A Divided Union? Public Opinion and the EU’s Common Foreign, Security and Defence Policy
There are few policy areas in which European integration in the past two decades has progressed as fast as in the foreign, security and defence realm. The democratic foundation of these developments, however, has been contested. This paper examines the question of democratic legitimacy from one particular angle, by examining public opinion towards the EU’s Common Foreign, Security and Defence Policy (CFSDP) as measured in Eurobarometer surveys between 1989 and 2009. It reflects on the relation between polling results and wider questions of democracy and, on this basis, examines three aspects of public opinion vis-à-vis CFSDP: general support for a common foreign and a common defence policy; differences among support rates in EU member states; and to what use armed forces should be put from the point of view of European citizens. It turns out that general support for a common foreign policy is high. The desirability of a common defence policy, however, is much more contested among EU member states with member states being divided into a group of supporters and a group of, in part highly, sceptical countries. An EU defence policy that goes beyond strict intergovernmentalism would thus require a significant communicative effort to be justified and become accepted in several EU member states. Thirdly, European citizens do not give particular preference to the defence of international law and human rights as tasks for the armed forces. Traditional security concerns like territorial defence still figure prominently. However, European forces geared primarily at enforcing international law and contributing to UN missions stand a much greater chance of being accepted in all member states, even those in which the idea of a common European defence policy receives only little support.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erp:reconx:p0103. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marit Eldholm)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.