The Awkward European: Britain and the Common Security and Defence Policy

The EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) can trace its origins to a quaint seaside town in Brittany. The Anglo-French St Malo declaration, which was signed on the 4th December 1998, declared that: “The Union must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed up by credible military forces” (Howorth 2014, p.8). For Britain especially, it is important to recall its significance. With a stroke of his pen, Prime Minister Tony Blair jettisoned over half a century of opposition to the creation of an autonomous EU defence policy. CSDP then marked the emergence of the EU as a security actor. Indeed, since 2003, it has launched close to 30 peacekeeping and conflict management missions, the majority of which have been civilian training missions (Hazelzet 2013, p.1). However, Britain has since distanced itself from the very policy it had established. When a Coalition government assumed office in May 2010, this disengagement would reach new depths.

This dissertation will craft a critical analysis of the Coalition government’s policy towards CSDP. It shall be structured as follows: This introductory section will continue with a section on the theoretical framework. Following from this, the first substantive chapter will analyse the ideological traditions of each of the two parties in the Coalition. It shall begin with a historical overview of the European policy of the Conservative party before the formation of the Coalition. This will then feed into a specific analysis of the parties’ views toward CSDP specifically. It will illustrate how the presence of an ingrained “Euroscepticism” within the party ensured that it held a critical view towards CSDP (Ray 2007, p. 153). The same structure will then be applied to pro-European Liberal Democrats, who would become the junior party in the Coalition. The second chapter focuses on the actions of the Coalition following its formation in May 2010. Throughout, it will argue that the Conservative led Government’s policy towards CSDP was a missed opportunity for British defence. It will begin with a section outlining how Britain’s relationship with CSDP was formally governed under the Coalition. A following section will argue that David Cameron’s leadership over CSDP was constrained by domestic political factors, such as his “low executive autonomy” and a Eurosceptic faction within his party that was vocally opposed to the policy (Dyson 2015a, p.28). Following from this, three case studies will be utilised. The first case study is CSDP missions and operations. The second is the Coalition’s approach to the European Defence Agency (EDA), whilst the third is the Anglo-French bilateral defence treaties, which are also known as the Lancaster House treaties. A fourth chapter will go on to discuss the fallout from the British vote to leave the European Union on the 23rd June 2016. It will attempt to offer a proposal that Britain should adopt a Norwegian model post Brexit: outside the EU but nonetheless an active participant in CSDP. Finally, this dissertation will then end with a brief conclusion.

We must now turn to the theoretical framework of this dissertation. Throughout, the theory of neo-classical realism will be utilised as an overarching framework through which to interpret the Coalition’s approach to CSDP. Like all variants of realism, neo-classical realism accepts the role of systemic and material variables in determining behaviour in international relations (Rose 1998). However, it goes one step further by arguing that “intervening domestic variables” must be taken into consideration when accounting for the foreign policy actions of a state (1998 p. 152). Such variables include the perceptions state leaders hold, domestic political structures and even ideational factors. Global politics then is murky, making it hard for a state to ascertain its security needs at a given time. Consequently, neo-classical realism critiques neo-realism, and in particular, the balance of power theory of Kenneth Waltz, which prioritises systemic and material variables only (Waltz 2010). As Gideon Rose notes: “There is no immediate or perfect transmission belt linking material capabilities to foreign policy behaviour” (Rose 1998, p. 146-147). Systemic factors determine the broad contours, but they must first be filtered through intervening domestic variables.

Interestingly, neo-classical realism’s acceptance of domestic and ideational variables leaves scope for a degree of “theoretical cross-fertilisation” between itself and constructivism (Glenn 2009, p.543). Constructivism is a theory that focuses on ideational and normative variables, and is fast becoming one of the most dominant schools of thought on CSDP (Monteleone 2015). For example, modernist constructivists such as Christoph Meyer and Eva Strickmann have crafted a constructivist account of CSDP that also incorporates these neo-classical realist insights (Meyer et al. 2011, p.67-68). This flexibility is precisely why neo-classical realism is an appropriate theoretical framework for the study of the Coalition and CSDP. It argues that systemic imperatives, such as declining defence expenditures, and a change in US strategic thinking, should presage greater co-operation between Britain and CSDP. However, as the neo-classical realist scholar, Tom Dyson notes: “The UK Conservative-Liberal coalition appears to contradict this logic of convergence with systemic imperatives” (Dyson 2015a, p.38). This is due to intervening domestic variables, such as Cameron’s low executive autonomy and the prevalence of Conservative Euroscepticism, which forced him to stay highly attuned to his own MP’s that opposed CSDP (Bennister et al. 2014) (Dyson 2015a).

Chapter One: The Ideological Traditions of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats

This chapter will begin with a historical overview of the Conservative Party and European integration more broadly. This will then feed into a specific analysis of the parties’ views toward CSDP. Following from this, the same will then be applied to the Liberal Democrats.

The Conservative Party

Comparative studies have established that, when compared to other mainstream, center right parties in the EU, the Conservative party is highly Eurosceptic (Ray 2007, p. 153). Euroscepticism can be broadly defined as taking a critical approach toward the EU and its processes of integration. It is divided into two sub categories: “soft” and “hard” Euroscepticism (Taggart et al. 2008, p.238). Soft Eurosceptics oppose any further significant transfer of powers to the EU, but equally, they do not advocate withdrawal from this integration process entirely (2008, p. 238). Meanwhile, hard Eurosceptics possess a principled opposition to notion of European integration in itself, and therefore often advocate withdrawal from the EU (2008, p.239).

