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Series: Eu-Georgia

By Marita Sparrer-Dolidze
Monday, December 23
The Messenger is starting the EU-Georgia: Yesterday, today, tomorrow series. To introduce the European Union as the main European institution to our readers, in this series we will be offering the coverage of various topics, including the EU-Georgia relations, modern EU politics, development of the EU-Georgia economic cooperation, etc. Today’s issue offers a brief outlook on the security policy development of the European Union.

An idea of the common understanding of security and defense on the European continent existed long before the Maastricht Treaty. Short before the establishment of the European Economic Community (EEC) through the Treaty of Rome in 1958, the very first Common Commercial Policy was activated. However, it was a cooperation agreement on international trade-related subjects. As for the common security, its roots go back to the European Political Cooperation (EPC), a process involving the consultations for creating a common foreign policy that would address the rule of law, democracy and human rights. This should be the main guiding principles of modern societies.

Between 1991-2001 Yugoslav wars made it obvious for the European society that there was a need for a stronger policy, Europe had to come up with a better security strategy. Besides, the EU failed to respond to conflict at the beginning of the Balkan conflict, and the aftermath of the conflict put even more responsibility on the entity. So in 1992, the European Union was born through the Maastricht Treaty and the following year the pillars system launched. In the development of the EU security policy, the three pillars system is fundamental. Until the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Maastricht agreement to the constitutional basis of the EU in 2009, the pillars system operated as a security basis for all the citizens of the European Union. It was a structure that classified the strategy for European safety development.

Coupled with two other pillars, the Common Foreign and Security Policy was created. Besides, the Police and Judicial Cooperation in Crime Matter (PJCCM) was created to fight against drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, terrorism, organized crime, etc. The first pillar of European Communities was in charge of the EU citizenship, Asylum, social and immigration policies, Schengen treaty. As for CFSP, it consisted of two policy areas: foreign policy - related to human rights, foreign aid and democracy, and the security policy, including CSDP, EU battle groups, Helsinki Headline Goal and Peacekeeping.

The creation of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 terminated the pillar system. Instead, the EU created a High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy post. The incumbent, Joseph Borrell took the post on 1 December 2019. He’s the Spanish politician, member of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) but that’s a topic for another discussion.

All the political gambling aside, the CFSP does consider NATO to be a strategic partner responsible for territorial defense in Europe. Today’s European right-wing politicians try hard to affirm the rest of the world that the prominent European Migrant Crises shifted the image in terms of common European security, depicting the border control to have become Achilles’ heel. No doubt that uncontrolled illegal mobility is the matter to be dealt with but it is in no way justified to generalize the idea to target certain groups.

Because of its strategic plans, the EU always observed the proximate geographical area conflicts, like the Middle East, Kosovo, Southern Caucasus, etc. For some countries, the interest was caused by proximity to the main European powers and therefore, a perspective for them to integrate into the union becoming quite tangible – as we already have seen it in case of the EU enlargement rounds. As for neighborhood politics, the standard EU response for conflict regulation (questionable) has always been something along the lines of “a response to threats to European stability in terms of economics, trade, political partnership.”

Going back to 2009, The Lisbon Treaty with amendments offered new possibilities to the European Union collectively, both to the Member States and the European Institutions. In terms of targeting external threats, the latest EU policy responded to the challenge from a more unified position: all players adjusted and adapted to the novel setting and came up with the European External Action Service, a new tool to better coordinate between traditional external policy instruments and internal instruments.

Another important factor in the history of EU security policy development was the creation of the Counter-Terrorism Centre, which established the 2015 Agenda targeting financial support of terrorism. The Counter-Terrorism Centre exists within the Europol, an official law-enforcement agency of the European Union (which does enforce the law, unlike some eastern neighbors). Claiming that Europe is currently facing a vicious form of international terrorism, the ECTC operates along with other Europol bodies like the European Cybercrime Centre. Besides, with the help of the European Union Internet Referral Unit, the ECTC fights online terrorist propaganda and extremism. According to the EU Security Agenda, its goal is to negotiate with the EU member states to contribute to operational activities that require more attention and involvement from their side.

(The series will continue in next week’s paper)