ARENA Working Papers
WP 01/4

New Forms of Security Policy in Europe

Helene Sjursen



This paper discusses the changes in European security in the 1990s and their impact on national security policies. The analysis is based on the premise that the changes in European security primarily challenge the legitimacy basis of security policies in Europe. The challenge emerges as a result of the combined effects of the end of the Cold War and the increased influence of supranational institutions. In this context the traditional role of security policy as an instrument to protect the national interest of states in a system of anarchy comes into question. Security policy is increasingly becoming an instrument to uphold the law. However, national adaptation to these broad changes in European security has taken different paths. These different paths highlight the continued importance of institutional patterns, long established norms and role conceptions in European security policy.




How do national states in Western Europe confront the challenges of security in a new millennium? What are the implications for states� capacity to defend themselves against a variety of potential external threats in the context of ever more porous borders? The principal argument in this paper will be that the changes in European security primarily challenge the legitimacy basis of security policies of European states rather than their capacity to defend their citizens. It is in other words the very basis on which security policy is formulated that is at stake. In order to clarify this argument it is necessary to define security and identify the various changes to the security agenda in Europe. This will be done in the first part of the paper. The second part of the paper looks more closely at what these changes have meant for the security policy of some West European states. In the third and last part of the paper I discuss the significance of the changes and possible future developments in European security.

Continuity and change in the European security agenda

How can we define �security�? Is it so that the end of the Cold War radically changed the conception of security in Europe?


According to Arnold Wolfer security should be defined as �the absence of threats to acquired values�. Expanding on this David Baldwin considers security to be a situation in which there is �a low probability of damage to acquired values� (Baldwin 1997: 13). Such a definition is however only a starting point. Further specification is required in order for the concept to be helpful in empirical studies. We might start by asking whose security it is we are talking about. Furthermore, one might ask what values it is that should be defended? These are essentially questions of qualities and standards. Ultimately, they point to the issue of what kind of society we want to live in (and thus wish to protect). However, as the responses to the questions of �whose security� and �which values� have often been taken as a given, at least in studies of international relations, the fact that the security issue has a normative dimension has often been neglected. In international relations the state has almost automatically been considered the �referent object� of security (Buzan 1999). As for the values to be defended, these have also been taken for granted: ultimately it is the territorial integrity and political independence of the state that is to be protected. Finally, security from what? Again, the answer was the state. Other states have usually been considered as the principal threat to territorial integrity and political independence.


These specifications to the concept of security are closely linked to a particular model of the international system- the Westphalian model. According to this model, striving for security is in many ways the ultimate concern of the foreign policies of states. This is linked to the assumption of anarchy in the international system. There is no superior authority that can 'lay down the law' from a more independent or objective position than the individual states. The international system is, in other words, seen to be in a 'state of nature'. In such a system, politics is a struggle for power where each state must look after its interests as best it can and with all available means. Questions of values or of morality are considered to have little or no place in such a system: they belong to domestic politics. The characteristic features of the Westphalian model are further outlined in the following way:


�1. The world consists of, and is divided by, sovereign states which recognise no superior authority.

2. The processes of law making, the settlement of disputes and law-enforcement are largely in the hands of individual states subject to the logic of �the competitive struggle for power�.

3. Differences among states are often settled by force: the principle of effective power holds sway.

4. Virtually no legal fetters exist to curb the resort to force; international legal standards afford minimal protection.

5. Responsibility for cross-border wrongful acts are a �private matter� concerning only those affected; no collective interest in compliance with international law is recognised.

6. All states are regarded as equal before the law: legal rules do not take account of asymmetries of power.

7. International law is oriented to the establishment of minimal rules of coexistence; the creation of enduring relationships among states and peoples is an aim, but only to the extent that it allows national political objectives to be met.