To understand why British Conservatism is so Eurosceptic, one must first delve into the party’s checkered history with Europe. Firstly, it is important to remember that it was a Conservative Prime Minister, Edward Heath that brought Britain into what was then the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973. However, despite their initial support for the EEC, many Conservatives were critical of attempts to advance this much beyond a single market. This opposition was painfully laid bare during the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. Here, the party soon descended into an internecine conflict over Britain’s signature of the Treaty, with the then Conservative Prime Minister, John Major, suffering a humiliating rebellion from many of his own Conservative MP’s (Smith 2012, p.1283). The Treaty was a critical juncture in the history of European integration, creating what is now the European Union and introducing various policies, such as the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU): the precursor to the single currency (McCormick 2011, p.137). The so called “Maastricht rebels” were emphatically opposed to the Treaty on the grounds that policies such as the EMU represented a creeping political union that threatened British sovereignty (Lynch 2009, p. 188). However, political concerns surrounding sovereignty cannot alone account for this level of Euroscepticism. We must then turn to more abstract questions of identity. Here, many within the Conservative party tend to identity with a “Anglo-Saxon” politico-cultural grouping of fellow English speaking countries, and not a European one (Wallace 1991, p.71). This has in turn fostered a “cultural Euroscepticism”, as well as a political one (Menno 2015, p.39). Unfortunately, a full account of the history of the Conservative party is beyond the scope of this dissertation. What is clear, however, is that by the end of the John Major Government in 1997, the number of Conservative MP’s who identified as Eurosceptic had increased substantially (Heppell 2001, p.299). Euroscepticism, whether it be soft or hard, was fast becoming a universal attribute that defined the party. Consequently, by the time David Cameron assumed the leadership in 2005, the parties’ critical approach to the EU was firmly entrenched. Cameron himself has been described as a soft Eurosceptic (Beech 2011, p.348). Indeed, his self-professed “liberal-conservatism” includes a commitment to multilateral institutions such as the EU (Honeyman 2009, p.183). Nonetheless, in 2009, Cameron withdrew his party from the European People’s Party (EPP), which forms the main center right grouping in the European Parliament (Lynch et al 2008, p.31). This serves as an early example of Cameron seeking to appease the hard Eurosceptic wing of his party in order maintain support for his leadership (Smith 2012, p. 1293). As shall be outlined later, he would also apply this strategy to CSDP as Prime Minister.

Predictably, this ideological tradition has informed the Conservative’s critical views towards CSDP. These approaches broadly mirror the same soft and hard Eurosceptic typology that has just been outlined (Taggart et al. 2008, p.238). Hard Eurosceptics oppose CSDP on principled grounds, arguing that Britain should leave the policy altogether (Van Orden 2013). Meanwhile, soft Eurosceptics hold many of the same criticisms, but still support a role for CSDP in British defence, albeit a limited one (Cameron 2008). Frequently then, Conservative approaches towards CSDP appear to be a microcosm of its approach towards the EU more broadly.

Firstly, we must begin with an outline of the hard Eurosceptic approach toward CSDP. Their opposition to Britain’s place within the policy is founded upon two broad principles. The first is the familiar, yet abstract concept of sovereignty (O’Donnell 20011a, p.426). As the first section of this chapter outlined, historically, a key tenet of Conservative Euroscepticism has centred on the perception of an increasingly integrationist EU that is encroaching upon British sovereignty. This same logic applies to CSDP, but with even more fervor, as defence policy is traditionally seen as “high politics”: the ultimate bastion of sovereignty for a nation state (Hoffman 1966). For example, many are opposed to the role of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR), which formally oversees CSDP. The HR is “double hatted”, meaning that the holder chairs both the Foreign Affairs Council in the Council of Ministers, whilst also being a Vice President within the European Commission (Whitman et al. 2009, p.25). Due to this foothold in the Commission, many hard Eurosceptics were vociferously opposed to the creation of the HR under the Treaty of Lisbon. In particular, Liam Fox, who, from 2005-2010 was the Shadow Defence Secretary when the Conservatives were in opposition, argued that the HR had injected a dangerous level of supranationalism into CSDP (Fox 2008a). Hard Eurosceptics perceived CSDP as a political project which was an end in itself, and therefore not grounded in any strategic means. Consequently, some subscribe to the view that CSDP will eventually evolve into a supranational EU army, with its own troops and equipment. This position has been advanced by Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, the Conservative spokesman for security and defence in the European Parliament:

“The ratchet effect of EU integration is powerful if it is not properly resisted at an early stage. Pressure to create a European Army will be irresistible as nations commit fewer and fewer resources to defence. The same logic that created the Euro is being applied to defence” (Van Orden 2013, p.1).

For Van Orden and his ilk, the same functionalist logic that underpins the Euro also applies to CSDP. A second principle of hard Euroscepticism on CSDP is that the policy is an encumbrance upon Britain’s ties with the United States, and by extension, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The special relationship between London and Washington is especially close in the area of defence, with unprecedented access to transfers of intelligence, military equipment, and even nuclear technology. Conservative opposition to CSDP is thus inextricably linked to its “atlanticist” outlook (Vincze 2015, p.236). In most instances, the two go hand in hand. The creation of an autonomous CSDP, as envisioned in St Malo, unnecessarily duplicates existing structures that should instead be channeled inside NATO (Van Orden 2013, p.5). As Shadow Defence Secretary Fox noted in 2008: “Britain cannot have two best friends when it comes to defence. A Conservative Government will not weaken our transatlantic bonds” (Fox 2008b).  

Now that the hard Eurosceptic position on CSDP has been outlined, we must now turn to soft Euroscepticism. The two principles that define hard Euroscepticism: concerns over British sovereignty and prioritising relations with the US, are shared by their soft counterparts. For example, the critique of CSDP as a political project that has not generated real military capabilities is a common refrain among all Conservatives (Cameron 2008). Similarly, an atlanticist worldview that stresses the primacy of a US led NATO is another universally held view (Lonsdale 2009, p. 158). However, what makes soft Euroscepticism different is that it still supports a role, albeit a limited one, for CSDP in British defense. A concise summary of this soft Eurosceptic position on CSDP comes from David Cameron himself. In a 2008 speech to the Chatham House think tank, he made clear his support for a limited CSDP role in modern conflict management:

“NATO should be honing its fighting capabilities for future conflicts which are inevitable though unpredictable…The EU for its part should be concentrating on how to deliver more effectively on the ground the police trainers, the development workers, the customs officers and so on that are so vital to the success of these modern missions. And the two institutions must work out how they can work seamlessly together in common cause, both in Brussels and in the field” (Cameron 2008).

Cameron then supported CSDP’s complementary role to NATO, due to its civilian capabilities and expertise. But again, this must be in strict conjunction with NATO, with the latter retaining primacy. Consequently, these differing views between hard and soft Euroscepticism ensured that Conservative party policy on CSDP before 2010 suffered from an element on confusion (Lonsdale 2009, p.158). While Cameron took a more pragmatic approach toward CSDP, many within his own ranks did not, including his own Shadow Defense Secretary.

