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Has Security Been the Main Driver Behind European Integration Since World War Two? Essay


Formed in 1950s after the Second World War, the European Union has remained a global and key player in an array of issues. Backed with the spirit of its member states and the United States, the Union has continuously executed its mandate and enlarged in order to advance and augment its efficacy in its operations.

Throughout its history, the European Union has undergone countless transformations in terms of policies, structures and execution of its powers. Different paths have also been adopted to meet changing needs of its member states and partners.

Part of its main agenda has been the European integration which promotes political, legal, industrial and economic amalgamation of member states (Sweet & Sandholtz 1997). Among the drivers of the Union’s integration process is security. This analysis explores how security has been the main driver behind European integration since World War II.

European Union

Denoted as EU, this is a political and economic international organization which symbolizes an exceptional corporation among its twenty-seven member states from Europe (Ocaña 2003). In general, the European Union is considered as the most recent stage of integration that was formerly proposed and launched immediately after the Second World War.

Though its mandate could be interpreted differently by analysts, it initially dedicated its efforts towards augmenting economic prosperity, peace and stability in Europe (Archick & Mix 2010). What about its external support? It is believed that the United States has been a major supporter of the Union since its inception as a way of fostering global democracy and developing global economy and trading partnerships.

According to Archick and Mix 2010, the foundation of the European has been strengthened through treaties and commitment of its member states to having harmonized laws and policies for effective integration and handling of several issues.

Credit has strongly been given to the way the union continuously handles its social and economic issues with member states pulling their sovereignty together to realize a common goal in decision-making (Ocaña 2003). For its effective operation and participation in international and foreign policies, the Union usually seeks audience, consent and consensus from member states, as a legal procedure recognized by its constitution.

To achieve this common agenda among the 27 member states, the Union endeavors to collectively work through three major institutions, which are the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament. With regard to these structures, the Lisbon Treaty is the latest step towards amending the way the EU operates at the institutional level in order to improve its functionality (Archer 2008).

This has created new leadership posts like the European Council President and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. However, of importance since its inception has been its integration drivers who set its performance pace and policy-making basis. As demonstrated in the preceding segments of the analysis, security has significantly driven the integration process.

European integration

As mentioned above, European integration is simply a process of legal, economic, political and industrial assimilation, which brings together twenty-seven sovereign states from Europe. The integration part of the Union came into existence as a result of collaboration between the Council of Europe and the EU.

In the understanding of the European integration, it is worth noting that the climate after the Second World War favored the unification of Western Europe as many countries in the region ran away from nationalistic ideologies, which had previously disadvantaged the region (Sweet & Sandholtz 1997).

The formation of the EU, which propagates its integration, has been viewed as reality postulated by various influential leaders in history. For instance, Winton Churchill prophesied the coming of the United States of Europe in 1946, although he did not see Britain being part of the Union.

This was argued on the basis that Britain steered the Commonwealth union, which brought together several countries around the world. As an influential body in Europe, the European Union’s operations have been driven by a wide range of issues (Michelmann & Soldatos 1994).

Nevertheless, security is considered as one of the key drivers which have ensured that the body remains focused towards promoting the security of its member states as it relates with other countries around the world. How then has security been a core driver of this integration process?

This is illustrated in drafting and ratification of treaties in which the security of the Union is sealed for the sole purpose of execution. Among these policies are Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) and the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) as analyzed below (Jones 2007).

European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP)

In analyzing the integration process of the European Union with regard to security as a key driver, experts arguably view ESDP as the most vibrant and effective sector in the operation and development of the European Union.

It is indeed a fascinating phenomenon in the history of the European Union integration process since the security was a sensitive and prominent issue that almost threatened the unity of European countries (Elors 1991).

Many security efforts were frustrated by other state leaders who had been varying stances concerning the European security Union’s system. An example of such efforts was the Treaty of Dunkirk 1947.

Signed on the fourth day of March by the United Kingdom and France, its driving agenda was the establishment of barriers and security strategies that would eliminate possibilities of being attacked by Germany after the end of the Second World War.

Importantly, it was a mutual treaty that formed the basis of the relationships between the two countries. For effectiveness, the treaty was expanded after the signing of the Brussels Treaty 1948.

