de Melo Palma, Hugo. (2009) Europe by force and by Will: Portugal and the European Security and Defense Policy. College of Europe EU Diplomacy Paper 7/2009, October 2009. [Policy Paper]
This study assesses the ‘drivers’ and ‘breakers’ of Portugal’s participation in the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). Given Portugal’s traditionally Atlanticist stance, why and how has it supported the ESDP and to what extent, and in which particular domains, has Portugal been able to project its preferences in security and defence policy onto the European level? I argue that Portuguese participation in the ESDP has been motivated by a reactive posture that seeks to avoid marginalisation in European affairs through active participation in the inner circles of European integration. From a strongly Atlanticist position, Portugal has moved towards a willingness to be on the frontline of ESDP. Furthermore, Portugal has started to ‘upload’ some of its national security policy preferences, notably with regard to Africa, to the European level. However, some ‘breakers’ are visible although they do not result from a traditional opposition between Atlanticists and Europeanists. Political action has not followed at the same pro-European pace as political discourse due to chronic budgetary difficulties and a lack of consensus on the direction of Portuguese security policy. Although Portugal is one of the most active supporters of European engagement in Africa, this commitment is not embraced wholeheartedly as it threatens privileged historical relations. In addition to literature and official documents, the research for this paper draws heavily on interviews with Portuguese, European and member states’ officials involved either in ESDP decision-making or in Portuguese diplomatic and security establishments.
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