The Liberal Democrats

We must now turn to the Liberal Democrats. The party has long been characterised as the most Europhile national party, at least by British standards. Indeed, it can trace its origins to the alliance and eventual merger between the then Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1988. The SDP was a breakaway group of former Labour MP’s who became disillusioned with the leftist leadership of Michael Foot. For example, at the time, the Labour Party opposed British membership of the EEC. The very foundation of the party then is linked to a pro-European worldview. This has continued throughout its relatively short history. For example, in 2004, it led a new liberal party grouping in the European Parliament: The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), a group that remains one of the foremost advocates for deeper European integration (McGowan et al. 2015, p.277). The election of Nick Clegg, a former MEP, to the leadership in 2007 was thus a result that was firmly within the pro-European mould of the party.

Furthermore, like the Conservatives, the ideological traditions of the Liberal Democrats on the EU greatly influenced its views toward CSDP. For example, in the run up to the 2010 general election, Clegg argued that declining defense expenditures meant that CSDP should gain a more prominent role in British defence: “With an estimated £36 billion funding gap in the MoD equipment budget, and with our brave forces already stretched to the limit, the next defense review must look at how European Union member states can work together more effectively, to improve capabilities and reduce costs” (Clegg 2010, p.11). The Liberal Democrats have therefore recognised that systemic pressures, such as reductions in defense spending, should presage greater EU defense cooperation. This same notion is of course anathema to many Conservatives. Moreover, Clegg also attacked the atlanticist outlook of his Conservatives opponents, arguing that the party’s “default” atlanticism was harming Britain’s security interests within the EU (2010, p.12).

Consequently, even before the 2010 general election, the battle lines between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats on the EU had been drawn. No more so was this divergence clearer than in the realm of CSDP. They were then in many respects then strange bedfellows when they formed the Coalition in May 2010.

Chapter Two: The Coalition and CSDP: An Opportunity Missed?

This chapter will begin with an outline of how the Coalition governed its relationship with CSDP. The second section will go on to argue that David Cameron’s leadership over the policy was constrained by his “low executive autonomy” and his own hard Eurosceptic MP’s (Dyson 2015a, p.28). Following from this, three case studies will be utilised in order to articulate the claim that the Coalition’s approach to CSDP was a missed opportunity. The first case study is CSDP missions and operations. The second is the Coalition’s approach to the European Defence Agency, whilst the third is the Anglo-French bilateral defence treaties, which are also known as the Lancaster House treaties.

How the Coalition Governed CSDP

On the 5th May 2010, Britain held a general election, with no single party winning a majority of seats in the House of Commons. After five days of negotiations, a Coalition government between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats was eventually formed. Although a Coalition government is a common sight in other European capitals, for Britain, they are a rarity. David Cameron’s Conservatives were by far the more senior partners, holding 307 seats, whilst the Liberal Democrats respectively held 57 (Rogers 2010). This seniority was reflected in the apportioning of Government positions between the two. David Cameron would become Prime Minister, whilst Nick Clegg would become Deputy Prime Minister. The Conservatives would also hold 17 Cabinet positions, whilst the Liberal Democrats held just 5 (Hazell 2012, p.58).  

We must now turn to how this fledgling Coalition governed Britain’s relationship with CSDP specifically. Constitutionally, the ultimate power to determine Britain’s relationship with CSDP resided with David Cameron. Indeed, the office of Prime Minister enjoys substantial powers in the realm of defense, as part of the “Royal Prerogatives”: executive powers that were historically held by the Monarch but are now held by the Prime Minister (Maer et al. 2009, p.4). For example, this would include the power to authorise the deployment of British military personnel under a CSDP mission. However, day to day governance of the policy is determined by the Ministry of Defense (MOD), which is led by the Secretary of State for Defense. Throughout the Coalition, this Cabinet position was always led by a Conservative MP. This dissertation will largely confine itself to the tenure of Liam Fox, who served as Defence Secretary for the first 16 months of the Coalition, after five years as the Shadow Secretary in opposition (Stratton 2011). Fox was a leading hard Eurosceptic, and his tenure was the most consequential in shaping the Coalition’s policy towards CSDP. Additionally, at more junior level, CSDP is formally overseen by a Ministerial post within the MOD: “The Parliamentary under Secretary of State and Minister for International Security Strategy” (Gov.uk 2016). Again, throughout the Coalition, this position was always held by a Conservative MP (2016). It is apparent then that Britain’s relationship with CSDP was largely determined by Cameron’s Conservatives. However, as the section on the European Defense Agency will later illustrate, the Liberal Democrats possessed a moderating influence upon Conservative policy (O’Donnell 2011b, p.4).

However, this formal outline does not take into account the political factors which ultimately determined the Coalition’s CSDP policy. The real determinants of Britain’s approach to CSDP would be Cameron’s limited autonomy and his own hard Eurosceptic MP’s. This is what the following section shall now turn to.

Cameron’s Constrained Leadership over CSDP

The constraints inherent in a Coalition government significantly reduced David Cameron’s autonomy in determining Britain’s approach to CSDP (Dyson 2015a, p.38). This low Prime Ministerial autonomy was coupled with an increasingly restive hard Eurosceptic faction within his own party. These intervening domestic variables greatly contributed to the Coalition’s ambivalent approach to CSDP

Firstly, we must begin by examining David Cameron’s “low executive autonomy” (Dyson 2015a, p.38). This was primarily due to the fact that Cameron’s government was a Coalition. The presence of the Liberal Democrats thus limited the Prime Minister’s power and influence. For example, it placed limits on his powers of patronage: that is, his ability to appoint Conservatives to government posts (Bennister et al. 2014). The Liberal Democrats’ five cabinet posts and over 20 ministerial positions would have otherwise gone to Conservative MP’s. Consequently, Conservative MP’s saw their junior coalition partners gaining a considerable degree of influence, whilst they themselves saw their own hopes of promotion dashed. This generated an atmosphere of resentment among some sections of Cameron’s backbenches, who were more willing to defy the leadership of the party (2014, p.25). Indeed, the 2010-2015 Parliament was the most rebellious in post war history (Goodwin 2012). A vocal portion of Cameron’s own backbenchers were not afraid to vote against him, and this was especially true on issues concerning the EU. Cameron’s low autonomy then was compounded by a second, interrelated factor: an increasingly restive, hard Eurosceptic faction of Conservative MP’s. For example, in October 2011, 81 Conservative MP’s voted for a resolution calling for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. The vote was a blow for Cameron, being the largest rebellion on Europe the Conservative party had ever witnessed in its history (Kirkup 2011). The rise of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) was also a constant thorn in Cameron’s side. Two Conservative MP’s would even go on to defect to UKIP (Johnston 2014). This combination of low autonomy and an increasingly restive and Eurosceptic backbench ensured that David Cameron’s European policy was often crafted with these intra-party concerns in mind (Dyson 2015a, p. 38). Most notably of all, in January 2013, Cameron would commit the Conservatives to a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU if they won re-election in 2015. Again, this illustrates how Cameron would utilise his European policy as an attempt to manage intra party divisions (Oppermann 2013).

