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Disasters, Diseases, Disruptions: a new D-drive for the EU

01 September 2005
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The European Security Strategy (ESS) issued by the EU in December 2003 devoted its first chapter to what it called ‘global challenges’. Most of those challenges –poverty, infectious disease, drought and famine, violent conflict – affect the Europe of today only indirectly and/or moderately, although they certainly had a much more direct impact in previous centuries (including the last one). By contrast, some of them – global warming, infrastructural disruptions, migration flows – may affect European societies in a much more dramatic fashion in the future. The main goal of this Chaillot Paper is to try and explore the various issues involved and their (actual and potential) correlations. It dwells upon their root causes and the EU policy record so far, and puts forward a few tentative recommendations on how to move ahead. It does so by resorting to a series of key ‘D words’ that may help situate and conceptualise the different challenges. Its focus, however, is not primarily on Defence, although the military dimension can indeed be part of the picture. Rather, a possible new (or additional) D-Drive for EU security policy should encompass what we generally call Disasters. The contributors have broken them down more specifically as environmental Degradation (Urs Luterbacher), resource Deprivation (Marco Zupi), infectious Disease (Stefan Elbe), and functional Disruption (Bengt Sundelius).