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Analyses and essays

The EU's semiconductor policy
DefTech N°8 avril-juin 2024
05 mai, 2024

The Atlantic Alliance's 75th anniversary - amidst uncertainties
Engagement n°142 printemps 2024
17 mars, 2024

The John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier and the U.S. Navy's dilemmas with the Ford class
DefTech N°8 janvier-mars 2024
19 janv, 2024

Delphi in Brussels: NATO and European defense in the context of the war in Ukraine
Défense & Stratégie n°47 automne 2023
01 déc, 2023

The EU's initiatives on ammunition - will Europe shoot itself in the foot?
DefTech N°7 octobre-décembre 2023
20 oct, 2023

Race for microchips: I hold you, you hold me
DefTech N°7 octobre-décembre 2023
08 oct, 2023

The rise of the "Global South": breaking out of our blinders in the West
Engagement n°140 Automne 2023
27 sept, 2023

AUKUS, a new pattern of partnership on steroids
DefTech N°6 juillet-septembre 2023
19 juil, 2023

Strategic autonomy: unmaking France without making Europe
Engagement n°139 Eté 2023
12 juin, 2023

DefTech N°5 avril-juin 2023
09 mai, 2023

The F-35, an excellent (counter) example
DefTech N°5 avril-juin 2023
01 mai, 2023

Swedish and Finnish NATO membership bid, and subtle shifts in European defense policy
Engagement n°138 Printemps 2023
15 mars, 2023

The Armaments Sector Through the Lens of the War in Ukraine: Real or Virtual Reconfiguration?
DefTech N°4
25 janv, 2023

The war in Ukraine and the U.S. standing in Europe
Engagement n°136 Automne 2022
16 sept, 2022

Copernicus and Galileo as perfect reflections in space of Europe's strategic dilemmas.
DefTech N°2, juin-août 2022
25 juil, 2022

NATO wins by knockout over European autonomy - in the short term at least
Engagement n°135 Eté 2022
10 juin, 2022

Cookies and missiles: the Washington-Europe-Russia triangle in Ukraine
Engagement n°134 Printemps 2022
08 mars, 2022

The Indopacific challenge in transatlantic relations
Engagement n°133 Hiver 2021
06 déc, 2021

Hyperwar: fatality or decoy for Europe?
Revue DefTech N°12, 3e trimestre 2021
25 oct, 2021

NATO regains the upper hand in its standoff with the EU
Défense & Stratégie n°45 printemps 2021
16 juin, 2021

The Europeans vis-a-vis the old-new U.S. foreign policy
Engagement n°131
15 juin, 2021

Germany’s Transatlantic Ambiguities
Foreign Policy Research Institute
05 mars, 2021

Hopes for a spectacular relaunch of the European Union’s Franco-German “motor” after Brexit have thus far failed to materialize. Quite the contrary, now that Paris and Berlin find themselves without the British “third wheel,” almost every issue seems to trigger a bilateral squabble. Whether it is armaments cooperation, energy supply from Moscow, or policy towards Turkey, Franco-German disagreements keep rising to the surface. One of these has drawn much attention recently since it relates to the very nature of Europe and its links to the United States: the question of whether or how Europe (by which they usually mean the European Union) should pursue more strategic autonomy. Although the term has come to be associated with current French President Emmanuel Macron, the concept goes back almost 60 years to the first President of the Fifth Republic, General Charles de Gaulle.

Turkey in NATO, between usefulness and hostilities
26 nov, 2020

Transatlantic Relations: The Biden Opportunity and Its Limits
Hungarian Europe Society
15 nov, 2020

(...) All the positive change in tone on the U.S. side does not necessarily mean easier negotiations or any benefits for Europe in the long run. Paradoxically enough, the more jovial the atmosphere, the more some European governments will be tempted to make concessions, abandon common EU positions and drop even the idea of self-assertion vis-a-vis the U.S. That would only add to the relationship’s asymmetry. The challenge, for Europeans, is to strike the right balance: seize the opportunity of a less confrontational American stance, without reverting back to old reflexes of excessive deference. 

