Arma fero, ergo sum? : the European Union, NATO and the quest for 'European Identity'
Title: Arma fero, ergo sum? : the European Union, NATO and the quest for 'European Identity'
Author: LARIK, Joris
Citation: Henri DE WAELE and Jan-Jaap KUIPERS(eds), The European Union's emerging international identity : views from the global arena, Leiden : Martinus Nijhoff, 2013, Studies in EU external relations, Vol. 6, pp. 43-71
ISBN: 9789004230989; 9789004230996
The emergence of a security and defence policy of the European Union (EU) and the questions it raises for the relationship between the Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have always been closely linked to the question of the ‘identity’ of the EU on the international stage. To (ab)use René Descartes’ famous axiom: Union bears arms, therefore it is – arma fero, ergo sum. The EU-NATO relationship is therefore particularly well suited for scrutinizing the Union’s ‘international identity’ through the interaction with another international organization. This paper argues that notwithstanding the mutual reaffirmations of importance between the two organisations, the European Union has not only come to incorporate security and defence policy into its ambit of competences, but has put itself on a track to become a fully-fledged security policy actor, arguably surpassing NATO. At the same time, the relevance of NATO has declined, and it is left with the choice either to branch out or accept a residual yet not insignificant role in transatlantic relations. These contrary organizational histories left a strong legal imprint, which allows for a number of observations of the Union’s international identity, albeit not through NATO, but rather through the hallmarks of its own legal order and its relations with NATO.
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