Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 39–54 | Cite as

The Euro-Atlantic Security Dilemma: France, Britain, and the ESDP

  • Jolyon Howorth
Part II: The Other Option: An Autonomous Europe


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  1. 1.
    European can be understood as representing the combined interests of European Union Member States - as distinct from, but not in opposition or even contradistinction to, the interests of the U.S.A./NATOGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    On this, see my ‘Britain, France and the European Defence Initiative’, Survival, Volume 42, 2 (2000), pp. 33–55.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The ‘Berlin Plus’ arrangements refer to the mechanisms whereby the EU may borrow assets from NATO/the U.S. in order to carry out crisis management operations. They involve ‘assured access’ to NATO operational planning, ‘presumption of availability’ to the EU of NATO/U.S. capabilities and common assets; and NATO European command options for EU-led operations. The resolution of this issue allowed the EU and NATO to make a landmark Declaration on ESDP (December 16, 2002) providing a formal basis for strategic partnership between the two organizations in the area of crisis management and conflict prevention.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The ‘P’ standing for Policy - but also for purpose, project, program.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See my ‘France, Britain and the Euro-Atlantic Crisis’, Survival, Vol.45, 4 (2003), pp. 173–192.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    This author rejects such a label. See, on this, Philippe Roger, LEnnemi Américain. Paris, Seuil, 2002Google Scholar
  7. 6a.
    Jean-Francois Revel, L’Obsession anti-américaine, Paris, Pion, 2002.Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    Michael Quinlan, European Defense Cooperation: Asset or Threat to NATO?, Washington DC, Woodrow Wilson Center, 2001.Google Scholar
  9. 8.
    See, on all this, the series of documentary collections: European: Core Documents (Chaillot Papers 47, 51, 57, 67).Google Scholar
  10. 9.
    See, on this, my ‘Discourse, Ideas and Epistemic Communities in European Security and Defence Policy’, West European Politics, 27/2 (2004).Google Scholar
  11. 10.
    Joint Declaration on European Defence issued at the Anglo-French summit, November 25, 1999, Chaillot Paper 47, pp.77–79, and Burkard Schmitt, From Cooperation to Integration: Defence and Aerospace Industries in Europe, Paris, WEU-ISS, 2000, Chaillot Paper 40.Google Scholar
  12. 11.
    Condoleezza Rice, ‘Promoting the National Interest’, Foreign Affairs, 19/1 (2000).Google Scholar
  13. 12.
    It is significant that Downing Street issued no communiqué about what was said at that first meeting between Blair and Bush - the only meeting between the two men that was couched in silence. Press reports were unanimous in concluding that the object of the exercise had been to give reassurances about NATO.Google Scholar
  14. 13.
    I have analyzed the details of these clashes in Survival (see endnote 5).Google Scholar
  15. 14.
    UK MOD, The Strategic Defence Review: A New Chapter, July 2002.Google Scholar
  16. 15.
    Philip H. Gordon & Jeremy Shapiro, Allies at War. America, Europe and the Crisis over Iraq, Washington, Brookings, 2004.Google Scholar
  17. 16.
    Interviews with officials in Paris and London, summer 2004.Google Scholar
  18. 17.
    The pretext for the row was the deal stitched up between Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder over the retention of spending levels in the Common Agricultural Policy until 2006, but defense clashes were also just beneath the surface. Officials in Paris and London confirm that the personal chemistry between Chirac and Blair remains very poor.Google Scholar
  19. 18.
    Prior to that moment, Chirac had carefully distinguished France’s position (France might join the military coalition against Iraq but will decide at the last moment) from that of Germany (no German participation under any circumstances).Google Scholar
  20. 19.
    Blair interview in The Sun, April 18, 2003: ‘Interviewed for the first time since the start of the war, Mr Blair talked about […] his anger at treacherous French President Jacques Chirac’. ‘Mr Blair admitted he had been furious with Mr Chirac of France for putting British troops at risk by sabotaging U.N. action against Iraq. “I was very upset how it played out at the United Nations,” he said. “If the UN had given a strong and unified ultimatum to Saddam it is possible we could have avoided conflict.’”Google Scholar
