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The Age of Austerity a New European Security Rises

The Age of Austerity a New European Security Rises

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Published by: StreitCouncil on Dec 23, 2010
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07/21/2011

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The Age of Austerity: a New European Security RisesBy Jack DetschIntroduction
When the Czech Republic, ratified the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, a new era inEuropean security, defense and diplomacy dawned. The treaty reformed the EU¶s bureaucracy by expanding the powers of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, consolidating the EU¶s legal personality, and allowing the Union to be anofficial signatory on treaties. Lisbon gave greater policymaking authority to EUinstitutions, created a long-term President of the European Council (who can be electedto two 2.5-year terms), and strengthened the position of High Representative for ForeignAffairs and Security Policy, and created the new EEAS (European External ActionService) diplomatic corps. In addition, Lisbon made the European Charter of Fundamental Rights binding to all member states.Though the treaty had its critics, there was unanimous agreement amongEuropean experts that Lisbon would allow the European Union to project its far morewidely than before. Some even believed the treaty would catapult the EU to globalsuperpower status.But economic conditions soon called those assumptions into question. Thefinancial crisis in the United States, led to a global financial meltdown, which stifledEuro-zone markets, as the EU is a net creditor to the United States. Among member stages, a consensus began to emerge that to stabilize markets and promote growth in the
 
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Euro-zone, states would have to drastically cut grossly inflated public sector spending.A new generation of European leadership is leading the charge, particularlyPresident Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Prime Minister David Cameron of GreatBritain, who are attempting to narrow the scope of domestic governance with drastic pension reforms and other significant austerity measures. Mr. Cameron initiallyrecommended budget cuts of up to 25% for almost all domestic ministries.
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 This will cause serious stress to European defense budgets at a time whenBrussels is attempting to assert itself in the global arena. For the last decade, Europe hasalready been trimming the fat from its militaries. According to the European DefenseAgency, between 2007 and 2008, the EU saw further reductions in spending on militaryand civilian defense personnel, as civilian numbers were reduced an additional 5.2%,and military personnel another 2%.
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These numbers preface the collapse of America¶sfinancial sector in 2008 and the subsequent European debt crisis of 2009 and 2010.
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 With significant bloc-wide cuts made to European navies, whatever shape EU military power takes on in the next several years, it will largely consist of land forces and air transport. In order to keep its substantial clout in the global arena, the EU will have touse all of its institutional strength to convince member states to make sound decisions ondefense policy.Although the Lisbon Treaty called for Europe to expand its role in the world, andcreated institutional infrastructure for it to do so, the financial recovery represents an
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Liam Fox, ³Defence cuts: Liam Fox¶s leaked letter in full,´
The Telegraph UK 
, September 28, 2010,accessed, September 30, 2010,http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/8031385/Defence-cuts-Liam-Foxs-leaked-letter-in-full.html
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Ibid.
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Werner Roeger and Jan in µt Veld, ³Fiscal stimulus and exit strategies in the EU: a model-basedanalysis,´
 European Commission, Directorate-General,
 November 6, 2010, accessed November 18
th
,2010, http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/economic_paper/2010/pdf/ecp426_en.pdf 
 
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existential moment for bloc foreign policy.
ith defense cuts looming throughout the European Union, member nations must necessarily pool and share military resources,bilaterally and multilaterally, using key institutions such as NATO, the European External Action Service, and the European Defense Agency in order to maintain its force projections, common security, and global influence
.
F
ranco-British Entente
How will European countries coordinate deep defense cuts? If properlyorchestrated, such cuts need not create a capabilities deficit: Britain and France, themodel example, have only bolstered their potential force projections in the near future because of their recent bilateral defense treaty.The landmark agreement, signed in November of 2010, includes ³the joint use of aircraft carriers, a 10,000-strong joint expeditionary force and unprecedented new levelsof co-operation over nuclear missiles,´ allowing Paris and London to maintain hard power quotas while protecting their shaky finances.
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There has also been talk of orderinga joint Franco-British air transport vehicle to assist with military missions in theEuropean theater. The agreement will enable the British government to safely cut troopsand civilian defense personnel by 42,000, decommission the Royal Navy's flagshipaircraft carrier early, and forfeit its ability to launch fighter jets from sea until 2019. Inaddition, expensive Harrier fighter jets are being eliminated entirely. The planned Nimrod MRA4 Reconnaissance aircraft, which was believed to be an important anti-
 
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Patrick Wintour, ³Britain and France sign landmark 50 year defence deal,´
The Guardian UK 
, November 2, 2010, accessed November 3, 2010,http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/nov/02/britain-france-landmark-50-year-defence-deal 

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