Book presentation: ''The European Union in Global Security: The Politics of Impact'' by Dr. Susan E. Penksa

  • 20 Jun. 2012 -
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  • Last updated: 10 Jul. 2012 13:10

On 20 June 2012, Dr. Susan Penksa presented the book “The European Union in Global Security: The Politics of Impact'' which she co-wrote with Dr. Roy H. Ginsberg at a book talk organised by the NATO Multimedia Library (NATO Headquarters)

Dr. Penksa is currently Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department at Westmont College (USA), Senior Associate at the Institute of European Studies (Brussels) and an international security and development consultant.

Dr. Jamie Shea, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General, introduced the presentation and chaired the discussion which followed.


Dr. Penksa began her presentation by emphasising that the book is a story of impact – it highlights the roles and impact of individuals, state actors, transnational forces, organisational and bureaucratic politics and international organisations.

Within this story of the EU’s emergence as a global security provider is the story of the evolving relationship between NATO and the EU, of deeper and stronger inter-institutional links and the crucial role of interpersonal relationships. NATO and the EU share common values and interests, even though the two organisations sometimes compete and disagree.

Dr. Penksa gave an overview of the book which considers this research question: does the EU matter in global security? It examines 24 CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) operations of the last 10 years and concludes that the EU has become a niche international security provider. These niche operations fulfill a clear and limited functional mandate (in Somalia and Indonesia) or CSDP operations intervene in theatres where no other security provider but the EU is present (Georgia).

The book examines, explains and evaluates internal and external effects of CSDP operations: it evaluates the impact of CSDP civilian and military crisis management operations on the union itself; on non-member states who are host to or affected by EU operations; on other international security providers; and on global security governance. The authors found that CSDP operations demonstrate positive functional and temporal impact on host states, with effects ranging from marginal to significant.

In conclusion Dr Penksa asserted that EU foreign policy - and its crisis management instrument, CSDP - are not likely to vanish so long as there is a union that exists to serve the interests of the member states.


The authors provide a path-breaking analysis of the EU's contribution to global security and the "politics of impact" as it plays out in Brussels, member state capitals, and host states and among other security providers. The authors' template for assessing the impact of crisis management operations should be considered by policy-makers and practitioners who seek to understand - and improve - the impact of civilian and military missions.
- Jamie Shea, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges

”This book is a landmark for the debate on the security policy of the European Union: the authors' thorough review of existing literature, innovative approach to evaluating EU crisis management operations, and insightful and comprehensive analyses deserve highest attention in the political arena and in the academic world”
- Wolfgang Wessels, Jean Monnet Chair for European Affairs, University of Cologne, Germany

This books ditches unsubstantiated sweeping generalizations about the EU´s performance in international crisis management operations. Instead Roy Ginsberg and Susan Penksa offer balanced judgement and thorough analysis based on sound empirical analysis. The book demonstrates that many global security issues cannot be properly understood without taking EU contributions into account.”
- Knud Erik Jørgensen, Professor of International Relations, University of Aarhus, Denmark

”The EU in Global Security is a clear, thorough, and well-researched study of the impact of Common Security and Defence Policy missions. It shows both how the Union makes a genuine difference in global security governance, as well as its limitations and (sometimes) pathologies. A serious work that all serious students of EU foreign policy will find essential reading.”
- John Peterson, Professor of International Politics, University of Edinburgh, UK

Table of Contents

Review of the Literature
CSDP in Context
The Internal Politics of CSDP Missions
The External Effects of CSDP Missions
Impact on International Security Providers
CSDP in the EU Foreign Policy System and Beyond