The EU as a Post-Lisbon Regional Security Complex

by Marek Antoni Musioł (Author)
©2021 Monographs 274 Pages


The Treaty of Lisbon was in fact a milestone in the process of expanding the EU's role on the level of international security. It stipulated in the Treaty on the European Union that the principal aspect of EU security is a mutual defense clause designed to protect all member states. The book aims to show the changes that are taking place in the EU as a result of the ongoing globalization and of the emergence of non-traditional threats in the securitization process. Therefore, this book was written with the aim of analyzing the current nature of the EU as a regional security complex (RSC), following the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon, as well as with the aim of revising all elements of this integrated security area contemporarily using the methodology of Barry Buzan and Ole Wæver.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgements
  • Selected Abbreviations
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Caesura, goals, questions and research problems
  • Research methodology
  • Structure of the book
  • Overview of the basic sources and literature
  • Chapter 1. A historical outline of the EU integration process and the EU regionalism as a model solution
  • Historical background of the EU integration process
  • The European Union as a pattern of regional integration and the specificity of applied soft and civilian power as a key element of the strategy of the EU regional security complex as a global actor
  • Chapter 2. European efforts to initiate cooperation in the field of security and defense as a basis for the creation of the EU RSC as a collective defense and security community
  • From the Treaty of Dunkirk, through Pleven’s Plan to the European Security Strategy
  • Collective security system versus collective defense system based on the Lisbon Treaty
  • Chapter 3. Methodological framework of the EU RCS – how to study and practice European security
  • Distinct borders
  • Anarchic structure
  • Polarization – distribution of power
  • Social structure – patterns of amity and enmity
  • Chapter 4. The EU RSC and its unique features
  • Securitizing actors, speech acts, the audience, existential threats and emergency measures in the EU Regional Security Complex
  • EU problems and reference objects in the securitization and resecuritization processes within the EU Regional Security Complex
  • Environmental protection and climate change – its political and economic impact
  • New terrorism after 9/11 and ISIS’s expansion
  • New wars and hybridization of armed conflicts
  • Challenges in the securitization process of the EU Regional Security Complex according to EU institutions and agencies as well as expert and academic centers
  • Chapter 5. Research on securitization in practice – the effect of feedback between the formulated speech act and its audience
  • Study on the social level of implementation and approval within the EU RSC
  • Analysis of the results based on data obtained from questionnaires for foreign students (results in English) and for Polish students (results in Polish) at the University of Wrocław
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • List of figures, tables, maps, pictures
  • Annexes
  • Index of Names
  • Series index


The European Union was politically established after the signing of the Treaty of Maastricht on 7 February 1992 and its ratification on 1 November 1993. This key event in the history of European integration gave the EU the political mandate to constitute a supranational architecture for a sequenced expansion of the regionalization process on the European continent. This multilateral agreement introduced the Common Foreign and Security Policy, established in a pillar configuration. It also marked the start of a new era for the setting of preliminary and basic conditions for multidimensional cooperation on political, security, social, cultural, economic and monetary affairs (for instance, the creation of a common currency). However, the Treaty of Lisbon adopted on 13 December 2007 and implemented on 1 December 2009 was in fact a milestone in the process of expanding the EU’s role on the level of regional and international security. First of all, the European Union acquired legal subjectivity, which certainly made it easier for it to function as an international organization, at least in terms of diplomatic representation. Second, it regulated and reorganized EU treaty law. Third, it stipulated in the Treaty on the European Union that the principal aspect of EU security is a mutual defense clause designed to protect all member states.

Caesura, goals, questions and research problems

The caesura has been precisely defined. It covers the period from the time the Lisbon Treaty came into effect (2009) to the year the work planned for November 2019 was completed. The meaning of the start date is clearly justified in the introduction above, as it refers to changing the status of the EU itself (granting it international-legal entity) as well as unifying the acquis, decision-making process and structure. In addition, the course my research then took was influenced by individual political developments, which are contained in the established caesura and go beyond these frames. Such events include the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center of 11 September 2001, the concept of the Axis of Evil (Rogue States) initiated by George Bush Jr. in 2002, Kiev Euromaidan and Russian interference in ←17 | 18→Ukraine (annexation of Crimea in 2014), the migration crisis ongoing since 2015 and the EU summit in Brussels on migration in June 2018.

This book was written with the aim of analyzing the current nature of the EU as a regional security complex (RSC), following the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon, as well as with the aim of revising all elements of this integrated security area contemporarily using the methodology of Barry Buzan and Ole Wæver. The book also aims to show the changes and evolutionary trends that are taking place in the EU as a result of the ongoing globalization process and in the face of contemporary non-traditional threats in the securitization process and in the face of challenges in the context of shaping a common position and perception of security problems (climate change, Russia’s policy, etc.)

