European Military Crisis Management: Connecting Ambition and Reality

In This Review

European Military Crisis Management: Connecting Ambition and Reality
By Bastian Giegerich
Routledge, 2008
95 pp. $29.95
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In December 1999, the European Union endorsed a "headline goal" of being able by 2003 to deploy 50,000-60,000 military forces within 60 days and sustain them for at least a year. A few years later, it added a qualitative dimension to that goal, committing to be able by 2010 "to respond with rapid and decisive action" to the full spectrum of crisis-management situations. As that latter deadline approaches, Giegerich argues in this informative monograph, the EU's achievements are "nowhere near commensurate with [its] stated ambition to be a major global-security actor." He reaches this depressing conclusion by looking at a range of variables, including the EU's procurement practices, military reforms, and mission accomplishments so far -- none of which suggests rapid progress toward the stated goals. Nor, Giegerich argues, are the prospects of success likely to improve significantly anytime soon: according to recent public opinion polls, only tiny minorities of Europeans consider defense and foreign affairs to be the most important issues facing their countries (one percent of the Germans surveyed and two percent of the British surveyed gave that answer) -- which means that, especially in the current economic climate, the EU countries' military budgets are likely to remain stagnant at best. The EU's military capabilities are far from keeping pace with its ambitions.