Like many other international actors, the European Union needs to re-assess its activities in Afghanistan. The on-going drawdown of the international presence in Afghanistan during 2014 marks a major turning point for the future of that country. Since 2001, the EU has committed considerable resources to Afghanistan, and this FRIDE working paper analyses the legacy of those efforts. The paper also makes a number of recommendations for the future role of the EU in Afghanistan.
EU heads-of-government are expected to discuss their military cooperation at their summit next week, and their challenge will be to provide a fresh start for European defence rather than more of the same. European taxpayers deserve a better return on their almost €200 billion investment in European defence each year; and if they wish to have influence on global affairs, Europeans are condemned to cooperate on military matters.
European armed forces are in a malaise, not only due to economic problems but also because of two political ones: complacency, and a misconstrued approach to using military force. These failings call for a conceptual reappraisal of the utility of European military power, and a better understanding of both the active and passive uses of armed force.
It is a dangerous oversimplification to view the conflict in Mali through the narrow prism of counter-terrorism. The success of the French-led intervention depends on setting attainable outcomes.
If the EU is to have an effective foreign policy in the future, it will need a clear sense of its strategic priorities, and what it is prepared to do through its Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
Europe sees Asia overwhelmingly as a trade partner and, unlike the US, hasn't been able to develop a security assessment of the region. How should European engagement with China be strengthened on security issues?