The British Position and Expectations for Austria
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This paper outlines the British position on the future development of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). The timing for this topic is appropriate since the British Ministry of Defence published its new White Paper in December 2003, outlining the new priorities for British defence policy. Simultaneously, despite the collapse of the Brussels summit in December 2003, EU governments are reviewing the ESDP. This process includes considering questions such as what missions the EU should prepare to undertake, and what capabilities does the EU need to undertake those missions? In many respects Britain is in a unique position vis-à-vis the future of ESDP. It is the strongest military power in Europe, and plays a leading role in the development of ESDP. But the UK also sees itself as an important military partner of the United States, and if faced with a choice the UK will not jeopardize that relationship in favour of Europe. However, if the EU can and does help countries meet their NATO capability commitments - therefore making them more capable partners of the US - such efforts will receive the full support of the UK.