The central aim of this thesis is to analyse the distinct elements of a potential European\ud strategic culture and their representation in the rhetoric and strategic actions of the Union, with special emphasis in the years of ESDP existence (1998-2005). The discussion rests on the proposition that a common European Strategic culture exists, albeit it is restricted in scope and depth. It is argued that as such, it is associated with three main pillars: humanitarian intervention, outward orientation and the pursuit of the largest possible consensus, i.e. multilateralism. The final objective of the discussion is to test these pillars\ud against the proposition for the existence of a specific, albeit limited European strategic\ud culture. It has been deemed that the most productive way to determine whether the three\ud pillars of European strategic culture can be considered realistically relevant is to assess them against the rhetoric and strategic actions of the European Union that took place within the period 1998-2005, which is the set timeframe for this thesis. Following an up-to-date literature review on the subject (Chapter II), this thesis makes use of a modified framework by Booth and Macmillan in order to explore those parameters that influence the development of strategic culture, such as geography, history and political structures. The\ud modified framework is outlined and discussed in Chapter III. Chapter IV serves to put the\ud concept of a European strategic culture in its historical context. Important milestones in EEC/EU defence history since the need for a common defence was articulated in the 1950s\ud are analysed. The emphasis lays not so much on the origins of common defence and foreign\ud policy initiatives but on recent developments. Chapter V introduces facets of strategic culture as these can be revealed through the rhetoric of the EU. The focus is on those documents that best describe the strategic concept of the EU after the introduction of the ESDP and more specifically, the European Security Strategy (ESS). Chapter VI focuses on EU actions\ud of strategic importance. In this respect, the three EU military operations that took place between the introduction of the ESDP in 1998 and the year 2005, (Operation Concordia, Artemis and Althea are examined). In conclusion, this thesis demonstrates the existence of a European strategic culture, but also confirms the initial proposition regarding the current nature of this strategic culture, which is limited in scope and in depth. As such, it is shown that it is based on the three pillars outlined in the proposition, i.e. humanitarian intervention, outward orientation and multilateralism
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