Strategisk kultur i EU: En forhindring og forudsætning for EU som sikkerhedspolitisk aktør

Lea Kahlke Hansen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The thesis examines the concept of strategic culture in relation to the European Union. It poses the following question: What did the conflict in Libya, 2011, tell us about the influence of strategic culture on the European Union and its capacity as an actor in security policy? The theoretical focal point of the thesis is the concept of strategic culture. Strategic culture concerns how the behaviour of states in the international system is influenced by their individual historical backgrounds. The thesis is structured to answer the following research questions: * How can the strategic cultures of the most important EU memberstates be characterised, and how do they differ from each other? * How has the EU tried to create a common European strategic culture, what is it based on and what constitutes it? * How did the strategic cultures manifest themselves during the conflict in Libya, 2011? * What impact did the national strategic cultures have on the EU in Libya, and what does the EU’s handling of the conflict tell us about a common European strategic culture or lack thereof? The analysis concerns the strategic cultures of the United Kingdom, France and Germany. These countries represent very different military traditions; they have different opinions on the use of force as an acceptable foreign policy instrument and they have prioritised differently between NATO and the European security cooperation. Since the Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1992, the EU has sought to enhance its own capacity as an actor within security policy. The European Security Strategy from 2003 was an important step in this process. However, the guidelines for the use of military force are not clearly described in the Security Strategy, and the attempt to create a common European strategic culture has been met with scepticism. The conflict in Libya, 2011, seemed an obvious possibility for the EU to prove itself as a security actor in its own neighbourhood. The intervention was clearly legitimised, there were European interests and fundamental values on the line, and Europe had a broad variation of resources which could be useful for both military and humanitarian purposes in Libya. Still, the EU did not play a significant role. The differences between the national strategic cultures were clearly expressed in the behaviour of the member states, who had different opinions on how to deal with the conflict in Libya. The member states could not agree on the use of force, which made it impossible for the EU to forge a common position of any importance. The reaction of the EU was limited to economic restrictions, diplomacy and aid. The conflict in Libya showed us, that these are the instruments that constitute the European strategic culture today. The thesis concludes that the divergence in national strategic cultures within the EU is a major obstacle for the Union in the process of forging a complete and common European strategic culture and thus becoming a serious security actor on the world stage.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages92