EU och NATO som framtida strategiska aktörer - den sista frusna konflikten? Uppgifter och utmaningar 2010-2030


  • Madelene Lindström
  • Mike Winnerstig

Publish date: 2009-06-04

Report number: FOI-R--2763--SE

Pages: 114

Written in: Swedish


  • EU
  • NATO
  • France
  • Great Britain
  • Germany
  • Poland
  • USA
  • Russia
  • China
  • globalisation
  • terrorism
  • geopolitics
  • migration


In two previous reports, published by the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), four scenarios were constructed regarding the future developments of the EU - primarily the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) - and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) as strategic actors in a 20 year perspective. For the EU, the four scenarios that were identified in the report ranged from (1) the EU becoming a full-blown federation, (2) an EU limited to a 2009 status quo situation, (3) an EU that becomes increasingly weak and divided, and (4) a complete re-nationalization of European security policy. Regarding NATO the four scenarios were (1) a global NATO, (2) a Europeanized NATO, (3) an EU taking over the tasks of NATO and (4) a return to the alliance "corequestion". In this report, these scenarios for the EU/ESDP and NATO are developed and analysed further, with the help of a number of conceptual themes such as geopolitics, globalisation, migration and terrorism. In addition, we also elaborate about the impact of a selected number of internal actors (Poland, The United Kingdom, France, Germany and The United States) and external ones (the UN, the AU, China and Russia). In the report it is concluded that the United States and Russia are the external actors that will influence the development of both the EU and NATO to the highest degree. Furthermore, trends connected to geopolitics are assumed to dominate while migration and terrorism might influence the direction of the cooperation within both organizations. They are, however, probably less relevant for whether e.g. the EU will eventually become a federation or be dissolved. The report also identifies a number of internal actors of importance and spill-over effects from other policy areas. Furthermore, a domino effect is suggested: the more EU member states that prioritise NATO, the stronger NATO becomes. Other member states must then also prioritise NATO on the expense of the EU - and vice versa. Of the above presented EU scenarios, the most probable one is likely the EU developing according to the status quo scenario - though a little bit stronger. That the EU Member States would cease to cooperate in foreign and security policy is not considered to be very likely. A more plausible development would be that the member states actively would decide to restrict the cooperation to more uncontroversial parts of the security policy, thus leaving aside cooperation on defence materiel, energy security and other questions that give rise to differences in opinion among the Member States. In the case of NATO, the second scenario - a Europeanized NATO - is considered to be the most likely. The reintegration of France in the NATO military command structure, that began in April 2009, will likely lead to the abolishment of many thorny problems both in terms of French policy and in terms of the EU-NATO relationship. It can also lead to an increased French interest in the construction of stronger European defence integration within the NATO framework. This will, then, most likely mean that a certain division of labour between NATO and the EU will be devised; according to which NATO will be the primary organization for military tasks. There is, however, a substantial potential for conflict between the NATO countries and Russia in the future, above all for geopolitical reasons. Most of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe perceive a potential, future military threat from Russia, and the Russo-Georgian war of 2008 did underline these perceptions. The issue can easily get worse over time, which then would lead to the reconstruction of NATO as a traditional military alliance focused on the territorial defence of its members and a military threat approaching in the East. The EU and NATO are expected to form an "ever closer union" without anyone taking over after the other. It is however not unlikely that we will witness a formal or informal division of labour based on regions where for example the EU is engaged in Africa and the Middle East while NATO covers its traditional northern Atlantic sphere, as well as Asia.

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