The Risks of Europelessness (liberalism-illiberalism)
Hungarian Europe Society
06 nov, 2020

It is a truism to say that the Western-type liberal order is not in a particularly great shape today, some (defenders and opponents alike) would even go as far as to refer to as being “in decay”. There is no doubt about Western liberalism as we know it undergoing a two-front attack: challenged from the outside, through the rise of authoritarian regimes, as well as from the inside due to the spread of so-called populism. It would certainly be comfortable to think of these as objective developments, mostly out of our control – evil forces at play. The only thing we can and need to do, in this vision, is to come together, join our forces and reassert our values, as a response. Nothing could be farther from the true. No adequate response is possible, or even imaginable, without first acknowledging our own responsibility in the current state of affairs. Especially in Europe, where we consistently have made ourselves weak and thereby put our Union, our countries and our citizens at the mercy of these “evil forces”.

Double anniversary NATO and EU defense: the more it changes the more it stays the same
Défense & Stratégie n°44, hiver 2019, pp.6-32
30 mars, 2020

Iran, the EU, and the USA: The European Search for (Some Degree of) Autonomy
Foreign Policy Research Institute
28 mars, 2019

The recent effort by France, the United Kingdom, and Germany to create a financial mechanism designed to bypass U.S. extraterritorial sanctions on Iran reveals an increasing need for self-assertion vis-à-vis the United States. For months, Europeans have been seeking ways to preserve the nuclear deal despite President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from it. Their efforts have less to do with policy towards Tehran than with positioning the European Union in relation to the U.S., and with visions of Europe itself as an international player.

President Macron’s “minor mishaps”: towards a downfall or a rebound?
Foreign Policy Research Institute
27 nov, 2018

After a virtually faultless first year in office, French President Emmanuel Macron has faced more difficult times in recent months. Admittedly, his speeches are as eloquent as ever—about the international order, about France, and about Europe—and he is still much appreciated worldwide as the defender of multilateralism (at the United Nations), of the environment (recently awarded “champion of the Earth”), and of economic righteousness (the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development welcome his market-liberal proposed reforms). Nevertheless, “his people,” as he likes to refer to his fellow citizens in the foreign media, seem today distinctly lacking enthusiasm. 

“Populist” Government in Italy: Catastrophe or Useful Catalyst?
Foreign Policy Research Institute
21 juin, 2018

The recent entry into office of the new Italian government was received, in media and financial circles, as well as by most European leaders, with a mixture of indignation and concern. How could Italy—one of the founding members of the Union and its birthplace due to the Treaty of Rome—bring to power Eurosceptic, anti-establishment forces likely to jeopardize the stability of the euro and to create unprecedented tensions within the EU? The alliance between the far-right League and the Five Star Movement (M5S) stemming from a leftist, anti-globalization ideology, is regarded by many as the unfortunate confirmation of the rise of all kinds of “populisms” and therefore as a reversal of the virtuous pro-European momentum generated by last year’s election of French President Emmanuel Macron.

European defense: the new CSDP-NATO conundrum
Défense & Stratégie, Automne 2017, n°42, pp. 5-29
05 déc, 2017

The turbulences in the European and transatlantic skies over the course of the past year obviously have not been without impact on the coexistence between the Atlantic Alliance and the European Union's (EU) Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP). Long-time taboos have been lifted, initiatives are multiplying, new perspectives seem to open up, and immediately generate powerful backlashes. The outcome will depend largely, once again, on the choices made, and determination displayed, by France.

President Macron’s France: Between Internal Turmoil and External Crossroads
Foreign Policy Research Institute, E-Notes
10 mai, 2017

 “One only comes out of ambiguity to their own detriment,” this maxim often repeated by former President François Mitterrand sounds like a premonitory warning in the aftermath of Emmanuel Macron’s election in France.

The United Kingdom and the paradigm shift in transatlantic security
Written Evidence UK Parliament Defence Committee
14 mars, 2017

The concurrence between Brexit (expected to revitalize a European defence on which London has always imposed strict limits) and the election of D. Trump in the United States (shedding light on the risks and uncertainties stemming from a situation of dependency) seems to have an almost seismic effect on the architecture of European and transatlantic security.

After Warsaw: NATO at the summit of (its own) contradictions
Défense & Stratégie n°40, automne 2016
19 déc, 2016

At the last NATO summit in Warsaw, the top priority was to demonstrate, as the last paragraph of the final communiqué declares, "our unity, our solidarity and our strength". But on each of the three points, serious doubts remain. Whether it is unity (common front against commonly perceived threats), solidarity (an attack against one of the members considered an attack against all) or force (in the area of intelligence, decision-making , deployment of troops), the allies' attitude reveals deeply set tensions.

