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Of Summitry and Strategy: The Tortuous Progress of European Defence

Sven Biscop

In December 2013 the European Council took important enabling decisions on defence. Decisions which did not in themselves initiate capability projects, but which sought to provide a stimulus to collective capability development. The Ukraine crisis produced a sense of urgency, leading Europeans to re-emphasize the need to step up investment in defence at NATO's Wales Summit in September 2015. And yet the first news in the months after the Wales Summit was of more defence cuts, including in Europe's leading military powers, Britain and France. No reason for despair yet, however, for already a new summit was being looked forward to: the June 2015 European Council, where defence would once again be on the agenda. This paper will chart the progress from summit to summit and assess whether the summitry has actually resulted in a real strategy for European defence and an effective enhancement of European military capabilities. Or not - and then alternative ways will have to be found.

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