As it has been built up and extended over time, the European Union has managed, in some five decades, to form itself into a peaceful grouping of 28 member states and eliminate the serious rivalries that caused such bloodshed on the continent in the 19th and 20th centuries. This is undoubtedly a great achievement but, some 25 years after the ending of the Cold War, new conflict zones are emerging or consolidating themselves on the periphery of the Union, raising the question of what political and security responses the EU can muster.
As Jean-François Drevet shows here, the deterioration of the situation in North Africa, the Sahel, the Middle East and the former Soviet republics increasingly suggests that Europe is besieged. In this context, the EU hasn’t yet proved able to develop a truly convincing response capacity. It is high time, however, that it concerned itself with these issues and, as this column suggests, took advantage of the five-yearly renewal of Community institutions to equip itself to react concretely to these geopolitical developments and safeguard the security of the whole European entity.