The European Commission Report dated 7th June 2017 States that security is one of the three priorities that cause the greatest concern to EU citizens and that over 75% of Europeans are in favour of a common defence policy. The President of the Commission himself, Jean Claude Juncker, stated when he presented the document that «the right to feel secure and protected in your own home is the most basic and universal right of all». The highly estabilising events that have taken place in recent times such as the Arab Springs, Russian intervention in Crimea and Ukraine, the sharp increase in Jihadist terrorism within the European Union and beyond, or the migratory crises have caused in Europe, a growing sense of being besieged that is making us modify our approaches to security. The terrorist attacks in recent years in Europe, have served as a rude awakening to those who did not view security as a key and basic issue for guaranteeing stability and development, from citizens to politicians, mainly, because there had not been a real and close threat. When terror reached European soil, European citizens came to realise that the EU did not have one basic support to protect them and guarantee their well-being.
Therefore, Europe is faced with the dilemma of what to do to restore the order of security along its boundaries and how to bring this about. That is to say, to define a consistent strategy that on the basis of risk analysis, pinpoints the objectives that are to be achieved, the way to achieve them and the resources that are required to do so. This debate is now going on in the heart of the European organisations and institutions associated with security and defence, and it also forms part of the political debate within the States. In recent years, all European States have been redefining their security strategies presenting them in the form of White Papers on Defence (FR. GE, IT) or National Security Strategies (RU, SP) in order to defend their own approaches to security.
The truth is that we are at the centre of a major debate on European security in which an attempt is being made to decide where to place that security’s centre of gravity: in the east or in the west. This debate is very important for the future of European defence, and also for the security of the States, given that behind this a decision must be taken concerning where to put European strategic priorities and, consequently, where to make the Europe’s main defence effort and allocate resources.
Spain is also participating in this debate aware of what is at stake and that, in this area, the sensitivities and interests of the European States vary greatly from one to another. Thus, for the countries in Eastern Europe, their main security concerns revolve around Russia, which is traditionally considered to pose the main threat. By contrast, the principle worries for the countries in Southern Europe. Spain included, lie in the south and, essentially, in North Africa, which runs as far as its southern limits with the Sahel.
Spain’s approach to security on the European continent is based upon the premise that Spain is prepared to make a supportive contribution to the defence of our members and allies, it being understood that they will do the same regarding the threats coming from the South.
In this sense, our main cause for concern is that if European security is excessively preoccupied with the East, this mean that we are confronting the Russian Bear and forgetting that the jackals are lying in wait in the South. The terrorist attacks in recent years that have directly affected Central European countries, the migration crises arising from the conflicts just below Europe’s southern boundaries, together with others problems such as those associated with organised crime, frontier management, or the need to stabilise the bordering countries have modified, to the benefit of those who argue for the position of the Southern States, the perception of security for the
citizens of the EU as a whole, which until recently was insensitive to and security concerns other than the Russian threat. However, the imbalance between the Eastern and the Southern orientations of European security are still excessive.
In this work we are assuming that the future of our security necessarily involves strengthening the still incipient mechanisms in the EU. The new Global Strategy on Foreign Policy and European Union Security submitted in June 2016 to the European Council by Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, is a positive step in the sense that it sends a message of unity and projection towards the future at a time when Europe is being affected by an increase in populisms, internal contradictions and a lack of joint action when facing international problems and providing answers to the basic interests of the EU as a regional power, as well as the role it must play internationally. This is all the more necessary when the United States of America, hitherto the keystone in European security, is changing its strategic approaches, making us look towards Pacific Asia where the growth of China and other powers is beginning to cast aspersions on its international leadership.
We are now in a position to boost European cooperation especially in the field of security and defence, in view of the fact that the possible exit of the United Kingdom, which has traditionally shown its opposition to any European progress in this area, has unblocked the current impasse. We believe that, in the times of Brexit, of populisms, of the strategic distancing of the United States and the increase in threats to European security in the East and in the South, the European Union has to be strengthened and must concentrates on its own interests and on those of its citizens, and has to be prepared to play a pragmatic and active role on the international scene, and even play a leading role in such aspects as regional security, climate change or migrations.
In this sense, the present work is the result of a joint reflection carried out by the Instituto Español de Estudios Estratégicos (IEEE) and the Centro Studi Internazionali (Ce.S.I.) of Italy in the year 2017. This first edition of the cooperation between the two institutions focuses on the «Present and future of the Common Security and Defense Policy of the EU», a subject considered of great importance for both countries given the transnational nature of the risks and dangers facing the European Union and whose effects end up being felt both in Italy and in Spain. We also consider very important to approximate positions among countries that share similar security concerns at a time when the European Union is beginning to redefine its Common Security and Defense Policy a process that will have far-reaching consequences for Europe’s security.
This reflection work was developed in two phases. In the first, researchers from each Institute prepared a study´s paper on the chosen topic. The second phase was conducted through the elaboration of common conclusions that have been incorporated into this work.
With regard to obtaining information, open sources have been used exclusively, taking advantage, in our case, of the capabilities offered by the Documentation Service of CESEDEN, which has been a fundamental element when providing information from reliable and accredited sources. To this end, it has been tried to reference all the data provided in order to clearly distinguish what is information, from what corresponds to the analysis and opinion. In short, it has been sought to elaborate, with a wide European vision, a balanced, professional and quality document. The result produced should serve to promote the necessary debate within our societies and academic circles and to help our decision makers to reach the appropriate decisions about an aspect as important to our citizens as it is the future of Europe’s security.