Oliver Scanlan and Richard Reeve

29 November 2017

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  • Recent British commentary concerning the imminent creation of a “European Army” is misplaced and fails to recognise the diversity of visions of military integration held by European political leaders, not least between key advocates Germany and France.
  • The focus of the new Permanent Structured Co-operation (PESCO) mechanism on rebuilding joint capabilities has the potential to strengthen European collective defence at lower levels of expenditure, avoiding the moribund “2% of GDP” spending debate and offsetting potential for an arms race with Russia.
  • Despite the UK’s exit from EU institutions, such developments will inevitably pose significant choices for British defence and security policy in the near term, including participation in European Battlegroups, maritime operations and access to the new European Defence Fund. It should not be assumed that the EU, member states or European industrial interests will welcome UK involvement in these.
  • Over a longer timescale, European military integration will, if successful, pose even larger questions about the UK’s roler of “Global Britain’s” resurgent interest in supporting the US in the Asia-Pacific region.

Image credit: European Parliament/Flickr.

About the Authors

Oliver Scanlan is the Senior Programme Officer on the Sustainable Security programme at Oxford Research Group (ORG). He has worked in research and advocacy roles in the international development sector for the last ten years, with a South Asia focus. He has studied Asian politics and history at the Universities of Durham, Amsterdam and Renmin University, Beijing

Richard Reeve is the Director of the Sustainable Security Programme at ORG. He was formerly Head of Research at International Alert and worked as a Research Fellow with King’s College London, Chatham House and, as a Country Risk Editor, at Jane’s Information Group.

Copyright Oxford Research Group 2017.

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