From Theory to Practice: Understanding Nuclear Deterrence and Sharing Agreements in European Security

The European Union faces the imperative of increased defence autonomy. As geopolitical dynamics evolve and traditional alliances undergo scrutiny, the EU must assert its strategic independence by bolstering its defence capabilities.  Over the years, statements by European leaders, including but not limited to President Emmanuel Macron (President of the French Republic, 2022), Chancellor Angela Merkel (Chancellor of Germany, 2018), and President Ursula von der Leyen (President of the European Commission, 2023), often stress the need for the EU to reduce its reliance on external actors, particularly in defence and security matters.

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Turkish Drone Exports: Implications for NATO Relations

The proliferation of Turkish drone technology on the global arms market has raised concerns within the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) regarding its potential impact on regional security and alliance cohesion. At the crux of these concerns lies Türkiye’s 'no- questions-asked policy' in drone exports, allowing for the unrestricted sale of advanced military technology without stringent checks (Borsari, 2022; International Crisis Group, 2023). Considering Türkiye’s aspirations to solidify its position as a credible drone exporter, this info flash delves into Turkish drone developments, assesses their role in contemporary conflicts, and examines the implications for Ankara’s relations with NATO countries.

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The UK’s Mobilisation since the War in Ukraine: The Catalyst for Renewed UK-EU Defence Relations?

In January 2024, General Sir Patrick Sanders, the Chief of General Staff of the British Army stated that “Ukraine really matters" (Sanders, 2024). In his address at the International Armoured Vehicles exhibition in London, General Sanders emphasised the significance of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its impact on the future. The General was referencing historical failures to understand crises’ consequences and previous failures in averting conflicts and cautioned against repeating history by failing to learn from it and stressed Ukraine’s geopolitical importance. In the same speech, the general calls for a substantial increase in the British army's size, aiming to nearly double its current capacity. This initiative is part of the UK military's broader strategy to address a persistent recruitment shortage that has diminished its manpower over time (Secretary of State for Defence, 2021). Additionally, he emphasised the significance of traditional mobilisation while stressing the necessity for ordinary British citizens to be ready for a level of civic involvement similar to World War mobilisation efforts. General Sanders is not the only notable figure alerting the British public that there are dangers to come. Grant Shapps, the UK Secretary of Defence, delivered a repurposed version of former US president George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” (Bush, 2021) speech in January 2024, remarking that the world has transitioned "from a post-war era to a pre-war era" (Shapps, 2024). This InfoFlash delves into the recent speeches delivered by Sanders and Shapps, which have sparked numerous news articles centred around military conscription in the UK and the potential for its reinstatement. Additionally, this paper also explores broader defence topics, examining the evolving recent dynamics between the UK and the EU in the realm of defence cooperation.

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ESA’s ‘Security Turn’: Opportunities and Challenges for European Defence

In recent years, the European Space Agency (ESA) has seen a gradual expansion in its mission to now include ensuring space security. Such a change may have been favoured by the evolving needs of the EU, which is one of the ESA’s main partners and has become more and more concerned with the security and resilience of its space assets, as well as increasingly relevant in the ESA’s funding. Accordingly, ESA might be transitioning from a purely civilian and scientific organization to an institution entrusted with developing the security of space facilities against natural hazards and collision with man-made objects, both deliberate and unintended. While ESA’s new ‘defence for space’ approach has surely increased the institution’s military relevance, it is still unclear whether such a transition will benefit or impede European defence. On the one hand, profiting from the consolidated technical expertise of the ESA could afford European the armed forces the opportunity to increasingly rely on high-quality space facilities. On the other hand, institutional overlap and ensuring coordination with other EU bodies could present serious challenges, ones which could eventually hamper the efficacy of European space assets for military activities.

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The European Defence Fund – A Slow and Opaque Relay Race to Yesterday’s Needs?

On 9 January 2024, Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market and in charge of the European Defence Fund (EDF) and defence industry, announced that he was proposing a new €100 billion defence fund to strengthen the EU’s defence industry (Wax & Kayali, 2024). The statement came in the context of an apparent failure to supply Ukraine with a promised million artillery shells within a year, which he insisted that the Union would nonetheless accomplish, and as the EU’s defence sector becomes increasingly centralised. Most astonishing, however, is that the proposed sum largely surpasses any fund that EU institutions have previously devoted to the defence industry. With the most recent EU capability development tool for defence and security being the EDF, with €8 billion spread over the 2021-2027 period, talks about a newer and larger framework for EU defence funding raise numerous questions regarding framework and administration. While the new interest in defence spending at an EU level is inherently different to the EDF in that it is intended to finance the procurement of equipment rather than just its development, it appears to be an extension of the EDF framework.

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