European defence: minilateralism is not the enemy
Many national perspectives published in this series share a similar analysis of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP): it is underperforming and needs to be adapted. However, the willingness to devote resources to actually improve the Policy does not seem to be at the forefront of many national policies. Everyone agrees on the symptoms, but few, if any, are truly committed to curing the sicknesses. A like-minded series on NATO would have probably ended up with relatively similar conclusions.
Two reasons may explain this situation. First, it requires daunting resources and a great deal of credibility to champion this reform process and not many countries are capable and/or willing to take up that challenge. Second, in the face of problem-riddled institutions, momentous economic difficulties, and pressing needs to find alternatives, the past seven years have seen the resurgence of bilateral and minilateral frameworks outside traditional institutions. This article attempts to explain the reasons behind this growing trend, why they are not a passing phenomenon, and what they incur for CSDP and NATO.