It is well established that military force in isolation is insufficient to successfully implement a security policy. Peace cannot be brought to a region by simply destroying an imminent armed threat; long-term regional stability requires economic aid, institution building and political reform, in cooperation with local groups and specialised organisations. As the 2003 European Security Strategy suggests, “we need greater capacity to bring all necessary civilian resources to bear in crisis and post-crisis situations”. This paper will explain the weakness of the contribution of the military to CSDP, mainly due to a lack of consistency in the implementation of the EU’s external action. It will therefore propose ways in which EU could use its military capabilities to their full potential, through the implementation of the Comprehensive Approach. Section 1 will begin explaining what the Comprehensive Approach (CA) is, and why it is crucial for the EU’s external action. Before the role of the military in the EU’s CA can be determined, the capabilities of the EU’s military forces must be explained. Section 2 will therefore describe the value of using military force in general and the perceptions of member states on the value and purpose of the EU’s military capabilities, and so establish how this military force could feasibly contribute to a CA. Sections 3 and 4 will describe the current relations of the EU’s military structures, internally and externally, with EU and non-EU actors, and explain the main obstructions which these relationships have faced so far. Finally, based upon these obstructions, section 5 will make recommendations to improve the EU’s civil-military relations, and so allow the CA to be more fully implemented. So far there have been numerous studies into implementing the Comprehensive Approach, but many of the proposals have suffered from being vague, and therefore uncontroversial, for example by calling for “teamwork” and “coordination” without proposing a method of achieving these goals. Therefore, as far as possible this paper will make concrete and practical proposals, even if doing so makes them more open to objection. For this reason, the section will also consider the likely challenges in implementing the proposals.
Andreas Capstack and Major General Maurice de Langlois, IRSEM, March 18, 2015
This paper was written by GPI Junior Fellow, Andreas Capstack, together with Major General Maurice de Langlois, and published by the Institut de Recherche Stratégique de l’Ecole Militaire (IRSEM).