Security and Defence - Elcano Royal Institute empty_context Copyright (c), 2002-2018 Fundación Real Instituto Elcano Lotus Web Content Management <![CDATA[ Negotiations with North Korea: reviving a stalled process? ]]> 2019-09-13T12:08:10Z

This analysis argues that US-North Korea and inter-Korean diplomacy have stalled in the months since the Hanoi summit, yet negotiations will eventually resume as they are the most realistic way to deal with North Korea’s nuclear programme.


This analysis argues that US-North Korea and inter-Korean diplomacy have stalled in the months since the Hanoi summit, yet negotiations will eventually resume as they are the most realistic way to deal with North Korea’s nuclear programme.


Six months after the Hanoi summit between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un, diplomacy between the US and North Korea and, as a result, between both Koreas has stalled. There are now three potential scenarios in the coming months when it comes to diplomacy with Pyongyang: (1) a re-start of the process leading to an interim deal; (2) a continuation of the current diplomatic freeze; and (3) a break-down in the process, leading to renewed tension. None of them can be ruled out as of mid-September, since all of them have advantages and disadvantages for Pyongyang and Washington. Having said that, in the long-term, diplomacy is the most realistic policy to address the North Korean nuclear conundrum. This is due to Pyongyang’s need for a deal with Washington, moves in the US to develop a sustainable engagement process and support for such an approach in South Korea. Therefore, we should expect negotiations to re-start in the future.


Stalled process

Half a year after the no-deal Hanoi summit between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un, it is fair to say that the diplomatic process to deal with North Korea has stalled. Neither US-North Korea denuclearisation negotiations nor inter-Korean diplomacy have made any real progress over the past six months. The historic meeting between Trump and Kim in the DMZ in late June, which marked the first time that a sitting US President stepped on North-Korean territory, failed to break the deadlock. As of early September, the international community is still waiting for negotiations with North Korea to resume.

There are also some signs that the situation may have even turned for the worse since the Hanoi summit. Pyongyang has resumed its short-range ballistic missile testing programme. As South Korea and the US carried out their regular joint military manoeuvres, North Korea conducted no less than five rounds of tests. Meanwhile, the Kim government has shunned working-level talks with the US despite the agreement that Trump and Kim supposedly reached during their DMZ meeting. At the same time, North Korea has refused to meet with South Korea in recent months, either officially or unofficially. Further, Pyongyang’s official media have lashed out at President Moon Jae-in’s government in recent weeks.

There are several reasons why the process with North Korea has stalled. To begin with, all signs suggest that Kim was genuinely surprised at Washington’s demands during the Hanoi summit. The North Korean negotiation team seemed not to have a plan B. In the aftermath of the summit, Kim has been busy reshuffling his negotiating team. Plus, there still seem to be internal discussions about what the government might be willing to offer in exchange for potential partial sanctions relief by the US.

On the US side it is still unclear what Washington’s goals are: a comprehensive ‘grand bargain’ including the full denuclearisation of North Korea? An interim deal focusing on a cap and roll-back of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes? Or something else? Likewise, it is also unclear whether the US is willing to take a step-by-step approach or is still clinging to the hope that North Korea will agree to full denuclearisation before getting anything in return. It does not help that the Trump Administration does not speak with a single voice.

Another reason why North Korea has shunned diplomacy in recent months is that it feels cheated by South Korea. The Moon government has repeatedly touted its interest in resuming inter-Korean economic cooperation, starting with the re-opening of the Kaesong Industrial Complex and the Mount Kumgang Tourist resort. This the first step towards the establishment of a so-called ‘peace economy’ that will support inter-Korean reconciliation through strengthening economic cooperation. However, the Trump Administration has halted any potential substantial economic exchange between the two Koreas by refusing to grant sanction waivers that would allow them to be launched. Pyongyang has thus lashed out at Seoul for not implementing these projects.

A wild card also affecting the resumption of diplomacy in the Korean Peninsula in earnest is Trump’s potential interest in a deal with North Korea. The US President has repeatedly said that he is willing to sign a deal and that he sees a ‘bright future’ ahead for North Korea. There is the possibility, however, that Trump might get distracted by a potential deal with the Taliban ending the Afghanistan War, with China putting an end to its trade war with the US or any other of the multiple foreign policy issues his Administration is working on. In other words, a deal with North Korea is not the only foreign policy ‘success’ that Trump could present to the US electorate before next year’s presidential election.

Three scenarios

There are three possible scenarios in the coming months when it comes to diplomacy with North Korea: (1) a re-start of the process leading to an interim deal; (2) a continuation of the current freeze; and (3) a break-down in the process, leading to renewed tension. As of mid-September and considering recent developments, or the lack thereof, none of them can be ruled out.

The first possible scenario is a resumption of US-North Korea diplomacy resulting in an interim deal. This would build on the unprecedented level of diplomacy witnessed in the Korean Peninsula throughout 2018 and early 2019. A ‘grand bargain’ agreement, essentially meaning the exchange of North Korea’s nuclear programme for normalised relations with the US and a multilateral economic package, cannot be ruled out. However, an interim deal is more likely for two reasons: Pyongyang clearly feels more comfortable with this option and several Trump Administration officials have indicated that the US might be willing to accept it as a first step, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Special Representative to North Korea Stephen Biegun. John Bolton’s departure makes this scenario more likely as he was one of the most adamant advocates of a hard line against North Korea amongst Donald Trump’s inner circle.

An interim deal could involve Pyongyang offering the dismantlement of the Yongbyon Nuclear Complex and potentially other nuclear facilities as well, the cessation of all nuclear and missile tests, and the presence of international nuclear inspectors on North Korean soil for verification purposes. In exchange, the US could offer the removal of sanctions affecting the North Korean economy or at least their interruption for a period of time, mutual liaison offices in Washington and Pyongyang, and an economic package including aid and investment. The international community, including North Korea’s neighbours and others such as the EU, could be among the main providers of the economic package. It is unlikely that the Trump Administration will agree to substantial US aid being transferred to North Korea.

Implementation of the interim deal would follow a step-by-step process, similar to those followed with the Agreed Framework and Six-Party Talks agreements signed respectively by the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations. Pyongyang has made it clear that it is unwilling to take significant steps towards denuclearisation without getting anything in return. This means that an Iran-type deal is out of the question. With North Korea now a de facto nuclear power, the international community will have to accept that there is no incentive for the Kim government to give up its nuclear programme upfront in exchange for a promise of sanctions relief afterwards.

This type of agreement would need serious working-level negotiations, both before a deal is signed and once implementation starts. Under the Trump Administration, however, there have been no sustainable working-level negotiations, with only a short round in the weeks running up to the Hanoi summit. Otherwise, US and North Korean negotiators of different government branches have met from time to time but not regularly. Yet this is not conducive to a sustainable process. Most probably, Kim thinks that he can get a more favourable agreement directly from Trump, even after the failure of the Hanoi summit, reducing the incentives for Pyongyang to start a sustainable working-level process for the time being, despite Washington’s stated preference for this format.

The second possible scenario is that the current diplomatic freeze continues and US-North Korea negotiations do not resume. This would mean that the present state of affairs remains unchanged, with the US and North Korea unable or unwilling to build on the bout of high-level diplomacy of 2018 and early 2019. Under this scenario, neither Washington nor, particularly, Pyongyang would escalate tension to the point seen in 2017. In other words, the Kim government would refrain from conducting further nuclear or ICBM tests and the Trump Administration would desist from threatening to strike North Korea. Considering that Trump did contemplate the latter, which would have resulted in war in the Korean Peninsula, no escalation would at least mean a degree of calm in North-East Asia.

For North Korea, continuation of the current diplomatic freeze would entail waiting until next year’s US presidential election to then decide how to proceed. If Trump continues in power, avoiding escalation would mean that the door for diplomacy remains open. If the Democratic candidate wins, Pyongyang could portray itself as a ‘responsible’ actor while the new government takes a decision on its North-Korea policy. Either way, no escalation allows North Korea to project a more positive image. The added bonus is that Moon’s Democratic Party could tout the benefits of engagement in next year’s National Assembly elections. As a result, Pyongyang’s actions, or inaction in this case, could help to tilt the balance towards Moon’s pro-engagement party.

For Trump the main benefit of a no-escalation scenario is that he can present himself as the stabiliser of the Korean Peninsula. Recent polls show that a majority of Americans think that Trump is the main driving force behind stability in the Korean Peninsula. Short-range ballistic missile tests seem not to have affected this perception negatively, since they are not a direct threat to the US mainland. The Trump Administration can certainly pursue other negotiation processes and to an extent neglect North Korea as long as its nuclear and ICBM programmes are not on the news. If Trump is re-elected he can go back to negotiations with North Korea during his second term.

Ultimately, continuation of the current pause in US-North Korea negotiations would most probably lead to the eventual resumption of negotiations, that is, a return to the first scenario. Clinton, Bush and even Barack Obama, whose Administrations essentially shunned diplomacy with the Kim government for the most part, sought negotiations with North Korea when it became obvious that that would be the only realistic path to address its nuclear programme. Interestingly for Pyongyang, it was towards the end of the Clinton and Bush Administrations’ second terms that it came closest to normalising relations. Thus, both Trump, or his successor, and Kim have an incentive to return to the negotiating table.

The third possible scenario is a break-down of the current negotiation process and a return to heightened US-North Korea tension. It should be remembered that Kim has publicly said that North Korea has given itself a deadline until the end of 2019 to see whether negotiations with the US result in a deal. It is not inconceivable that he could use his 2020 New Year Address, which North Korean leaders traditionally use to set the agenda for the coming year, to announce that Pyongyang will resume its nuclear and ICBM testing programme. In fact, this is a likely scenario if US-North Korea negotiations fall apart and the two governments make each other responsible for the failure.

From a North Korean perspective, this scenario would have its appeal if it were to mean that Trump has to run for re-election in the midst of nuclear and ICMB tests. This would be embarrassing for the US President, who has repeatedly said that he counts Kim as a friend. Furthermore, Trump’s Democratic opponent could accuse the US President of being naïve and having nothing to show for three meetings with Kim. Pyongyang could also resort to insulting the President, as it has done with other members of his Administration, such as Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton. Verbal attacks would further cement the view that Trump has been fooled by Kim.

From a material point of view, new tests would allow North Korea to continue to improve its nuclear and ICBM programmes. Pyongyang has certainly continued to do so despite the diplomatic process with the US and South Korea. But a question remains as to whether it can successfully mount a miniaturised nuclear warhead on an ICBM capable of reaching the US mainland. With the exception of an unthinkable strike itself, further nuclear and ICBM tests are the only means for Pyongyang to show the international community that it is in possession of such a capability. If and when negotiations with Washington start again, more tests and better capabilities would presumably give Pyongyang a stronger bargaining hand.

It is difficult to see what the benefits of heightened tension would be for the Trump Administration. If the ‘fire and fury’ of 2017 taught any lesson at all it is that the Kim government will not back down from a confrontational approach. Perhaps if Trump wants to raise sanctions on North Korea he might consider that renewed tension is the only way for China and Russia to acquiesce to such a course of action. However, the five new rounds of sanctions approved by the UN Security Council in 2016-17, the toughest ever, have singularly failed to stop North Korea from developing its nuclear and missile capabilities. There is no reason to believe that more sanctions will make any difference.

North Korea would also have much to lose from the resumption of high-intensity brinkmanship. To begin with, this is the only scenario under which China and Russia might decide to allow the international community to tighten sanctions on Pyongyang. Furthermore, Trump has, of course, a strong chance of being re-elected and new tests by North Korea could dent his enthusiasm for talks. Also, Kim has spent 2018 and 2019 presenting himself as a responsible leader, including summits with Moon, Trump, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Lee Hsien Loong and Nguyen Phu Trong. Going back to brinkmanship as his foreign policy of choice would dent the perception that he is a different type of North Korean leader bent on bringing (economic) change to the country.

Long-term outlook

In the long run, the outlook for stability in the Korean Peninsula, steps towards inter-Korean reconciliation, better economic prospects for ordinary North Koreans and a degree of control over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes remain positive. The main reason is that Pyongyang needs an agreement with the US involving sanctions relief and, eventually, normalisation of relations with Washington.

North Korea needs a deal with the US, above all, because the North Korean population has changed and Kim has to attend to its needs if he wants to continue to rule for decades to come. Ordinary North Koreans are better informed about the outside world than they were during the great famine of the 1990s that killed hundreds of thousands –if not millions– of the country’s population. They know that South Korea is far better off than their own country and they live in a de facto market economy, independently from a State whose central distribution system collapsed in the 1990s and never recovered. In fact, Kim has pursued a programme of incipient economic reforms since he took power that is reminiscent of China’s in the 1980s and Vietnam’s in the 1990s.

Nevertheless, the Kim government will never be able to bring the necessary investment and expertise to modernise the North Korean economy unless Washington agrees to remove sanctions on Pyongyang. The sanctions essentially forbid almost all trade and investment in North Korea. Removing them will only occur if Pyongyang reaches an agreement involving it taking significant steps towards denuclearisation.

On the US side, Trump’s personalised approach to negotiations with North Korea has overshadowed two interesting developments. First of all, there is a bipartisan move in Congress to make any engagement process with North Korea sustainable, so that it survives the Trump Administration. This includes putting other issues on the discussion table, such as North Korea’s human-rights record, but also ensuring that a new Administration can build on existing negotiations and does not start from zero, as most notably Bush decided to do after Clinton.

Furthermore, there is an acknowledgement among US foreign-policy decision-makers and elites that North Korea is a de facto nuclear power. This line of thought entails that the best that the US can aspire to for the time being is an arms-control deal including a cap and roll-back of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes. This does not mean renouncing full denuclearisation as the ultimate goal, but it does involve a more realistic approach to negotiations, with denuclearisation not being a pre-condition for talks or the offer of sanctions relief.

Also underpinning the positive outlook for a deal with North Korea is South Korea’s support for engagement. The Moon government and a large majority of liberal South Koreans back talks and negotiations. So do a significant proportion of conservatives, especially younger ones who do not see North Korea as a threat, as perceived during the Cold War. Furthermore, there is broad agreement in South Korea that a return to the tension of 2017 would be a very negative development. A majority of South Koreans also believe that the pressure on North Korea applied by the Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye governments was counterproductive in terms of supporting inter-Korean reconciliation or Pyongyang’s potential denuclearisation. In the absence of major North Korean provocations for a sustained period of time, engagement will be the policy of choice for South Korea in the years to come.


Developments since the Hanoi summit between Trump and Kim strongly suggest that US-North Korea diplomacy has essentially stalled. Six months after the summit, negotiations between the two countries are yet to resume despite a small number of scattered meetings between officials from each of the countries. As a knock-on effect, steps towards inter-Korean reconciliation have also been suspended. It seems that Washington and Pyongyang are yet to find a way to reconcile their priorities so that negotiations can re-start and an agreement can be reached.

Considering the above, there are three possible scenarios for the coming months: (1) a re-start of the process leading to an interim deal; (2) a continuation of the current freeze; and (3) a break-down in the process leading to renewed tensions. None of them can be ruled out as of mid-September. However, negotiations are the only realistic means to address North Korea’s nuclear programme. For once, North Korea needs a deal if Kim is going to successfully implement the economic reform programme that he wants. In addition, there are bipartisan moves in the US to make engagement sustainable. Furthermore, South Korea is supportive of negotiations with North Korea. Therefore, diplomacy will eventually resume.

