Living in (and with) Europe

  • Paul D. Williams


Labour’s decision to develop a military capacity for the EU as part of the Union’s common foreign and security policy (CFSP) has been described as ‘perhaps the most remarkable, if not vote-catching, policy’ of Blair’s first term in office.1 Contrary to claims that the ESDP had been dealt a fatal blow by the Iraq crisis it weathered the storm.2 Although the Union’s members fell short of meeting their own optimistic targets, in 2003 ESDP took its first practical steps in Bosnia, Macedonia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). That the UK played a backseat role to France in these operations was indicative of the lower priority Whitehall gave to the ESDP project after 9/11. However, events since 1997 can also be interpreted as a victory for the UK’s vision of ESDP as a necessary tactical instrument to reinvigorate its preferred Atlanticist strategy toward European security. This view was given added credibility when in December 2004, the Union established EUFOR, a 7000 strong peace operation designed to take over from NATO’s Stabilisation Force in Bosnia. EUFOR involved troops from 33 states and was led by the UK, which also contributed approximately 1000 soldiers. It also provided more evidence that the UK was prepared to support an ESDP that was complementary to NATO.


Foreign Policy Security Council European Security Humanitarian Catastrophe Ground Troop 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Anne Deighton, ‘European Union Policy’ in Anthony Seldon (ed.), The Blair Effect (London: Little, Brown & Co., 2001), p. 325.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Jolyon Howorth, ‘Britain, NATO and CESDP’, European Foreign Affairs Review, 5 (2000), p. 378.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    See Anthony Forster and William Wallace, ‘The British Response’ in Robin Niblett and William Wallace (eds), Rethinking European Order (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001), pp. 124–51; Anthony Forster, ‘Britain’ in Ian Manners and Richard G. Whitman (eds), The Foreign Policies of the EU Member States (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000), p. 48.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Tony Blair, ‘The principles of a modern British foreign policy’, speech to the Lord Mayor’s banquet, London, 10 Nov. 1997.Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    Brian Barder, ‘Britain: still looking for that role?’, Political Quarterly, 72: 3 (2001), pp. 370–1.Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    See Ole Wa:ver, ‘The EU as a security actor’ in Morten Kelstrup and Michael C. Williams (eds), International Relations Theory and the Politics of European Integration (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 250–94.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    See Emanuel Adler and Michael Barnett (eds), Security Communities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    Jolyon Howorth, ‘Discourse, ideas and epistemic communities in European security and defence policy’, West European Politics, 27: 2 (2004), p. 221. These of Ficials later became part of a wider international epistemic community.Google Scholar
  9. 15.
    This paragraph draws from Richard G. Whitman, Amsterdams Unfinished Business? The Blair Governments Initiative and the Future of the Western European Union (Paris: WEU Institute for Security Studies, Occasional Paper 7, 1999), pp. 6–8.Google Scholar
  10. 16.
    See Howorth, ‘Britain, NATO and CESDP’, pp. 387–8; Howorth, ‘Discourse’, p. 225.Google Scholar
  11. 17.
    Deighton, ‘European Union Policy’, p. 321. The key passages of the declaration are: ‘The European Union needs to be in a position to play its full role on the international stage. … To this end, the Union must have the necessary capacity for autonomous action, backed by credible, military forces, the means to decide to use them, and a readiness to do so, in order to respond to international crises … acting in conformity with our respective obligations in NATO.’ Arguably the key phrase was ‘autonomous action’.Google Scholar
  12. 18.
    Howorth, ‘Britain, NATO and CESDP’, p. 377.Google Scholar
  13. 19.
    Whitman, Amsterdam, p. 9. For an alternative list of ten areas of Franco-British agreement see Jolyon Howorth, ‘Britain, France and the European defence initiative’, Survival, 42: 2 (2000), pp. 36–7.Google Scholar
  14. 26.
    Lawrence Freedman, ‘The influence of ideas on British defence policy’, Contemporary British History, 10: 2 (1996), p. 132.Google Scholar
  15. 30.
    Gen. Wesley Clark cited in Alex J. Bellamy, Kosovo and International Society (London: Palgrave, 2002), pp. 157–8.Google Scholar
  16. 31.
    Lawrence Freedman, ‘Defence’ in Seldon (ed.), The Blair Effect, p. 296.Google Scholar
  17. 34.
    Tony Blair interview, ‘A New Generation Draws the Line’, Newsweek, 133: 16, 19 April 1999, p. 41.Google Scholar
  18. 35.
    Michael MccGwire, ‘Why did we bomb Belgrade?’, International Affairs, 76: 1 (2000), pp. 39–61.Google Scholar
