EU Civil-Defence Synergies: Understanding the Challenges and Drivers of Change

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Series Details Number 74
Publication Date March 2022
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This paper looks at the European Union’s approach to promoting civil and defence synergies. More specifically, it focuses on the strategies and policies developed by the European Commission to help stimulate the cross-fertilisation of civil and defence research. A core part of the analysis is to show the evolution of the EU approach to such synergies.

By drawing on official documents published by the European Commission since 1996, we elaborate three drivers of change to explain the growing importance of civil-defence synergies: 1) defence market pressures; 2) technological innovation; and 3) policy entrepreneurship. In looking at these three drivers, the paper offers the reader policy and historical insights, but it also outlines the challenges facing Union efforts to promote civil-defence synergies.

This is a timely analysis given: 1) the commitment of EU leaders to foster these synergies at the informal summit of February 2021; 2) the presentation, in February 2022, of the European Commission’s “defence package” that further builds on civil-defence synergies; 3) the iteration by EU leaders of their commitment to foster civil-defence synergies at the informal Summit of 10-11 February 2022 (the “Versailles Declaration”); and 4) and the strong statement on civil-defence synergies in the Strategic Compass that will be endorsed by EU leaders in March 2022. Given these steps, and considering the 2022 war on Ukraine, we argue that it may now be time for EU Member States to take the necessary decisions that fall on them.

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