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Making Europe and Europeans safer

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One of the criticisms associated with plans for closer European defence cooperation is that there are no new ideas around. The ‘EU Battlegroups’, ‘Permanent Structured Cooperation’, even the idea for an ‘EU Operational Headquarters’ or a ‘Defence Semester’ are seen as old and sometimes unwieldly initiatives, reminiscent of debates that have hardly made any progress. For their part, labels such as ‘EU Army’ or ‘Permanent Military Headquarters’ have counterproductively hijacked the entire public discussion. Yet perhaps the various policy ideas and treaty provisions that relate to defence need to be looked at in a different light. Perhaps the key is to experiment with combinations of old ideas with a new perspective in mind: out of the old comes the new.