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The Three Dimensions of Europe's Defense Debate Policy Brief, GMF 2018 | No. 024

In light of transatlantic tensions and a deteriorated security environment, European security affairs are at the crossroads. 


Many European capitals are looking at France and Germany’s moves on European defense — some looking for leadership, others wary of Franco–German domination, and still others fearing paralyzing divides between the two countries. Ambitions stated by Paris and Berlin are high, both for purely bilateral cooperation and cooperation in a wider, multilateral context. Yet, issues such as disagreement over armament exports have the potential to poison the relationship.

A closer look at French and German approaches to defense and security moreover reveals that structural differences have not disappeared, notably with respect to the three dimensions of Europe’s current security debate: the East versus South dimension, defining the right level of ambitions for the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP), and the question of whether Europe needs a plan B for its defense in times of an increasingly weakened transatlantic link. 


Barbara Kunz is a research fellow at the French Institute of International Relation’s Study Committee on Franco-German Relations. She specializes in Franco-German defense cooperation and Nordic security affairs.


This content is available in English: The Three Dimensions of Europe's Defense Debate.



European Defense European Security French-German cooperation Europe