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Opinion: ‘What Can the European Union Do for Libya?’

This opinion piece is contributed by Jonathan Dowdall of Defence Dateline Group

With the French foreign minister departing in scandal, Italian arms sales under scrutiny and UK efforts to evacuate its citizens unfavourably compared to the likes of Turkey and Switzerland, Europe’s big players are facing harsh criticism over their handling of the Libyan emergency. Paralysed by indecision; and terrified of appearing either too pushy or too timid in a region vital to their economic and migration control interests, the traditional movers and shakers of European foreign and defence policy have been struck dumb.

Filling the power vacuum
The lack of a strong unilateralist voice from either the US or a European UN Security Council member has left a vacuum that the EU could, or even better should, fill. It provides an opportunity for the nascent structures of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) to be tested in a real crisis, not because member states do not desire action, but precisely because they are looking for an appropriate vehicle through which to act. The EU, through united policy statements, a unified civil-military vision and a “brand” un-tainted by recent failures in Libya; could help the emerging response to this crisis reboot its stature and utility on the world stage.

Read the rest of the opinion piece here:


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