Joint Brief nº 15

The War in Ukraine and Studying the EU as a Security Actor

Publication date:
Hylke Dijkstra, Associate Professor at Maastricht University and leader of the JOINT work-package that deals with the “context” of EU foreign and security policy

JOINT Brief 15 (April 2022)

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has resulted in the most serious conflict on the European continent since the Balkan wars of the 1990s, if not since World War II. The amount of military and civilian casualties, displaced persons and material destruction after two months of war is astonishing. Unlike the Balkan wars, the direct involvement of a great power has raised questions that have been almost unthinkable during the post-Cold War years, of open NATO-Russia warfare and the potential use of tactical nuclear weapons.

There has been considerable analysis of the war so far, including of the resolve and bravery of Ukrainian soldiers, the sloppy military planning by the Russian aggressor, and the responses by the United States, NATO, Europe, Turkey, China and many others. Findings from the JOINT research project, which seeks to understand EU foreign and security policy in a complex and contested world, help us understand the response of the European Union. For that purpose, I will zoom in on what the war means for the EU as a security actor and how we should study its role.