Ramón Pacheco Pardo
KF-VUB Korea Chair at the Institute for European Studies of Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Reader in International Relations at King’s College London | @rpachecopardo

<![CDATA[ Emerging security challenges in NATO’s southern neighbourhood ]]> 2019-07-03T10:22:24Z

NATO has always had a southern exposure. Today’s strategic environment provides a new context for this traditional question, but also raises fundamental questions of geography, alliance politics and a shared approach to risks.


NATO confronts an increasingly complex and risk-prone environment. A more assertive Russia poses specific challenges and the Alliance has made headway in addressing risks emanating from the east. NATO has been less explicit in addressing risks emanating from the Mediterranean and from the ‘south’ more generally. These risks are real and will make new demands on Alliance strategy in the years ahead.


NATO has always had a southern exposure. Since the early years of the Alliance, the question of how to understand and address challenges emanating from the Mediterranean and beyond has been on the NATO agenda in political and security terms. Today’s strategic environment provides a new context for this traditional question, but also raises fundamental questions of geography, alliance politics and a shared approach to risks. Transatlantic relations and NATO burden-sharing will be elements in the equation as NATO looks south.


The definition of the southern limits of the NATO area of responsibility was a key political issue when Algeria was still part of France and other members retained colonies in Africa and elsewhere. The earliest NATO enlargements were southbound, with Greece and Turkey. During the Cold War, the East-West military balance had a distinct southern dimension, alongside more focused threats on the northern and central flanks. But despite the considerable military assets and infrastructure deployed across NATO’s southern region, the Mediterranean remained a secondary concern in Alliance strategy. The defence of Frankfurt and Athens were never really equivalent strategic priorities. Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, challenges in the south were seen as local concerns, or linked to broader questions of global strategy, of interest largely to the US. The experience of two Gulf Wars reinforced this perception, with NATO’s south serving, above all, as a logistical link to the Gulf. Formal NATO strategy continued –and continues– to treat Mediterranean challenges as a fully equivalent part of collective defence. But Alliance politics and the wider strategic debate are another matter.

Today, strategy looking south is experiencing a renaissance. Terrorism is a key part of the equation in both public and elite perception, and this concern is hardly limited to NATO’s southern members. Power projection and crisis management in the face of a very unstable security environment from North Africa to the Levant is another key element. Unease over migration pressures and hard and soft security challenges emanating from the global south are also driving the debate. Yet the sheer scale of the relevant geography, the diversity of risks and their diffuse character, and strategic distractions elsewhere continue to complicate Alliance thinking about the security environment across the ‘southern neighbourhood’ and how to address it.

What south?

The contemporary question of NATO’s southern strategy has provoked a fundamental debate over what, precisely, is meant by the ‘south’. The Mediterranean is the undeniable centre of gravity in this context. Developments across the Mediterranean space, at sea and ashore, touch directly on the security interests of the Alliance as a whole. NATO has a well-established partnership programme, the Mediterranean Dialogue, embracing North Africa and the Levant.1 This initiative, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2019, has evolved significantly over time. It has acquired a more practical orientation with the broad aim of capacity building and encouraging a shared security culture around the Mediterranean. It remains a vehicle for multilateral discussions in a setting that allows for few interactions between, for instance, Israel and the Arab states, or Morocco and Algeria. It could be even more active in this context if political conditions were more permissive.2 The inclusion of Mauritania appears much less eccentric today against the backdrop of mounting security challenges emanating from the Sahel.

But it is increasingly clear that effective consideration of NATO strategy looking south cannot stop at the Mediterranean and its immediate hinterlands. NATO’s southern exposure has broadened in political and practical terms. Beyond the Maghreb, Africa as a whole is now part of the strategic equation and is set to become even more important over time. Migration, spill-overs of terrorism and illicit flows of all kinds have made Africa an integral part of the European and transatlantic security calculus. The US, France and other NATO members now have a substantial military presence across the Sahel and West Africa. The latter is a growing focus of intelligence collection, surveillance and security partnerships. The deployment of new NATO assets, including Global Hawk drones based in Sicily, is clearly oriented towards risks emanating from this quarter. The enlargement of this security space implies closer cooperation with institutions such as the African Union (AU) and the G5-Sahel. Ultimately, countries such as Senegal, Nigeria and South Africa could be significant partners in NATO’s effort to ‘project security’ (a somewhat unfortunate term) southward.

The relevant geography for NATO is potentially even more far-reaching. Analysts and policymakers are focusing more directly on illicit flows around the Atlantic basin. Today, European and North American security interests are directly affected by the substantial flow of drugs and related trafficking from Latin America and the Caribbean across the Atlantic to West Africa, Cape Verde and northward to the Maghreb and across the Mediterranean. This phenomenon is an example of trans-national threat par excellence.

Taking this approach even further, the ‘south’ could imply all those challenges facing NATO outside the confrontation with Russia in the east. It could easily embrace the entire geography from West Africa and its Atlantic approaches to South and even South-East Asia. Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and the Gulf are already part of this southern calculus given the counter-terrorism and maritime security missions in which NATO members have already been engaged. Ultimately, this outlook converges with the steadily growing pressure for the Alliance to address risks generated by the rise of China and instability in the Indo-Pacific. Clearly, there are limits to this immense enlargement of NATO’s operational space. Pressing defence requirements in Europe’s east and disillusionment with the mission in Afghanistan have reduced the appetite of allies for expeditionary strategies.

Operationally, there are obvious limits to NATO’s global engagement. But it is important to distinguish between the idea of NATO action in the global south and the role of the Alliance as a place where wider strategic concerns can be discussed and policies coordinated. In a political sense, NATO’s south can stretch as far as allies agree to take it.

Thinking beyond crisis management

The Alliance has more than enough to deal with even in a limited definition of the south. The range of potential contingencies and missions around the Mediterranean, Africa and the southern Atlantic is substantial. Many of these challenges are of an unconventional or irregular nature, or involve long term political, economic and environmental pressures. But there are also some tangible territorial threats. Turkey faces potential Article V-type contingencies on its eastern and southern borders, and an unstable balance with Russia in the Black Sea. Experience in Libya, Syria and elsewhere encourages a view of Mediterranean security as an ongoing exercise in crisis management. This may be an inadequate template for the future. There will surely be crises requiring a concerted response. Yet the weakening of states around the southern Mediterranean and the prospect of open-ended conflict in places like Libya, raises the spectre of something closer to sustained instability or durable chaos. The regime in Damascus may well be able to secure its position, but will Syria ever return to the pre-civil war status quo? There is a very real possibility that Syria and the Levant will remain unstable and prone to proxy wars for years to come.

A vision of southern security in which instability and conflict is not an aberration but the norm underscores the importance of missions beyond periodic crisis management. In addition to making risks more transparent through better air, maritime and cyber surveillance –current situational awareness–, the Alliance will need to build its capacity for warning. This implies better sharing of longer-term intelligence and analysis of over-the-horizon risks. The NATO Strategic Direction South Hub in Naples can be one vehicle for this task. But the real capacity for warning is likely to come from bringing together the assessments of Alliance members and partners across the south.

New actors, new stakes

At the risk of restating the obvious, the source of the challenge to NATO in the east is clear, even if the dimensions of the security problem are complex, ranging from the nuclear to the conventional, the irregular to the digital and, ultimately, the political. In the south, NATO confronts immense diversity across the spectrum of risk. There are flashpoints, but no clear centre of gravity in security terms.

One of the key developments across this vast space has been the emergence of new actors and the return of some old ones. Russia has a long history of involvement in Mediterranean affairs dating to Czarist times. During the Cold War, Soviet strategy emphasised the cultivation of security relationships around the Middle East and Africa, north and south. The Soviet navy maintained a meaningful presence in the Mediterranean, even with the limited infrastructure available ashore in such places as Syria and Algeria. This presence essentially evaporated for more than a decade following the collapse of the Soviet Union. But Russia is now back, politically and militarily. The Russian intervention in Syria is the most obvious facet of Moscow’s return, alongside a longstanding relationship with Algeria, activism in Libya and a revived security relationship with Egypt. Russia has remained an influential political actor from the Balkans to the Levant. Moscow’s relationship with Ankara has flourished even as Turkish-Western relations have deteriorated (the planned sale of the Russian S-400 air defence system to Turkey is now the central issue in a deeply troubled relationship between Washington and Ankara). In short, Russia is once again a political-military actor of some importance around the Mediterranean and beyond.

Russian activism bridges NATO’s eastern and southern concerns in some tangible ways, not least in terms of Black-Sea security. As in the Baltic, the growing friction between Russia and NATO has led to a heightened risk of military incidents in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, where forces are operating in proximity. The current level of Russian engagement on NATO’s southern periphery may or may not be sustainable over the longer term. But, for the moment at least, Moscow is back.

A transatlantic debate

Emerging challenges and NATO strategy looking south take on special meaning in the context of the current transatlantic security debate. US engagement and transatlantic burden-sharing are likely to play out in distinctive ways on Europe’s southern periphery. As in Eastern Europe, fears of US disengagement across the region have so far proved to be exaggerated. Deterring and defending against a revived Russia –an existential issue for the Alliance in the East– can hardly be contemplated without US nuclear and conventional contributions. For all the sharp rhetoric around Washington’s pointed pursuit of rebalancing in European defence, the US security presence in Europe has increased in recent years. This is evident in the south, too, although the posture is clearly in flux (as seen in the rapid growth and equally rapid reduction in US forces deployed in West Africa and the Sahel). Washington remains a leading diplomatic and security actor from the Maghreb to the Indian Ocean, from the Black Sea to sub-Saharan Africa. To be sure, the US naval presence in the Mediterranean does not resemble its Cold War form, when the Sixth Fleet kept at least one carrier battle-group in the area. The current pattern was set during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when European naval forces took over much of this Mediterranean role through NATO’s Operation Active Endeavour. But the US maintains substantial command, air and rapid deployment assets in and around the Mediterranean. The bulk of the ballistic missile defence capacity is afloat in the region.

The US presence in the south is, however, subject to uncertainty over time. A major crisis in Asia could draw substantial US attention and presence away from Europe’s southern periphery. Indeed, allies are already concerned about the durability of US engagement in the Middle East and North Africa. Persistent crises and calls for intervention in the region are unlikely to be well received by the Trump Administration –or by its possible successors–. The Sahel and the Balkans are already seen as areas for European security leadership. The US strategic class tends to see these as places Europe can reach and should be able to manage in security terms. Calls for European ‘strategic autonomy’ and new EU defence initiatives, if they amount to anything, should be felt first and foremost in the south where European allies already deploy significant forces. As an area where low-intensity maritime, humanitarian and counter-terrorism contingencies abound, this is a particularly promising theatre for NATO-EU cooperation. Operations in the south are also redefining US priorities for bilateral military cooperation in Europe. Today, France is arguably Washington’s leading security partner.


There is an evident asymmetry between the scale and character of NATO’s security challenges in the east and the south. But the Alliance politics in these settings is less clear-cut than is sometimes assumed. To be sure, NATO’s southern members are more inclined to focus on risks emanating from a wider south. Poland and the Baltic states have their own well-founded concerns. But beyond these obvious differences, security perspectives across the Alliance are more nuanced and complex. For most of Western Europe, the risk of terrorism and political violence emanating from the south trumps the fear of Russian aggression. Terrorism below the level of ‘super terrorism’ and uncontrolled migration –both emblematic of challenges emanating from the south– may not pose an existential threat in strict terms, but both can be politically existential for the societies affected.

Some southern members may be characterised as softer on Russia. Growing Russian activism around the Mediterranean, at odds with southern European interests in Libya and elsewhere, may lead to a hardening of attitudes over time. In short, geography may be a declining guide to strategic priorities in a time of trans-regional risks. The contours of the NATO debate about strategy south –a traditional issue in political and defence terms– are changing rapidly under pressure of emerging challenges and evolving ideas about what exactly is meant by the ‘south’. Whatever the geographic parameters, the weight of these southern challenges in Alliance planning is likely to increase as part of a broader, global rise in risk.

Dr Ian Lesser
Vice President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and Executive Director of GMF’s Brussels office | @ian_lesser

1 Founded in 1994, the Mediterranean Dialogue now includes Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Mauritania.

2 See Ian Lesser, Charlotte Brandsma, Laura Basagni & Bruno Lété (2018), The Future of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue: Perspectives on Security, Strategy and Partnership, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, May.

<![CDATA[ NATO and the South ]]> 2019-07-01T11:30:29Z

Speech delivered at the opening meeting of the project on the emerging security challenges in NATO’s southern neighbourhood, Brussels, 24 April 2019.

Speech delivered at the opening meeting of the project on the emerging security challenges in NATO’s southern neighbourhood, Brussels, 24 April 2019.

At the grand old age of 70, NATO has undoubtedly had to change and adapt over the decades to survive and thrive. One of the most striking examples of its versatility is the turn the Alliance took to the South. If, at its inception, NATO was created to fend off challenges and threats emanating from its big Eastern neighbour, subsequent developments to its South prompted the Alliance to adopt a 360-degree shift in its approach to security. Not only did NATO have to develop the capacity to deal with threats irrespective of their geographical origin, it also had to develop a structured approach to challenges emanating from the South and a network of partnerships in the region.

The very notion of NATO’s ‘South’ has indeed changed and evolved significantly over time. During the Cold War it was just one arena of the East-West confrontation, with a strong focus on the Eastern Mediterranean; the presence of the US VI Fleet in Naples conferred on all this a strong maritime dimension. After the Cold War and throughout the 1990s, the South came to represent a promising region for dialogue and cooperation with other countries while the conflict(s) in the former Yugoslavia were still seen through the lenses of a post-Cold War ‘East’.

With and after 9/11, NATO’s South became a major theatre for counter-terrorism operations and activities, extending as far as Afghanistan (ISAF) and the Horn of Africa (counter-piracy): in fact, in NATO parlance, Afghanistan is now part and parcel of its ‘South’. With and after the 2011 Arab ‘Awakening’, the wider MENA region turned into a sort of 21st-century ‘Thirty Years War’ –with its own combination and overlap of territorial, religious and dynastic/political disputes fuelled also by external players–. The 2014 onset of the ISIL/Daesh ‘Caliphate’ in Iraq and Syria only made things worse, fuelling massive disruptions and displacements, while some of the drivers of the ‘Awakening’ seem to be still present, as recent developments in Algeria and Sudan seem to indicate.

And today? NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg likes to say that, as a Norwegian, the ‘South’ for him is basically Denmark. As NATO’s leader, however, his ‘South’ now stretches across the Mediterranean and the MENA region, but also from the Sahel to the Horn and through the Indo-Pacific into South Asia.

You are probably more than familiar with the challenges faced by this region: political instability and unrest are widespread, with the situation in Syria and Libya constituting its most extreme representation, contributing to increased and uncontrolled migration flows, as have water scarcity and worsening agricultural conditions –in particular in the Sahel and Sub-Saharan Africa– accelerated by climate change.

Terrorism and violent extremism remain two of the most acute challenges faced by the countries in the region. While the number of deaths caused by terrorist acts continues to decrease, the threat is now spread more widely across the globe and set to increase in the near future in some areas. The collapse of ISIL/Daesh in Iraq and Syria has moved the group’s activities elsewhere, in particular to the Maghreb and Sahel regions, most notably in Libya, Niger and Mali. Furthermore, al-Qaeda remains a resilient and powerful player, in particular through affiliates such as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al-Shabaab in Somalia.

It is easy to see how many of these emerging security challenges are interconnected and intertwined, thus requiring an integrated and comprehensive approach to tackle them. NATO has been working for years to support international efforts to strengthen security in its ‘South’ and is committed to cooperative security as one of its core tasks enshrined in the 2010 new Strategic Concept (together with the other two: deterrence and defence and crisis management).

At the Brussels Summit last July, Allied Heads of State and Government endorsed a ‘Package on the South’, which includes a range of political and practical cooperation initiatives towards a more strategic, focused and coherent approach to the MENA region. The Package is underpinned by three main objectives: (1) strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defence against threats emanating from the South; (2) contributing to international crisis management efforts in the region; and (3) helping our regional partners build up resilience against security threats.

To support these efforts, a Regional ‘Hub for the South’ was set up at the Allied Joint Force Command in Naples in 2018. The Hub reached its full operational capacity in July of that year. The aim behind its creation is to increase NATO’s situational awareness of the threats and opportunities emanating from the MENA region, to support the collection, management and sharing of information, and to promote the coordination and conduct outreach activities with the Alliance’s partners in the South, hence improving its cooperation with them to counter those challenges.

Yet NATO’s work with its southern partners is longstanding. In 1994 the Alliance launched the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD), a forum for dialogue and cooperation with southern partners including Israel, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Mauritania, Jordan (1995) and Algeria (2000). In 2004 the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) was established with the objective of contributing to long-term global and regional security by offering countries of the broader Middle East region practical bilateral security cooperation with NATO. Today the ICI includes Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. An ICI Regional Centre was set up in Kuwait in 2017 to allow closer cooperation with partners in the Gulf region and increased coordination of practical activities.

Over the years, cooperation in both the MD and ICI formats has increased and deepened, moving from dialogue-centred exchanges to a true partnership that is mutually beneficial and with a tangible practical dimension. Today, in both forums, partners come together in seminars, workshops and exercises to cooperate with NATO on topics that range from civil emergency planning to counter-terrorism and arms-control efforts, especially with regard to small arms and light weapons and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

At their request, we continue to build our partners’ capacity to address the security challenges they face through individual, tailored partnership programmes aimed ultimately at making their respective security structures and institutions stronger and more effective, including, for instance, through the Defence-and-Security-related Capacity Building (DCB) packages. DCB packages provide tailored support to local forces by advising, assisting, training and mentoring them in specific agreed areas. Iraq, Jordan and Tunisia are among the recipients of the packages. In Jordan assistance is provided in areas that include cyber defence, countering improvised explosive devices (C-IEDs), civil preparedness and crisis management. In Tunisia, it includes cyber defence, C-IEDs and the promotion of transparency in resource management.

NATO is also strengthening its political and practical cooperation with Morocco in important domains such as counter-terrorism, cyber defence, science and technology, and defence against Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear agents. Morocco recently hosted a public diplomacy event in Rabat to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Mediterranean Dialogue cooperation.

To help combat one of the most pressing challenges emanating from the south, NATO launched in 2017 an Action Plan to enhance its role in the international community’s struggle against terrorism. The Action Plan was updated in December 2018 with a renewed focus on upgrading efforts aimed at strengthening the defence and security forces and institutions of partner countries. Providing support and building up capacities in partner countries, in particular those of the South, in order to strengthen their ability to fight terrorism at both the operational and strategic levels is a key element of NATO’s approach, as is the promotion of good governance and intra- and inter-governmental cooperation in the security sector.

The Alliance’s enduring engagement in Afghanistan and the recent establishment of a new mission in Iraq are also a reflection of its counterterrorism commitments. In Afghanistan NATO provides –through its Resolute Support Mission– training advice and assistance to the Afghan security forces and institutions in order to create the conditions for lasting peace and to ensure that the country never again becomes a haven for international terrorists. In Iraq, after providing direct support to the Global Coalition to defeat ISIL/Daesh (with NATO AWACS), the non-combat training and capacity-building NATO Mission launched last summer provides training and advice to help Iraq develop more effective national security structures and professional military education institutions, thus supporting the Iraqi government in its efforts to stabilise the country, ultimately through the development of a self-sustaining cadre of Iraqi instructors. The mission helps to boost skills in areas like military medicine, countering improvised explosive devices and the reform of national security structures.

The transnational and interconnected nature of the challenges affecting NATO’s southern neighbourhood also means that the Alliance cannot operate alone in this context and that international and regional cooperation is required. At a regional level, NATO has been working with the African Union (AU) for more than a decade and the relationship has strengthened over the years. At the 2016 Warsaw Summit and, more recently, through the 2018 Updated Action Plan, NATO committed to an enhanced relationship with the AU, including addressing common challenges linked to fighting terrorism. The AU has identified a requirement for counterterrorism capacity- and institution-building through education and training –and NATO is currently providing such support, including the Science for Peace and Security (SPS) programme–.

At an international level, NATO continues to cooperate closely with both the UN and the EU. Only a month ago, I had the honour and privilege of representing the Alliance at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of a joint project with the UN on ‘Enhancing Capabilities to prepare for and respond to a terrorist attack in Jordan featuring the use of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) weapons’. This UN-NATO project builds on the existing NATO work with Jordan to foster its national crisis-management capabilities, and it will feature the development of a national crisis plan for dealing with threats posed by CBRN agents.

Moreover, in the context of exploring options for increased NATO-EU cooperation, Tunisia (and to some extent Iraq) was selected as a pilot country. Possible joint strands of work are being looked at in fields where relevant work has already been initiated, eg, on cyber defence and ammunition storage and safety. Staff-to-staff coordination and information exchange have been frequent, open and highly useful, favouring complementarity and mutual understanding, but we can surely all do more and better in those areas where one organisation can easily do what the other cannot, thus making our respective efforts complementary and mutually reinforcing.

Finally, as we are discussing emerging security challenges, it may be worthwhile to consider two additional aspects of the counter-terrorism policy file. The first has to do with the so-called Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs): since 2013 40,000 are estimated to have travelled to Iraq and Syria to join ISIL/Daesh, and roughly 7,000 of them have returned to their countries of origin (including many NATO nations). They do represent a high security risk, since 18% of terrorist attacks staged in the West between 2014 and 2017 were carried out by returnees. UNSC Resolution 2396 (2017) encouraged member states to swiftly exchange information about them and, accordingly, NATO agreed in July 2018 on a new data-sharing policy intended to exchange biometric data on FTFs collected on the battlefield, thus contributing to multilateral efforts and assisting Allies domestically also.

Terrorists are also making an increasing use of modern technologies. While there have been no cases of ‘cyber-terrorism’ –ie, no proved terrorist act carried out through cyber means only– terrorist groups have indeed used cyberspace for recruitment and funding as well as operational purposes. This is an area where intelligence agencies are very busy and alert, although these activities are unlikely to reach the level of sophistication and disruption that only State-sponsored groups can achieve in this domain. There is, however, a growing concern about the possible use of unmanned vehicles for kinetic terrorist attacks –and not only on the battlefield (where they have already occurred) but also in civilian and especially urban environments–. What happened around Christmas 2018 at Gatwick airport in London was quite telling, especially in light of the commercial affordability and availability of such tools and their potential impact on civilian life. NATO has just launched a specific initiative to counter –on the battlefield but potentially also elsewhere– such a misuse of new technologies by terrorists.

The activities I have briefly touched upon just now reflect NATO’s serious commitment to cooperating with its Southern partners to build up their capacity so that they can address more effectively the challenges they face.

Despite these numerous and often daunting challenges, however, to view NATO’s Southern neighbours exclusively as part of a region fraught with instability would be reductive. Renewable and untapped energy resources in the Mediterranean and beyond, rising life expectancy in Africa, increased access to education and information, and spots of civic progress and human development are remarkable features of this wider region, often overlooked in favour of focusing on risks and threats. All combined, these diverse elements paint the picture of a highly volatile, but also dynamic environment, rich with challenges and opportunities alike.

It is only with a thorough understanding of the region that concrete ways to address both can be found. For this reason, the project launched today is particularly important. With its intention of both ‘Understanding the South’ and ‘Responding to the South’, the two-year project will contribute to enhancing strategic awareness in NATO’s South and providing policy makers on both sides with suggestions for specific policy responses.

I thus congratulate the Elcano Royal Institute, the Moroccan Centre for Strategic Studies, the Jordanian Centre of Strategic Studies and the UK’s Institute for Statecraft for being awarded this SPS grant, managed by the Division I have the privilege to lead, and I wish you all the best of luck in taking forward the project over the next two years.

Antonio Missiroli
Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, NATO 1

1 The views expressed by the author are his own and do not represent NATO’s official position.
<![CDATA[ What next in export controls? Updating criteria and methodologies in non-proliferation and arms control ]]> 2019-06-17T11:44:17Z

The impact of cumulative innovation in technologies requires policymakers and experts to update the current methodology, concepts and tools for non-proliferation, exports control, restrictive measures, arms control and disarmament mechanisms.


The impact of cumulative innovation in technologies requires policymakers and experts to update the current methodology, concepts and tools for non-proliferation, exports control, restrictive measures, arms control and disarmament mechanisms.


Military and CBRN technologies are evolving rapidly in a cumulative process of innovation, leading to a growing gap between 20th century military assets and modern systems. The accessibility to conventional and CBRN technologies for non-State actors further adds uncertainties to the spectrum of threats that States are likely to face in the years to come. These facts also raise the question of emerging challenges in arms control and non-proliferation policies, in particular for export controls. In a quest to match trade and security interests, policymakers, diplomats and military/technical experts are confronted with a number of specific challenges in multilateral regimes and initiatives: assessing the impact of new technologies on future military capabilities and WMD programmes; preventing a destabilising proliferation of dual-use technologies with military applications; and addressing the resulting conceptual and material outcomes of such an evolutionary process in the methodology for future arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament negotiations.


Cumulative innovation, intensive growth and commercial take-off

Past experience shows that technology usually evolves through a gradual cumulative process, based on a combination of new inventions and innovative uses of existing technologies, rather than revolutionary changes in industrial technology with immediate results. “Cycles of invention – commercial exploitation – innovation” develop gradually and usually take a long time to yield significant results. At an early stage, such innovative technologies have little or no relation with existing operational military equipment, due to a conceptual gap between their original design and their potential use in subsequent designs. The latter use has to be ‘rediscovered’ at a later stage, and many technologies are then gradually adapted to military needs, thus improving operational equipment. Such processes have led in some cases to success, followed by phases of technical progress, or to stagnation and even regression in other cases, eventually becoming commercially irrelevant.

The perception of technological innovation in industrial economies is based on the concept of intensive growth (technology as a factor for improvement) versus extensive growth (labour + capital + resources). The last two decades have already witnessed the emergence of new technologies that have transformed production systems and social habits, leading to important qualitative changes in industrial economies in recent years. Most probably, the take-off phase of an intensive growth based on new technologies is yet to come, but once it starts it is likely to fuel worldwide diffusion of dual-use technologies through global trade and off-shoring, resulting in growing challenges for non-proliferation export controls. One of the major reasons for this spread lies in the necessity for advanced technology firms to write off their often costly research and development (R&D) investments by expanding their markets, which implies promoting exports worldwide. Off-shoring policies help to reduce costs by shifting production, assembly lines or manufacturing of components to factories in countries with lower labour costs. Moreover, foreign direct investments lead to transfers of ownership of firms integrated in the supply chain of important defence contractors. All these factors gradually pave the way for proliferation risks, such as direct access to technology and production processes or ownership of sensitive patents by foreign entities and reverse engineering.

Modern innovation is transforming previously non-listed commercial items into dual-use technologies. In recent history, innovation has mostly been based on new ideas being applied to existing technologies and resources, in a process of gradual improvement over long periods of time. In the Information Age, the cumulative effect of such innovations becomes larger and faster, since each new cycle of innovation delivers a stronger technological impact due to synergies reached in combination with other technologies. Market globalization, intangible technology transfers, and off-shoring policies of private firms are among relevant factors that accelerate technology diffusion worldwide. While these trends are positive in terms of the improvements in productivity, expansion in trade and increase in economic growth, they also represent important challenges for supplier countries, which require adequate regulatory tools to effectively implement export controls.

Such knowledge and technologies may not be listed as controlled items at that stage. However, many dual-use technologies that are not listed as ‘military controlled items’ might be relevant for future WMD or conventional weapons programmes. Export control agencies, through international interaction, determine which weapons, sensitive dual-use technologies, and related materials must be controlled. The same logic is applied to technology-related restrictive measures.1 But innovation often transforms previous non-listed commercial items into present and future dual-use technologies. Technological change through cumulative innovation outpaces our ability to update lists of controlled items in national and multilateral export control mechanisms. This is particularly important in industries operating in the nuclear, chemical, biological, aerospace and military sectors.

While ‘traditional defence sector’ companies have always had a solid security culture, based on specific confidentiality regulations, this may not be the case for some commercial firms from the civilian dual-use sector, which may eventually become suppliers to defence prime contractors. Some of these challenges may lead to a proliferation of sensitive and dual-use technologies, including machine-tools. Commercial and market-oriented companies –especially those producing and supplying dual-use technologies– are more exposed to the risk of unintended sensitive transfers to destinations of concern.

In this regard, the production and availability of technologically advanced components and machine-tools is of particular relevance, since they play a primary role in industry, but also in the construction of advanced military platforms. Some examples of this trend are: software and computers; propulsion systems; video technology; robotics; nanotechnology; autonomous vehicles and remote-controlled systems; and technologies associated with space applications.

New materials, such as carbon fibre and graphene, are also essential in modern industry. New production systems, such as additive manufacturing, are used in different sectors of industry, building objects by adding ultra-thin layers of material one by one: plastic prototypes, ultrasound machines, gas turbines, aeronautics, medical implants, etc. The use of these technologies in the production of military platforms is growing, especially in aeronautics.2 The potential of new technologies in the defence sector is enormous. As a result, the control of all these technologies is becoming not only a commercial advantage for industry, but also a strategic asset.

New technologies, weapons and tools to make weapons: tangible and intangible

Our past experience in arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament methodology has been based on hardware, materials and physical platforms accounting and monitoring. The international agreements negotiated in the 20th century established quantitative ceilings to limit military capabilities and determine the rationale of strategic balances. Examples of this approach are the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 after the end of World War I; the Naval Treaty of Washington, signed in 1922; or, more recently, the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe, since 1990. Other treaties in the second half of the past century established non-proliferation principles, where a quantitative approach to tangible assets was the method to determine compliance, based on measurable materials. Such is the case of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention, which rely on a verification and accounting system of safeguards and inspections, implemented by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons respectively. The Arms Trade Treaty follows the same philosophy in its information exchange mechanism: reporting on tangible transfers.

However, the impact of new technologies and intangible assets on conventional and WMD capabilities is likely to grow in the years to come. As an example, due to new trends in information technology, the use of cyber weapons against nuclear, chemical and critical infrastructure may become a threat that will be difficult to assess with current conceptual tools. Therefore, given the extensive use of dual-use applications and intangible assets integrated in modern military systems, the quantitative approach may not be sufficient in the future. The same rationale is applicable to export controls, where software, electronics and other non-lethal technologies determine the capabilities, precision and effectiveness of modern weapons systems.

