Federiga Bindi
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A stronger European Union?
The unexpected security consequences of Brexit
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Will Brexit reinforce or weaken EU security and defense policies, given that the United Kingdom has historically played a prominent role in European Union defense? This chapter begins by outlining the role of the UK in promoting European defense in the post-war era, also noting efforts by the US to shape defense developments within and outside NATO. It then examines the consequences of the Maastricht Treaty and the creation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, discussing how the EU needed to balance its institution- and capacity-building with the defense priorities of the US in NATO, and with the clashing perspectives of its member states on a range of foreign policy and defense questions. Yet in the years before the Brexit referendum, British governments disengaged from the Common Security and Defence Policy while re-centering NATO and the Special Relationship at the heart of UK security. Examining EU proposals for new permanent structured cooperation (PESCO), this chapter concludes that while PESCO will deepen defense cooperation and drive defense integration, the exit of the UK will also transform defense leadership, ceding a larger role to France.

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