Crucially, this policy of accommodation also extended to the way the Prime Minister governed Britain’s relationship with CSDP. For example, Geoffrey Van Orden would publicly criticise Cameron for not fully accepting what he saw as the integrationist ambitions of the policy: “The fact is that the UK position on the EU’s defence policy is disingenuous. It does not present CSDP as it really is and instead tries to shrug off the more ambitious declarations” (Van Orden 2013, p.3). Furthermore, Cameron’s low executive autonomy would amplify the influence of these hostile voices against CSDP. The Prime Minister clearly did not want to further exacerbate divisions within his party over the EU by deepening co-operation under CSDP. Deepening Britain’s commitment to the policy would expend vital political capital that he did not want to spend on what is still is a relatively minor element of Britain’s European policy. It is important then to situate CSDP in the broader political context. As the neo-classical realist scholar, Tom Dyson, notes: “The Conservative Party was acutely sensitive to the Euroscepticism on its backbenches… as a consequence, Prime Minister David Cameron was wary of any initiatives which might expose him to criticism of displaying pro-European sympathies, thereby curtailing British involvement in CSDP” (Dyson 2015a, p.38). Neo-classical realist thought posits that systemic factors will ultimately determine a state’s foreign policy, not domestic political ones (Rose 1998, p.145). However, when looking at the case study of the Coalition and CSDP, this may be an exception. To quote Dyson again: “Neoclassical Realism posits that domestic variables are intervening. However, there is always the possibility that they may, on rare occasions, have a long term effect on security and defense policies” (Dyson 2015a, p.41).

Under the Coalition, Britain’s approach to CSDP was thus in danger of being dictated to by political machinations within the Conservative Party. Cameron’s constrained leadership over the policy is thus a missed opportunity for Britain and CSDP, for his reactionary approach failed to take into account broader systemic forces. The following sections will now outline three case studies in order to further articulate these systemic variables.

CSDP Missions and Operations

It is of note that, under the previous Labour Governments of Tony Blair and then Gordon Brown, Britain had already reduced its presence in CSDP deployments significantly (O’Donnell 2011a, p.423). However, under the Coalition, this disengagement reached even greater depths. For example, the Coalition inherited the UK headquarters for the EU’s anti-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia, which is named EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Atalanta. However, beyond this, the Coalition committed few resources, such as Royal Navy vessels, to the mission (House of Lords, EU Committee 2012a, p.11). Another example is the EU police mission (EUPOL) Afghanistan. Launched in 2007, the objective of the mission was to train Afghanistan’s police force, in the hopes that this would help strengthen the rule of law in the troubled country (European External Action Service 2016a). This is important, for it is precisely the type of role David Cameron envisioned for CSDP in his 2008 speech at Chatham House (Cameron 2008). However, by 2015, in a tokenistic gesture, the Coalition had reduced Britain’s contribution to the mission to just one person (House of Lords, EU Committee 2016, p.81). This ambivalent approach to CSDP deployments is inextricably linked to the atlanticist worldview of British Conservatism. As has been mentioned earlier, Cameron was also unduly influenced by hard Eurosceptics, who often viewed CSDP deployments as a threat against a US led NATO (Lewis 2016). However, even soft Eurosceptics would share similar views themselves, advocating a largely civilian role for CSDP (Cameron 2008).

It is important that this atlanticist illusion is dispelled. It is true that the Clinton and George. W. Bush administrations initially cast a sceptical eye towards the creation of an autonomous CSDP (Howorth 2014, p.109). However, towards the end of the Bush Presidency in 2008, the US began to cautiously shift its position and see utility in CSDP as a crisis management actor (2014, p.110). For example, in 2008, the then US Ambassador to NATO, Victoria Nuland, noted that: “Europe needs, the United States needs, NATO needs… a stronger, more capable European defense capacity. An ESDP with only soft power is not enough” (Nuland 2008). Of course, the Americans saw this role as one that remained deferential to the NATO alliance, with the latter still retaining its primacy in international security matters (Howorth 2014, p.115). Nonetheless, Washington was clearly willing to support CSDP as a mechanism through which European defence could be invigorated after decades of dependency upon the US. Yet, despite this change in Washington’s strategic thinking, Conservative party ideology remained remarkably rigid. This left party policy on CSDP in a rather confused state. As Clara O’Donnell notes:

“Washington’s modified stance led to something of a role reversal in British–US interactions…In contrast to the early years of the CSDP, when Blair would try to reassure the Clinton and Bush administrations that EU defence cooperation was in the interest of the United States, US officials were trying to convince the Conservative party…that EU defence efforts were in the interests of the UK” (O’Donnell 2011a, p.431)

Moreover, over the course of the Coalition, this change in US policy has only grown more prescient. In 2011, President Barack Obama’s administration initiated the American “pivot” towards the Asia-Pacific region (Clinton 2011). With a rising China, and defense treaty commitments with allies in Japan and South East Asia, US strategic thinking had begun to move eastwards. Just like the end of the Cold War, Europe was once again losing its strategic centrality for those in Washington. Obama subsequently implemented a much needed retrenchment of American power, pulling back from costly military entanglements in both Afghanistan and Iraq, for example (Simon et al. 2015). Furthermore, he combined this with an expectation that the EU member states assume a greater degree of responsibility for the security of their own neighborhood (Stokes et al. 2013, p.1106). As always, NATO would retain primacy in Europe’s territorial defence. However, in terms of crisis management deployments in the wider European neighbourhood, it would be for the EU states to take a leadership position. As the US Vice President, Joe Biden, noted during the 2009 Munich security conference: “We support the further strengthening of European defense, an increasing role for the European Union in preserving peace and security” (Howorth 2014, p.117). Despite their initial cautiousness, the Americans were now publicly calling for a greater role for CSDP. This shift in policy was on clear display during the 2011 Libyan crisis. Obama was highly reluctant to intervene, and even when he did, he expected the European states to lead in the military response and in the post-conflict reconstruction of the country (Goldberg 2016). The rather lacklustre response to the crisis by the EU led to accusations of “free-riding” from the Obama administration (2016). The pivot then is a key systemic imperative that illustrates how the EU must begin to act as a genuine security actor in its own neighbourhood (Simon et al. 2014, p.426). It provided the Coalition with a “structural opportunity” to lead this renewed European effort and thereby demonstrate its continued relevance as a vital interlocutor for the US (Stokes et al. 2013, p.1105). However, this was squandered by a rigid atlanticism that is no longer reciprocated in Washington.