Some of the risks described above also emerge in the form of intangible technology transfers associated with digital transactions: the transfers of technical data in a non-physical form, including available encryption software, email exchanges of documents related to sensitive information, online consulting, access to cloud-based technologies and other procedures in wireless telecommunications networks. Export control authorities in supplier countries face increasing challenges related to sensitive Intangible Technology Transfers (ITT) due to functional symbiosis of industry and academia, the presence of foreign nationals in domestic high-technology sectors, the mobility of qualified personnel or the access to global information technology networks and digital-electronic methods of intangible transfers.

At the same time, it is necessary to identify industry, research centres, universities and individuals that have access to sensitive technology in order to undertake targeted outreach efforts and, if possible, also promote self-regulation, based on cooperation with export control agencies, including by designing and implementing internal compliance programmes, encouraging appointment of export control points of contact and enhancing codes of conduct. Such measures supplement risk analysis procedures in visa-vetting methods, including profiles following the model used in granting licences for transferring defence and dual-use material, and sensitive areas which could make ITT possible or facilitate them. Furthermore, raising awareness and self-regulation in sensitive suppliers enables them to become the ‘first line of defence’, controlling sensitive technology at the source. This is already being done in many countries through ‘compliance programmes’ and ‘know-your-customer’ policies, but only when such companies are active in supply chains and exports that are already declared sensitive. Finally, these challenges require new tools for enforcement agencies, including national legal frameworks for special investigative techniques in the web in order to monitor electronic transfers of sensitive information, under judicial supervision, in accordance with national legislation.

Innovation and new applications of existing technologies: the conceptual gap

Throughout history there have been cases in which the original design and intended purpose of innovative technologies were used for specific applications, which were entirely different from their use in differing subsequent designs or systems. The latter use had to be ‘rediscovered’ at a later stage, and many of these technologies were gradually adapted both to commercial and military needs, thus improving operational equipment and commercial technologies. In the 18th century the steam engine was initially designed for the textile industry, but it was successfully adapted to trains and vessels in the 19th century. The GPS was designed for military purposes, and a few decades later became commercially available and widely used for civilian applications. Cell phones, specifically designed for wireless communications, have been used as remote-controlled detonators of improvised explosive devices in terrorist attacks. Between the original design and purpose of innovative technologies and their potential ‘rediscovered uses’ there is a conceptual gap,3 due to lack of awareness or purpose to use them in new and different applications.

This conceptual gap can be identified when innovation is not intended or focused on a particular goal at a given time and is conceived by a designer/developer unaware of its full potential. The analysis of a conceptual gap requires an assessment of the innovation process to compare the original purpose of the technology with other potential uses of the same technology as reflected in Figure 1. The need to expand markets and recover R&D investments leads to the search for new applications and functions of existing technologies. In this process, the interaction between designers and end users is essential, since it is often demand from the latter which leads to new findings. In this regard, innovation plays a role in two parallel functions:

  • Existing and new dual-use technologies are used to upgrade existing platforms and systems with new applications. The latter play the role of enablers.
  • New designs of technologies for innovative applications are used to construct new platforms and systems.
Figure 1. The development of conceptual gaps

The conceptual gap is bridged with a deductive and functional approach: a designer or researcher seeks existing technology that is able to perform a functional role that has been previously identified as a need by the end user. In this process there is an issue of particular relevance concerning capabilities for asymmetric warfare. While cases of “reverse engineering” of military and dual-use technologies by state-sponsored entities are widely known in the context of “technology flows” leading to industrial production, the acquisition path of sensitive technologies undertaken by non-state actors usually starts with commercially available items purchased off-the shelf or on the black market. These items are later redesigned and upgraded with other available technologies to produce derivatives – not replicas – adapted to their needs and resources. This product may be of a lower technology standard and performance compared to the original system, but it plays a similar functional role. Many weapons used by non-state actors in asymmetric warfare and terrorism are the result of “reverse designing” derivatives4.

In the context of asymmetric threats, the existence of such conceptual gaps in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) systems requires a specific approach. Often associated, rightly or not, to weapons of mass destruction, CBRN materials are part of a more complex system with production facilities, means of delivery, CBR agents, nuclear devices, explosives, detonators, guidance systems and particular vulnerabilities, eg, to sabotage through cyber-attacks. The outcome of innovative processes is diverted and integrated into existing CBRN devices, in which CBRN materials are part of a more complex system. The complexity of CBRN systems and their enhancement through integration of dual-use conventional technologies are usually ignored when the two –conventional and non-conventional technologies– are defined as separate categories.

Moreover, risk management –based on the safety/security standards implemented in a CBRN facility– is also a relevant factor in export control. If they are not protected, these technologies and materials can be stolen at the facility, diverted to other purposes or used against the receiving State or other countries (including the supplier country). As a result, two elements can be identified as characterising conceptual gaps in CBRN.

First, and from a technological perspective, CBRN systems cannot be conceived as an isolated category. They are integrated in a complex spectrum of technologies, ranging from conventional to CBRN elements, including dual-use technologies. CBRN systems differentiate conceptually from conventional systems due to their fallout and consequences, the legal framework in which they are categorised as well as certain ethical considerations, due to their usual association with WMD. But they are, in effect, integrated in a complex and comprehensive continuum of diverse technologies, where conventional and non-conventional technologies are blended and only then possibly formed into a CBRN weapon. Therefore, controlling the spread of CBRN materials is insufficient for achieving non-proliferation, since complementing conventional or dual-use technologies usable for the weaponisation of these materials need to be regulated, too.

Figure 2. From CBRN material to non-conventional systems
Figure 3. From conventional enablers to CBRN effects

This perspective is particularly important when dealing not only with terrorist threats but also in a hybrid war context: insiders, militia-type agitators and hackers can all use conventional systems to achieve harmful CBRN outcomes as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. Risk management in CBRN facilities

Coordination and assessment of information through national prevention-defence-resilience hubs is important for monitoring critical infrastructure and improving situational awareness, enhancing the ability to connect seemingly unrelated events which might be symptoms of a hybrid attack.


The way ahead: measuring intangible assets and anticipating technologies’ potential outcomes

Weapons systems, dual use technologies, technical production systems and their different applications bear not only the legacy of knowledge, but also the traces of evolution in human behaviour. In this regard, the process is characterised by a tempo marked by relevant inventions and industrial highlights, as well as a long-term perspective of evolution where elements of a technical-industrial legacy find new roles assigned by human creativity. In summary, the time is ripe for considering a gradual update of the methodology for non-proliferation, exports control, restrictive measures, arms control and disarmament mechanisms. New concepts and tools will be required to assess the relevance of technologies and capabilities, both conventional and non-conventional, based on tangible and intangible factors.

The impact of cumulative innovation in technologies with potential use in CBRN and conventional weapons programmes, including manufacturing systems, has become a major challenge for policymakers and experts in the security, non-proliferation and disarmament community. In particular, export control authorities and military experts will need to assess the consequences of future innovation on existing controlled platforms.

At the same time, enforcement agencies will need to assess the parameters of compliance in an intangible space. Intangible technology transfers –where traditional customs and enforcement controls cannot be implemented– require a new approach to address new challenges for export controls, such as information transactions where the concept of national boundary either is blurred or simply disappears.

This intellectual exercise will also require a methodology to define the conceptual gaps between the 20th-century designed operational weapons systems and an innovative use of new technological resources or dual-use applications for military purposes. This implies reflecting on possible mechanisms to assess and identify the potential dual use of commercial technologies, which may not be integrated in existing controlled systems at present but might be relevant for future weapon designs and programmes.

Technological observatories, qualitative indicators of capacities based on innovative technologies, as well as new conceptual and impact evaluation models, would be useful regulative tools in this context. Further efforts in this area could include not only an assessment of the transfers to be monitored and the gaps to be bridged, but also a deeper analysis of relevant factors in technological proliferation.

Gonzalo de Salazar
Senior Advisor for Strategic Affairs and Sanctions Policy Coordinator at the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation

1 Some UNSC resolutions on sanctions use the annexes of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime as technical references for the implementation of restrictive measures.

2 New generations of machine-tools function in combination with advanced programming and simulation software to manufacture flat, mild curvature, complex shapes and high-contour aerospace components. Computer-controlled additive manufacturing machines make lighter parts and components in a faster process, reduce production costs, and yield significant fuel savings for aircraft.

3 Gonzalo de Salazar Serantes (2018), Crimen y conflicto armado, MAEC, Madrid, p.199-201.

4 An example of this process is the ability of some guerrillas to transform commercial UAVs and use them on the battlefield, surface-to-air missiles adapted to surface-to-surface functions or portable rocket launchers based on modified models of self-propelled grenades, built with plastic components using injection moulding machinery, steel and aluminium.

<![CDATA[ The US and the Iran Nuclear Deal: rejoining is wiser than destroying ]]> 2019-05-09T08:49:34Z

Twenty one Directors and Senior Fellows of leading European think tanks calls on the US to reconsider its approach to the JCPOA and preserve the nuclear deal.

A European joint call on the US to reconsider its approach to the JCPOA.

One year ago, on 8 May 2018, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would cease compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear agreement struck in July 2015 by the United States and Iran, along with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the European Union. 

President Trump has argued that the JCPOA’s provisions are insufficient to block Iran’s progress towards a nuclear weapons capability, do not address Iran’s expanding missile arsenal and do nothing to counter Iran’s activities in the Middle East. He maintains that a strategy of ‘maximum pressure’ is the only way forward and has consequently re-imposed all the US sanctions that were suspended under the deal, including measures targeting foreign companies doing business with Iran (so-called secondary sanctions). 

President Trump’s concerns are not entirely misplaced. Withdrawing from the deal, however, will hardly contribute to achieving any of his stated objectives. In fact, his decision has been harmful in several respects. 

First, it has undercut global non-proliferation efforts. The JCPOA is a technically sound agreement that has established significant constraints on Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapons capability. As certified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog, and publicly acknowledged by top officials from the US intelligence community, Iran has continued to comply with the deal. However, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s announcement that Iran is ready to restart certain activities prohibited by the JCPOA shows that, following the US withdrawal, the benefits to Iran of staying in it diminish by the day. If Tehran restarts the full nuclear programme and limits the IAEA’s inspection powers, that would leave only far weaker mechanisms for monitoring its work, including the work reflected in the nuclear archive that Israel claims to have seized from Iran. Other states in the region – notably Saudi Arabia – might be tempted to emulate it and engage in a regional nuclear arms race. 

Second, President Trump’s decision has undermined the value of multilateral diplomacy. The JCPOA is a significant instance of effective multilateralism and successful diplomacy, involving countries with very different foreign policy outlooks such as the US and its European allies, Russia and China, and Iran itself. Whereas sanctions coupled with dialogue have proved to be effective in several international crises, the US choice of ‘maximum pressure’ over compromise devalues diplomacy as an effective way to address international disputes among rival states. 

Third, the decision has weakened international law and institutions. The JCPOA derives its legitimacy from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which bans Iran from ever seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and its authority from the United Nations Security Council, which has endorsed the deal through its Resolution 2231. By reneging on US commitments without proper cause, Washington has conveyed the message that international obligations can be disposed of at will. 

Fourth, it has harmed transatlantic solidarity. The JCPOA was the culmination of over thirteen years of hard, unremitting transatlantic coordination. By pulling out from it and, worse still, by threatening to punish EU companies and banks for doing business with Iran, President Trump has shown utter disregard for Europe’s foreign policy interests and eroded trust in the transatlantic partnership. 

Fifth, it has contributed to exacerbating regional tensions. The JCPOA has removed the imminent prospect of a nuclear-capable Iran from a regional landscape deeply fraught with geopolitical tensions. By replacing it with a strategy of ‘maximum pressure’, the US has galvanised Iran’s rivals and reduced the appeal of compromise solutions in Tehran. If Iran leaves the JCPOA, there will be far fewer diplomatic avenues to contain the risk of a military escalation that would plunge the region into further conflict. 

Sixth, President Trump’s decision has inflicted undue pain on the Iranian population, whom he claims to support. The JCPOA was supposed to end Iran’s economic isolation in exchange for strict and verified limitations on its nuclear activities. By re-imposing sanctions with extraterritorial effects, the US has scared companies and banks around the world into reducing, ceasing or not starting business with Iranian counterparts. Ordinary Iranians have seen living standards decrease because of a combination of inflation, higher costs for imports, scarcity of available goods (including food and medicine), and the impossibility of finalising transactions that were started before the re-imposition of sanctions. 

The JCPOA is doing what it was designed to do: preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. As such, the deal is too important to be allowed to die. Although all remaining parties to the JCPOA say they are committed to the agreement, current efforts to sustain it have not been enough to guarantee its survival. 

Europeans should be applauded for the implementation of a Special Purpose Vehicle, called INSTEX, to help facilitate humanitarian trade. However, they should do more to ensure businesses have the clarity they need to conduct trade and should speed up the participation of other countries in the special vehicle. Europe should work to establish another special purpose vehicle expanding the scope of trade to include oil imports from Iran, again open to participation by other countries. Europe should also deepen its technical and political consultations with Iran to reduce risks and build resilience on a range of topics including regional flashpoints and disaster relief. 

Overall, JCPOA supporters across the world should increase coordination to make sure that US sanctions do not hamper the economic stability and technical nuclear cooperation Iran needs to comply with the deal. 

Most importantly, JCPOA supporters in Europe and elsewhere should re-articulate the merits of the agreement to various US audiences – in the administration, Congress, the expert community and media – so it is clear that the only way to reap the full benefits of the JCPOA and build upon it is for the US to rejoin it. 

A US return to the JCPOA would help contain the negative consequences mentioned above. It would also recreate a more cohesive international coalition applying pressure on Iran to curb activities – specifically its development of ballistic capabilities and support to its proxies – that contribute so much to instability in the region. That pressure would then be combined with a credible diplomatic attempt to lay the groundwork for détente and lead to a regional initiative on missile threats and an intra-regional dialogue on a security architecture for the Gulf. 

All of this stands a much better chance of success if the US reconsiders its approach to the JCPOA. Much as Europeans spearheaded the process that eventually led to the agreement, so they could lead the way on any future diplomatic initiative with Iran. But for multilateralism to be effective, international law and agreements must be respected. 

The signatories of this Joint Call have signed it in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed in the text do not reflect the position of their institutions of affiliation.

Charles Powell
Real Instituto Elcano / Elcano Royal Institute

Nathalie Tocci
Istituto Affari Internazionali - IAI

Des Browne
European Leadership Network - ELN

Adam Thomson
European Leadership Network - ELN

Esfandyar Batmanghelidj
Bourse & Bazaar London

Steven Blockmans
Head of EU Foreign Policy
Centre for European Policy Studies - CEPS

Ian Bond
Director of Foreign Policy
Centre for European Reform - CER

Ondrej Ditrych
Institute of International Relations - IIR

Thanos Dokos
Director General
Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy - ELIAMEP

Michel Duclos
Special Advisor
Institut Montaigne

Thomas Gomart
Institut Français des Relations Internationales - IFRI

Charles Grant
Centre for European Reform - CER

Mark Leonard
Co-founder and
European Council on Foreign Relations - ECFR

Pol Morillas
Barcelona Centre for International Affairs - CIDOB

Robin Niblett
Chatham House

Laura Rockwood
Executive Director
Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation - VCDNP

Daniela Schwarzer
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswãrtige Politik - DGAP

Andris Spruds
Latvian Institute of International Affairs - LIIA

Teija Tiilikainen
Finnish Institute for International Affairs - FIIA

The initiative was coordinated by:

Riccardo Alcaro
Research Coordinator
Istituto Affari Internazionali - IAI

Shatabhisha Shetty
Deputy Director
European Leadership Network - ELN

See also: Instituto Affari Internazionali.

