A TRANSATLANTIC DIVORCE AND THE TIME FOR EUROPEAN SOVEREIGNTY? - A study on how US foreign policy, during 2010-2020, impacted EU member state views on defence integration

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: This thesis explores the impact of US foreign policy, during 2010-2020, on EU member state willingnessto integrate defence, by utilizing a mixed-method approach. The objective of the study is to investigatehow EU member states reacted to the Obama administration’s ‘pivot to Asia’ and the election andpresidency of Donald Trump and whether those administrations contributed to further defenceintegration. The quantitative analysis focuses on changes in defence expenditure, military personnel,and European collaborative procurement expenditures, and finds that the ‘pivot to Asia’ did not have animpact on EU member states defence expenditures. Quantitative analysis finds that EU member stateincreased defence expenditures after 2015, which steepened from 2017 which could be a continuedresponse to Russian aggression, Brexit, and Trump threats to the EU and NATO. Qualitative analysisfocuses on changes in rhetoric regarding EU member state participation in the newly launched defenceinitiative PESCO, as well as their willingness to increase defence integration. The thesis finds no supportthat the changes in US commitment to Europe impacted the EU member states to participate in PESCOor was an argument for further defence integration. The thesis concludes that as PESCO is a memberstate-driven initiative, it enables EU member states to pursue projects that align with their self-interests.The thesis also concludes that the EU’s reaction to US foreign policy is constrained by a lack ofactorness. Further research on EU member state views on other defence initiatives is needed.

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