Public support for European defence: Does strategic culture matter?
European Journal of Political Research
GB : Blackwell Publishing
363 - 383 p.
public opinion, European Union, Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), strategic culture
This article identifies previously ignored determinants of public support for the European Union's security and defence ambitions. In contrast to public opinion vis-à-vis the EU in general, the literature on attitudes towards a putative European army or the existing Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) suggests that the explanatory power of sociodemographic and economic variables is weak, and focuses instead on national identity as the main determinant of one's support. This article explores the possible impact of strategic culture, and argues that preferences vis-à-vis the EU's security and defence ambitions are formed in part through pre-existing social representations of security. To test this proposition, ‘national’ strategic cultures are disaggregated and a typology is produced that contains four strategic postures: pacifism, traditionalism, humanitarianism and globalism. Applying regression analysis on individual-level Eurobarometer survey data, it is found that strategic postures help explain both the general level of support for CSDP and support for specific Petersberg tasks.