About the New European Security Initiative
If ever a reminder were needed, a succession of recent crises – Ukraine, refugees, terrorism – has demonstrated that Europe cannot hope to stand apart from global security challenges. And looking at what is already coming our way, this belated realisation will only be reinforced by cyber threats, tensions in the Pacific, or polarisation in the Middle East and north Africa.
What we are faced with now is not just a continuation of the same old challenges Europe has always faced. Those challenges have evolved, and expanded too, from old conflicts to new threats; from the classical question of our relations with major powers such as Russia and China to the new face of the transatlantic partnership and the consequences of Brexit. From an international environment where we thought we could project stability into our neighbourhood we have moved to a situation where the interdependence at the heart of the liberal order is being weaponised at our expense.
But, in the face of these challenges, there is also a new impetus to take them on. Policymakers’ attitudes are beginning to change. Influential member states are changing as well. While Germany is showing a growing willingness to take on more responsibility, France is coming to terms with the inescapable need for more European military solidarity. Beyond these, other partners are participating in military overseas operations against terrorist groups. And discussions on flexible forms of defence and security cooperation will hopefully allow all European Union member states to contribute, and to cooperate with some of its closest partners such as post-Brexit United Kingdom.
ECFR’s New European Security Initiative – NESI – has been created to tackle the questions that emerge at the meeting point of these two trends. NESI will work on all four levels of European security: the threats, the capabilities that are needed, the coalitions and institutions that should deliver security, and the internal dimension of security cooperation within Europe.