Languages: English, French, Arabic
Areas of Expertise: International relations, International Security Policy, the European Security and Defence Policy, military capabilities development, defence equipment cooperation, research and industry, the Middle East and North Africa, the Middle East Peace Process
Nick Witney is a senior policy fellow at ECFR.
He previously served as the first chief executive of the European Defence Agency in Brussels. High Representative Javier Solana chose Nick in January 2004 to lead the project team charged with developing the concept and blueprint for the agency. The European Council approved the team’s proposals in July 2004, an achievement recognised by European Voice in nominating Nick as one of its 50 “Europeans of the Year”. After that, he was appointed to establish and run the agency for its first three years.
Nick’s earlier career, after reading Classics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, was spent in British government service, first with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and later with the Ministry of Defence (MOD). As a diplomat, he learned Arabic in Lebanon and Jordan, served in Baghdad, and spent four years as private secretary to the British ambassador in Washington, D.C.
Working with the MOD, Nick took on a wide range of responsibilities, including planning and finance, defence exports (the al-Yamamah programme with Saudi Arabia), nuclear policy, the defence estate (running the privatisation of the MOD's married quarters housing stock), the new Labour government's 1998 Strategic Defence Review, the forward Equipment Programme, and defence industrial policy. His last job before leaving for Brussels was as the MOD’s director-general of International Security Policy, where he was responsible for NATO and EU policy as well as missile defence.
24th March, 2015
Former EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Dr Javier Solana, ECFR's Senior Policy Fellow, Nick Witney, and Advisor to the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Hilmar Linnenkamp, discuss the need for more union in European defence.
by Nick Witney - 12th March, 2015
American UN ambassador Samantha Power explains why the EU needs to up its contributions to global UN peacekeeping.
by Nick Witney - 08th January, 2015
‘Fighting back’ may actually require the exercise of self-restraint – and a disciplined demonstration of tolerance and openness.
by Nick Witney - 19th December, 2014
Ten commandments for effective interventionism, building on Witney's recent publication with Richard Gowan.
Former EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Dr Javier Solana, ECFR's Senior Policy Fellow, Nick Witney, and Advisor to the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Hilmar Linnenkamp, discuss the need for more union in European defence.Listen online
Nick Witney on security and civil liberties
Nick Witney on the post-Cold War order in the EU
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