent University, Belgium, and the Director of the Europe in the World Programme at the Egmont – Royal Institute for International Relations in Brussels. He is a Senior Research Associate at the People’s University of China in Beijing and an Honorary Fellow of the European Security and Defence College (ESDC).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in European Security and Strategy

The aim of this series is to bring together the key experts on European security from the academic and policy worlds, and assess the state of play of the EU as an international security actor. The series explores the EU, and its member states, security policy and practices in a changing global and regional context. While the focus is on the politico-military dimension, security is put in the context of the holistic approach advocated by the EU.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Europe / General
HISTORY / Military / General
HISTORY / Military / Strategy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security