Non-military Threats to the EU Security. Ed. by N. Arbatova, A. Kokeev, E. Cherkasova.
Publication Type:


ISBN 978-5-7777-0928

The monograph “Non-military threats to the EU security” is the result of three-year work of the authors of the Department on European Political Studies of the Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO). With the end of the cold war, the focus of attention of European countries began to shift to non-military security threats. This shift resulted from the wide spread perception that there could no longer be a full–scale war in Europe threatening the security of the EU member-states. The predominant number of EU members were also NATO members and considered membership in the North Atlantic Alliance a sufficient guarantee of their security. At the same time, within the military bloc, European countries preferred to take responsibility for the political settlement of conflicts, rather than their resolution by military means. The transformation of the traditional Euro-Atlantic partnership, characterized by increasing differences in the security priorities of the United States and the EU, the emergence of new dividing lines in Europe, the most striking expression of which was the Ukrainian conflict that began in 2014, prompted Europeans to embark on the path of gaining “hard power”. The European Union has declared a movement towards strategic autonomy, primarily in order to create its own defense potential for territorial protection. At the same time, in the new “EU Global Security Strategy” (2016), military threats were not separated from non-military ones. Moreover, the text of the document paid special attention to non-military threats of a cross-border nature – terrorism, cyber threats, uncontrolled migration, energy security challenges, climate change, directly or indirectly related to the security of EU citizens. It is difficult to single out the main threat in this list, since there is a dialectical link between them. For example, pandemics and climate change cause mass migration of the population from disadvantaged areas to Europe, illegal migration can serve as a breeding ground for crime and terrorism, climate disasters are associated with EU energy security, etc. In 2019-2020 the European Union, like most countries outside of it, has faced the coronavirus pandemic, which has demonstrated that in the context of globalization, the task of ensuring security is no longer limited to the traditional foreign policy and military instruments of a Nation-State and its territory. However, along with urgent actions, the EU had to answer other difficult questions. Why, despite the fact that the threat of epidemics was one of the topics of the Global Security Strategy, Europe was not prepared to counter the new threat? How can be explained that the first reaction of the EU member states was national selfishness and the desire to isolate themselves from their neighbors? And finally, what strategy should be developed and adopted to prevent such a scenario from happening again in the future? Since 2015, the European Union has been trying to comprehend the consequences of the migration crisis caused by the “Arab Spring”, which has received an inertial development, and currently continues to be one of the most acute problems that erode the unity of the EU. The influx of refugees in 2015–2016 revealed a number of fundamental problems faced by both supranational structures and EU member states. The leaders of the EU countries are in solidarity in assessing migration as a “European challenge”, but it is here that their political or electoral interests very often come into conflict with human rights obligations and long-term strategic priorities. In the EU and its member-states, climate change was considered and continues to be considered the main and most dangerous non-military threat as a common denominator of national and international security challenges. The European Union today is a unique region of the world where the largest number of legislative initiatives in the field of climate have been implemented and where concrete actions have been taken over the past twenty-five years to improve the environment and ensure climate security. As part of the numerous international treaties, the European Union has decided to achieve zero CO2 emissions by 2050. At the same time, despite the obvious successes of the EU in developing a climate security strategy, Brussels will have to further develop an integrated approach to this problem, including its global dimension. The experience of the last decade shows a growing complex relationship between climate risks and other non-military threats to EU security. In particular, the consequences of all the measures taken by the “green transition” have not yet been suf ficiently analyzed in the EU. Like pandemics, climate change has no territorial boun daries, and the European Union has yet to develop a more comprehensive and multidisciplinary environmental security strategy that meets new global challenges. The EU’s course towards digitalization and the development of the latest technologies, primarily artificial intelligence (AI), creates not only great advantages in the geo-economic competition of the main centers of power in the modern world, but also new risks for European and global security. Artificial intelligence differs from other technologies, first of all, in its influence on the government and society. The rapid development of cyber technologies, gradually integrated into the main areas of European integration, has predetermined the place of cyber security in the political and legislative agenda of the European Union, which is still assigned mainly a coordinating role in this area. A separate problem for Europe is the structural dependence on the United States and China in various fields of information and communication technologies (ICT) – from digital platforms to telecommunications infrastructure. Thus, the creation of technological autonomy or technological sovereignty of the EU is the most important direction in ensuring European security. The presented monograph was planned at the end of 2020, when non-military threats were in the focus of attention of national and supranational elites of European countries. However, the Ukrainian conflict that began in February 2022 led not only to the deterioration of relations between Russia and the EU, but also led to serious changes in the policy of the European Union. The return to “hard power” in international relations at first glance creates the impression of the marginalization of non-military threats to European security. In fact, the Ukrainian conflict has clearly demonstrated that non-military threats have become an even more significant topic for Europe due to their relationship with military threats While working on the monograph, the authors sought to analyze the correlation of supranational and national approaches to non-military threats to the security of the European Union, which is of particular importance for understanding the vector of development of European integration. Accordingly, the most important issue for the authors of this study was a comparative analysis of the perceptions of the political elites and the leadership of the EU and its member countries about non-military threats, as well as their approaches to minimizing and solving problems. The set goals determined the structure of the work: each topic is considered first at the European and then at the national level. The monograph also includes the positions of countries on non-military threats to national and European security that are not members of the EU – Great Britain, Norway, Serbia, since these countries continue to play an important role in Europe and its regions, actively cooperating with the European Union and its individual member states.



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