Building Europe’s strategic culture through securitization : Operation Atalanta and the European Union Maritime Security Strategy

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This thesis analyses the processes of securitization that led to the European Union’s decision to establish Operation Atalanta as an anti-piracy measure, and the affects of this mission on the European strategic culture. This thesis is inspired by a desire to understand and explore the role of interests groups on the conduct and development of European Union foreign policy. The central research question of this thesis is “To what extent is Operation Atalanta the result of a process of securitization, and what effect has Operation Atalanta had on the development of the European Union’s strategic culture, as evidenced by the European Union Maritime Security Strategy?”. In this thesis I argue two major points. Firstly I argue that securitizing speech acts by the international shipping industry have led to the successful securitization of the issue of Somali piracy, eventually leading to the establishment of Operation Atalanta, the EU’s anti-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa. Secondly I argue that Operation Atalanta has played a major role in shaping the EU’s strategic culture. Atalanta’s lasting impact on EU security thinking can be found in the EU’s latest strategic culture document, the EU Maritime Security Strategy (2014).
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen