This timely analysis of security in Europe identifies the factors that enable and hinder the creation of networks of defence cooperation across the continent.
Going beyond regional arrangements established by NATO and the European Union, the book considers the sub-regional level by focusing on bilateral and minilateral defence collaborations. It provides a new conceptual framework to assess the rationales, leadership and the complex dynamics within these alliances, and highlights how they shape and interact with NATO and EU initiatives.
The chapter highlights the relevance of the subregional dimension of defence cooperation in Europe, arguing that the hundreds of smaller bilateral and minilateral collaborations are the backbone of European defence. These subregional defence collaborations are less visible than the initiatives of the regional organizations (EU and NATO), but they provide practical benefits and significantly influence NATO and EU dynamics. The chapter not only introduces the broader scholarship on defence cooperation in Europe but also explains the key argument and the theoretical framework of the book. The theoretical framework suggests that two situational and three structural factors are needed to create a new subregional defence collaboration in Europe. The chapter briefly discusses these factors and how they interact with each other, setting the scene for the later chapters, which study each factor individually.
This chapter clarifies key definitions that it is necessary to follow the argument of the book. It defines the concepts of Multinational Defence Cooperation and region and subregion. Multinational Defence Cooperation (MDC) is defined as any arrangement where two or more Defence Policy Communities work together to enhance military capability in a permanently structured way. The chapter highlights that any MDCs are described subregional in the book, which are not established on the European regional level in NATO and EU frameworks. Regional level defence cooperation is understood as NATO and EU projects, as they are European regional-level organizations. The chapter also describes the main processes of defence cooperation in Europe between 1990 and 2010.
First, this chapter introduces the three case studies. They are the Lancaster House Treaties, which was established by France and Britain in 2010, the Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO), which was launched in 2009 by the Nordic countries, and the Central European Defence Cooperation (CEDC), which was created by six Central European countries in 2011. Second, the chapter explains the research on which the theoretical framework of this book was developed. In this regard, three rival explanations were tested using the method of pattern-matching, which means that the author generated predicted patterns regarding the studied phenomena and compared them to empirically based patterns.
The chapter highlights that the most relevant precondition of establishing new subregional defence cooperation in Europe is the existence of the European security community. Thanks to it, it has become unimaginable that EU and NATO members would wage war against each other to solve their conflicts. The section uses the concept of Europeanization to explain how the European security community affects the creation of new subregional defence collaborations. Through three case studies (Lancaster House Treaties, NORDEFCO, CEDC), it demonstrates that subregional actors upload to and download policies and preferences from/to regional organizations (NATO, EU) and the subregional and regional level processes mutually influence each other.
This chapter applies the concept of ‘the arithmetic of defence policy’ to highlight the relevance of defence budgets in launching new subregional defence collaborations in Europe. This concept points out that European armed forces faced two choices because of significant defence budget cuts after the end of the Cold War and a decrease in the purchasing power of defence budgets as a result of high defence inflation. They either cut their armed forces or started significant military cooperation. This section looks at three case studies (Lancaster House Treaties, NORDEFCO, CEDC) and concludes that low defence budgets do indeed contribute to the willingness of militaries to start new defence collaborations. However, defence budgets that are too low will not allow them to cooperate, drawing off the resources necessary for cooperation too.
This chapter points out that, in most cases, new defence collaborations are not created from scratch; rather, they are based on long-standing previous collaborations. The reason for this is that it is easier to cooperate with a partner we already know than with someone completely new to us. To explain this phenomenon, this section applies the concept of ‘path-dependence’ regarding the launch of three European subregional defence collaborations (Lancaster House Treaties, NORDEFCO, CEDC). The concept of ‘path-dependence’ shows that early organizational choices influence later processes because the costs of replacing existing structures with new ones are usually too high. In this chapter, these dynamics are explained by the four self-reinforcing mechanisms of the concept of ‘increasing returns’. These are: large set-up costs, learning effects, coordination effects and adaptive expectations.
The chapter highlights the fact that usually at least two high-ranking officials are the engine for the setting up a new subregional defence cooperation, providing strong leadership for the project. They typically have excellent interpersonal relationships and like each other. This is an essential precondition because starting new defence cooperation consumes a significant extra effort from these individuals, which is outside of their routine tasks, and normally people are willing to do this with other people they like. The chapter applies the concept of ‘interpersonal attraction’ from social psychology and points out that ‘propinquity’ and ‘similarity’ are the most relevant elements for establishing interpersonal attraction when a new defence cooperation is launched. The chapter studies three cases (the Lancaster House Treaties, NORDEFCO and CEDC) and concludes that the leaders who become the engine of defence collaborations can come from several areas of life (political, military, civil service).
The chapter explains that a supportive political milieu is necessary for the creation of a new defence collaboration. Even if all the previously discussed factors are present, the lack of broader support risks leaving a new defence collaboration in a vacuum. This chapter applies the concept of ‘political milieu’ and discusses the microenvironment and macroenvironment of three case studies (the Lancaster House Treaties, NORDEFCO, CEDC) in this regard. It points out that actors in the different environments of the ‘political milieu’ use policy framing to influence others and win the competition for the dominant narrative.
This section brings together the insights of the previous five chapters and applies the theoretical framework of the book to explain the dynamics that led to the creation of the three studied case studies (Lancaster House Treaties, NORDEFCO, CEDC). The theoretical framework argues that the factor of the European security community always affects subregional processes from the regional level and vice versa. At the same time, the other four factors interact together on the subregional level in a particular way. The section explains these processes regarding the studied subregional multinational defence collaborations.