Now that the US support for CSDP has been outlined, we must now turn to NATO-CSDP relations in regards to security deployments. Firstly, despite the warnings of some hard Eurosceptics, CSDP is not “balancing” against NATO (Howorth et al. 2009). NATO possesses a “first right of refusal”: the right to intervene first in any conflict management mission over CSDP (Marsh 2006, p, 93). A clear division of labour also exists, with NATO focusing on combat intensive missions, whilst CSDP focuses on less intensive military missions and civilian operations. Co-operation between the two has also improved in recent years. This centres on the “Berlin Plus” agreement, which allows CSDP to utilise NATO’s planning structures and even military equipment in aid of its crisis management missions (European External Action Service 2016b). For example, this agreement was applied in 2004, when a CSDP mission took over from a NATO one in Bosnia (Howorth 2014, p.76). Secondly, far from being a threat to NATO, CSDP is demonstrating its added value to the Atlantic alliance. This added value stems from CSDP’s “comprehensive approach” to security, which combines both the military and civilian instruments available to the EU (Howorth 2014, p.105). Consequently, unlike NATO, CSDP missions are rarely “stand alone”, but rather are formulated as part of a broader EU strategy in a given country or region (Hazelzet 2013, p.4). CSDP then operates with the backing of the EU as a whole in its missions and operations.

In order to illustrate these two points in a more tangible fashion, lets return to the CSDP naval mission in Somalia, EUNAVFOR Atalanta. Firstly, the mission is another example of CSDP and NATO working side by side. Indeed, EUNAVFOR Atalanta shares the same headquarters in Northwood, England with NATO’s own anti-piracy mission in Somalia, “Operation Ocean Shield” (Muratore 2010, p.93). Secondly, the added value of the CSDP mission is clear. The military aspect of the mission has proved highly successful in deterring further pirate attacks against international shipping (2010, p.102). Indeed, in May 2012, EU forces even launched a ground attack against a pirate base within Somalia itself (House of Lords, EU Committee, 2012a, p.12). This CSDP mission then has flexed its military muscle, in conjunction with its NATO counterpart. Crucially however, unlike NATO, this mission is just one element in a comprehensive EU approach to improving security in the region. This is envisioned in the EU’s Horn of Africa strategy, which seeks to synergise all the EU’s efforts into one overarching strategy (2012a, p.11). Whilst EU naval forces patrol the Gulf of Aden, the EU has also simultaneously deployed two other CSDP missions in the country. Firstly, a military CSDP deployment, EU Training Mission (EUTM) Somalia, is training Somalian security services in an effort to stabilise the country (European External Action Service 2016c). This has been coupled with a civilian CSDP operation, which aims to improve maritime security in both Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa region (European External Action Service 2016d). CSDP then is simultaneously operating 3 missions and operations in the country. What is more, the policy is complemented by the EU’s civilian instruments. For example, the EU is the world’s largest provider of development assistance to Somalia (Kaunert et al. 2014, p.602). The case study of Somalia then illustrates how NATO’s military might alone cannot solve today’s myriad of international security challenges. CSDP is thus in an advantageous position, as it can draw upon a wider pool of resources as part of a comprehensive approach to security.

Consequently, Conservatives who seek to paint CSDP-NATO relations as a zero sum dichotomy are misguided. Of course NATO will retain its primacy in regards to territorial defence and combat intensive missions. But with 6,000 military and civilian personnel deployed under CSDP in 2010, it is clear that the policy now forms a vital addition to the work of the Atlantic alliance (Hazelzet 2013, p.2). Its comprehensive approach to security ensures that it can combine military and civilian instruments in an effective synergy. Indeed, official enquires under the Coalition came to a similar conclusion. For example, a recent report by the House of Lords European Union Committee noted that: “The CSDP adds value to the efforts of the Member states and complements the role played by member states on an independent basis or within NATO” (House of Lords, EU Committee, 2016, p.53). Moreover, this role for CSDP even appears to enjoy public support in Britain. A 2013 German Marshall Fund poll showed that a majority of Britons supported a common security and defence policy for the EU (de France 2013, p.1). Conservative hostility to CSDP deployments thus rarely stands up to scrutiny. This misguided hostility therefore represents a missed opportunity for Britain and CSDP.

The European Defence Agency

The EDA was created in 2004, and is tasked with facilitating the generation of defence capabilities among member states by encouraging greater collaboration between their respective defence industries (House of Lords EU Committee 2012b, p.14). This includes “pooling and sharing” initiatives: joint procurement projects that allow member states to buy military equipment more inexpensively and with less duplication (European Defence Agency 2016). The EDA is also tasked with promoting a more liberalised defence equipment market and facilitating research and technology in defence (House of Lords EU Committee 2012b, p.14).

Predictably, the Conservatives have always taken an ambivalent approach towards the agency. Indeed, the party’s 2010 general election manifesto even included a commitment to look into the possibility of withdrawing Britain from the EDA entirely (Conservative Party 2010, p.106). The parties’ atlanticist preferences ensures that it often views programmes under the EDA as duplicative, instead preferring to buy military equipment from the US bilaterally. In opposition, Shadow Defence Secretary Fox also criticised the EDA as another example of the supranational intentions of CSDP, as it is formally headed by the HR (Fox 2008a). Moreover, following the formation of the Coalition, Liam Fox was no longer limited to railing against the EDA from the opposition benches. As Defence Secretary, Fox pursed a policy of “malign neglect” towards the EDA (O’Donnell 2011a, p.425). For example, he continuously blocked any increase in the EDA’s budget or number of staff (Brunnstrom 2010). This was despite the fact that the EDA was clearly understaffed, with only 120 personnel working in the agency (House of Lords EU Committee 2012b, p.14).

