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The Handbook of Global Security Policy by Mary Kaldor, Iavor Rangelov

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Chapter 20 Reframing the Use of Force: The European Union as a Security Actor

Mary Martin

Introduction

In December 2012, the Nobel Peace prize was awarded to the European Union in recognition of its six decades of work promoting “peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights”. The award attracted controversy in part because it occurred in a year when the European Union had never appeared so divided, its common currency under attack, and deep tensions arising between debtor nations such as Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, on one side, and those who were called upon to bail them out, principally Germany, on the other. The politics of austerity produced street protests in European cities as citizens resisted their own politicians, as well as the demands of Brussels policymakers for budget cuts as they sought to prevent the collapse of the European single currency. The appearance of far right parties, and a new wave of Euroscepticism in Member States, such as the United Kingdom, signaled schisms of a further kind. The Nobel committee president, Thorbjoern Jagland, praised the EU's role in transforming a European “continent of war” into a “continent of peace”, yet events across Europe appeared to make a mockery of such accolades.1

Although European security has been at the heart of the integration of the EU's nation states since the genesis of collective policymaking, and predates even the founding of the European Union in 1957, the region's security identity has never ...

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