Balancing beyond the horizon? Explaining aggregate EU naval military capability changes in a neo-realist perspective

Michael Friederich Kluth, Jess Pilegaard

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


The present article seeks to make sense of recent European Union (EU) naval
capability changes by applying neo-realist theory to the EU as a collective actor in
the global balance of power. The paper compares two different strands of neorealist
theory by deducing key predictions about the expected naval posture of the
Union and the corresponding expected changes in capabilities. These predictions
are subsequently held up against post-cold war data on naval acquisitions in the
EU. The paper concludes that the observed patterns are best explained not as
bandwagoning with the USA, but as a long-term balancing strategy aimed at
bolstering the autonomy and international influence of the Union vis-a`-vis other
major powers, including the USA.
TidsskriftEuropean Security
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)45-64
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - 22 mar. 2011


  • neo-realism
  • EU
  • Balancing
  • Naval

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