However, this aside, it is important not to forget the moderating role played by the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition. For instance, just five months after the formation of the Coalition, Liam Fox dropped the Conservative pledge to withdraw from the EDA (Parker 2010). The Defence Secretary instead agreed to a two-year extension to Britain’s membership of the EDA, subject to review (2010). This about turn in policy from the Conservatives is largely credited to the Liberal Democrats, who sought to keep Britain within the agency (O’Donnell 2011b, p.4). This illustrates how the junior Coalition partners attempted to moderate the Eurosceptic excesses of their Conservative colleagues. The party was aided by the fact that in 2010, they had secured a junior ministerial position within the MOD, with Nick Harvey MP appointed as a Minister of State in the department (Clarke 2015, p.364). The party also drew upon the expertise of the defense studies academic, Lord Wallace, who would serve as a Government spokesman for defence and foreign affairs in the House of Lords (Smith 2015, p.381). However, this notwithstanding, the party’s influence over CSDP was still overshadowed by their more senior Coalition partners. Indeed, even this moderating influence began to wane in the latter stages of the Coalition. For example, by 2012, the removal of Nick Harvey following a reshuffle of ministerial positions ensured that the Liberal Democrats lost their only direct link to the MOD (Nicol et al. 2012).

The moderating influence of the Liberal Democrats aside, Conservative ambivalence toward the EDA is a missed opportunity for three broad reasons. Firstly, it serves as yet another example of Cameron’s constrained leadership over CSDP. One specific illustration of this is the European Council summit in December 2013. The summit was a rare opportunity for EU leaders to discuss CSDP at the highest political level. Before the summit, the draft conclusions included proposals for several new procurement programmes under the EDA, such as a new joint effort to acquire Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), or drones as they are called in normal parlance (European Defence Agency 2013). However, when he arrived at the summit in Brussels, Prime Minister Cameron suddenly became highly critical of the RPRAS project, arguing that the draft conclusions included the possibility of the European Commission owning them (Watt 2013). Whether he had done so disingenuously or not, Cameron was clearly misguided in his criticism. There were no such plan for EU owned drones (Sippitt 2016). Indeed, the French President, François Hollande, expressed much surprise at the move, and described Cameron’s accusations as: “a little phoney” (BBC News 2013). The Prime Minister’s behaviour can at least be partially attributed to his need to remain attuned to the views of his hard Eurosceptic MP’s. Cameron was also under extra-Parliamentary pressure from UKIP and the British Eurosceptic press (Ross 2013). Consequently, rather than engaging in a rational discussion with fellow European leaders over how best to invest in critical military infrastructure, the Prime Minister was instead forced to trumpet his Eurosceptic credentials for a domestic audience back home (Witney 2013).

A second reason why the Coalition’s policy toward the EDA was misguided is because it failed to fully acknowledge the systemic imperatives that encourage greater defense co-operation (Dyson 2015b, p178). As was outlined earlier, the first systemic imperative has been the shifting position of the US, which now fully supports CSDP. A second systemic imperative is Britain’s declining defence expenditures. In the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, EU member states began slashing their defense spending. Indeed, from 2008-2013, total defense spending in the EU had been cut by over $30 billion (O’Donnell 2013). The Coalition was not immune to this pressure. A much needed audit of Britain’s defense policy, the Strategic Defense and Security Review (SDSR), was published in October 2010 and committed Britain to an 8% cut in defense spending over the next four years (Menon 2011b, p.24). These painful cuts led to a precipitous decline in Britain’s material capabilities. For example, the Royal Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal, was scrapped, with no replacement set for at least ten years (2011b, p.24). Strikingly, cuts to military personnel also meant that the British Army would be at its smallest size since the Napoleonic wars in the early 1800’s (Summers 2011). What is worse, such cuts were often done haphazardly, with little co-ordination with other EU member states (Biscop 2012, p. 1307). For example, following the SDSR, Britain scrapped its entire NIMROD maritime aircraft surveillance fleet, leaving it without any capability in this strategically important area (Merrill 2016).  Pursuing greater collaborative efforts under the EDA then is not the result of some wide eyed European idealism. On the contrary, it should be the product of a hard headed, realist calculation over how best to maintain Britain’s relative power. As Tom Dyson notes: “The strategic imperative for Britain…is clear, to begin to fill CSDP’s institutional architecture with substantive pooling and sharing initiatives, or face military decline” (Dyson 2015b, p.181).

Poland is a good illustration in how a fellow atlanticist state has accepted this systemic imperative. When Poland joined the EU, it was initially sceptical of CSDP, and did not want the policy to jeopardise its strong ties with the US and NATO (Chappell 2010, p.241). However, since then, Warsaw’s thinking had gradually evolved to the point where it now supports the complementary role CSDP plays to NATO (Howorth 2014, p.120). For example, Poland has took a leading role in the EDA’s helicopter training programme (Chappell et al. 2012, p.61). Yet, even as fellow atlanticists began to accept the added value of the EDA, Conservative policy under the Coalition remained in stasis. Like its approach to CSDP missions, the party is in danger of creating a misguided dichotomy between CSDP and NATO.

A final reason why the Coalition’s approach to CSDP amounts to a missed opportunity is because the EDA could have been utilised as a means to bring about a much needed rationalisation of defence spending. EU member states collectively possess the second largest defence budget on earth, yet duplication between their 28 separate militaries means that they are less than the sum of their parts. For instance, in 2010, EU member states possessed almost 90 separate weapons systems, whilst the entire US military has 27 (Blitz et al. 2010). Conservatives fret about duplication between CSDP and NATO, but the real danger is duplication between the EU’s militaries. It is here that the EDA can play a critical role in making declining defence expenditures go further. For example, there is a real shortage of what are labelled “strategic enablers” (Giegerich et al. 2012, p.54). Strategic enablers are critical equipment, such as air to air refuelling, heavy lift aircraft, or surveillance and reconnaissance that are vital in an expeditionary military deployment (2012, p.55). The EDA has lead here through its pooling and sharing initiatives, with 11 such initiatives agreed in 2011 (Biscop 2012, p.1310). One such project included joint air to air refueling capabilities. This is crucial, for the 2011 NATO air campaign in Libya illustrates how even Europe’s foremost military powers, Britain and France, had to rely on American air to air refueling capabilities (Taylor 2011, p.8). Multilateral efforts under the EDA then can help plug the capabilities gap in critical defence equipment that unilateral or even bilateral efforts alone cannot.