The Brussels Treaty 1948

As a strategy to promote the security of the region, the treaty was signed in March 1948 comprising of an enlarged membership of five countries. Like the previous agreement, the Brussels Treaty 1948 contained a mutual defense section upon which the Paris Conference was established in the year 1954 that led to the formation of the Western European Union (Merlingen & Ostrauskaite 2008).

The signing of the treaty was essential as it generated a European barricade against any form of a communist threat that was looming. It also promoted security, a realization which the United Nations had failed to attain, especially during the Cold War.

Coupled with several social and cultural issues, the mind behind the treaty believed that cooperation among Western nations was necessary in fighting and overcoming communism. This is the treaty believed to have been NATO’s precursor even though the two differed as the former mainly focused on unification of Western Europe against communism.

It was closely followed by the European Defense Community 1950/54 which ensured that European agenda and its unification remained its operational backbone. Later, the European Defense Community adopted other policies, which were aimed at advancing its impact across Europe and wooing countries to becoming member states (Möttölä 2007).

Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP)

The formation of CSDP is also considered one of the ways the need for security and established defense institutions have driven European integration from the time when the Second World War ended. Importantly, immense efforts had been witnessed before the ratification of the clause in order to promote defense capabilities and to fully support EU’s military as it discharged its duties (Merlingen & Ostrauskaite 2008).

Consequently, the EU has established three major decision-making with a rapid response force to cater for multinational security needs. EU forces do not have standing EU troops but depends on involving military agencies from sovereign member states during external operations.

As a way of maintaining its primary objective OSDP, largely concentrates on humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping and crisis management in Europe and beyond the region’s borders. Although it’s commonly known for its involvement in security matters, OSDP also engages in civilian missions like police training.

Together with judicial training, OSDP promotes the rule of law among member states and other countries guided by their foreign policy (Archer, 2008). The European Union has completed several missions in numerous countries around the globe and is currently involved in thirteen OSDP missions in the world.

Although security remains a core driver of European integration, efforts to improve capabilities of the European military have been futile due to declining budget allocations for defense departments among member states. Several defense capability gaps have been witnessed in various force multipliers like control systems, command and intelligence, among others.

A number of suggestions have been tabled, which include pooling of resources as a joined effort among member states. To achieve this, the European Defense Agency was established in 2004 to oversee stretching of Europe defense expenditure to facilitate funding (Merlingen & Ostrauskaite 2008).

However, in addressing practical challenges, which continue haunting the integration process under the European Union, it is important to note that the European Security and Defense Policy is mainly driven by power, cultural identity and institutional capabilities. With the introduction of military affairs, EU has become influential and an international player, especially in crisis management.

From an analytical point of view, it is possible to note that European integration has been driven by security throughout its history. Although the initial mandate of security policies was known to protect Europe from external attack and the influence of communists, its mandate has extremely expanded to touch on other matters like economic, industrial and legal integration.

Importantly, security policies like The Brussels Treaty 1948 led to the unification of European countries, sharing ideas on politics, economic development and legal reforms (Ecker, n.d.). These are considered as pillars of the integration process as it aimed at bringing together several sovereign states.

Even though the integration process would still take place without security issues driving it, it has been affirmed that the success and achievement realized would not have been a reality in Europe’s history. From this approach, assimilation of more.

European countries were relatively easy as European nations understood Germany’s threat and the uncontrollable looming impact of communists. As such, many leaders got convinced in order to have a unified Europe with policies and forces that would barricade it from any form of intrusion from other forces outside the region.


Archer, C 2008, The European Union, Taylor & Francis, United Kingdom.

Archick, K & Mix, D 2010, The European Union: Questions and Answers. Web.

Ecker, B n.d., European Integration and its Security Dimension: ESDP, NATO and Slovakias position. Web.

Elors, J 1991, “European integration and security”, Survival, vol. 33 no. 2, pp. 99-109.

Jones, S 2007, The rise of European security cooperation, Cambridge University Press, London.

Merlingen, M & Ostrauskaite, R 2008, European security and defense policy: an implementation perspective, Routledge, London.

Michelmann, H & Soldatos, P 1994, European integration: theories and approaches, University Press of America, New York City.

Möttölä, K 2007, Drivers of defense integration within the European Union. Web.

Ocaña, C 2003, The History of the European Union. Web.

Sweet, A & Sandholtz, W 1997, “European integration and supranational governance”, Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 4 no. 3, pp. 297-317.

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