First Advisor

David Kinsella

Term of Graduation

January 2023

Date of Publication


Document Type





conflict and cooperation, ESDP, European integration, interstate dispute, power transition theory, security and defense

Physical Description

1 online resource ( pages)


This study explores the complicated relationship between security considerations and the European integration process. The research uncovers specific security factors that have shaped the EU integration process. Applying policy alignment and collective efforts for governance, this study offers a methodological improvement to the conventional status quo satisfaction concept within power transition theory. Findings indicate that external militarized actions targeting European nations only occasionally disrupted integration in the short term. Instead, inner coordination among member states vis-à-vis external actors, promoted integration. During the early stages of integration, alignment with the EU collective was crucial, while aligning with regional leader Germany became essential at higher integration levels. Additionally, the role of the Transatlantic Alliance and U.S. patronage proved complicated. US military personnel stationed in Europe created a subtle but consistently positive impact on the EU integration process, especially during the Cold War. Yet, aligning with the US in militarized interstate disputes against external actors did not promote EU countries’ integration process. The analysis highlights the United Kingdom as an outlier in terms of security and defense within the EU. The UK's global and regional engagement in interstate disputes exceeded that of other EU members. Notably, the UK exhibited greater alignment with the U.S. in militarized disputes, paralleled by British public opinion unsupportive of a common foreign policy and an EU-wide security and defense policy. The future of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) hinges on the clusters among the member states and leadership dynamics amid key actors. Following Brexit, two primary groups have emerged within the EU, one favoring a common foreign policy and an EU-wide security and defense policy, and another generally opposed to these policies. The likelihood of ESDP development increases with greater convergence between these groups, but divergence decreases the prospects of common policies.


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Available for download on Saturday, February 01, 2025