To conclude, the EDA is not a panacea. However, it is yet another mechanism through which the Coalition could have helped invigorate European defence capabilities. Participation in the EDA then magnifies Britain’s influence as it helps shape the development of 26 other EU militaries, something that it cannot do alone. As another enquiry by the House of Lords European Union Committee notes: “Given that the EDA is already in existence, has had a number of minor successes, and is deemed to be well directed under its current management, it should be given the proper tools and commitment to do a proper job. The UK…should take the lead” (House of Lords EU Committee, 2012b, p.59). However, the Conservative led government’s atlanticist outlook has continually stymied any such engagement. Indeed, if it were not for the Liberal Democrats, Britain may have withdrawn from the agency altogether. This ambivalence has been amplified by Cameron’s constrained leadership, which ensures that the Government’s CSDP policy has frequently been conducted with domestic imperatives in mind, rather than the systemic ones (Dyson 2015b, p.191).  However, as painful reductions in British defence begin to take their toll, it is simply becoming too expensive to ignore these multilateral efforts under the EDA.

The Lancaster House Treaties

The final case study concerns the 2010 Lancaster House defense treaties, which were signed by Cameron and the then French President, Nicholas Sarkozy. The accords were strictly bilateral and fell outside the direct purview of CSDP. They constituted a defense and security co-operation treaty, a plethora of joint procurement initiatives for defense equipment and a separate treaty concerning nuclear weapons co-operation (Taylor 2010, p.8). Its headline objective included the creation of a combined joint expeditionary force (CJEF) of 10,000 British and French soldiers, with the ability deploy under one command (Ministry of Defence 2010). The agreement also envisions the establishment of an integrated aircraft carrier strike group by the early 2020’s, which again utilises assets and personnel from both countries (2010).

To their credit, the Lancaster House treaties signify how the Coalition was attuned to the need to deepen defence cooperation in light of declining defence budgets.  However, when turning to how this affects Britain’s wider relationship with CSDP, the picture is more nuanced. On the one hand, there are some concomitant benefits for CSDP. Britain and France make up approximately 45% of all EU defense spending (Menon 2011b, p.26). Greater collaboration between the EU’s two foremost militaries should thus be welcomed to some extent. Indeed, in the five years since its ratification, the treaties have engendered an unprecedented degree of co-operation between the respective military establishments in London and Paris (Pannier 2013, p.549). The treaties also even include the possibility of this integrated Anglo-French force being deployed under a CSDP mission (Taylor 2010, p.11).

However, unfortunately, a full five years since the signing ceremony at Lancaster House, it appears that the treaties have only exacerbated Britain’s slow drift away from CSDP. As such, they represent another missed opportunity. Although France often links the treaties and CSDP together, many within the Coalition were at pains to stress that it had no connection to the policy. As Defense Secretary Fox noted during a parliamentary debate: “This is not about increasing the defense capabilities of the European Union. I repeat –this is about two sovereign nations” (Taylor 2010 pg. 8). Consequently, the exclusionary nature of the accords leaves them in danger of becoming a “St Malo in reverse”, where France and Britain eschew their previous commitment to CSDP in favour of a narrower, bilateral approach (Gomis 2011, p.13). This will have ramifications for the wider CSDP. For example, a joint procurement initiative on unmanned drones announced in the Lancaster House treaties may be to the detriment of similar multilateral projects under the EDA (Jones 2011, p.41). Deeper bilateral cooperation with France then should be welcomed, but not at the expense of all the 26 other EU member states, who together make up the majority of EU defence expenditures. Additionally, this bilateral deal has not arrested Britain’s decline in defense spending. Indeed, in the years since the Lancaster House treaties were signed, the UK has been overtaken by Saudi Arabia in the global defence spending rankings (Farmer 2014). In many respects then, the treaties symbolise the limits of bilateralism. They may have bought Britain more time, but they cannot replace the broader efforts under CSDP. As Anand Menon notes: “While bilateral co-operation represents a useful supplement to broader co-operation within the EU, it is not enough, and certainly does not represent a viable alternative to the kind of multilateral initiative represented by the ESDP. Even larger member states increasingly struggle to act alone” (Menon 2011b, p.26). There is then a paradoxical nature to the treaties. On the one hand, they are an example of a Eurosceptic, Conservative led government pursing deeper defence ties in Europe. However, unfortunately, the Entente Cordial appears to be subverting Britain’s relations with CSDP, rather than supplementing them.

Chapter Three: To Brexit and Beyond

We must now turn our attention to the elephant in the room: Britain’s historic vote to leave the EU on the 23rd June 2016. This chapter will begin with an outline of how CSDP featured in the referendum campaign. A second section will then argue that even post-Brexit, Britain must participate in CSDP. Norway, a country outside the EU, but nonetheless an active participant within CSDP, will presented as a model to follow.

CSDP and the Referendum Campaign

As was noted in the previous chapter, David Cameron committed his party to a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU in 2013, during the Coalition. The surprise election of a majority Conservative government following the 2015 general election ensured that this pledge would become a reality. A referendum was eventually set for the 23rd June 2016. What would follow was a protracted, and at times divisive, referendum campaign. This was naturally dominated by broad policy issues, such as the benefits of British membership of the single market, or immigration. Nonetheless, Britain’s relationship with CSDP was also a feature of the campaign. CSDP is often portrayed as a complex and obscure policy. However, during the heat of the referendum campaign, debates surrounding the policy were now being played out on a national stage.

For instance, on the 22nd April, Barack Obama flew into London to make to case for Britain’s membership of the EU. Cameron used this key intervention of the campaign to tout the importance of CSDP. At a joint press conference with the US President, he highlighted the importance of CSDP missions, such as EUNAVFOR Atalanta: “For example, in East Africa, we’ve helped to turn around the prospects for Somalia…thanks to an EU operation, led by Britain, supported by America, its waters are no longer a safe haven for pirates” (Cameron 2016). Furthermore, 13 former UK armed forces chiefs would sign a joint letter in the Telegraph, arguing that the EU was a key pillar of the UK’s security and defense policy (Dominiczak 2016).

However, the letter was soon mired in controversy after one of the signatories, Field Marshal Lord Guthrie, retracted his support and came out in favour of leaving the EU (Moore 2016). Lord Guthrie explained that his reversal was a result of concerns surrounding the supranational direction of CSDP, and argued that the UK would eventually lose its veto over the policy (2016). The hard Eurosceptic trope of a creeping European army was being rehearsed once more. Indeed, this narrative dominated the leave campaigns’ portrayal of CSDP. For instance, several Eurosceptic newspapers claimed that the upcoming EU Global Strategy, which was due to be published after the referendum result, would include plans for an integrated EU military force (Sculthorpe 2016). Many also repeated the refrain that CSDP was a threat to NATO and the UK’s transatlantic relations with Washington (Lewis 2016, p.9). Despite the efforts of those supporting remain, the debate surrounding CSDP during the referendum campaign was dominated by this hyperbolic narrative, a narrative that was increasingly detached from reality.

