N° 48 2015/2 – Defence Policy in Europe. The Legacy of Bastien Irondelle

POEU_048_L204Edited by Catherine Hoeffler, Samuel B.H. Faure, 2015/2 (n°48)


Catherine Hoeffler, Samuel B.H. Faure – « Europeanization without the European Union»: Considerations on the Evolution of Defence Policy

Olivier ChopinCan Joint Intelligence and Bilateral Cooperation Replace European Integration?

Intelligence may be one of defense and security cooperation’s most paradoxical sectors: while they are deeply rooted in the very core of every country’s national interest, it is largely acknowledged that intelligence activities widely rely on sharing and collaboration between nations. This paper compares the current state of cooperation between European countries through the EU’s integrated organizations (like EUROPOL or INTCEN or the EUMS Intelligence Directorate). Analyzing the development of European institutionalization on one side in regard of bilateral cooperations on the other side, the paper offers prospective scenarios regarding cooperation programs vis-à-vis the late and fragile development of a proper EU intelligence capability. Intelligence seems to confirm the need for examining the hypothesis of a horizontal convergence mechanism according to Irondelle’s ‘Europeanization without the EU’ thesis.

Catherine Hoeffler et Frédéric Mérand – Fighter Jets: Why is there no Europeanization?

This article questions Bastien Irondelle’s “Europeanization without the EU” thesis (2003) and shows its limits in the case of fighter jets. Starting from the observation that, when it comes to choosing their fighter jets, European governments remain divided between four different aircraft (the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Gripen, the Rafale and the JSF F-35), we develop a comparative analysis of national decision-making processes. Specifically, we argue that two variables explain weapon procurement : the industrial structure, i.e., the relative autonomy of the military aerospace sector, and the political preferences of national strategic elites. These two variables derived from political economy and international relations theory allow us to understand the limits of Europeanization in this sector.

Lucie Béraud-Sudreau, Samuel B. H.Faure et Michael Sladeczek Regulating the arms trade through Parliament and public opinion. A comparison of arms export controls in Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Sweden

Seeking to explain why some European states strongly regulate arms exports while others do so weakly, this article argues that there is no Europeanization of arms export controls. We show that neither state-industry relations nor the involvement of executive actors explains these variations. Two alternative hypotheses are offered : the position of Parliament in the arms export control decision-making process, and the salience of the arms sales issue in public opinion.

Nicolas Fescharek – From Aspirations to Aspirin? The Afghan campaign and Europe’s quasi-strategic inertia

The recent literature dealing with the European security and defense policy tends to paint a bleak picture, basically telling a story of decline or complacency; it describes an ESDP/CSDP that started with high aspirations, and now “fades out” with a “headache” after it “died over Libya”. This paper acknowledges the seriousness of the situation. Challenging these “declinist” approaches, however, it considers the case of Afghanistan and proposes to think about a European “role by default” with quasi-strategic effects. Thus, the paper accepts the lack of convergence between Europe’s national strategic cultures as a given. After showing substantial and enduring differences among the EU’s national strategic cultures, it explains the paradox of a convergence that takes place around a « role by default ». This results from a desire for US leadership (or a complacency towards it) as well as a kind of inertia that is shared globally and aims at preserving a modicum of strategic autonomy from the US. This notion of a role by default is a more adequate description of Europe’s security role than attempts to think up a “European strategic culture”.La campagne en Afghanistan et l’inertie quasi-stratégique européenne

Olivier Schmitt – Europeanisation or “NATO-isation”? The United Kingdom, France and Germany in Afghanistan

The decade-long military intervention in Afghanistan had a significant effect on the transformation of Western armed forces. This article examines one of the pathways of military change, namely selective emulation. Taken aback by the evolution of fighting in Afghanistan, France, Germany and the UK looked for doctrinal or technical answers to the challenges they were facing on the ground within NATO (the structure and/or the member states). However, the importation of such solutions depends on each national political-military context, in particular proximity with the United States, the existence of a strong local defense industry or a specific strategic culture. After the “Europeanisation without the EU” of the French defence policy in the 1990’s identified by Bastien Irondelle, we now observe a “NATO-isation with NATO” of the three major European military powers’ defence policies, because of the Afghan campaign.

Olivier Rozenberg, Olivier Chopin, Catherine Hoeffler, Bastien Irondelle, Jean Joana – Why caring about defence? Explaining MPs’ participation in parliamentary defence committees in Europe

This article analyzes the reasons why MPs participate in parliamentary Defence Committees. The conventional wisdom that MPs participate in parliamentary committees for personal rewards is questionable in the case of defence, since Parliaments seem to be especially weak in defence policy. Based on a qualitative comparison of four European Parliaments (France, Germany, Great Britain and Spain), this analysis shows that while the rational choice hypothesis is confirmed, the types of rewards are different from what is usually observed: participating to a Defence Committee is first and foremost a way for MPs to seek access to policymakers and to belong to the defense establishment.

See the proceedings of the conference on the legacy of Bastien Irondelle’s work and on the presentation of the articles of the issue n° 48 of the journal


Research in Progress

Camille Kelbel – Bien choisir pour mieux élire ? Une analyse des processus de sélection des candidats aux élections européennes


Critical Readings

Benjamin Morel Les nouveaux enjeux de la socialisation politique au Parlement européen

Thomas Frinault – Philippe Aldrin, Nicolas Hubé, Caroline Ollivier-Yaniv et Jean-Michel Utard, Les médiations de l’Europe politique, Strasbourg, Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 2014, 365 pages.