8. The minimisation of impediments on state freedom is the �collective� priority (Held 1993: 29).�


During the Cold War the security and defence policies of West European states were to a large extent formulated according to the logic of the Westphalian model. Perhaps the clearest example of this is French security and defence policy. The French security doctrine received its most coherent formulation with the election of Charles de Gaulle as president of the Fifth Republic in 1958. It was maintained by his predecessors and thus remained the basis for French security policy until the early 1990s. De Gaulle organised French security and defence policy around the principle of political autonomy. He was convinced that France needed an independent defence capacity in order to ensure this autonomy and to allow France to maximise her national interests (Gergorin and Touraine 1998: 105). There was no doubt, in other words about the referent object of security or of the values to be defended in this case. France even withdrew from the military integration in NATO in 1966 and developed an independent nuclear capacity for the same reasons of national autonomy. These initiatives have often been understood as an expression of anti-Americanism. Although this may be part of the explanation, French security and defence policy cannot be properly understood without taking into account these basic premises upon which it was built. At the heart of French security and defence policy was the nation state. It was this idea that gave legitimacy to French policy (Sauder 1999).


Remaining within NATO, other West European states seemed more pragmatic with regard to the question of autonomy. Still, their security and defence policies were organised around the same principle of territorial defence. As a traditional military alliance, membership in NATO was for a majority of these states seen as an efficient means to obtain this security objective.


The end of the Cold War constituted an important challenge to prevailing security and defence policies and perceptions of security in Western Europe. With the collapse of the Warsaw pact, the perceived threat on which much of West European security and defence policies had been built since the end of the Second World War disappeared almost over night. It now seemed increasingly unrealistic to suggest that West European states� security was challenged by an �enemy state�. Moving away from the emphasis on defending the territory of the nation-state from an external military threat, discussions on security and defence policy increasingly began to focus on so-called non-territorial threats and to refer to an �enlarged� security concept. These non-territorial threats were considered to take the form of terrorism, drug-trafficking, nuclear waste and also ethnic conflict that might spread beyond a particular state-territory. It was also argued more often that economic and social imbalances, environmental problems and humanitarian disasters were as important or perhaps even more important security risks than the threat of external military invasion. Thus, the way in which the definition of security was specified started to change. In response to the question of �security for whom�? it was no longer self- evident that the answer was the state, neither, in response to the question of �security for which values� was it a given that this would be the territorial integrity of the state. Increasingly, the focus turned from the state to the individual as the �referent object� of security. And as to the values to be defended, these were no longer only the territorial integrity of the state. In fact, in several instances, this integrity was challenged in the name of principles of human rights. However, the most important changes to the specifications of security had to do with the types of threats that Western Europe was expected to have to face. As a result of these changes a debate also developed about the legitimacy of the use of military means outside the territory of the nation state, with the aim of protecting international norms and rules.


The changes in the specifications of security also led to changes in the perception of what instruments might be most appropriate in security policy. Whereas the favoured instrument of the Cold War was the military this is no longer necessarily considered the most efficient or appropriate instrument to maintain security. Indeed much of the discussion on security policy in Western Europe was a discussion about how to reallocate resources from security to other policy objectives. To the extent that military means were still considered important, most West European states did in the 1990s begin considerable changes to the way in which they structured their armed forces and their strategic doctrines.


The changes to the specifications of security should not however be seen as the exclusive result of the end of the Cold War. They must be must be understood in the context of broader changes in the European system of states. Also, these �alternative approaches� to security were not new with the end of the Cold War. They constituted the basis on which for example the Helsinki process (now the OSCE) was launched in the early 1970s. However, it was only with the end of the Cold War that these ideas gained a wider acceptance.


