The framework nation: can Germany lead on security?

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Series Details Vol.92, No.5, September 2016, p1167–1187
Publication Date September 2016
ISSN 1473-8104
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International Affairs is a leading journal of international relations. Members of Chatham House have access to current and previous issues.

Non-Chatham House members can subscribe via Wiley-Blackwell. Electronic access to the full text of the article via the source url above is only available if you (or the network by which you access ESO) already subscribes to Wiley-Blackwell and your network uses a link resolver.Can Germany lead on security? This article aims to address this question by looking at recent German contributions to European defence cooperation. In 2013 Germany introduced the Framework Nations Concept (FNC) as a systematic and structured approach towards joint capability development. The concept relies on the idea that bigger nations take the overall responsibility for coordinating the contributions of smaller partners in a capability package. The framework nation model as such is not new but the initiative has been welcomed as a potential game changer in European defence cooperation and as confirmation of Germany's commitment to NATO.

In light of the Ukraine crisis, measures to adapt NATO and to strengthen the European pillar of the alliance have become more urgent. Allies and partners increasingly want Germany to extend its role as Europe's dominant economic and financial power to matters of security and defence. The framework nation model allows Germany to take international responsibility, while avoiding debates about leadership and hegemony. Moreover, as a framework nation, Germany can advance flexible cooperation among a smaller number of allies without undermining its commitment to multilateralism. But the FNC initiative also raises further questions: what is the added value of the framework nation model compared to similar formats; what should be the place of smaller groupings in the evolving Euro-Atlantic security architecture; and how reliable is Germany in the role of a lead nation?

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Related Links
Carnegie Europe: Strategic Europe, 20.07.17: The Twenty-First-Century German Question in European Defense
SWP: SWP Comments 2014/C 52, December 2014: The Framework Nations Concept. Germany’s Contribution to a Capable European Defence

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