<![CDATA[ Natural partners? Europe, Japan and security in the Indo-Pacific ]]> 2018-11-12T12:06:30Z

There is momentum for increased security cooperation between Europe and Japan. Europeans and Japanese are ‘natural partners’ who consider a liberal and rules-based international order to be a core interest.


Europeans and Japanese are often described as ‘natural’ partners. As liberal democracies, market economies and close allies of the US, they have similar world views and share many interests. They also have a long history of cooperation, whose foundations go back to Japan’s embracing of modernisation and industrialisation in the late 19th century along European lines.

Both during and after the Cold War, Europeans and Japanese have worked closely to uphold and promote the institutions that make up the liberal, rules-based international economic order, such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB) and the G7. In more recent years, Europeans and Japanese have shown a keen interest in extending their cooperation to the security domain, both on a bilateral basis (ie, between Japan and individual European countries) and through the EU and NATO.

Given their shared values and interests, the foundations for a meaningful security relationship between Europe and Japan appear strong. Yet both sides continue to focus primarily on their immediate neighbourhoods and their respective relationships with the US. For Japanese and Europeans alike, the US has played an equally vital strategic role: guaranteeing security in their respective regions and upholding a liberal international political and economic order from which they have benefited enormously.

In recent years, significant geopolitical developments have altered the context in which both Europe and Japan operate, and may force the two sides to change the way in which they look at each other.

Russia and China have begun to challenge more openly and forcefully the rules-based liberal international order, both regionally and globally. The Russian and Chinese regimes are attempting to build an international order that is more in line with the political and economic interests of their ruling elites. They both seek to modernise their military capabilities and are engaging in acts of political intimidation and economic blackmail that threaten to disrupt the status quo in Europe and East Asia, respectively.

At the global level, Moscow and Beijing reject the notion of a liberal and open system, a level playing field where economic and political actors can compete freely. Instead, they prefer a controlled, top-down order. Geopolitically this translates into spheres of influence, whereby great powers call the shots and medium and small powers have no say, losing the certainty and protection offered by international rules and organisations and being left with nothing but the prospect of submission.

At the same time, it has become less clear in recent years –especially since the election  of Donald Trump as President– to what extent the US is willing to underwrite the current global trade and economic order. This has implications that are global –witness the Trump Administration’s seeming disdain for the WTO– as well as regional, given the US withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and its equivocal position in relation to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

When it comes to security, concerns about China’s rise, Russia’s growing assertiveness and the prospect of a relative US decline have sparked some doubts amongst Europeans and Japanese about America’s commitment to preserving deterrence in their respective regions. Uncertainty has been further fuelled by Trump’s rhetoric on alliances.

The developments mentioned above are compelling both Japanese and Europeans to adapt their respective foreign policy strategies. In recent years, Japan has adopted an increasingly active diplomatic and security role in East Asia, a process dubbed by some ‘normalisation’. Certainly, Tokyo has not abandoned the principles that have shaped its (pacifist) identity in the past decades and it continues to see military force as a last –defensive– resort. However, an increasingly threatening regional environment has led Japan to increase its defence budget, ease the legal restrictions on its Self-Defence Forces, strengthen its bilateral alliance with the US and expand its diplomatic and security ties with several countries across East Asia and the broader Indian Ocean region. This is reflected in Prime Minister Abe’s vision of a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ (FOIP).

Japan’s FOIP is partly a response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an attempt to re-order the Indo-Pacific and Eurasian spaces according to China’s priorities and rules. Moreover, in view of the growing uncertainty about Washington’s vision on trade, Tokyo has embraced the flagship of global free trade –including a robust defence of the WTO– and taken a leading position on TPP after the US withdrawal.

On the European side, a new debate has emerged around the concept of European ‘strategic autonomy’, underscored by the 2016 European Global Strategy. In this context, Europeans have embarked on a number of new initiatives aimed at strengthening European defence cooperation, both in the context of the EU (eg, Permanent Structured Cooperation, European Defence Fund, Coordinated Annual Review on Capabilities) and outside it (eg, European Intervention Initiative).

Moreover, Europeans remain committed to reinvigorating transatlantic trade and economic ties, and the notion that such ties can help raise global standards in key areas such as free trade and environmental protection. Indeed, after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s meeting with Trump in July 2018, the idea of some form of ‘TTIP light’ has emerged.

Against the backdrop of these broader geopolitical changes, Europe and Japan have shown a growing interest in strengthening their strategic ties with each other. The progressive normalisation of Japan’s foreign and security policy and opening up of its defence industry has paved the way for greater security and defence cooperation with Europe. The UK and France have led the way, stepping up their military and defence-industrial cooperation with Japan in recent years, and countries like Italy and Spain are following suit. Germany, for its part, has developed a growing diplomatic and economic interest in Japan, a country with which it shares a preference for rules and multilateralism.

The rising cooperation in European-Japanese relations goes beyond individual countries and has also affected Europe’s collective institutions. The EU and Japan have recently concluded the negotiation of their Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the biggest bilateral trade agreement ever negotiated by the EU. The EU-Japan EPA promises important direct economic benefits for both parties. More broadly, however, it signals that the EU and Japan consider free trade to be the backbone of a multilateral liberal order. In addition to the EPA, the EU and Japan have concluded a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) that aims to lay more solid foundations for deeper political and security ties between Japan and the EU. The SPA will be ‘a legally binding pact covering not only political dialogue and policy cooperation, but also cooperation on regional and global challenges, including environment and climate change, development policy and disaster relief, and security policy’.

Japan has also taken a number of steps to strengthen its relationship with NATO. This has resulted in a number of practical initiatives in recent years, such as the secondment of a Japanese Self-Defence Forces officer to NATO headquarters and the official designation of its Embassy to Belgium as its Mission to NATO, which was accepted by the North Atlantic Council in June 2018.

The strengthening of Europe-Japan relations –perhaps best illustrated by the EPA-SPA–  is a timely phenomenon. With a US President following a disruptive approach towards international trade, and an uncertain US commitment to the global economic order, Japan and the EU –the two other key pillars of the liberal global economic order– are not only holding the fort but deepening their economic, political and security ties. The shared challenge in the years to come is to engage the US and bring it back into the fold of the liberal, rules-based international order. After all, and despite current problems, the US remains essential to the security of both Europe and Japan, as well as for the integrity and stability of the liberal international order.

The big shadow looming over European-Japanese relations is China. For many years Europeans have looked at Asia –and the broader Indo-Pacific region– primarily as a place for business. European business, especially German, has built strong ties with China and such economic ties have paved the way for political and diplomatic links between Europe and China. Thus, a key question for the future is how Europeans will balance their economic interdependence with China and their growing interest in developing security and economic ties with Japan, especially as Beijing’s neo-mercantilist approach and challenging of international rules clashes with Tokyo’s vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.

About this Policy Paper

Against the backdrop of these geopolitical changes, and given the growing interest on both sides, it is appropriate to take stock of the European-Japanese relationship and explore the potential for increasing cooperation. This paper’s aim is to explain how Europe’s key players and institutions are approaching Japan, and to outline some possible ways to move the relationship forward.

With security at the centre of the exercise, the paper more specifically focuses on the Indo-Pacific, a concept so far officially embraced by the Japanese and US governments but that offers much potential to Europeans –to the extent that the Indian Ocean remains Europe’s main gateway into what some argue will be an Asia-Pacific century. However, we approach the Europe-Japan relationship through the lens of one of the sides: Europe.

In a way, the question of how to frame security cooperation with Japan in the Indo-Pacific is a proxy for a broader question: how will Europeans position themselves at a time increasingly defined by the shift in the global centre of strategic and economic gravity towards the Indo-Pacific?

In this paper a group of experts address these questions from the viewpoint of Europe’s main powers and institutions, using Japan and the Indo-Pacific as a compass. How will Europe’s key players and institutions balance their relationship with China and Japan, and how will they navigate their competing approaches to rule and order in the Indo-Pacific? Put differently, how will they balance their economic interest in strong ties with China and their political and strategic interest in Japan, and their (supposed) alignment with Tokyo’s vision for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific? In addressing these broad questions, each of the authors has been given the editorial freedom to approach them through the lens and specificities of each individual case.

In the first essay, Céline Pajon examines France’s efforts to step up its security cooperation with Japan in recent years. In particular, France’s military and defence-industrial prowess, its maritime capabilities and its status as an Indian-Ocean power open up important opportunities for greater security cooperation with Japan. In the second essay, Philip Shetler-Jones depicts the UK’s relationship with Japan as a ‘quasi-alliance’ underpinned by a long history of cooperation and their common nature as sea-borne powers.

While France and the UK –two maritime powers with global interests– have stepped up military cooperation with Japan, Germany is also increasingly interested in deepening ties with Tokyo but is primarily stressing diplomacy and shared norms, as explained by Ulrich Speck in the third essay.

Europe’s other maritime powers (Italy and Spain) are also showing an increasing interest in the security of the Indo-Pacific and in building stronger security ties with Japan. As Alessio Patalano’s contribution shows, Italy sees Japan as a like-minded country and is sympathetic to Tokyo’s vision of upholding a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. In particular, Italy has shown interest in working with Japan in East Africa, where its longstanding economic and political ties converge with Tokyo’s emphasis on connectivity and infrastructure development. Similarly supportive of the concept of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific is Spain, which has signed a Strategic Partnership with Japan in 2018, as detailed by Mario Esteban and Elisa Lledó.

In the sixth essay, Jacek Bartosiak looks at Japan and the Indo-Pacific from the point of view of Poland. While its continental location may make the connection with Japan (and the Indo-Pacific) less obvious, Poland’s condition as Europe’s gateway to China’s BRI makes it an interesting case. More broadly, as Bartosiak points out, there is a significant parallelism between Poland and Japan, as they are both emerging as the centrepieces of the US-led regional deterrence architecture in Europe and East Asia, respectively.

Europe’s multilateral institutions have also shown a growing interest in Japan. As Lisa Picheny points out, NATO and Japan consider themselves ‘natural partners’ and have a history of cooperation in the Alliance’s mission in Afghanistan. And in recent years NATO and Japan have strengthened their cooperation even further as they now hold annual consultations and are cooperating on a number of specific projects, including in the area of cyber-defence.

In the final essay, Daniel Fiott discusses the EU’s growing interest in Japan in the context of the EPA-SPA and looks more closely at the potential for greater security cooperation. Certainly, Brussels continues to look at Japan primarily through an economic and diplomatic lens and is trying to maintain a degree of neutrality with regard to territorial conflicts in the Indo-Pacific. But the revamping of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy and the EU’s growing interest in defence research and innovation could open up greater opportunities for engaging with Japan.

Luis Simón & Ulrich Speck


Europe’s security and ability to remain a global player hinge in no small part on its ability to project influence in the Indo-Pacific space, for that is emerging as the central nervous system of both the global economy and global geopolitics. Europeans have a direct stake in the preservation of a rules-based liberal order there. And that means they cannot remain on the side-lines in the unfolding process of great power competition in the area.

In order to project their interests and values in the Indo-Pacific space, Europeans need partners. This is where Japan comes in. Japan is of key importance to Europe for two main reasons. First, because Japanese and Europeans hold common values and have shared interests in relation to the Indo-Pacific as well as globally; secondly because among the several like-minded partners Europeans have in the Indo-Pacific, Japan stands out because of its critical mass, in particular its economic muscle, but also its diplomatic and security potential. In this context, Japan’s progressive normalisation of its security policy and its growing interest in the Indo-Pacific maritime axis open up a number of opportunities for Europe.

One of the main points emphasised in this report is that Europeans have indeed a growing interest in the Indo-Pacific and in strengthening their security ties with Japan. To be sure, Europeans do not want to become embroiled in territorial tensions in places like the South or East China Seas. Even the two European countries with a stronger military and global profile –the UK and France– insist that they do not want to take a firm stand on sovereignty-related questions. However, all of Europe’s key players and institutions have a position on matters of principle: in particular, they embrace the notion of an open and free maritime domain, free trade and a multilateral and rules-based approach to conflict resolution. These principles stand in sharp contrast to the notion of exclusive zones of influence, mercantilism and unilateral approaches to territorial conflicts.

It is the defence of these broader liberal principles that bring Europeans and Japanese together. In recent years, Japan has stepped up its security profile and emerged as one of the bastions of a free and open rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific. Its position stands in contrast to China’s increasingly assertive approach to territorial claims and neo-mercantilist efforts to re-order the Indo-Pacific space.

An important driver of Europe’s growing interest in Japan is the realisation by most of Europe’s key powers and institutions that China is unlikely to accept a multilateral, rules-based approaches to conflict resolution, as Beijing continues to assert its territorial claims with little regard for the interests and views of its maritime neighbours. The moment this became clear was when China reacted to the South China Sea Arbitration to the case brought by the Philippines against China under Annex VII to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), concerning certain issues in the South China Sea including the legality of China’s ‘nine-dotted line’ claim. When on 12 July 2016 the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favour of the Philippines, China flatly rejected the ruling, putting an end to the hope that international law could halt China’s challenge to the status quo in the region.

Besides Chinese assertiveness, there are other factors driving the current European-Japanese rapprochement. One key factor is the leadership role played by the UK and France. The two countries have a long history of engagement in the Indo-Pacific and have shown a growing interest in cooperating with like-minded powers (such as Japan, South Korea, Australia and India in recent years). They both see the Indo-Pacific as a key strategic arena and, as major military powers with a permanent seat at the UN Security Council, they feel the need to show their presence.

Additionally, there is the promise of cooperation in the defence industry domain. Japan’s edge in new generation technologies (e.g., autonomy, cyber, robotics, etc.) could be a key asset for Europeans as they seek to grapple with the challenges of military-technological innovation at a time when the US is embarking on its so-called third offset strategy. Greater cooperation in defence-industrial matters could help Europeans and Japanese diversify their partnerships in that field, reducing their technological-strategic dependence on the US, and reap mutual benefits in terms of defence innovation. In this regard, Europeans should explore how they can leverage the work of the European Defence Agency and the Commission’s newly established European Defence Fund to further their defence research and industrial cooperation with Japan.

Beyond security, another important driver of a closer Europe-Japan partnership is the sense that other dimensions of the liberal international order are also threatened. That includes, in particular, the free and open economic order that has allowed globalisation to thrive, and the institutions and norms that have enabled it to do so (such as the WTO and the broader principle of free trade). It is in this area where Germany has been particularly active by pushing for closing the EU-Japan trade deal and by offering Tokyo a closer partnership in the framework of the so-called ‘alliance of multilateralists’.

Regardless of the general openness and interest on Europe’s part to strengthen cooperation with Japan, there are also a number of important obstacles going forward. One of them is lack of unity. While there is a broad agreement among European players, forged in such forums as the EU and the G7 summits, each of them is moving ahead individually according to its national or institutional priorities. Overall this leads to a fragmentary approach. Alignment of Asia policies among Europeans could become even harder after Brexit, especially if disengagement is not balanced by new mechanisms for the coordination of foreign and security policies.

Another limiting factor is the need to balance support for the liberal order and like-minded countries in the region with the relationship with China. Europeans do not want to be put in a position where they have to side with one party or the other in the event of a heated territorial conflict in the Indo-Pacific. While there is increasing scepticism about the compatibility of the Chinese model of governance with the liberal order, the European economy remains deeply interconnected with China’s.

