Since the Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1992, the EU has sought to enhance its capacity as an actor within security policy. An important step in this process was the 2003 European Security Strategy, which introduced the EU goal of developing a common European strategic culture. The conflict in Libya in many ways seemed an ideal opportunity for the EU to manifest itself as an important security actor, and to fullfill its strategic ambitions as they are described in the 2003 European Security Strategy. Instead, due to internal disagreements on the use of force, the EU was unable to forge a common position of any importance and therefore once again remained peripheral. This article examines the strategic culture of the European Union and what the conflict in Libya, 2011, tells us about the emergence of such a strategic culture and the EU’s capacity as an actor in security policy. It argues that the divergence in national strategic cultures within the EU remains a major obstacle for the EU’s ambitions to take more responsibility in the realm of security policy, and that the scope for future EU action in the hard security field is even narrower than previously imagined. The conflict in Libya showed just how far the EU is from having developed a proper strategic culture with which to sustain itself as a security actor.
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Annual Confererence, Danish Society for European Research. ECSA 2013