  19. 36.
    See Will Bartlett, ‘Labour goes to war’, in Richard Little and Mark WickhamJones (eds), New Labours Foreign Policy (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000), pp. 140, 143.Google Scholar
  20. 37.
    See Tony Blair, ‘There can be no compromise in Kosovo’, The Times, 7 May 1999.Google Scholar
  21. 38.
    Cited in Michael Clarke, ‘British perceptions’ in Mary Buckley and Sally N. Cummings (eds), Kosovo: Perceptions of War and its Aftermath (London: Continuum, 2001), p. 82. Blair made a similar argument before the Rambouillet summit stating: ‘I will not ignore war and instability in Europe. … I do not want to see such atrocities [as occurred in Bosnia and Herzegovina] committed again, and again and again.’ Tony Blair, ‘Our responsibilities do not end at the English Channel’, Independent on Sunday, 14 Feb. 1999.Google Scholar
  22. 40.
    Tony Blair, ‘Doctrine of the International Community’, speech to the Economic Club of Chicago, 22 April 1999.Google Scholar
  23. 41.
    Tony Blair, Hansard (Commons), 8 June 1999, col. 471.Google Scholar
  24. 45.
    Philip Stevens, Tony Blair (London: Viking, 2004), pp. 154–5.Google Scholar
  25. 52.
    Hansard (Commons), 25 March 1999, cols 616–17. See also Sir Jeremy Greenstock’s comments in S/PV.3988, 24 March 1999, pp. 11–12. The legal reasoning had been set out in an FCO paper circulated to NATO capitals in October 1998. This suggested: ‘A UNSCR would give a clear base for NATO action, as well as being politically desirable. … But force can also be justified on the grounds of overwhelming humanitarian necessity without a UNSCR. The following criteria would need to be applied: (a) that there is convincing evidence, generally accepted by the international community as a whole, of extreme humanitarian distress on a large scale, requiring immediate and urgent relief. (b) That it is objectively clear that there is no practicable alternative to the use of force if lives are to be saved. (c) That the proposed use of force is necessary and proportionate to the aim (the relief of humanitarian need) and is strictly limited in time and scope to this aim. Cited in Adam Roberts, ‘NATO’s “Humanitarian War” over Kosovo’, Survival, 41: 3 (1999), p. 106. See also the special section ‘Kosovo crisis inquiry: international law aspects’, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 49: 4 (Oct. 2000), pp. 876–943; N.D. White, ‘The legality of bombing in the name of humanity’, Journal of Conflict and Security Law, 5: 1 (2000), pp. 27–43; Nicholas J. Wheeler, ‘Reflections on the legality and legitimacy of NATO’s intervention in Kosovo’, International Journal of Human Rights, 4: 3/4 (2000), pp. 145–63.Google Scholar
  26. 58.
    Ken Booth, ‘The Kosovo tragedy: epilogue to another “low and dishonest decade” ’, Politikon, 27: 1 (2000), p. 8.Google Scholar
  27. 68.
    Mark Curtis, The Web of Deceit (London: Vintage, 2003), pp. 135, 152–6.Google Scholar
  28. 71.
    See Colin McInnes, ‘Fatal attraction? Air power and the West’, Contemporary Security Policy, 22: 3 (2001), pp. 28–51.Google Scholar
  29. 74.
    Christopher Hill, ‘Renationalizing or regrouping? EU foreign policy since 11 September 2001’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 42: 1 (2004), pp. 145–7, 160–1.Google Scholar
  30. 77.
    Donald Rumsfeld, ‘A war like no other our nation has faced’, Guardian, 28 Sept. 2001.Google Scholar
  31. 78.
    Jack Straw, ‘Failed and failing states’, speech at the European Research Institute, Birmingham, 6 Sept. 2002. The rationale is set out in Robert Cooper, The Breaking of Nations (London: Atlantic Books, 2003).Google Scholar
  32. 79.
    Blair, Chirac and Schroeder held an informal meeting to discuss Afghanistan an hour before the Ghent Council on 20 October 2001 and planned a repeat meeting in London on 4 November. The prime ministers of Belgium, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands and the High Representative also attended the London session. ‘Guess who wasn’t coming to dinner?’, Economist, 8 Nov. 2001. Of course, seen in a ‘war on terrorism’ light, these meetings could also be interpreted as an attempt to present a more united front to Washington. See Anand Menon, ‘From crisis to catharsis: ESDP after Iraq’, International Affairs, 80: 4 (2004), p. 634.Google Scholar
  33. 84.
    Thomas Fuller, ‘Summit talk of close European military ties upsets US’, International Herald Tribune, 17 Oct. 2003.Google Scholar
  34. 90.
    Christopher Hill, ‘Britain and the European Security Strategy’, CFSP Forum (Working Paper 6, 2004), pp. 2 and 7.Google Scholar
  35. 91.
    Menon, ‘From crisis’, p. 644. The main drafter of the ESS in Solana’s of Fice was Tony Blair’s former foreign policy adviser, Robert Cooper.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Paul D. Williams 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul D. Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BirminghamUK

Personalised recommendations