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EU Security Policy: What It Is, How It Works, Why It Matters

Michael Merlingen
EU Security Policy: What It Is, How It Works, Why It Matters
ISBN: 978-1-58826-774-0
ISBN: 978-1-58826-799-3
ISBN: 978-1-62637-665-6
2012/283 pages/LC: 2011020128
"EU Security Policy is a brilliant addition to the literature in this field. In its examination of the interconnections between theory and practice, Merlingen's study provides a valuable framework that leads the reader through the intertwined dynamics of Europe’s common security policies.... EU Security Policy is a fundamental book for those interested in understanding the role that Europe is playing in world politics today."—Pietro Pirani, Reviews & Critical Commentary

"[This] book offers an overdue primer.... After reading Merlingen, some clarity emerges.... This is a good book and deserves use in many courses on Europe, security, and international organizations."—Choice

"Merlingen provides a vitally important framework for how we think about European security institutions broadly and about the role that the EU has come to play in the dynamics of both European and global security. This timely volume is essential reading for scholars and students of modern Europe, as well as for practitioners in the realm of international security policy."—Sean Kay, Ohio State University

"Succeeds brilliantly in explaining, in a comprehensive and at the same time readable way, the ins and outs of this major EU policy."—Sven Biscop, Egmont Institute


What is the European Union's security and defense policy (CSDP)? How does it work? Does it make a difference in international security affairs? How do other global actors react to Europe’s new assertiveness? And how do theories of international relations account for the trajectory of EU integration in the high politics of national security? In this comprehensive survey and analysis, Michael Merlingen brings together the key issues, themes, and debates related to the CSDP.

Merlingen explores the construction and inner workings of EU security policy, as well as its impact both regionally and globally. He also looks carefully at relationships between the EU and other world  powers. Taking stock of the CSDP—its successes and failures, accomplishments and limitations—he highlights the challenges and opportunities that await the EU as it continues to reinforce its position as an important security actor on the world stage.


Michael Merlingen is associate professor of international relations and European studies at the Central European University. His publications include European Union Peacebuilding and Policing: Governance and the European Security and Defence Policy and The European Security and Defence Policy: An Implementation Perspective.


  • Introduction.
  • Exploring Theories and Concepts.
  • The Development of the CSDP.
  • Political Actors in the the Policy Process.
  • On Diplomats and Bureaucrats.
  • Military and Civilian Capabilities.
  • Grappling with Varying Perceptions of Threat.
  • Planning and Conducting CSDP Operations.
  • EU Operations in Europe and the Middle East.
  • EU Operations in Africa and Asia.
  • Evaluating CSDP Operations.
  • Transatlantic Relations.
  • Russia and European Security Policy.
  • The EU: A Superpower in the Making?