Following a keynote speech, four questions will be addressed:
- Does Europe have a strategy? The obvious answer would be yes: the EU Global Strategy. But do European states really have a clear and collective view of their level of ambition in implementing the tasks that it sets for Europe’s armed forces? Have Europeans fully integrated the implications of a Trump Presidency and of Brexit in their overall strategic analysis?
- Can Europe defend itself? Think the US out of NATO, and not much remains of the credibility of Article 5 – if anything. How can Europe reinforce its contribution to conventional deterrence? At the same time, a whole range of “hybrid” threats and challenges at the nexus of internal and external security, which fall below the Article 5 threshold, must be addressed too. Are Europeans organized to this end?
- Can Europe project power? Already since President Obama announced the “pivot” to Asia do we know that Europeans will have to assume more responsibility in stabilizing their own neighbourhood. Simultaneously, maintaining the freedom of the global commons, and contributing to collective security under the UN, demand a global outlook. What are Europeans really prepared to do?
- Can Europe arm itself? The answer to the fragmentation of Europe’ defence effort is integration. Europeans keep saying it, but are they really willing to do it? Whether through Permanent Structured Cooperation under the EU or a Framework Nations Group under NATO: is defence integration progressing. Will France and/or Germany be the engine? And is the defence industrial dimension a driver or a hindrance?