A principal consequence of these broader changes to the international system is that the privileged status of the state is challenged. With these challenges to the state the very basis upon which security policy has been built is also questioned. It is possible to note three conditions that illustrate the internal and external challenges to the state. Firstly, the emergence of new issues at the international political agenda in Europe. Following from this, the conventional hierarchy of policy issues that gives priority to security and defence issues also seems to be abandoned. The second condition is the emergence of new transitional, supranational, economic, and political and security actors in addition to the state, at the European level. What many of these actors have in common is that they do not have a territorial base and that they act without reference to a specific national interest. A consequence of this change is that it has become more difficult for the state to control economic and political activities across national borders. Various groupings may, to varying degrees, seek to defend their interest through European institutions outside the nation state. The third condition is the strengthening of a normative and legal dimension in the international system. In a complex international system characterised by interdependence, order is the result of a network of agreements and international institutions and not exclusively of a balance of power. Such networks of international institutions cover a wide spectre of themes from environmental issues and human rights to defence issues. As a consequence, decisions on international issues are no longer left exclusively in the hands of national governments. Norms and rules at the international level do increasingly influence state behaviour and set standards for appropriate behaviour both between states and within states.


These challenges to the state constitute an opportunity to (re-) open the questions of the basis on which security policy should be formulated. When the referent object of security � the nation state - can no longer be taken as a given, the legitimacy of a security policy that relies exclusively on national security is also questionable. Hence, the question of the basis on which we should develop European security policy� which interests, values, norms should be promoted and protected comes to the fore. The normative dimension to security policy becomes visible.


It must however be added that although most agree that European security is changing, there is considerable uncertainty in assessments of the extent of change to the conception of security as well in the evaluation of the implications of such a change. A sense of security or insecurity is subjective to a large extent. An important question thus becomes the direction in which policy-makers chose to take the issue. To summarise, security policy in Western Europe now seems to hold three dimensions: The first dimension is the traditional conception of security and defence policy where the purpose is to defend the territory of a nation state or a group of states from a clearly identified external military threat. The second dimension considers the idea of mutual interdependence between states. Thus national security is seen to depend on overall international stability and respect for international norms. With this dimension the focus in security and defence policy thus shifts towards non-territorial security threats. Sources of insecurity are often not considered linked to other states but to issues such as ethnic conflicts, international crime and terrorism.In turn this leads to a discussion of the legitimacy of use of military means in situations which are not concerned with defending national territory. The third dimension points to social and economic imbalances, humanitarian crises, and environmental disasters as larger security challenges than military threats. The tendency in the European security agenda has been to move away from the first dimension of territorial defence and towards the third dimension of an enlarged security concept.


To what extent and in what ways have these changes in the European security agenda affected the basis on which West European nation states develop their security and defence policies?

Coping with change: the weight of national idiosyncrasies

Most West European states have sought to adapt to the external changes in their security environment. The overall tendency has been to concentrate on two things: first a refocus towards the ability to conduct crisis management operations and peace keeping missions outside the national territory and a move away from territorial defence. This has also led to a reduction in subsidies to the armed forces. Second, there has been increased emphasis on international co-ordination and multilateral responses to security. Underlying these changes is an overall agreement about the �indivisibility of security� in Europe. In other words the idea is that security in one part of Europe depends on security in Europe as a whole.


Despite this seeming overall convergence in the interpretation of the new security environment, national adaptation has taken different paths. Some states started reforming their policies early in the 1990s, others did not start this process until the end of the decade. Likewise, the domestic political reactions to change have varied in the different European states. These differences highlight the importance of institutional patterns, long established norms and role conceptions for the formulation of national security policy. Security policy is not formulated from a tabula rasa. Certain issues are taken as given from the outset and constitute the premises on which policy-choices are made. This also means that the general principles on which there seems to be agreement have taken on a different meaning in different national cultural/political contexts. To challenge the political �givens� is not always simple. In order to illustrate the different paths to adaptation we will look at two large states in Europe�s core � France and Germany - and on small state in Europe�s periphery -Norway.


France: the end to exceptionalism?

As we have already noted the aim of national independence was a central to French security and defence policy. Not only did France leave the military part of NATO in 1966; it also built an independent nuclear force. The search for independence was during the Cold War not only directed towards the Soviet Union, but also towards France�s ally, the United States. France was also a strong supporter of separate European security and defence co-operation. Such co-operation should however take the form of co-operation amongst nation states. European co-operation was thus seen and presented as an instrument for French influence and French autonomy rather than as an initiative taken for the common good. This has also meant that historically ��pressure from Paris in favour of the creation of some sort of European defence and Security Identity (EDSI), sustained and imperative though it has tended to be, has not always been complemented by any actual Europanisation of French defence policy and planning.� (Howorth 1997: 23).