The persisting blocking points of European defence
14 déc, 2016

Ariane 6: the beginning of the end for the European space industry?
01 janv, 2016

NATO seeks to circumvent the consensus rule
25 aout, 2015

The Alliance facing the crisis in Ukraine (assessment of NATO's Wales summit)
Défense & Stratégie n°36, automne 2014
13 nov, 2014

Slippery slope: the re-atlanticization of European defence
The Federalist Year LV, 2013
31 déc, 2013

Armament policies in Europe, seen through the example of the BAE Systems-EADS affair
Défense & Stratégie n°33, automne 2012
15 nov, 2012

Failure of the BAE-EADS fusion: what's left after an attempt at treason? The intention...
Theatrum Belli
19 oct, 2012

Autonomy or subservience: the military dimension of the call for European sovereignty
Europa, n°1, novembre 2009
15 nov, 2009

Umbrella or hara-kiri ? – US nuclear presence in Europe
Contradictions n°128 (Paix et désarmement)
09 oct, 2009

All too often, it is tempting to equate American nuclear presence in Europe to its sole tangible dimension. Namely the stationing of hundreds of U.S. bombs in five countries of the European continent, as part of NATO and of its so-called "nuclear sharing". And it is a mistake to do so.

The General facing NATO: an analysis still relevant
La Lettre Sentinel n°51, avril 2009
01 avril, 2009

Europe vis-a-vis an unbalanced multipolar world
The Federalist Year LI, 2009
07 mars, 2009

That which, following the disappearance of the Soviet Union, was described as “the unipolar period” is now moving inexorably towards its end, to the dismay of those who pinned, and those who would still like to pin, all their hopes on it. The USA, concerned as ever with holding onto its leadership in global affairs, has for some time shown irritation at talk of a “multipolar world,” interpreting the expression as a sign of some kind of anti-American plot. In response to this, European leaders, French ones in particular, have repeatedly pointed out that the multipolar world, far from a design, is merely an observation.
Assessment 2008 of the European Union’s security and defence policy
Défense & Stratégie n°25, hiver 2008
31 déc, 2008

The year 2008 was that of a triple anniversary and of a double illusion with regard to European defence. Fifteen years ago, the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty marks the official launch of the CFSP (Common Foreign and Security Policy), with the prospect of a possible future defence component.

Assessment 2007 of the European Union’s security and defence policy
Défense & Stratégie n°22, janvier 2008
20 févr, 2008

The following brief overview proposes to summarize the principal developments of the year 2007 in the field of European defence. In this regard, two preliminary remarks are of order. The first one is terminological; it relates to the denomination ESDP (European security and defence policy) used up to now, present paper included. It is bound to become, once the new treaty ratified, CSDP (Common security and defence policy). The second remark consists in stressing that the developments and the debates in 2007 continue to revolve around the most controversial concept in European defence, namely the term of ‘autonomy’.

European Europe or Atlantic Europe: a question of “preference”...
La Lettre Sentinel n°47, octobre 2007
31 oct, 2007

These last months saw the forceful return of the good old debate on “protectionism” versus liberalism. In other words, on the respective roles of the politics and the economic, or face to face between the logic of power and the logic of the market. With the implicit question about the need for a “European preference”, and the immediate spotlight this directs on the inherent contradictions of the liberal-Atlantic credo.

The EU-NATO syndrome: spotlight on transatlantic realities
Journal of Contemporary European Research Vol3 I2
21 sept, 2007

Contrary to the two dominant, albeit diametrically opposed, types of forecasts that were both highly fashionable a few years ago, it appears more and more clearly that the headaches related to the EU-NATO conundrum are here to stay. Those who, in view of the initial difficulties of establishing mutually acceptable relations between the two organizations, were talking about teething problems likely to be replaced, in due course, by a harmonious insertion of the new-born European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) into the Atlantic system, were just as wrong as those who saw in it yet another occasion to toll the death knell of the North Atlantic Alliance. As it is, neither of the two scenarios seems close to becoming a reality any time soon.