The Norwegian Model

The subsequent vote to leave on June 23rd   has upended British politics in a way that has not been witnessed since the end of the Second World War (Hennessy 2016). However, in spite of the vote, it is imperative for Britain that it retains some form of relationship with CSDP, even as slowly detaches itself from the EU.

The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, Brexit has made the reductions in British defence spending even more profound. A recent study by the Royal United Services Institute has found that the depreciation of the pound following the vote has reduced the MOD’s spending power, as it makes most of its equipment purchases in dollars (Taylor 2016). Strikingly, if trends continue, this could set the UK’s defence budget back by as much as £700 million every year (2016). As the last chapter outlined, declining defence expenditures represent a systemic imperative that should presage greater EU defence co-operation (Dyson 2015b, p.181). Following Brexit, it now appears that this imperative has become ever more prescient. Secondly, critics of CSDP will retort that a post-Brexit Britain can fall back on the NATO alliance, with little need for involvement in CSDP. While it is true that NATO will always remain the bedrock of British security, the complementary role CSDP plays can no longer be ignored. Indeed, there is a sense of irony in the fact that since the referendum, CSDP-NATO relations have only deepened. Just weeks after the vote, an EU-NATO joint declaration was signed. This ambitious accord includes a commitment to increase inoperability between the CSDP and NATO missions (Jones et al. 2016). It was soon followed by an agreement for CSDP and NATO forces to participate in joint deployments in the Mediterranean, in order to combat people smuggling (Rettman 2016). Again, this serves as another critique of Conservative hard Euroscepticism. CSDP and NATO are not antagonistic opposites. On the contrary, NATO has fully accepted the role of CSDP as a vital tool in modern crisis management. Accordingly, even a post-Brexit Britain must remain engaged with the policy. Demonstrating puissance through NATO is simply not enough.

This need for continued British involvement with the policy leads us to the so called Norwegian model for CSDP. This model is more commonly understood as pertaining to the country’s membership of the European Economic Area (EEA). This grants it access to the single market, even though it is outside the EU: something Britain may wish to emulate. However, this is not the model this dissertation is attempting to articulate. This specific Norwegian model instead refers to the country’s active participation in CSDP. Even though it is an atlanticist leaning NATO member that is outside the EU, Oslo has long accepted that it must engage with CSDP. This is largely due to a desire to demonstrate its relevance to a US that increasingly supports CSDP (Knutsen 2000, p.26). The move was also motivated by a desire to retain influence over CSDP, so as to ensure that it developed closer to its own preferences (2000). It is precisely for the same reasons then that London should emulate this Norwegian model post-Brexit. For example, in 2004, Norway signed a Framework Participation Agreement (FPA) which allowed it to participate in CSDP missions and operations (Latek 2013, p.3). Since then it has been an enthusiastic contributor to such deployments. Indeed, Norway even decided to deploy under EUNAVFOR Atalanta, and not NATO’s own anti-piracy mission in Somalia, Operation Ocean Shield (Muratore 2010, p.95). It is also important to stress that this is not limited to Norway. Infact, all NATO members that are not members of the EU (Albania, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Turkey and the US) have signed FPA agreements under CSDP (Tardy 2014, p.1). Consequently, to avoid exclusion, Britain must retain its presence within CSDP. Already, there are tentative suggestions that this has been accepted by the new government of Theresa May, with the Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, stressing that Britain would remain committed to CSDP missions (Farmer 2016). Finally, another additional element of Norway’s relationship with CSDP is that, since 2006, it has been allowed to participate in EDA projects through an administrative agreement with the agency (Latek 2013, p.3). Again, it is important that Britain too signs a similar agreement as its defence cuts continue to bite. Consequently, in regards to CSDP at least, there are ground for cautious optimism for Britain post-Brexit. In Norway, Britain already has a model that it can emulate.

Conclusion

To conclude, this dissertation has articulated a critique of the Coalition’s approach towards CSDP, as well as a proposal for Britain’s future relationship with the policy. In the first chapter, a historical overview of Conservative ideological traditions illustrates how an increasingly strident Euroscepticism has informed the parties view toward CSDP. This is of course notwithstanding the Liberal Democrats, who remain the only real enthusiasts for CSDP in the UK (O’Donnell 2011b, p.4). The second chapter argues that the Coalition’s actions amount to a missed opportunity for Britain and CSDP. Unfortunately, the Coalition’s CSDP policy was afflicted by a mixture of low Prime Ministerial autonomy and an increasingly restive hard Eurosceptic faction of Conservative MP’s (Dyson 2015a, p.38). Rather than being informed by strategic imperatives, the Coalition’s approach to CSDP was thus increasingly prey to machinations within the Conservative party. Following from this, thee specific case studies were utilised in order to better contextualise this argument. Firstly, in regards to CSDP missions and operations, systemic forces, such as the Asia-Pacific pivot, ensure that the US now fully supports an enlarged role for CSDP (Simon et al. 2014, p.426). This could have provided the Coalition with an opportunity to demonstrate its relevance to Washington as a key interlocutor. However, instead, the government’s approach was squandered by a rigid atlanticism that is no longer reciprocated in Washington. The second case study concerned the EDA. Defence Secretary Fox’s policy of “malign neglect” towards the agency is yet another example of rigid Conservative thinking that has failed to adapt (O’Donnell 2011a, p.425). Declining defence expenditures should be encouraging greater collaborative efforts, not hindering them (Dyson 2015b, p.181). Indeed, if it were not for the moderating influence of the Liberal Democrats, the Coalition may have pulled Britain out of the EDA entirely. The third case study outlined the impact of the Lancaster House treaties. They should be welcomed, but only if they do not become a “St Malo in reverse” that hampers wider multilateral efforts (Gomis 2011, p.13). Finally, the last substantive chapter has attempted to articulate a Norwegian model for Britain and CSDP post-Brexit. Even Britain can no longer ignore the systemic forces that encourage greater co-operation under CSDP. Fortunately, in Norway, there is already a pre-existing template to follow.

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Written by: Andrew Huckle
Written at: King’s College London
Written for: Dr Katrin Schreiter
Date written: September 2016

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