  21. 20.
    General Mike Jackson, Chief of the General Staff, stressed in an interview on June 29, 2004, that it is a UK military priority to be able to fight alongside U.S. troops. ‘For the UK to relinquish its ability to fight high-intensity war would be strategic folly. You don’t know when you will need it. And it is very easy to come down from a war-fighting posture to something below that. […] But if you settle for a Peace Support army and then you want to go into war-fighting, forget it!’Google Scholar
  22. 21.
    For France, which aspires to autonomy, such precautions seemed excessive.Google Scholar
  23. 22.
    The word constantly used in Paris, which might roughly be translated as ‘ring-fence’. It indicates two elements: 1) privileged and irreversible French cooperation with the UK; 2) the separation of defense policy - on which such cooperation was deemed both necessary and possible - and other elements of EU policy on which it often was not.Google Scholar
  24. 23.
    Paul Taylor, ‘Anti-War EU States Seek Defense Pact Without UK’, Yahoo News, March 21, 2003Google Scholar
  25. 23a.
    Charles Grant, ‘A Military Plan to Cut Europe in Two’, Financial Times, April 16, 2003Google Scholar
  26. 23b.
    Charles Bremner, ‘Paris and Berlin prepare Alliance to rival NATO’, The Times, April 28, 2003Google Scholar
  27. 23c.
    Judy Dempsey & Guy Dinmore, ‘Defence Plan could rival NATO’, Financial Times, April 29, 2003Google Scholar
  28. 23d.
    Ian Black, ‘France, Germany Deepen UK Rift’, The Guardian, April 30, 2003Google Scholar
  29. 23e.
    David R. Sands, ‘EU Plan draws rapid reaction’, The Washington Times, April 30, 2003Google Scholar
  30. 23f.
    Mike Peacock, ‘Blair slams EU defence plan, says glad to miss it’, Reuters, April 30, 2003Google Scholar
  31. 24.
    The text of the Declaration on: The aim of the summit was explicitly stated as being to reinforce European military capacity in order to ‘give the Atlantic Alliance a new vitality’. Chancellor Schroeder and Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt both insisted that the summit was in no way undermining of NATO.
  32. 25.
    Enhanced cooperation in defense, including the possibility for participating states to take on additional responsibilities; a ‘solidarity clause’; additional Petersberg Tasks; a European Defence Agency; a European Defence College. Only the latter failed to make it into the Constitutional Draft.Google Scholar
  33. 26.
    UK MOD, ‘ESDP: 29 August Meeting: UK Food for Thought Paper’. The paper is reproduced in Antonio Missiroli (ed.), From Copenhagen to Brussels. European Defence: Core Documents, Paris EU-ISS, 2004, Chaillot Paper 67, pp.204–207. The paper is highly suspicious of the need to go beyond enhanced cooperation (which it claimed could work well ‘at 25’) and embrace something even more integrative called structured cooperationGoogle Scholar
  34. 27.
    Solana’s speech to the EU ISS, Paris, September 9, 2004Google Scholar
  35. 28.
    Press briefing given by President Chirac in Algiers, April 15, 2004. Available at the Embassy of France website at:
  36. 29.
    It is not even certain that the crisis of 2003 was inexorable. Until January 2003, the possibility remained open that the UK and France would both join the U.S. campaign against Iraq. In March 2003, the European Council issued a five-point statement on the Iraq crisis which was signed unanimously by all Member States. The quarrel was as much over timing as over principles. Lessons have been learned in both capitals.Google Scholar
  37. 30.
    A case in point is the issue of training Iraqi troops inside Iraq. Whatever the politics and the diplomacy of the different attitudes towards that issue, the fact that it was resolved within NATO by some nations agreeing to the procedure while refusing to be involved in it is a pragmatic step forward for the alliance. Coalitions are not incompatible with Alliances.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Board of the Journal of Transatlantic Studies 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jolyon Howorth
    • 1
  1. 1.Yale UniversityUSA

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