With the end of the Cold War one can observe several modifications to the strong emphasis on autonomy and territorial defence in French security policy. According to Lisbeth Aggestam, changes have taken place along three dimensions: to the conceptions of security; to the approaches to institutional security co-operation and to perceptions of France�s role in the European security system (Aggestam 2000). The first changes were introduced with the publication of the White book on defence in 1994. A new military programme law (LPM) followed the White book in which a major review of French defence policy was outlined for the period of 1995-2000. After Jacques Chirac�s election to the Presidency in 1995 the changes were speeded up amongst other things through a new LPM for 1997-2000 that replaced the one from 1994 (Howorth 1997). The changes introduced through these reform packages were important. They included the abolition of conscription and the decision to rely on a professional army. Surprisingly, however, this did not provoke much protest in French public opinion or amongst French political and military elites.


If we look specifically at Aggestam�s first dimension: the conception security, France moved from a traditional notion of territorial defence and national autonomy as well as a particular emphasis on the military dimensions of defence towards emphasising interdependence amongst states as an important condition for security. France was also, together with the United States, amongst the first Western states to call for a change in the strategic doctrine of NATO, which would allow NATO to take responsibility for crisis management and peace enforcement operations in addition to territorial defence (Howorth 1997: 25-6). This move towards the idea that Europe must share responsibility for security and towards an idea of security as indivisible contrast sharply with earlier years� emphasis on national autonomy. The change is however not complete: France�s nuclear policy has only been subject to minor adjustments. The changes to the second dimension pointed to by Aggestam, approaches to institutional security co-operation, follow logically from the changes to the conception of security. The most tangible change is probably the announcement of foreign minister Herv� de Charette in 1995 that France would rejoin Nato�s Military committee. This decision was preceded by a number of small steps such as French participation in the Gulf war as a member of the Western coalition as well as French participation in operations in the former Yugoslavia under NATO command (Le Gloannec 1997). Several key factors in addition to the changing conceptions of security help explain this change in French policy. Among them are the domestic political concerns such as the economic burden of developing European defence capabilities outside NATO for a French economy struggling in the mid-1990s with the effects of the Maastricht criteria for Economic and Monetary Union (EMU ). France continued however to be strongly in favour of an independent European security capacity. The return to NATO thus most of all indicated a changed attitude to multilateral security arrangements.


This leads us to Aggestam's last dimension: the perception of France in the European security system. At the core of France�s European strategy is the relationship with Germany. It is also here that the multilateralisation of French security policy is most clearly demonstrated for example through the Franco-German brigade. At the same time, the relationship with Germany indicates that defence and security issues continue to be sensitive issues amongst European states. This was demonstrated by the initial German reaction to the unilateral French decision to abandon conscription and to change its strategic concept. This decision was made without prior Franco- German consultations. According to Le Gloannec �Reactions in Germany to this reform project were bitter, particularly on the part of the defence ministry and the ministry of foreign affairs.� (Le Gloannec 1997) Tension was rapidly defused yet they underline the continued sensitivity of defence and security issues amongst West European states.


French aims with European defence concentrates on ensuring that France will be able to fulfil the obligations entailed in the so-called Petersberg tasks, which include humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping and crisis-management. These are not linked exclusively to French national interests. In fact, Aggestam sees a change towards ��an emphasis on Europe as an ethical and responsible power�. Thus, the emphasis on the need to maximise national interests seems to have been if not abandoned altogether then at least modified by an emphasis on the universal principles and the indivisibility of security. This is illustrated by the following quote of Jacques Chirac: �So a Europe which is more ethical, which places at the heart of everything it does respect for a number of principles which, in the case of France, underpins a republican code of ethics, and, as far as the whole of Europe is concerned, constitute a shared code of ethics.� (Aggestam 2000: 75)


To summarise, a radical transformation has taken place in French security and defence policy. The legitimacy of this policy was initially based on the ability to protect its citizens from external foreign invasion through the means of a strong and independent military force. During the 1990s there was a move towards a conception in which security is increasingly seem as indivisible and where multilateralism constituted a key element in the national approach to security. Interestingly, these changes have taken place without strong domestic protest.