Armaments issues in a transatlantic light
Présentation à l’Université d’été du CIFE-IEHEI
04 sept, 2007

After listing some of the major stakes related to the armament sector, a brief historical reminder is devoted to clarifying the context of the current debates. Then certain general characteristics of the American and European defence industries are going to be examined. Finally, misleading myths are to be deciphered, in particular the imposture of the technological “gap”, the holy horror inspired by the concept of “fortress Europe” and the tendentious praise of “complementarity”.

Lifting the shield(s): interrogations around the US missile defense project
La Lettre Sentinel n°45, mars-avril 2007
06 avril, 2007

During the last year of the Clinton administration and the first nine months of the Bush team in power, a broad consensus had taken shape in the expert conferences and semi-official meetings on the two sides of the Atlantic: everyone agreed that the NMD (National Missile Defense) was going to become "the" great topic of controversy of the following months and years.

NATO battlefields after the Riga summit
La Lettre Sentinel n°43-44, janvier-février 2007
09 févr, 2007

NATO’s Riga summit, held at the end of last November, was the typical example of a spectacular non-event. Striking especially by the contrast between the publicity made for the gathering of 26 Heads of State and government on the one hand, and the piteous outcome of the meeting on the other. The marketing-type announcements planned for the occasion had gradually left the place to the invading reality represented by the deplorable performance of the allies in Afghanistan. This latter being, in addition, only one of the (far too) many symptoms of the growing malaise within Alliance.

Article 296: Friend or Foe?
EuroFuture Magazine, Winter 2006
01 janv, 2007

The armaments sector is the par excellence strategic field, be it in geopolitical, economic or technological terms. Due to the coincidence between the most abstract questions related to sovereignty and the most tangible nature of the products (origin, composition, design), the policies pursued in this area are particularly revealing of, and determining for, the direction Europe is about to take.

Article 296 of the TEC: obstacle or safety barrier?
Défense & Stratégie n°18, octobre 2006
31 oct, 2006

In the public relations offensive carried out from Brussels - with the explicit or implicit support of a large part of the private industrial sector - article 296 is presented as being at the origin of the European fragmentation in the armament field. The only error of this otherwise attractive reasoning is that it confuses cause and consequence. Because far from being the source, article 296 is rather the reflection of our divisions. In particular that of the divergences, not to say differences, of intra-European viewpoints on the very idea we have on Europe’s future: power or not, European or not.

Becoming flexible to keep it together: the logic and the pitfalls behind the concept of differentiated integration
The Federalist, XLVIII, 2006, N° 1
28 oct, 2006

The present paper offers a brief overview of the terminological-historical, theoretical and political aspects of “differentiated integration” scenarios. It argues that although “flexibility” is the only way to consolidate the acquis and pursue the integration project, differentiation does not automatically lead to a more ambitious, more powerful and more European Europe. In order to ensure this outcome, the flexibility pioneers must pay particular attention to two paramount criteria.

European defence policy forecast
Biztonságpolitikai és Honvédelmi Kutatások Központ
06 aout, 2006

First of all, it is worth underlining that neither the French elections of 2007, nor those in the United States in 2008 are bound to alter in a notable way - i.e. in addition to the gestures and effect-based announcements scheduled for these occasions - the traditional orientations of the two countries’ foreign and security policies. Likewise, the calvaries of the new European treaty, the actual rhythm of the EU’s blind rush to enlargement, and the endless transatlantic initiatives based on stylistic changes in Washington are equally secondary from the point of view of the real evolutions in European integration and in our relationship with the United States.

Relations between the Islam and the West – „Two Worlds?”
Globális biztonsági kihívások (ed. Tarrósy I.-Glied V.)
25 avril, 2006

When we examine the relationship between civilizations, one should first of all make a clear distinction between State actors, which do have the right and the capacity for political action, and cultural spheres of variable scale and cohesion, which do not. As the excellent American analyst, William Pfaff observed: "None of these civilizations, rather arbitrarily defined, is or ever was, as such, a political actor or a political entity. Nations act. Governments wage wars. But civilizations are not political units and there is no hint that they will ever become one". This does not mean, far from it, as one will see it hereafter, an underestimation of cultural and identity-related factors.

The European Union’s foreign, security and defence policy – in a nutshell
Analyses and essays, 08 avril, 2006

According to a widely known phrase pronounced by then Luxemburg Foreign Minister Jacques Poos at the beginning of the 1990’s, the EU is “an economic giant, a political dwarf and a military worm”. Whereas far from being incorrect, this definition needs some updating and, most of all, serious clarification.