Last but not least there is geographical distance. Most European countries are focused primarily on their geographical neighbourhood. And in recent years the number and urgency of conflicts there has increased, from Ukraine to Syria. Only a few of the bigger European countries really feel that they have an important stake in the Indo-Pacific.

On balance, there is momentum for increased security cooperation between Europe and Japan. Europeans and Japanese are ‘natural partners’ who consider a liberal and rules-based international order to be a core interest. They are both particularly interested in the Indo-Pacific –a key lifeline for European-Asian trade– and in preserving a liberal and rules-based order there. They are both equally worried about the seemingly unwavering US commitment to multilateralism. And, critically, they both believe that greater engagement on their part could serve to both hedge against the prospect of US disengagement as well as constitute a powerful incentive to bring the US back into leading the liberal, rules-based order.

Luis Simón & Ulrich Speck

<![CDATA[ Relations between the US Intelligence Community and US Presidents, including the Trump Administration ]]> 2018-07-16T12:20:53Z

Technology and covert operations have been the driving forces in the Community’s evolution, which has been tremendously divided since its inception and has moved progressively towards its own centralisation with the aim of improving coordination and efficacy.

Original version in Spanish: Las relaciones de la Comunidad de Inteligencia de EEUU con sus presidentes y con la Administración Trump


Summary – 3
(1) Technology and covert operations: the main dynamic forces of the US intelligence community – 3
(2) Why does the US President need an intelligence community? – 6
(3) The President’s Daily Brief: what kind of intelligence does the President need? – 11
(4) In search of greater effectiveness through better coordination with, and within, the intelligence community – 14
(5) In search of difference: the presidential relationship with the intelligence community from the Obama Administration to the new Trump Administration – 17
(6) Conclusions: challenges and opportunities for the Trump Administration in its relationship with the intelligence community – 18


Intelligence is the main response to the risks and threats facing the national security of a country. The relationship of the intelligence community with decision-makers is the key to the correct way for undertaking intelligence work. In the US case the relationship between the producers and consumers of security is not immune to polemic and throughout history a number of conflicts have developed between the US intelligence community and the White House.

This working paper analyses the historical evolution of the US intelligence community (also referred to in this paper simply as the ‘Community’), including its structures and its products. Technology and covert operations have been the driving forces in the Community’s evolution, which has been tremendously divided since its inception and has moved progressively towards its own centralisation with the aim of improving coordination and efficacy. This paper also analyses the interaction between different Presidents and the Community, especially the latter’s relationship with the current President, Donald Trump.

Very often we were critical of what we were getting,
but we weren’t very clear in demanding what we needed.’
—Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski

Gustavo Díaz Matey
PhD, Adjunct Professor at Madrid’s Complutense University (UCM) and Intelligence Manager at ICEX, the Spanish Board of Foreign Trade and Investment (ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones)

<![CDATA[ Turkey in and out of NATO? An instance of a turbulent alliance with Western institutions ]]> 2018-06-11T04:19:31Z

Turkey’s links with its Western allies have steadily deteriorated over the past few years. There have been major developments over the past decade that need to be looked at in order to explain the current estrangement with NATO.


Turkey’s links with its Western allies have steadily deteriorated over the past few years. There have been major developments over the past decade that need to be looked at in order to explain the current estrangement with NATO.


Turkey’s problems with its Western allies have frequently been on the table over the past few years. Its accession negotiations for EU membership are unofficially frozen. In relation to the US, the need for a new strategical framework became obvious following the Cold War period. Association with NATO has become ever more complex over the decade due to three major developments: the Arab Spring, the failed coup attempt in Turkey and the improvement in Turkish-Russian relations. This paper looks at these major developments in some detail and concludes that even if there is no clear sign of Turkey dropping out of NATO, the need for a new positive impulse is clear.


Introduction: an uneasy alliance from the start?

After the Second World War, the leaders of the Turkish Republic unequivocally anchored Turkey to the Western alliance of states and, among other reasons, justified their decision by linking compliance with democracy, the rule of law and basic freedoms with the country’s security in its immediate neighbourhood. The goal was supported by the US in an attempt to improve Turkey’s status as a potential balance to Soviet power in the region. While Turkey became part of the European Recovery Program (the Marshall Plan) and the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (the predecessor of the OECD), the US also supported Turkey’s associate membership of the European Economic Community when it first applied in 1959. Thus, in the context of the day, US support for Turkey’s membership in NATO in 1952 –as one of its earliest members– was not in the least surprising.

Despite the promising start to Turkey’s links to the Western alliance, its place in NATO was uneasy at certain periods in its history. The primary cause was Turkey’s relations with its NATO ally Greece and its dispute with the latter over Cyprus. President Johnson’s letter of 1964 marked perhaps the nadir of relations due to the Greek-Turkish conundrum. In his letter, the US President warned the Turkish Prime Minister against engaging in military operations in Cyprus and warned that NATO might not be able to protect Turkey in the event of the Soviet Union taking advantage of the conflict.1 Indeed, in 1974 Turkey entered in the north of the island and the US placed an arms embargo until 1978, inflicting ‘great harm to Turkey’s armed forces’.2 On the US side this was a low point and, since then, the troubled relations have continued with ups and downs.

There have been also other reasons for tension between NATO and Turkey. When Yugoslavia was breaking up, for instance, Turkey demanded that NATO and the UN intervene more swiftly and forcefully against Serbia, and there was a clear difference of approach until NATO finally intervened in Bosnia-Herzegovina in August 1995.3 NATO-EU cooperation was a similar case that led to tension on several occasions. While the EU wants to use NATO assets on its missions, Turkey, as a non-EU country, is worried about the involvement of Cyprus and the possibility of it gaining access to NATO information. This was an issue, for instance, in the EU mission in Kosovo in 2007-08, when Ankara blocked EU-NATO cooperation.4 There are many such ups and downs in the history of Turkey’s alliance with NATO.

Despite the tensions, however, it is also important to explain that Turkish-NATO relations have not really been unduly affected by the various military coups in Turkey since it became a member.5 Such NATO and US acquiescence was the basis of many conspiracy theories underlying the recent decline in relations. That the 2016 coup attempt harmed Turkish-NATO relations shows that the alliance has entered a new scenario that had not been seen before. This paper will look at the main reasons behind the decline in relations since 2011, including the coup attempt, and discuss possible consequences it might have for the future.

Declining relations since 2011

There has been a gradual decline in Turkish-NATO relations since 2011 and an even swifter deterioration since 2016. Although partly due to the absence of a new framework for Turkish-US relations,6 there are three interrelated reasons that have speeded up the decline and help explain the current situation: (1) the Arab Spring and the Syrian War; (2) the 2016 coup attempt; and (3) Turkey’s cooperation with Russia.

The Arab uprisings and the Syrian war

Turkey has had regional power aspirations since the end of the Cold War. With the rise to power of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2002 these aspirations in the Middle East have become even more visible. Turkey believed that it could use its co-existing Western and Muslim identities, as well as its geographical location, as an asset and be an ‘example’ in the Middle East. After 9/11 the US also supported such a vision of Turkey as a model Muslim democratic country, especially under AKP rule.7

These regional power aspirations were crushed by the Arab Spring. Turkey wanted to lead democratic change and supported groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. It hoped that ideological affinities with the new movements in the Middle East would allow it to become a true regional leader for previously repressed populations. Yet the Arab Spring failed in its goals in the Middle East except in Tunisia, with which Turkey had no substantial links. The 2013 coup in Egypt epitomised the failure of Turkish foreign policy in jumping on the bandwagon of change in the Middle East. The Muslim Brotherhood’s defeat was also a failure for the AKP’s ideological vision for the region and reminded Turkey’s leaders of their country’s unsavoury past of military coups and their own victimisation by the secular military in the late 1990s. This prompted Erdoğan to make bitter public declarations against the coup in Egypt and even to refuse to sit at the same table as Abdel Fatteh al-Sisi at a dinner organised by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in the UN.8

The war in Syria has certainly had more serious implications than Egypt for Turkey’s regional power ambitions, security and relations with the US and NATO. Similar to its policy towards Egypt, Ankara insisted that the regime in Syria had to change and that Bashar al-Assad had to go. However, this put Turkey at odds with the reality on the ground and gave the impression that Turkish foreign policy was based on unrealistic assumptions that al-Assad could be defeated over a short period of time. Turkey’s position on Syria also jeopardised its relations with the US since Washington has cooperated with the Kurds in Syria against the Islamic State. Turkey views the strengthening of Kurdish forces as a direct threat to its territorial integrity and considers the Democratic Union party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), as affiliates of the PKK, officially considered a terrorist group also by the US. In turn, Turkey supports other radical groups in Syria, some of them of a more religious bent with the aim of counterbalancing the YPG in the region.9 The mismatch has caused a conflict of interest with the US. Furthermore, the ambitions of both Russia and Iran in Syria have led to fluid alliances, questioning Turkey’s devotion to its NATO partners.

To date Turkey has engaged in three military operations in Syria. In February 2015, in a limited intervention, the Suleyman Shah tomb was relocated to Turkey. The second, stretching for almost a year between the summer of 2016 and the spring of 2017, had as its aim to clear ISIS and certain Kurdish units out of parts of the area west of the Euphrates. The most recent operation, named Olive Branch, began in January 2018 against Kurdish forces in north-eastern Syria. Turkish troops took Afrin, with indications that there might be a further move towards Manbij, controlled by the PYD/YPG supported by US forces.10

Although Turkey officially welcomed the US, French and British air strikes in April 2018,11 its own operations independent of its NATO allies are jeopardising relations. Any attempt to advance further into Syria might bring Turkish and US forces face to face, increasing the tension between the two partners. What happens in Manbij and the possibility of a sustainable agreement between Turkey and the US with the recent appointment of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State have given rise to significant expectations. Indeed, an agreement between the US and Turkey was announced regarding Manbij following meetings between Pompeo and his counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. However, as Amberin Zaman notes, ‘differences in interpretation as to [the] actual substance [of the agreement] are … casting a shadow over the latest stab at salvaging US-Turkish ties and rekindling trust between the two countries.’12

The 2016 coup attempt

The second critical event for Turkish-NATO relations was the attempted coup of 15 July 2016 that aimed to topple the AKP government. The unsuccessful coup was orchestrated by a small military clique, most of which were air force personnel.13 The government accused Fethullah Gülen, a cleric with millions of followers worldwide, of being the mastermind while at the same time arguing that the US supported him. The alleged evidence for such a claim was: (1) that the US İncirlik air base was used for some of the planes that took off on the night of the coup;14 (2) that the US was slow in its response to condemn the coup;15 and (3) that Gülen is resident in Pennsylvania and that, despite Ankara’s official requests, Washington has taken no action to extradite him. The narrative of the coup concocted by the Turkish government and circulated by the mass media establishes a direct link between the putsch and the US Administration and celebrates the ‘heroism’ of ordinary citizens on the night of 15 July, portraying them as resisters against foreign occupation. The coup attempt has had serious consequences for democracy in Turkey.16

Following the coup, relations were further strained by the FBI’s arrest of Hakan Atilla, the Deputy Director General of Halkbank, during a visit to New York. Halkbank and Atilla are accused by US prosecutors of violating US-imposed sanctions on Iran and engaging in banking fraud. The case against Atilla was based on the confessions of an Iranian-Turkish businessman whose relations with Turkish government officials have already been exposed. President Erdoğan himself has been accused, particularly by Gülen affiliates, of cooperating in the affair. Hence, Atilla’s arrest and trial were seen as a Gülenist conspiracy with the support and collaboration of US officials.17 With the Turkish economy in continuing decline, sanctions on Halkbank could cause even further distress. Furthermore, the arrest of the American pastor Andrew Brunson –who has been living in Turkey for more than two decades– on terrorism charges has had a big impact on relations and was seen as Ankara’s way of retaliating against Atilla’s arrest. In addition to Brunson, the arrest of local embassy employees has caused frustration in Washington, giving rise to tension and difficulties in the process of issuing visas.

Aside from leading to problematic relations between Turkey and the US, the coup has also had other consequences affecting NATO. First, ever since the coup Turkey has been accused of backsliding towards an authoritarian regime. This has strained relations with certain European countries. In the case of Austria, Turkey vetoed Vienna’s cooperation with NATO in retaliation for the deterioration in bilateral relations.18 Tensions between Ankara and Athens have also steadily increased following the coup and after eight pilots fled to Greece and sought asylum. The Greek Supreme Court refused Turkey’s demands to have them repatriated, giving rise to criticism from Ankara and re-kindling the disputes over the Aegean Sea. As in the past, rising tensions between Greece and Turkey have the potential to further strain the latter’s alliance with NATO.19

A final implication of the coup for NATO is the result of a series of changes within the Turkish armed forces. It was argued before the coup that the military were already split into factions with differing loyalties, ideological positions and convictions regarding Turkey’s foreign alliances. While one group was said to be ‘Eurasianist’, advocating closer relations with non-Western countries such as Russia and Iran, another was argued to be pro-NATO.20 Loyalty to the AKP government, support for democracy and/or adherence to the Kemalist ideology based on the secular and republican principles of the founding father of the Turkish Republic could cut across the various groupings. In the aftermath of the coup, however, thousands of military personnel were expelled and drastic changes were made to military schooling. Should these trends continue, the result might be a military that is against NATO ideologically and more supportive of cooperating with Russia, and perhaps more conservative in outlook, in contrast with the more secular military of previous decades.

Turkish-Russian relations

The third reason why Turkey and NATO have drifted apart is Turkey’s closer friendship with Russia. Although relations between Turkey and Russia have fluctuated over the past few years and the two countries do not necessarily share the same interests in Syria, ever since the coup they have raised their level of cooperation. Russia recently started to build Turkey’s first nuclear plant, worth US$20 billion, at Akkuyu, Mersin.21 Since the coup attempt in 2016, relations have been marked by an ‘intense diplomacy’ with Putin and Erdoğan having met at least 11 times face-to-face and having been in frequent communication by telephone.22

For NATO, one of the most problematic consequences of Ankara’s cooperation with Moscow is the possible acquisition of the S-400 air-defence missile system that Turkey intends to purchase from Russia. NATO argues that the system would not integrate into NATO’s systems and would require Turkey to share information with Russia.23 The US has been putting pressure on Turkey to cancel its plans to buy S-400s from Russia.

What does Turkey expect from its cooperation with Russia? First and foremost, it has a bargaining chip to be used against its Western partners. This type of flirtation threatens the alliance and forces the NATO powers to support Turkey’s agenda in Syria. However, Turkey is aware that Russia is an unreliable partner and that in the long-run it is no benefit to be outside NATO. That is why, for instance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs declarations continue to stress Turkey’s place in NATO and why Turkey continues to support its NATO allies’ air strikes against Damascus. It seems that if Turkey is pressed to decide between NATO and Russia, it will continue to choose NATO.


Turkey’s relations with the West are troubled. The country’s democratic deterioration, the use of populist rhetoric against its Western partners and its fluid alliances in the Middle East while facing many global crises have led to a stalemate. Meanwhile, Turkish foreign policy has also been de-institutionalised. As a result, accession negotiations to the EU have been unofficially frozen. Transatlantic relations are in need of a new framework. The current relationship with NATO is another part of this complex jigsaw. Turkey’s association with NATO has been in decline since 2011.