Germany towards normalisation?

Contrary to the French case, multilateralism was the key to German security policy also during the Cold War. Thus, one should perhaps expect that the changes brought by the end of the Cold War would have been easy to deal with for Germany. This is only partly true. While multilateralism was easy, the logical corollary of indivisibility of security, namely German participation in �out of area� operations was a difficult issue.


The security and defence policy of the Federal Republic of Germany � to the extent that the FRG can be said to have had an independent defence policy � was strongly influenced by the memory of nazi-Germany. This gave a particular weight in German politics to the principle that the use of force was considered illegitimate for any other reason than for the defence of national territory. The strong reservations against the engagement of German troops for any kind of operation outside national territory were also codified in the FRG�s constitution. A further precaution against Germany�s militaristic past was the generalised conscription. The army was to remain under civilian control and the conscripts ��took no oath of obedience in the traditional sense and retained rights of individual conscience not tolerated in the American, British, or French armed forces.� (Hodge 1999: 182). Finally, the Federal Republic�s autonomy in military affairs was restricted externally through the Paris agreements. These made it unrealistic to envisage the engagement of West German troops outside the national territory also from a legal and not only from a moral perspective.


With the end of the Cold War, the formal restrictions on Germany�s security and defence policy were removed. The so-called �Two plus Four� treaty lifted the international legal restrictions on Germany�s sovereignty. In 1994 the German constitutional court also gave an interpretation of the Basic Law which indicated that German troops could take part in combat under the umbrella of multilateral security organisations (Bohnen 1997). The German Defence White Paper published the same year also opened up for the possibility of German participation in �out of area� operations. Overall however the White Paper kept to the German tradition of emphasising the �civilian� dimension to security and underlined that the most important security goal of Germany was to maintain peace. The security strategy developed to support this aim was primarily diplomatic, focusing on economic integration, inclusive security institutions and disarmament (Hodge 1999: 190). As such it echoed the overall changes in the European security agenda.


The element of continuity in Germany�s security policy lies in the continued emphasis on multilateralism. According to the �principles of participation� outlined by Klaus Kinkel, German Foreign Minster in 1994: �Germany will never undertake peace missions alone� (Bohnen 1997: 54). German security policy was already during the Cold War deeply integrated in multilateral units in NATO. The national German army was in itself relatively small and ill equipped to function independently of NATO. Close integration in Western institutional frameworks had been a deliberate policy choice made by German chancellor Konrad Adenauer after the end of the Second World War. Divided in two and not being allowed an independent defence capacity, the FRG became dependent on its Western allies on security and defence issues. However equally important was it that membership in Western multilateral institutions allowed the FRG to operate internationally without being suspected of renewed German hegemonic ambitions (Rummel 1996). It follows from this that the Federal Republic had been supportive of increased security co-operation inside the EU. Nonetheless due to concern about the consequences that this might have for NATO it was less enthusiastic on this issue than France. Although the multilateral approach in German security policy could be seen as externally imposed, it seemed to have been assimilated into or redefined as a German tradition and there was no question of abandoning this after re-unification.


It was the logical corollary to multilateralism and the principle of the indivisibility of security that posed problems for Germany. Despite the lifting of all the formal restrictions on the engagement of German troops in out of area operations and peace keeping missions the reservations against such activities were strong inside Germany. The debate opened with the Gulf war during which German military troops did not participate although Germany contributed financially to the Western operation. The social democrats (SPD) and the greens argued strongly against German participation in military operations outside the national territory. Referring to German history, they considered Germany to have a particular obligation to show �self-restraint� and act as a peaceful state. Nonetheless, the Gulf war was the last operation with explicit German non-participation. The UN operation in Cambodia, was the first to have a German troop contingent � consisting in a field hospital. After this Germany took part in operations in Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo (Takle 2000). Germany�s reluctance to take part in out of area operations came to a complete end with the participation in Nato�s Kosovo operation. For the first time German armed forces took part in so-called peace-making operations and not only peacekeeping operations. Nonetheless it remains a contested issue in domestic politics in Germany.


