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Actors in the European Defence Policy Area: Roles and Developments


This study analyses the roles played by different actors in the European defence policy area, with a specific focus on the developments occurred in 2013-2014. The subjects analysed encompass main European national governments, and EU actors such as the European Commission (EC), the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission (HRVP), the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the European Parliament (EP). While recognizing the importance of a comprehensive approach, the intrinsic links between defence and security, as well as the linkage of defence and security policies with foreign policy, the study focuses in particular on the European defence policy area, from both a military and an industrial point of view. European armed forces are deployed together in most missions abroad, whether under NATO, UN, EU aegis or within ad hoc coalitions. The European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) presents a dense network of players, which both compete with each other on the EU and global defence markets and cooperate within multinational procurement programmes. Moreover, since the 1990s the European integration process has begun to affect also the Union's foreign, security and defence policy, as well as the EU defence market, with a growing role of EC and EP. As a result, national governments manage their respective defence policy in an highly regulated and institutionalized EU context, which presents both limits and opportunities to their action. The analysis aims to increase the understanding of recent developments of the roles played by such actors in the European defence policy area, as well as of the enduring dynamics which underpin their interplay. This understanding in turn poses policy-makers and public opinion in a better position to engage with various European interlocutors in this area, with a view to the June 2015 European Council which will deal again with defence issues.

Report of the Istituto affari internazionali (IAI) and the Centro studi sul federalismo (CSF). The study was presented in two closed-door seminars - respectively on July 2 in Rome and on November 3 in Turin ("Quali attori per una politica di difesa europea? Ruoli e possibili sviluppi") - including experts and practitioners from Italian and EU institutions, the defence industry, academia and several think tanks.