EU Enlargement and the Transatlantic Alliance: A Security Relationship in Flux – Edited by S. Biscop and J. Lembke


EU Enlargement and the Transatlantic Alliance: A Security Relationship in Flux , edited by S.Biscop and J.Lembke ( London : Lynne Rienner , 2008 , ISBN 9781588265784 ); vii + 214pp ; £37.50 hb .

In EU Enlargement and the Transatlantic Alliance, Sven Biscop and Johan Lembke bring together authors to discuss the impact of the 2004 and 2007 enlargements of the European Union (EU) on Europe's relationship with the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato). The central theme running through this edited collection is that this relationship has been made more complicated by the enlargements to the east. The book sets out to answer two questions: ‘What is the interplay between EU enlargement and a fluctuating transatlantic security relationship? And will the accession of new EU members reinforce this partnership or increase the EU's assertiveness as an independent foreign policy actor?’ (p. 1). To answer these questions, the book is split into three substantive sections: ‘European security strategy’, ‘the impact of eastward enlargement’ and ‘the European neighbourhood in a transatlantic context’.

In the first section, Sven Biscop, Nick Witney and Esther Brimmer contemplate the growing defence and security aims of the EU following the Treaty of Nice (2001). In these three chapters, there is a general agreement that Europe has something positive to offer the transatlantic relationship in a way that complements rather than competes with Nato. The second section illustrates why this complementation matters in the context of eastern enlargement. Kerry Longhurst, Radek Khol, Plamen Pantev and Oya Dursun-Özkanca discuss in their chapters the impact of including substantial pro-transatlantic states into a process of further defence and security mechanisms within the EU. Looking at Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Turkey, respectively, the authors set out the domestic context of the two approaches to European security: one transatlantic and one European. The final section looks at the impact of outside actors on the transatlantic relationship. Jan Hallenberg examines the ‘new strategic triangle’ of the US, EU and Russia while Hiski Haukkala examines the two approaches to European security through the EU's European Neighbourhood Policy. Altogether, the substantive chapters offer a competent account of the tensions that lie within the transatlantic relationship.

Overall, this edited collection provides for an interesting and varied examination of the transatlantic relationship after the US-led invasion of Iraq and the following enlargements of the EU. For all its insights, the book also has two limitations. Firstly, there is no attempt to put forward a US perspective on the transatlantic relationship. Rather, this is often done through the discussions of those who specialize specifically on the EU. Secondly, too often the EU is referred to as a unitary actor within the region and globally. The limitations of the EU's progress towards a robust (whether ‘hard’ or ‘soft’) response to regional and global insecurities points to the inherent complications within the EU itself. Nevertheless, the range and scope of this collection offers an insight into the ongoing ‘flux’ in the transatlantic relationship and is worth a read.