As a state whose tradition since the end of the Second World War has been a commitment to multilateralism, peaceful conflict resolution and emphasis on non-military means � in particular economic means � in security policy, a fully sovereign and reunified Germany was in many ways ahead of its West European colleagues in terms of adapting to the new security environment. However, the �normalisation� of Germany also meant facing difficult choices about the degree of political and military involvement in international affairs. This became traumatic for both public authorities and citizens at large. The justification for the change that emerged towards the end of the 1990s in Germany�s security posture was in many ways similar to that provided by France. The focus shifted from concerns about German historical legacy towards an argument about Germany�s responsibility to contribute to uphold respect for human rights and democracy also outside its own borders (Takle 2000).


Norway: stuck in the past?

At first sight one would expect Norway to embrace the changes to European security policies after the end of the Cold War unreservedly. Throughout the Cold War, Norway supported the idea of an enlarged security concept and spoke for a policy of conciliation rather than confrontation in East-West relations. Norway also champions �soft security�, sees itself a �pioneer in peace� and takes an active part in peace-keeping operations similar to those planned for in the Petersberg tasks of the European Union and in the new strategic concept of NATO. However, rather than embracing the changes to European security, Norway ardently resisted any change both to the content of Western security policy and to its institutional arrangements throughout the 1990s.


Norway was one of the last countries to accept the change in Nato�s strategic concept in 1991. Furthermore, while most of Norway�s allies started to redefine their military structure in response to the changes in the strategic environment with the end of the Cold War, Norway maintained its strategic doctrine from the Cold War, focusing on the risk of an external invasion in the north of Norway (NOU1992). And during the period before the NATO summit in Washington in April 1999 Norway consistently worked to protect article 5 tasks from being put on an equal footing with the new security tasks within NATO (Sjursen 2000). Here, the Norwegian perspective corresponded to that of many European states, but the Norwegian objectives were slightly different. While the other West European states seemed concerned chiefly about ensuring some control over American use of NATO for non-article 5 missions, Norway�s concern was that giving equal status to article 5 and non-article 5 operations would weaken Nato�s defence guarantee to Norway.


Two elements of change did become identifiable towards the end of the 1990s. The first was an increasing public debate about Norway�s defence strategy. The second was the publication of a report to Parliament in June 1999 that confirmed the need for reforms in Norwegian defence in order to make it possible for Norway to take part in international crisis management, as well as the establishment of two parallel defence studies that analysed Norway�s defence priorities (St. meld 38, 1998-99). This second change came about as a result of changes in NATO and the EU/WEU, which by civil servants were described as constituting a �constant pressure on Norway�s defence concept�. They were not the result of change in Norway�s perception of its own security situation (Sjursen 2000). In the words of Iver Neumann and St�le Ulriksen �In the academic debate about Norwegian foreign- and security policy the end of the Cold War has not yet made a strong impact.�(Neumann and Ulriksen1995)


It could of course be argued that the Norwegian reluctance to change was the result of the country�s particular geographical or strategic position. As a small state with a border with Russia, Norway is exposed to security threats that other West European states do not face. However, with the end of the Cold War the security context changed also for Norway. Although the border towards Russia was still there, the challenges it posed to Norway were much more in line with those entailed in an enlarged security concept. The strategy of territorial defence (�invasjonsforsvaret�) did not offer an efficient response to these �new� security challenges. A further pragmatic argument for the reluctance to change would focus on the economic benefits that Norway has had from Nato�s traditional focus on the northern regions. Throughout the Cold War, Norway received NATO funding for developing its infrastructure. These funds were used chiefly for investment in military projects but did at the same time lead to economic gains for the civilian economy. In the 1990s these subsidies from NATO were reduced substantially. The justification for the subsidies was the importance of Norway�s position at the northern flank of NATO. Thus the reductions are a result of the reduced emphasis on collective defence and on a northern threat to NATO. Hence, one could perceive Norway�s insistence on the continuation of Nato�s �old� strategy as motivated not only by Norwegian security interests but also by economic interests. Nonetheless, these economic arguments, although they probably contributed to make change in Norwegian security and defence strategy more difficult, can hardly alone be presented as a cause of the slow changes to Norwegian defence policy.


