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.
Our experts pick out four main topics to pay attention to ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels
Nick Witney - 25 June 2018
EU members may not feel they can trust the Brits on defence. But the UK’s past reliability on this front suggests they should
Nick Witney - 22 May 2018
The cultivation of a shared strategic European defence culture must encompass the possibility – the likelihood, in fact – of autonomous European action
A British exit from the EU would make it harder to fight crime and terrorism, reduce Britain’s ability to lead and influence its partners, and weaken NATO
by Nick Witney - 05th November, 2015
British exit from the EU would have serious foreign policy consequences – both for Britain and for the rest of Europe
Mark Leonard talks to the all star cast of Nick Whitney, Ulrike Franke and Jeremy Shapiro on the topic of European strategic culture.
ECFR Policy Fellow Ulrike Franke speaks with Mark Leonard, former MP Douglas Alexander, and ECFR’s Senior Policy Fellow Nick Witney, about Britain’s future vision of EU-UK security cooperation after Brexit. The podcast was recorded on 13.12.2017 in Berlin.
The Shardlake Series by C. J. Sampson
Poverty Safari by Darren McGarvey
Lecture on David Cameron’s relationship with the EU by Sir Ivan Rogers
ECFR’s director Mark Leonard discusses the launch of PESCO, the latest collective European defence initiative with ECFR Senior Policy Fellow Nick Witney and Policy Fellow, Ulrike Franke.
The podcast was recorded on 24th November 2017.
George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia
Peter Wilson, The Holy Roman Empire
Nick Witney, Re-energising Europe's Security and Defence Policy
Nick Witney, EU defence efforts miss the open goal again
ECFR, New Security Initiative essay collection
Nouveau podcast de notre série sur les présidentielles de 2017 ayant pour objectif de traiter les thèmes d'actualité et de contribuer au débat dans la perspective des élections du printemps prochain.
Entretien de Nick Witney, Senior Policy Fellow à l'ECFR, par Tara Varma, coordinatrice des activités du bureau de Paris de l'ECFR, sur l'avenir de la défense européenne.
Mark Leonard speaks with former Director of the European Defence Agency Nick Witney, Manuel Lafont Rapnouil and Ulrike Esther Franke about European defence in the context of Brexit, increasing defence budgets and proposals for a Schengen of Defence. The podcast was recorded on 29 September 2016
War Stories From the Future by the Atlantic Council’s Art of Future Warfare Project
Empire of the Seas: How the Navy Forged the Modern World by Roger Crowley
Who are Refugees and Migrants? What Makes People Leave Their Homes? and Other Big Questions by Michael Rosen & Annemarie Young
On 23 June, the British public will vote on the future of Britain in the EU. Security issues have already featured prominently in the debate. We brought together five distinguished former practitioners from the military, police, intelligence and diplomatic services – all with recent top-level, operational, responsibilities, and all now with the independence to 'tell it how it is'. Vice-Admiral Sir Anthony Dymock, Simon Foy, Nigel Inkster, Baroness Pauline Neville Jones, and ECFR's Nick Witney discuss what a British exit from the EU would mean for Britain's security.
ECFR's director Mark Leonard speaks with Vice-Admiral Sir Anthony Dymock, former UK Military Representative to NATO and the EU, Simon Foy, former head of the Metropolitan Police's Homicide and Serious Crimes Command, Nigel Inkster, former board member of MI6, Baroness Pauline Neville Jones, former Security Minister, and Nick Witney, former chief executive of European Defence Agency and ECFR senior policy fellow, about what a British exit from the EU would mean for Britain's security.
The drawbridge fallacy by Mark Leonard
Brexit to nowhere: The foreign policy consequences of “Out” by Nick Witney
You can find an audio recording of the recent event Brexit and Britain’s Security: The Operational Perspective here.
ECFR's director Mark Leonard speaks with Manuel Lafont Rapnouil, Head of ECFR's Paris office, Anthony Dworkin, Senior Policy Fellow, and Nick Witney, co-director of ECFR's European Power programme, about the Brussels terror attacks and its implications on European security and unity.
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