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      Great expectations: The Brexit moment in EU security and defence and the return of the capabilities–expectations gap

      1 , * , 2

      Europe and the World: A law review

      UCL Press

      Brexit, CFSP, CSDP, capability–expectations gap, PESCO

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          This article re-examines the capability–expectations gap in the European Union’s foreign policy in light of recent developments in this field. Our point of departure is the observation that the expectations being placed on the EU’s foreign and security capabilities in recent years have been steadily increasing, in response to a number of external and internal developments, including the Arab Spring, the Ukraine crisis and America’s ‘pivot’ to Asia, as well as the Brexit vote. We argue, however, that the institutional changes introduced as a result have not succeeded in fulfilling the lofty ambitions held of the Union either by itself or by other actors since they suffer from many of the same failings that have persistently bedevilled EU security initiatives. The result is a mismatch between the EU’s ambitions and its ability to deliver on these, which threatens to reopen the capabilities–expectations gap, which has been steadily declining since the late 1990s. Existing scholarly approaches have missed this problematic dynamic since they have focused more on the institutional changes (the supply side) rather than the increasing expectations (the demand side). While pronouncements regarding Europe’s ‘strategic autonomy’ and such like offer clear gains for European leaders in the short term, they may come back to haunt them in the years to come.

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          Author and article information

          Europe and the World: A law review
          UCL Press
          19 December 2019
          : 3
          : 1
          [1 ]University of Edinburgh
          [2 ]Hertie School; sus@ 123456hertie-school.org
          Author notes
          © 2019, Benjamin Martill and Monika Sus.

          This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited • DOI: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.ewlj.2019.18.

          Page count
          Pages: 17
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          B. Martill, M. Sus, ‘Great expectations: The Brexit moment in EU security and defence and the return of the capabilities–expectations gap’ [2019] 3( 1): 8. Europe and the World: A law review [17]. DOI: http://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.ewlj.2019.18.


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