Rather, the Norwegian example highlights the importance of institutional patterns, long established norms and role conceptions for the formulation of national security policy. Norwegian security policy is heavily entrenched in deep-seated identity and worldviews. Particularly important is the conception of Norway as a country that is different from its European allies, as a small and particularly peaceful nation that has had to withstand the assault of great powers in Europe (Sjursen 2000).


Due to a large extent to national idiosyncrasies, the changes in the European security agenda have been given a different meaning in different national settings. They have also challenged different dimensions in the security policies of West European nation states. As a general rule, however, the suggestion that the emphasis on an �enlarged� security concept has increased, seems to be confirmed. What is the significance of this change for the future developments of European security? Are we observing a qualitative change in the European security agenda or are the fundamentals of European security still the same?

The collective European security agenda: future developments

It is a truism to observe that if �security� is placed above everything else fundamental principles of democracy and respect for human rights can easily be jeopardised. As we know, reference to the primacy of security has, and still is, used as a means to repress dissent. This means that introducing an enlarged security concept could be a mixed blessing. Turning new issues, for example issues of immigration, into questions of security is obviously problematic. Such initiatives can easily spill over into other dimensions of domestic politics such as treatment of minorities, asylum and immigration policies. The net result might be to create internal enemies and have these replace the external enemies.


Are there concrete examples of such tendencies in Europe? It has been suggested that the EU�s aim of developing �an area of freedom, security and justice� represents serious risks of impeding on the individual liberties of the citizens of Europe (Monar 2000). It may also lead to the creation of a fortress Europe and thus to higher insecurity for non-citizens of third country nationals through strict asylum and immigration policies as well as visa-regimes. These individuals may also be subject to unequal treatment within the EU. Furthermore it has been suggested that the arguments used to justify European integration more generally also rely to an unreasonably large extent on a security argument. It is in other words implied that the security argument is deliberately used to ensure the success of a political process favoured by those in power. Political and economic issues are redefined in terms of security in order to underline their urgency or their particular importance. Hence, Ole Waever has suggested that the process of domesticating security in Europe is being used as an instrument to construct a European political identity with the EU at its core. He argues that �Europe� is built �through a peculiar security argument. Europe�s past of wars and divisions is held up as the other to be negated, and on this basis it is argued that �Europe� can only be if we avoid renewed fragmentation.� (Waever 1996). Such observations have led to the suggestion that it should be an aim in itself to avoid in so far as possible to define issues as security issues (Neumann and Ulriksen 1995).


However, returning to a �narrow� definition of security is not in itself enough. Or to put it differently, it is not the enlarged security concept or the domesticating of security that is the problem. What matters are the basis on which security policy is developed and the purposes that security policies are supposed to fulfil both domestically and internationally. Or to return to our initial questions, what matters is �whose security� and �security for what values�? We have suggested that what is taking place in Europe is a change in terms of how the West European nation states respond to these questions. The nation state has become woven into a complex network of dependency with other nation states as well as transnational actors and supranational institutions. As a consequence of this, it is not only the capacity of the sovereign state to be autonomous that is challenged, but the privileged status of the state � institutionalised through the principle of sovereign equality � that is at stake. This means that the traditional role of security policy as a policy that aims to uphold the principle of external sovereignty also comes into question.


