The EU as a global security actor – a comprehensive analysis beyond CFSP and JHA

Zwolski, Kamil and Kaunert, Christian (2013) The EU as a global security actor – a comprehensive analysis beyond CFSP and JHA, Basingstoke, GB, Palgrave Macmillan, 256pp. (Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics).


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This book fills a distinct gap in the scholarship on European security and policy-making. Although a growing body of literature has emerged that provides regional and thematic explorations of European security policies, crucially, there is no book examining the broadened role of the EU as a security actor, particularly in the war on terror, and the role of European institutions in this process. Furthermore, the existing literature on policies that we might classify as components of European security discusses them in isolation from one another; CFSP and the AFSJ are usually discussed in isolation from one another. The critical value of this book is thus twofold. Not only does it provide a comprehensive picture of EU activities in the area but it also seeks to demonstrate that the above mentioned distinction, initially brought about by the Maastricht Treaty (1992), impoverishes our understanding of the dynamics across the spectrum of European security policy. Instead, the position adopted here is that of exploring various linkages and interaction between these policy fields from a theoretically informed and also substantively empirical perspective. This further allows for considerable policy relevance. As such, this book is highly likely to constitute an important and original input in the debate on European security after the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.

While the theoretical scholarship on the broadening of security has developed at an extraordinary pace in the Contemporary Security Studies literature, more empirically based scholarship devoted to the subject in the EU still remains limited. Where it does exist, it is rather a patchwork of contributions representing different approaches to climate security, global migration and border security, counterterrorism, counter-piracy, nuclear proliferation, or, broadly defined, the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ) and the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) (See: Kaunert, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010; Kaunert, Leonard and Pawlak, 2011). Our objective is to look across those specific policy areas and investigate the ‘politics of European security’ (Kurowska and Pawlak, 2009). It is important to underline the benefits of broadly conceptualising security policies when analysing the European Union. Scholars frequently omit EU policies and instruments existing outside the CFSP/CSDP military-based framework in their empirical investigation, even when the analysis acknowledges the fact that the concept of security has broadened and widened over the last few decades, moving beyond traditional military threats and responses (Gänzle and Sens 2007; Sjursen 1998; 2004). It is important that other EU policies and instruments need to be taken into consideration in order to obtain a more accurate image of the EU’s role in international security policy. If longer-term, structural tools are not included into an analysis, this can lead to conclusions that the EU is less important a security actor than it in fact it is, because its security policy is severely hindered by the CSDP’s intergovernmental character, where national security interests prevail (Eliassen 1998; Howorth 2007).

The book fills a gap in two literatures. Security studies scholars tend to underestimate the agency of EU actors, whereas EU scholars tend to give primary importance to national member states and military security policy. Whilst the book primarily makes a scholarly contribution, it is also of relevance to a wider community of practitioners as it elucidates processes of decision-making.

Item Type: Book
ISBNs: 9780230378674 (print)
Related URLs:
Organisations: Politics & International Relations
ePrint ID: 342576
Date :
Date Event
31 January 2013Published
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2012 10:58
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 16:39
Further Information:Google Scholar

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