Cooperation on European security issues
33 - Relations with the US on arms control and relations with Russia
|Scorecard 2012: C- ||(6/20)
EU countries do not define the terms of European security: their divisions leave Americans in the driver’s seat, including when crucial security relations with Russia are concerned.
America looms large in European security architecture – not only through NATO (see component 32), but also as a military power in its own right. While the US, Russia and the EU seem to form a strategic triangle, European preferences are of secondary importance in US-EU deliberations because member states lack unity and have few strong objectives in common. Above all, they differ on their approach to Russia.
In 2009, most member states welcomed the Obama administration’s decision to replace the Bush missile defence plan with the Phased Adaptive Approach – a move, however, that was not chiefly motivated by European pressure. In 2010, European views have tended to converge, with France dropping its objections about the risk for deterrence, and central and eastern European countries dropping theirs about the inclusion of Russia, which had been advocated most forcefully by Germany. The whole issue moved into NATO at the Lisbon summit, and an offer to participate was extended to Russia. Europeans also jointly pushed the US Congress to ratify the New START Treaty in the hope of encouraging the “reset” policy with Russia. They also supported the US effort to revise the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, although they differed on priorities (flanks for Eastern European countries, host-nation consent for the Baltic states, or confidence measures for countries such as the UK and France).
Still lacking, however, is an independent and common EU position on European security architecture. The German and French attempts to redefine relations with Russia at the June 2010 Merkel–Medvedev summit in Meseberg and the trilateral summit in Deauville in October are a good start. However, they do not yet represent an EU consensus, have not yet delivered results on existing disputes, and have been criticised by Washington for their exclusivity.