If we consider political processes exclusively as processes of competition for power and actors as interested only in maximising self-interest the interpretation would nonetheless be that there are few �real� changes to security in Europe and that an emphasis on an enlarged security concept only reflects a change of strategy by the �real� powers in Europe. If we instead define politics as a system with rights and duties that place additional requirements on actors than simply the one of satisfying self-interest the interpretation will be different. Here one would underline the role of laws, principles and processes of deliberation within an institutionalised system. Such a model of politics relies on a conception of rationality where actors are seen as rational when they are able to justify and explain their actions, and not only when they seek to maximise their own interests. A further important assumption for this perspective is that actors are not just self-interested but reasonable (Eriksen and Weig�rd 2000). This is indeed a condition for the functioning of liberal democracy, where citizens are expected to be able to distinguish between different forms of justification for policy-choices and to assess which of them are acceptable and which are not. The question then is whether or not such a definition of politics as a system with rights and duties is suitable also at the international level in Europe.


The potential for such developments seems stronger today than previously because of the high degree of institutionalisation at the supranational level. Traditionally, international law was not seen as an instrument that should protect individuals from abuses of power but as an instrument that would guarantee the sovereign control of the state over a specific territory. With the strengthening of the United Nations, the principles of human rights have gained more force in international politics in general. However, unless these principles become positive legal rights it is difficult to avoid the suspicion that they only reflect the self-interest of the most powerful: �Things look different when human rights not only come into play as a moral orientation for one�s own political activity, but as rights which have to be implemented in a legal sense. Human rights possess the structural attributes of subjective rights which, irrespective of their purely moral content, by nature are dependent on attaining positive validity within a system of compulsory law.� (Habermas 1999: 270). A move in this direction is particularly visible in Europe (Eriksen and Fossum 2000). European states have, through the EU but also through the Council of Europe, moved further than most states in terms of establishing international organisations that demand a committed international co-operation between sovereign states. The EU has developed common legal system with a higher status than national law. The expectation of legitimisation of political choices vis a vis �the other� is therefore particularly strong in a European context. National choices are more visible at the international level. In addition, national choices concern the other directly. There are now agents outside the nation state that can sanction illegitimate abuses of power and that citizens can appeal to if national decisions seem unacceptable. This is visible both in the EU�s charter and in the European human rights. Hence human rights are not just moral categories, but also positive legal rights. It is expected of European states today that they respect human rights and basic civil and political rights (Z�rn 2000). In such a context security policy increasingly becomes an instrument to uphold the law rather than an instrument to defend self-interest in a system of anarchy. Respect for democracy and human rights become conditions for security.





We have suggested in this paper that the changes in the European political system open up for the possibility of rethinking the basis on which security policy is formulated. During the Cold War the security policies of West European nation states were primarily based on what David Held has defined as pragmatic considerations (Held 1987: 182). Bipolarity and the need for a balance of power between Nato and the Warsaw Pact was taken as a given. This situation was not necessarily considered satisfactory from an ideal normative perspective however it was accepted as inevitable. Indeed the assumption was that the situation could not be any different. With the combined effects of the end of the Cold War and the increased influence of supranational institutions, the political context is changed. What were pragmatic responses during the Cold War might not be pragmatic responses in this different political context. To change established policies is however not self-evident. Vested interests in maintaining status quo may be strong. Furthermore, large institutions such as states are often reluctant to undertake important processes of change. Hence, although there seems to be a rational consensus around the idea that security policy should be built on a different basis, there is no guarantee that reason will prevail.


Hence, it has not been suggested in this paper that competition for power and conflict of interests do not matter in politics. Such a suggestion would be naive. However, it would be equally unrealistic to assume that an analysis based only on these premises can capture political processes in all their complexities. What has been suggested here then is that security policy can be seen as an expression of a particular view, at a particular time, of how political relations should be organised. And furthermore, that this particular view is now different from what it was in the period called the Cold War. The new political context suggests that those exercising power also at an international level need to refer to a legal/rational basis for their decisions. The continued predominance of this view will depend on how the West Europeans go about building and expanding their collective security institutions.







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