The analytical goal of the research project is also to review the process of the securitization of ongoing EU problems as a separate regional security complex after the Lisbon Treaty came into force. I will also try to answer the following research questions:

whether the EU as a separate regional security complex meets the criteria of the Regional Security Complex Theory (RSCT),

what the main structural features, elements and challenges for this security community are at present,

why securitization processes in Europe, or more precisely in the EU, take place and what are the consequences of the diagnosed evolutionary trends, and finally,

what does the mutual defense clause mean in practice for member states and the EU in this regard.

The research hypothesis was formulated as follows: contemporary features of the EU as a security community having a legal and international entity after the Lisbon Treaty came into force prove the existence of an independent and separate regional security complex based on the mutual defense clause in accordance with Article 42.7 of the Treaty on EU. The European Union Regional Security Complex (the EU RSC) continues to show that the EU is a highly polarized security structure. In connection with this research hypothesis and research problems, first of all I plan to examine in detail the most important structural features of the EU Regional Security Complex, the most important securitized problems and existing patterns of amity and ←18 | 19→enmity. However, it is the analysis of constructed speech acts and, above all, the indicated reference objects as part of the developed questionnaire that will verify whether the securitization process in the European Union is accepted by the target audience (EU citizens or EU territory residents), or is it only a securitization movement with only propaganda, information and political significance. The latter means that the EU political elites have not managed to transform challenges or political problems taking place within the public, political or academic debates into security problems occurring in the framework of the security debate/ discourse.

Research methodology

With regard to the research methodology used in this book, special attention should be paid to the application of the Regional Security Complex Theory (RSCT – the first time this has been simultaneously done in international literature) to present the structure of the EU Regional Security Complex and to analyzing the response of audiences to a formulated speech act by EU decision-makers using a specially designed research questionnaire in Polish and English.

The conducted surveys and structured interviews made it possible to deepen the context of the practical transformation of the concepts of securitized problems from the EU and intergovernmental level to the level of the respondents.

These anonymous studies were conducted among over 120 students in the field of International Relations, Global Studies, Internal Security and International Security from countries such as Poland, Germany, Malta, Spain, Lithuania, Great Britain, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands and Bulgaria. In addition, the study also covers non-EU nationals from countries such as Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Turkey, USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, India, Ecuador, Indonesia, Thailand, Republic of Korea, China, Taiwan and Namibia. In many cases, the citizens of EU countries and/or those who belonged to the indicated target groups were covered by the study. So they are not indifferent to the security problems of Europe and the EU. The analysis also covered students from outside the EU in order to obtain a broader verification of perception and knowledge of proposed and formulated speech acts by authorized ←19 | 20→political decision makers, including heads of state and heads of government of individual EU countries and institutional structures. The adopted threat concepts have been developed in the EU forum by unanimity. This approach also allowed me to specify and examine the differences in perception of the proposed and securitized categories of problems in the ongoing security debate in the EU.

To sum up, the research methodology adopted in the work corresponds to the methodological assumptions of the field of social sciences, including disciplines such as security studies and political and administrative sciences. In the field of applied research techniques, the most important are primarily structured interviews with experts using clearly defined research questionnaires and research queries carried out in specialized research centers such as:

Institut National des Hautes Etudes de la Sécurité et de la Justice (INHESJ) in Paris, France (September-October 2019),

Institut de Recherche Stratégique de l’Ecole Militaire (IRSEM) in Paris, France (September-October 2019),

FRONTEX in Warsaw, Poland (October 2019),

European Security and Defence College (ESDC), European External Action Service (EEAS) in Brussels, Belgium (November 2019),

Sector of the Cyber security in the European External Action Service (EEAS), Security and Defence Policy (SECDEFPOL1) in Brussels, Belgium (November 2019).

The research plan included conducting research queries in specialized research centers in Europe and interviews with experts based on a structured questionnaire. Efforts were made to analyze international securitization initiatives using the observation method. Therefore, the specific research objectives of the project in this regard include:

1.Preparation and organization of research trips;

2.Preparation of a questionnaire for interviews with experts;

3.Development and formulation of questions for the research questionnaire for the purposes of verifying the acceptance condition and its compliance with the perception of specific audience of a speech act constructed by securitizing actors, i.e. the EU and its Member States;

4.←20 | 21→Organization of a research query and conducting interviews with experts in Paris, Brussels and Warsaw.

Other techniques include analyzing available literature and online sources. The following research methods were also used in the work:

comparative method which allowed, among others, enhancing the approaches of both EU Member States as a whole and their citizens to key security issues. Applied speech acts and directions of securitization of problems for the EU were analyzed. Comparative analysis also allowed to present the existing differences in potential and development levels of EU countries.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2021 (July)
European Union Regional Security Complex Theory Regional Security Complex security community collective defence system security studies
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2021. 274 pp., 122 fig. b/w, 10 tables.

Biographical notes

Marek Antoni Musioł (Author)

Marek Musioł is Assistant professor at the University of Wrocław. He graduated from the University of Wrocław and the Institute of Political Studies in Bordeaux. Participated in research visits in Kazakhstan, Russia, Canada, France. Obtained grants within the National Science Center and the European Commission.


Title: The EU as a Post-Lisbon Regional Security Complex
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276 pages