Business Briefs

EU/NATO Defense Capabilities

The financial crisis that swept over the US and EU in 2008, and which is still being felt today with the expected Greek exit from the Eurozone (the so-called ‘Grexit’) and the debt crisis that is enveloping Spain are some of the largest threats to the EU’s collective defense capabilities and the role of European states in NATO. This paper argues that the public policy choices that have been made on defense by European governments since 1998, the lessons and legacies from the Afghanistan and Libyan campaigns (be it within or outside NATO) and the switch in American strategic emphasis from Europe to the Middle East and South Asia have dramatically reduced NATO’s defense capabilities, and imperiled the future of the Alliance. This paper focuses in on the European dimension of the Alliance to argue that the future direction of collective European defense cannot be left to continental European governments.


  • Strategic Divergence
  • Lessons from Libya (and some from Afghanistan)
  • Austerity and Capabilities
  • Procurement
  • Summary


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