Transatlantic relations in the light of the defence industries
Lecture at Jozsef Antall Foundation, Corvinus University
05 avril, 2006

The present framework only allows an inevitably approximate overall outline of the political processes and strategic stakes behind the armament issues. The conducting line is simple: in the field of defence industries and technologies, we are talking about the material bases of sovereignty, in other words the concrete pillars of the autonomous capacity to decide and to act. Each and every measure with regard to research, development, production and procurement is a political decision in the strictest sense of the term. It is therefore in this quality that it must be apprehended and transferred from the intimate circle of specialists right onto the public place. Since political decisions deserve political debate.

Europe in multiple circles: variations on the theme of
Külügyi Szemle 2005/3-4
15 nov, 2005

The present analysis examines one of the crucial points of the debates on the European Union’s evolution, namely the issue of "differentiation". With respect to this integration approach, commonly known under the names of "multi-speed Europe", "hard core" or "variable geometry", the paper underlines the fact that in itself this is neither a positive, nor a negative category. Whether increasing differentiation will lead to the disintegration or the revitalization of the integration depends, in fine, on two things: in the service of which policy and applying which modalities these flexibility measures will be put in practice.

EU-NATO relations: between necessary cooperation, inherent competition and the inescapable change of paradigm
Az Észak-atlanti Szerződés Szervezete a változás korában
15 aout, 2005

EU-NATO relations are merely a symptom. They are the reflection of the power struggle between the two sides of the Atlantic on the one hand, and of intra-European schizophrenia on the other. At the heart of this complex arm-wrestling there is one single crucial issue at stake: European autonomy. As regards the choice allegedly to be made between EU-NATO co-operation or competition, this is a false dilemma. In the current balance of power situation, both are inevitable.

Dilemmas of the guardian of the temple: France and enlargement of the European Union
Európa 2002, 2004/4
15 déc, 2004

From the French point of view enlargement cannot relegate to the second plan the aspiration to European independence and prosperity. On the contrary: the CEE countries’ accession must be carried out in a way to serve the cause of the preservation of the European model and of Europe's sovereignty.

Perspectives and limits of the European Union’s fight against terrorism
Európai Szemle, 2004/2
01 aout, 2004

By pure coincidence, it was in Madrid, in December 1995, that the EU summit took place, where on the matter of terrorism the heads of state and government of the Fifteen stated for the first time what they could not but repeat eight years later – following the terrorist attacks on 11 March 2004 in the Spanish capital.

Visions and counter-visions, or on the fundamental contradictions of the transatlantic relation
Külügyi Szemle 2003/4
01 déc, 2003

European-American structural tensions – breeding for decades and becoming acute with the end of the bipolar era – were merely brought onto surface by the Iraq crisis. Beyond the official pseudo-vision and occasional visions represented by German hesitations, the two genuine, concurring visions about Europe, transatlantic relations and the international order are advocated respectively by the British and the French.

Beyond Symbolism: the EU’s First Military Operation Seen in its Context
Die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik
01 juil, 2003

A casual observer of Concordia – code-name for the European Union’s first-ever military operation, conducted in Macedonia – would be first impressed by the abundance of symbols in almost every aspect of the mission. Not only do the politicians’ declarations put the emphasis on the „symbolic European message” carried by the operation[1] or present it as a „significant step forward in the long process of European integration”[2], but also the EU seems determined to plant its blue flag all over the place in order to increase its visibility – a goal explicitly identified as one of the key objectives of  the mission.[3]

News Briefs
Radio interview on NATO and the EU

One year into the war in Ukraine: the list of my writings on the subject

Have a good reading!
Radio interview on Europe, the EU, the war in Ukraine

Radio interview the day after the French presidential election

Radio interview about political-military developments in Europe

On the privatisation of military activities

On information wars

A couple of thoughts, quoted in Boris...
On the US presidential election's possible impact on Europe

A few thoughts about the possible impact of the upcoming U.S. elections on transatlantic relations,...
Belgian Parliament nearly puts an end to the stationing of US nuclear bombs

EU Seat on the UNSC? A False Good Idea: Attractive but Counterproductive

It would be desirable to see Europe “speaking with one voice”...

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