‘Working together, thinking differently?’ A presentation on the development of the strategic culture of the EU through the study of ESDP

2009-08-12T08:13:13Z (GMT) by Vasilis Margaras
Preliminary remarks: The paper studies the emergence of the strategic culture of the European Union through the development of ESDP. It argues that ESDP should not only be judged in terms of missions and institutions. It should be also studied at a cognitive level. Therefore, researchers should take into account the practices and ideas of policy officials when it comes to the planning and implementation of ESDP police and military missions. The paper examines the development of these ESDP ideas and practices by conducting a study of the strategic culture of the EU. It argues that ideas, beliefs and practices that policy officials hold on the use of force really matter. However, ideas cannot be studied independently but need to be taken into account within a comprehensive framework of study which includes issues related to the question of structure and agency. The evolution of history is important. Ideas on security issues are developed by historic events which enrich the experiences of a particular collective which deals with issues of security. Ideas are also shaped by the deployment of the EU’s ESDP missions. Daily interaction of officials in various crisis spots is an important factor in the shaping of the strategic culture of the EU. This is because the experiences of police and military forces provide feedback to the decision-making mechanisms of the EU which is influencing the strategic thinking of the Europeans. The aim of the paper is to present some first results regarding the strategic culture of the EU and to suggest a few topics for discussion. The arguments presented in this paper are extensively analysed in my PhD thesis. The paper was presented at a non-academic audience in Brussels as part of the European Lecture Series organised by the University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES). Therefore, various academic terms were simplified and difficult methodological and ontological statements were omitted in order to facilitate the audience. The author of the paper does not underestimate the importance of extensive methodological and ontological explanations and would be more than happy to answer questions regarding any of these issues. 3 The paper highlights major aspects of the strategic culture of the EU. It also opens up the discussion on various ethical and political issues regarding the idea of EU intervention through the planning and implementation of out-of-area missions. The paper does not claim to hold the absolute truth on issues of strategic culture: a comprehensive study of the strategic culture of the EU requires contributions from a wide number of scholars who must include a plethora of variables in their own studies. Furthermore, a comprehensive study of the strategic culture of the EU requires the inclusion of topics which would cover the fields of sociology, political science, history, international relations, European studies and political psychology.