The aftermath of the Arab Spring, the failed attempted coup in Turkey in July 2016 and collaboration with Russia during the past few years have contributed to creating a stalemate. Although Turkey is one of NATO’s major contributors, its equivocal relationship with the US and its current intention of buying defence technology from Russia can very well lead to further problems. Turkey does not consider Russia a reliable long-term ally but it benefits from the perception that there is a rapprochement. The current situation of Turkey’s relations with the EU completes a picture of anti-Western attitudes. The country is seeking a different international family after decades of being devoted to the West. The current status of its relations will continue to be a source of uncertainty unless an acceptable common –and workable– framework can be devised.

Furthermore, Turkey is located in a highly volatile dynamic neighbourhood that faces multiple challenges. The fluid liquid alliances of the Middle East imply that there are changes in the ground-rules from time to time. Thus, relationships must be based on trust and not on satisfying short-term interests.

Yaprak Gürsoy
Lecturer, Aston University
 | @ygursoy

Ilke Toygür
Analyst, Elcano Royal Institute and Adjunct Professor, Carlos III University of Madrid
 | @ilketoygur

1 For the original letters, see ‘President Johnson and Prime Minister Inonu: correspondence between President Johnson and Prime Minister Inonu, June 1964, as released by the White House, January 15, 1966’, Middle East Journal, vol. 20, nr 3, Summer 1966, p. 386-393.

2 Ali L. Karaosmanoğlu (1983), ‘Turkey’s Security and the Middle East’, Foreign Affairs, vol. 62, nr 1, Fall, p. 157-175 (quote from p. 158).

3 Didem Ekinci (2009), ‘The war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Turkish parliamentary debates (1992-1995): a constructivist approach’, Uluslararası İlişkiler, vol. 6, nr 22, Summer, p. 37-60.

4 Meltem Müftüler-Baç & Yaprak Gürsoy (2010), ‘Is there a Europeanization of Turkish foreign policy: an addendum to the literature on EU candidates’, Turkish Studies, vol. 11, nr 3, September, p. 405-427, specifically p. 411-414.

5 For the reactions of the US and the EU to the 1980 coup, see Senem Aydın-Düzgit & Yaprak Gürsoy (2013), ‘Turkey: the counterintuitive transition of 1983’, in Kathryn Stoner & Michael McFaul (Eds.), Transitions to Democracy: A Comparative Perspective, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

6 Nick Danforth & Ilke Toygür (2017), ‘How to dull Turkey’s autocratic edge’, Foreign Policy, September.

7 Aslı Aydıntaşbaş & Kemal Kirişçi (2017), ‘The United States and Turkey: friends, enemies, or only interests?’, Turkey Project Policy Paper, nr 12, April.

9 Francis Ricciardone & Aaron Stein (2016), ‘Mitigating US-Turkish Disagreement over the PYD’Atlantic Council, 24/II/2016.

11 Pınar Tremblay (2018), ‘Turkey’s response to US-led Syria strikes: not enough but welcomed’Al-Monitor, 15/IV/2018.

13 For more information on the coup attempt see Berk Esen & Sebnem Gumuscu (2017), ‘Turkey: how the coup failed’, Journal of Democracy, vol. 28, nr 1, January, p. 59-73.

14 For details of the indictment of what transpired on the night of the coup at the İncirlik base, see Sedat Ergin’s three-part editorial titled ‘July 15 and İncirlik Air Base’ published by Hürriyet between 15-17/VIII/2017. The first part is available in English.

16 Ilke Toygur (2016), ‘From a failed coup to state of emergency: democracy in Turkey today’Expert Comment, nr 38/2016, Elcano Royal Institute, 22/VII/2016.

18 See ‘Turkey referendum: Erdogan rallies not welcome in Austria’BBC News, 27/II/2017; and ‘Nato hit by Turkish veto on Austria partnership’, BBC News, 23/V/2017.

19 Yaprak Gürsoy (2018), ‘The recent crisis between Greece and Turkey: two NATO allies on the brink of war, again’, The Foreign Policy Centre, 24/IV/2018.

20 The divisions in the military were already evident during the Ergenekon investigations that began in 2007 and implicated hundreds of military officers with planning to overthrow the AKP government. See Yaprak Gürsoy (2012), ‘The changing role of the military in Turkish politics: democratization through coup plots?’, Democratization, vol. 19, nr 4, August, p. 735-760.

<![CDATA[ The US and North Korea: will their Presidents shake hands? ]]> 2018-04-26T06:24:43Z

The best news that we can hope for is that the summit does finally take place and that it serves as a new call to an essential negotiation process capable of achieving concrete results in terms of nuclear non-proliferation goals and East Asian stability.

Original version in Spanish: EEUU y Corea del Norte: ¿sus presidentes se darán la mano?

The agreement to hold a meeting between the US President Donald Trump and the North Korean President Kim Jong-un has recently dominated the world’s headlines. Before March 2018 the headlines were occupied by alarming news suggesting the possibility of military conflict and an escalation of a latent conventional conflict into an open nuclear one. The balance of evidence seemed to point to the risk of escalation provoked by North Korean nuclear and missile tests and by President Trump’s strongly-worded statements. Indeed, most analysis of the Korean conflict has focused on such risks, ignoring the possibility that other non-military means –and not just the lever of economic sanctions– might have positive effects. To the contrary, the Elcano Royal Institute –in addition to analysing the significance of ongoing events for the delicate balance of regional stability– has also maintained that the situation could be contained through discrete bilateral diplomacy between the US and North Korea.

After ruling out other measures for stabilising the conflict as unviable, a May 2017 ARI on how to avoid a military conflict on the Korean peninsula indicated that ‘given the situation, even a sub-optimum accord that seeks to freeze, rather than to eliminate, nuclear weapons is preferable to the continued status quo in which North Korea continues to develop its nuclear and missile delivery capacities at a rapid pace’. This conclusion was consistent with the arguments deriving from a research visit to Pyongyang in September 2016, and later confirmed by researchers and think-tank analysts from Asia and Europe at a seminar in June 2017 at the Elcano Royal Institute. The publication synthesising the conclusions reached at this seminar, ‘Windows of opportunity in the Korean peninsula’, reiterates that ‘the most realistic option to face the DPRK nuclear crisis is to reopen a process of political dialogue’ and that ‘the best and most plausible scenario would be the opening up of negotiations based on a North Korean moratorium on nuclear and missile tests’.

This conclusion differed substantially from the mainstream analysis of the strategic community at the time, but it was based on solid objective arguments setting it apart from more speculative analysis and which time has continued to confirm. The Institute’s line of argument is that once the unacceptable risks of a military option, the insufficiency of economic sanctions and the impossibility of a dialogue that could lead to complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of North Korean are recognised, the most realistic option is to start a new diplomatic dialogue without any preconditions unacceptable to Pyongyang with the aim of searching for pragmatic agreements beneficial to all sides involved and that can contribute to regional stability.

As indicated in these analyses, the crisis demands an urgent diplomatic response to avoid the escalation that would come as soon as Pyongyang demonstrates to the world its capacity to hit the West Coast of the US with nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles; and, in addition, a negotiation framework is needed that would allow for the current nuclear levels to be later reduced, ideally even to achieve full, verifiable and irreversible nuclear disarmament of North Korea.

“Moon has always demonstrated his willingness to dialogue with Pyongyang, but without falling into the two great policy traps of the Sunshine Policy (1998-2008)”

Although he has been in office for less than 10 months, the South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, seems to understand the situation perfectly, and he has become a leading protagonist in the attempt at a diplomatic solution between the US and North Korea. In contrast with his two predecessors, Moon has always demonstrated his willingness to dialogue with Pyongyang, but without falling into the two great policy traps of the diplomatic strategy towards Pyongyang known as the Sunshine Policy (1998-2008), which was not coordinated with the US and which rewarded North Korea simply for agreeing to talk.

The South Korean leader took advantage of the window of opportunity opened up by Kim Jong-un’s New Year’s address expressing North Korea’s desire to send a delegation to participate in the Winter Olympic Games at Pyeongchang. The subsequent conversations not only realised this possibility, in the form of a joint Korean delegation, but also allowed a high level North Korean delegation to visit the South during the games. Kim Yong-nam, the official, formal North Korean head of state, and Kim Yo-jong, the sister and confident of Kim Jong-un, were among the North Korean delegation, and they invited President Moon to hold the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade and the first in which Kim Jong-un would participate. The South Korean President accepted this offer on the condition that it would be accompanied by a parallel process of contact between the US and North Korea. This bore fruit: during a meeting held in Pyongyang at the beginning of March with a South Korean delegation, Kim Jong-un expressed his desire to meet Trump and his commitment to stop all nuclear and missile tests, and to accept joint military exercises between the US and South Korea, during such negotiations. A few days later the same South Korean delegation visited the White House to deliver Pyongyang’s message and secured President Trump’s green light for a possible summit meeting with Kim during the upcoming month of May.

Although analysts insist on belittling their rationality, Trump and Kim are pursuing their own logic even if it does not coincide with that of most of the brainy strategic community. They both have a personalist idea of leadership which does not fit into the conventional analytical frames of national security advisers, and they believe they must take the initiative to lead their peoples to great moments and that the hour to do so has arrived. Kim has accelerated a process that has allowed him to negotiate from a position of strength and to prompt gestures of rapprochement, first from the leaders of South Korea and now, possibly, from his US counterpart. For his part, Trump has no military solution that can stop the will of the North to acquire superior nuclear warhead delivery capacity, but he believes that his policy of maximum pressure has now sufficiently weakened their economy to make the North Koreans willing to make important concessions. Both sides would like to leave such a meeting with some immediate result with which to reaffirm their personal leadership; and neither has anything to lose since they can always blame the other side for any failure.

“It should be remembered that this would be the first time in history that a standing US President has met the principal North Korean leader”

The announcement has been received with optimism and hope by most of the international community. It is widely seen as a singular opportunity to advance toward a solution to this conflict which has threatened the security of East Asia for decades and become a major threat to the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. It should be remembered that this would be the first time in history that a standing US President has met the principal North Korean leader. However, some factors suggest that optimism should be moderated. The meeting might not take place, or it could yield little practical results, like previous rounds of negotiations; or it could be a complete failure that leaves us closer than ever to a military conflict.

North Korea has already made its first concessions, freezing its nuclear and missile testing and accepting joint military exercises between the US and South Korea. In addition, other gestures –like releasing the three US citizens detained in North Korea (along with a Canadian and Australian in the same situation) or moving towards a resolution of the case of the Japanese citizens kidnapped between 1977 and 1983– might be expected before or during an eventual Trump-Kim summit.

It is typical of the process of diplomatic negotiation that the summits between the highest-level authorities are the culmination points of a long undertaking of previous work in which the parties negotiate the differences in their positions. However, that this is not the case in this instance was made clear by the statements by Rex Tillerson from Ethiopia –just hours before Trump announced the upcoming meeting with Kim– that the US was ‘very far’ from starting negotiations with North Korea. We should not expect, therefore, that the meeting between the two leaders necessarily produces an agreement, which at this stage, at least, appears premature.

In the many declarations of the Trump Administration on the North Korean crisis, the emphasis has been placed on what the US was not willing do to in order to negotiate with Pyongyang, and not on what it might be willing to offer, beyond a simple subsequent withdrawal of sanctions, in exchange for the de-nuclearization of North Korea. Such a diplomatic offer limited to lifting sanctions is apparently not enough to produce any kind of agreement. Trump will have to risk something more if he wants to move towards a solution to the crisis. He will need to offer some form of security guarantees. These might range from the reduction of the joint military forces with South Korea, to the signing of a peace treaty, to the normalisation of diplomatic relations, or even to the withdrawal –if still improbable– of US troops from the Korean peninsula. Different kinds of economic and humanitarian assistance could be added to the offer to help stimulate economic development in a country that has languished for years due to many factors, and not just international sanctions.

Therefore, the best news that we can hope for is that the Trump-Kim summit does finally take place and that it serves as a new call to an essential negotiation process capable of achieving concrete results in terms of nuclear non-proliferation goals and East Asian stability. On the other hand, an abject failure of such a meeting could push Kim to re-double his efforts to develop his country’s nuclear missile programme and provoke Trump to consider the military option as the only possible way to prevent the US from falling within North Korea’s nuclear range. For this reason, we hope that both leaders are up to the task and that they do not bring us any closer to a terrible military conflict.

Félix Arteaga
Senior Analyst, Elcano Royal Institute
 | @rielcano

Mario Esteban
Senior Analyst, Elcano Royal Institute
 | @wizma9

<![CDATA[ The European Commission: an enabler for the European Security and Defence Union ]]> 2018-04-26T05:58:43Z

The European Commission has been pushing for deeper European cooperation in the security and defence sector for the past two decades despite the reluctance of the member states.


The European Commission has been pushing for deeper European cooperation in the security and defence sector for the past two decades despite the reluctance of the member states.


The European Commission has found its way into the European security and defence sector. To the surprise and scepticism of many, given that this sector has long been considered a domaine réservé of the Member States, ambitious Commission initiatives have come to fruition. Looking at recent developments, this paper examines the Commission’s leadership capacity to bring security and defence-related issues into the EU framework, giving a new impetus to this strategic area and ultimately enabling the European Security and Defence Union.



The European defence industry has long been regarded only at the national level, with potential bilateral and multilateral cooperation mostly outside the EU framework. Contrary to this tradition, the 2016 ‘European Defence Action Plan’ (EDAP) is clearly a turning point, if not a ‘revolution’.1 With the newly-launched European Defence Fund (EDF), proposed in the EDAP, the European Commission (hereafter Commission) can use the EU budget to support directly and entirely research projects in defence, and to co-finance defence capabilities.2 Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, presented the EDF as ‘a game-changer for the EU’s strategic autonomy and the competitiveness of Europe’s defence industry’.3 For the Commission, it is ‘the engine powering the development of a European Security and Defence Union’.4 Considering this, the French Defence Minister Florence Parly qualified the EDF as ‘cultural revolution in Brussels’ during the recent 2018 Munich Security Conference.5

However, the EDAP did not come out of the blue, as it is the culmination of several Commission attempts since the mid-1990s to encourage member states to move towards a common defence. Back in 1996 the Commission already proposed to address in a comprehensive manner the ‘Challenges Facing the European Defence-related Industry’, combining the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) with the existing Community instruments.6 In this spirit, the Commission proposed ambitious initiatives that have been endorsed through the establishment of the European Security Research Programme (ESRP) in 2007 and the adoption of the European Defence Equipment Market in 2009. Therefore, this paper evaluates the extent to which the Commission has become a key enabler in EU security and defence, exerting its leadership capacity, irrespective of the fact that this mainly intergovernmental domain is still not within its proper area of competence.

In order to measure the scope of the Commission’s contribution, this paper first examines its involvement in the debate and in the policy process for closer European defence cooperation. Then it analyses the Commission’s approach, focusing on the new key initiative, the EDF, which aims to create a defence research programme and support EU-wide cooperation regarding defence capacities. Finally, it assesses the Commission’s impact on the level of integration, on deepening the European defence market and extending dual-use item export controls. The analysis shows that by building on its competences (trade, research and innovation), the Commission has proved its ability to bring security and defence issues further into the EU framework, ultimately enabling the European Security and Defence Union.

