Our democracies do not appear so secure, stable, NATO’s calculations). Instead, it lists five ‘threats’: and dynamic anymore either. Across the continent, terrorism, WMD proliferation, regional conflicts, authoritarian or extremist movements and parties state failure, and organised crime. Only the first are playing on voters’ fears, poisoning civic disand the last are of direct concern for Europe’s docourse, taking public spaces hostage, and putting mestic security. governments on the defensive (except where the Oddly even for 2003, the strategy does not conauthoritarians are already in power). Nor is their nect these concerns purpose merely to to states, preferring to shoulder in and secure ‘Without functioning social contracts and pin-point non-state a place at the trough of robust representative democracy, there actors – apart from representative politics for themselves. The rad- can be no security in Europe – or coming a stern warning to countries which have icals do not object, per from it.’ ‘placed themselves se, to parliamentary imoutside the bounds of munity or government international society’ and which, in case of recalhandouts. But this is also about principles. Their citrance, ‘should understand that there is a price ultimate goal is to kick the system over and smash to be paid.’ Presumably this was intended to cause it: to make way for illiberal rule. consternation in Pyongyang or Tehran.
Menaces to the liberal order
These forces, while undoubtedly home-grown, do have their outside supporters. Not China, apparently: while it is quick to pit EU governments against each other when its interests require it, it doesn’t seem to object to their liberal constitutions. But Islamic fundamentalists revile everything Europe stands for – secularism, pluralism, women’s rights, gay marriage – and use terrorism to strike at its heart. Russia’s leaders, with good reasons of their own to fear fundamentalist Islam, nonetheless find themselves in full agreement as far as things to hate about Europe are concerned. The result: Russian troll onslaughts on European social media websites, Russian funding for right-wing parties, government-backed cybercrime, or manufactured outrage over allegations of crimes against Russian immigrants. The ESS offers scant guidance on how to frame such menaces to liberal order in Europe. On the external front, it notes that ‘large-scale aggression against any Member State is now improbable’ (that remains unlikely, but it has returned rather prominently to
It’s a safe bet that no one envisaged Russia annexing Crimea, fomenting war in eastern Ukraine, undermining governance in Kiev and the eastern European neighbourhood, and forcefully exploring the vulnerabilities of the European Union. It was even less reasonable to suppose that the former superpower’s belligerence could be linked to a growing internal failure of governance – leading it to employ asymmetrical methods of aggression more commonly used by terrorists. The new EUGS must recognise the nature and the urgency of these new threats to the European project. Even more crucially, it must comprehend that their external and internal variants share a key common element: the fear and anger of those who are left stranded in the wake of globalisation (or believe they might be). Without functioning social contracts and robust representative democracy, there can be no security in Europe – or coming from it.