Image credit: NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Flickr
IPD Research Fellow Zachary Paikin appeared in an episode of Voices from Brussels, a Euranet Plus podcast, discussing how the war in Ukraine has reshuffled the cards of European defense and security, as well as its relationship with NATO.
He argues that, on one hand, the conflict in Ukraine has led to the reinforcement of the EU’s role in European defence and the improvement of its defence capabilities. On the other hand, the EU’s quest for “strategic autonomy” regarding European security has been “swept under the rug” as a result of this war, and NATO has been reaffirmed as the main shield against Russia.
One of the main effects of the war has been the application for NATO membership of two EU member states, Finland and Sweden. Once the enlargement process is completed, “23 out of 27 EU member states are going to be in NATO and more than 95 per cent of the population of the EU is going to be in NATO” according to Zachary Paikin, suggesting that there are not going to be any neutral countries in Europe.
This rapprochement between the EU and NATO is embodied by a new joint declaration signed in January 2023 highlighting the complementary roles played by the two organizations in European defense.
“NATO is being referenced as being the bedrock of European defence – and that is an unquestionable, unambiguous statement – paired with the presence, in the same statement and in the same clause, of the fact that a greater role for the EU in European defence is something that we value or that we lightly welcome.”
Dr. Zachary Paikin (@zpaikin) is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Peace & Diplomacy based in Geneva, Switzerland. He is also a researcher in EU foreign policy at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels, as well as Senior Visiting Fellow at the Global Policy Institute in London, UK.