Part of the debate, part of the policy process

The Juncker Commission (2014-19), like the Barroso Commission before, is actively engaged in the debate on the future of European security and defence. To strengthen the Commission’s contribution, President Juncker appointed for the first time a Special Adviser on European Defence and Security Policy in 2015-16. Michel Barnier, previously Commissioner in charge of the Internal Market (2010-14), was given the task as special adviser to ensure the continuity of leading key initiatives towards a more integrated European defence market. As Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker participated in the EU-NATO summit in July 2016. He signed the joint declaration with Donald Tusk, President of the European Council and Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO. This acknowledged the Commission’s growing involvement and relevance in the European security and defence sector. Against this background, and in support of the objectives of the ‘EU Global Strategy’s Implementation Plan on Security and Defence’ as well as the 2016 EU-NATO joint declaration, the Commission produced the EDAP. According to the Commission, the measures proposed in this plan should ‘lead to a stronger European Union in defence, which ultimately means a stronger NATO’.7

In addition, to develop its vision further and clarify its potential contribution, the Commission proposed different scenarios in its ‘White paper on the future of Europe’.8 Then, more specifically in its ‘Reflection paper on the Future European Defence’,9 it outlined various options towards a Security and Defence Union by 2025, according to the level of ambition and political will of the member states. In this regard, the Commission has repeatedly said that its objective is not gradually acquiring new competences but building on its assets to improve cooperation between member states, which remain in the driving seat in the defence sector. However, the Commission is obviously keen to take an active role in the debate, pointing at the added value of the EU in joint approaches towards policy fields of common interest.

In the perspective of the Global Strategy and its ‘integrated EU approach’, which supports the linking of the security and defence sector to other EU policies and tools,10 the Commission argues that it is well-equipped to foster coherence across EU instruments and to contribute to this sector. After the successful work and experience gained with its Defence Task Force (2011-13), it seems increasingly realistic that a Directorate-General (DG) for Defence will be created. This would help coordinate the Commission’s services, tools and actions, and facilitate the dialogue with actors in the sector, especially with the member states. Ultimately, a DG Defence would further enable the European Security and Defence Union to an extent member states consider appropriate.

The European Defence Fund: research and capability windows

The EDF, launched in June 2017, has broken a long-lasting taboo. It allows Commission actions with an EU budget in two key dimensions of the European defence industry with an urgent need for further development, namely defence research and capacity.

Towards a Defence Research Programme

Already in its 1996 communication, the Commission had proposed to officially include dual-use technologies in its ‘Research and Technological Development Programme’. A decade later, in 2007, it launched the ESRP. However, the ESRP was designed to deal with only the civil aspects of security, yet the dual use of some technologies meant that there had to be a broad definition of security. Following the idea that the programme should contribute to Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) activities, the Commission (in charge of security research in the civil sector) and the European Defence Agency (EDA, in charge of coordinating defence research activities) started to cooperate in 2009. Since the they have coordinated their work and promoted synergies within the ‘European Framework Cooperation for Security and Defence Research’.

Ongoing developments in the European airspace became an excellent field for this new type of cooperation, especially the emerging technology of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). Despite the still civil-only dimension of the EU’s ‘Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020’, the Commission stressed the need to

‘… explore synergies in the development of dual-use applications with a clear security dimension or other dual-use technologies like, for example, those supporting the insertion of civil RPAS into the European aviation system to be carried out within the framework of the SESAR Joint Undertaking’.11

Also, the EDAP promoted civil-military synergies through EU policies, and notably reaffirmed the importance of the aviation field, where the Commission had already encouraged the involvement of the military through the EDA in the development of the Single European Sky (SES). Especially, it underlined the necessary civil-military coordination regarding the integration of drones for security purposes in the European airspace as well as in research and development.12

Besides, the Commission proposed the evaluation through a preparatory action of a more comprehensive programme for the next EU multiannual financial framework (MFF) post-2020, including EU-funded defence research.13 Like the security research programme, it should directly and entirely be funded by the EU budget. Both programmes should be coordinated due to their complementarities, but the financing should remain separate.14 This European defence research programme constitutes the European Defence Fund’s ‘research window’ with a potential budget of €500 million/year after 2020. Its establishment pursued a two-step approach: first, the Preparatory Action (PA) on Defence Research over the 2017-19 period and, afterwards, the programme as such to be included in the next MFF. As a first step, based on the strategic advice of the ‘Group of Personalities’,15 including various stakeholders, the Commission launched in 2017 the PA with the first Pilot project on Defence Research to provide guidance for the upcoming programme. The PA implementation phase, focused on the selection of the research topics, is in line with the comitology procedures. For the PA it is even a double comitology: in an initial stage, a group of member-state experts evaluate the correspondence of proposals with EU needs; then, an advisory group (industry, research and technology organisations, academia, EDA and the European External Action Service) gives its assessment in the second phase.16 This approach confirms the inclusion of key stakeholders in the process and the close involvement of the Commission as well.

The Commission’s most recent initiatives also strengthen its relations with the EDA. On 31 May 2017 the two entities signed a Delegation agreement on the implementation of the PA annual work. Three first calls for proposals were announced in June 2017, regarding the PA on Defence Research for ‘projects in the areas of unmanned systems in a naval environment and soldiers systems’.17 They were managed by the EDA ‘on behalf of the Commission’ after it did so successfully with the Pilot Project.18 While the EDA has the competence and expertise for defence research, there is a risk here that EDA becomes a simple administrator in a process led by the Commission.

Supporting defence capacity

Besides the ‘research window’, the other major innovation of the EDAP is the ‘capability window’ of the European Defence Fund. To be developed in the next few years, it will offer co-funding from the EU budget and the Commission’s technical support to member states for the ‘joint development and the acquisition of defence equipment and technology […] for example jointly investing in developing drone technology or satellite communication’,19 which are defined as defence capacity priority areas in the EU’s Global Strategy.

To promote joint development projects and to complement the ‘research window’, the Commission proposed a regulation in June 2017 to create a European Defence Industrial Development Programme.20 The European Parliament agreed to this legislative proposal on 21 February 201821 and the Council is expected to present its amendments soon in order to start the negotiations for its adoption in June 2019. This should allow first projects to be funded with a budget of €500 million (2019-20), probably on military drones and cyber defence. With a budget of €1 billion/year in the next MFF, it should offer different financial options, potentially also for countries that are now cooperating within the newly established Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in defence. In this regard, to give a clear leverage effect and encourage them, the Commission proposed that PESCO projects could receive an additional 10%, namely up to 30% of the total costs.22 Besides, financial contribution to the technological development and demonstration of projects, including prototypes, feasibility studies and testing facilities as well as dual-use products and technologies will be eligible for funding, including projects coordinated by the EDA.23 With the financial toolbox that the Commission proposed to support member states in the joint acquisition of defence capabilities, there will be substantial financial incentives for EU countries to move forwards towards the European Security and Defence Union if they wish to do so.

Consolidating the defence market and export controls of dual-use technologies

The EDAP also intends to consolidate the European Defence Equipment Market, which has included armament procurement in the EU’s internal market. The defence package, adopted in 2009, consists of the Commission’s Directive 2009/43/EC on ‘Transfers of Defence-related Products within the EU’, and Directive 2009/81/EC on ‘Defence and Security Procurement’, which restricts the derogation clause to very exceptional situations in order to address the protectionism issue in the hitherto nationally-structured defence industry. Already in its 2013 communication ‘Towards a More Competitive and Efficient Defence and Security Sector’, the Commission proposed a series of measures that the EDAP reiterated for the ‘effective implementation’ of both directives, applying strictly (even through enforcement, as confirmed by the infringement procedures against five EU member states launched in January 2018)24 to armament procurement and transfers of defence-related products within the EU, hence elevating arms-related policies again to a European level.

In the perspective of the European Security and Defence Union, the review process of Council regulation 428/2009 of 5 May 2009 ‘Setting up a Community Regime for the Control of Exports, Transfer, Brokering and Transit of Dual-use Items’, though not part of the EDAP, deserves to be mentioned as well. It might foster European integration in this key dimension of the sector through an increased role of the Commission: while arms exports are managed through intergovernmental coordination based on the Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008, the dual-use export controls regulation falls under the Common Commercial Policy, which lies in the exclusive competence of the Union.

In order to modernise export control, in September 2016 the Commission proposed a new regulation, ‘Setting up a Union Regime for the Control of Exports, Transfer, Brokering, Technical Assistance and Transit of Dual-use Items (recast)’.25 It mainly focuses on the ‘human security’ dimension in export controls and proposes expanding the set of controls on cyber-surveillance technology (having gained prominence as ‘spyware’ most recently) through the creation of an EU ‘list of items’. This might further aggregate the Commission’s ability to take the lead in adding items to the EU dual-use list, but more than anything, and for the very first time, it might create ‘an EU control list for dual-use items that is not drawn from one of the multilateral export control regimes’.26 A first step has been taken, as the European Parliament adopted its proposed amendments in January 2018, and 11 EU countries are already supporting the Commission’s proposal.27 The negotiations will take place in the coming months, once the Council has proposed its amendments. If things continue to develop as projected, the Commission will definitely have the opportunity to show its capacity as an enabler towards the European Security and Defence Union.


The Commission has been pushing for deeper European cooperation in the security and defence sector for the past two decades despite the reluctance of the member states in this intergovernmental domain. While important steps have been taken with the security research programme and the 2009 defence package, the EDAP definitively marks a qualitative leap with the launch of the European Defence Fund. Opening access to the EU budget for defence-related expenses has broken a taboo. It has occurred at the right time: Brexit has outmanoeuvred the British government’s traditional reluctance towards any kind of Commission role in this sector, US President Donald Trump’s pressure to increase defence spending to 2% of GDP to cope with unsustainable post-Cold War trends of limited defence budgets and the increasing security concerns in the EU member states from their direct neighbourhood (Russia, Ukraine, Syria and Libya, to mention just a few) undeniably offer a conducive environment for the Commission’s initiatives to enable more European defence cooperation.

However, the Commission has adapted its approach to complement and stimulate national efforts with financial incentives –and not to replace them28 or to only use directives with relative success through the 2009 Defence package–. In this endeavour, the Commission is still building its leadership capacity to facilitate and foster cooperation in defence under its competences. Nevertheless, it clearly recognises the role and responsibilities of the member states, which remain in the driver’s seat, are consulted and involved throughout the development process of the Commission’s proposals. An increasing and closer cooperation is also taking place with other key actors, such as the EEAS and especially the EDA for its competence and expertise in defence research. Hence, the Commission’s initiatives have certainly opened up a new opportunity for EDA activities, notably in research as well as in aviation security. Moreover, the planned coordinating mechanism between ‘legally distinct but complementary windows’, research and capacity, should include relevant stakeholders, namely member states, EDA, HR/VP, industry and Commission representatives.29 This shows the Commission’s willingness to enable cooperation between actors through an inclusive approach.

The debate is no longer about the Commission’s legitimacy and capacity to play or not a role in this field but on the scope of the implementation of the EU’s new tools. As discussed at the NATO Defence Ministers’ meeting and during the Munich Security Conference in February 2018, these initiatives towards the European Security and Defence Union have unexpectedly revived old debates and concerns from the US Administration about the scope of European strategic autonomy. US representatives have continued to say that EU initiatives should not duplicate NATO efforts and lead to the creation of a protectionist framework, especially regarding the defence market.30 This Europeanisation process in a competitive market has raised some concerns about access for non-European companies. This came as a surprise for many European officials, especially considering Trump’s ‘America First’ policy.31 Therefore, it remains for the EU’s officials to explain, as they have done for each previous step, the rationale behind the new European cooperation dynamics in the defence sector.

Chantal Lavallée
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Institute for European Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel
| @username

1 Michel Cabirol (2016), ‘L’incroyable révolution de Bruxelles dans la défense’, La Tribune, 1/XII/2016; Nicolas Gros­Verheyde (2016), ‘Financer l’industrie de défense. Un tabou se brise’, Bruxelles2, 1/XII/2016.

2 European Commission (2016), ‘European Defence Action Plan’, COM(2016) 950 final, Brussels, 30/XI/2016.

3 European Commission (2017), ‘A European Defence Fund: €5.5 billion per year to boost Europe’s defence capabilities’, Press Release, IP/17/1508, Brussels, 7/VI/2017.

4 European Commission (2017), ‘Launching the European Defence Fund’, COM (2017) 295 final, Brussels, 7/VI/2017, p. 17.

5 French Ministry of Defence (2018), ‘Mme Florence Parly, Ouverture de la Munich Security Conference’, Munich, 16/II/2018, p. 5.

6 European Commission (1996), ‘The Challenges facing the European Defence-related industry’, COM(96) 10 final, Brussels, 24/I/1996.

7 European Commission (2016), ‘European Defence Action Plan’, op. cit., p. 3.

8 European Commission (2017), ‘White paper on the future of Europe. Reflections and scenarios for the EU27 by 2025’, COM(2017) 2025, Brussels, 1/III/2017.

9 European Commission (2017), ‘Reflection paper on the Future European Defence’, COM(2017) 315, Brussels, 7/VI/2017.

10 European External Action Service (2016), ‘Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe, A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy’, Brussels, June, p. 50.

11 Ibid, p. 11.

12 European Commission (2016), ‘European Defence Action Plan’, op. cit., p. 18.

13 European Commission (2013), ‘Towards a more Competitive and Efficient Defence and Security’, COM/2013/0542 final, p. 5 & 11.

14 European Commission (2017), ‘Launching the European Defence Fund’, op. cit., p. 4 & 7.

15 European Commission and EUISS (2016), ‘Report of the Group of Personalities on the Preparatory Action for CSDP-related research’, Paris, February.

16 European Commission (2017), ‘Launching the European Defence Fund’, op. cit., p. 6.

17 European Commission (2017), ‘A European Defence Fund: €5.5 billion per year to boost Europe’s defence capabilities’, op. cit.

18 European Defence Agency (2017), ‘2017 calls for proposals published for PA on Defence Research’, Press Centre, Brussels, 7/VI/2017.

19 European Commission (2017), ‘A European Defence Fund: €5.5 billion per year to boost Europe’s defence capabilities’, op. cit.

20 European Commission (2017), ‘Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council establishing the European Defence Industrial Development Programme aiming at supporting the competitiveness and innovative capacity of the EU defence industry’, COM(2017) 294 final, Brussels, 7/VI/2017.

21 European Parliament (2018), ‘Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Defence Industrial Development Programme aiming at supporting the competitiveness and innovative capacity of the EU defence industry (COM(2017)0294 – C8-0180/2017 – 2017/0125(COD))’, PE 608.022v01-00, Brussels, 26/II/2018.

22 European Parliament (2018), ‘MEPs approve first EU programme dedicated to the defence industry’, Press room, 98120, Brussels, 21/II/2018.

23 European Commission (2016), ‘European Defence Action Plan’, op. cit., p. 9-10.

24 European Commission (2018), ‘Defence procurement: Commission opens infringement procedures against 5 Member States’, Press release, Brussels, 25/I/2018.

25 European Commission (2016), ‘Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council setting up a Union regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering, technical assistance and transit of dual-use items (recast)’, COM(2016) 616 final, Brussels, 28/IX/2016.

26 Mark Bromley (2017), ‘Export controls, human security and cyber-surveillance technology’, SIPRI, December, p. 19.

27 Catherine Stupp (2018), ‘Eleven member states back EU controls on selling spyware’, EurActiv, 21/II/2018.

28 European Commission (2016), ‘European Defence Action Plan’, op.cit., p. 7.

29 European Commission (2017), ‘Launching the European Defence Fund’, op. cit., p. 4.

30 Michael Peel, Katrina Manson & Mehreen Khan (2018), ‘Pentagon fires warning shot to EU over Nato unity’, Financial Times, 15/II/2018.

31 ‘US offer first reaction to EU defence PESCO pact’, EurActiv, 28/II/2018.