Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande in July 2012
Courtesy Reuters

When the leaders of the European Union’s 28 member states gather in Brussels for one of their regular summits on December 19 and 20, it will be the first time in five years that defense policy is on their agenda. In that interim, Europe’s defense deficit has dramatically worsened -- that is to say, its military capabilities have deteriorated as its military needs have increased. If the continent’s leaders fail to do something to reverse this trend, they will almost surely come to regret it in the years ahead. For too long, Europeans have been in denial about the way forward. They must finally agree to collaborate on defense policy.

In the words of Catherine Ashton, the EU’s high representative for foreign and security policy, Europe foreign policy faces “increased volatility, complexity and uncertainty” in the years ahead. The Arab Spring and the war in Syria continue to spill

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  • ANAND MENON is a professor of European politics and foreign affairs at King’s College London.
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