Iraklis Oikonomou

Iraklis Oikonomou
Address: Hellenic Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
22 Vas. Konstantinou Ave., 11635, Athens, GREECE
Telephone: 00306975724272 & 0032478703031


The space dimension of the European Security and Defence Policy, and its contradictions

The emergence of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) between 1999 and 2006 coincided with a growing interest on behalf of EU decision-makers in the use of space for security and military applications. Furthermore, the formation of a space dimension in ESDP was accompanied by a profound internationalisation of the industrial actors involved in the space sector. The fulfilment of economic and security goals has been put forward by EU policy-makers and experts alike as a justification for the strengthening of ‘ESDP-space’. A recent, tangible outcome of this strengthening is the setting-up of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), next to the planned Galileo programme. However, this trend has been characterised by the persistence of inter-state contradictions and the lack of a clear and far-reaching EU approach to the development of security-related space assets. Why are national approaches to the military use of space, still persisting? To what extent has economic internationalisation succeeded in promoting change, towards a more transnational approach? Is space a necessary addition to the project of ESDP? How can the emergence of a truly European space dimension of ESDP be envisioned and shaped? The project responds to these questions by providing a historical and politico-economic account of the formation of an EU space policy for ESDP purposes. The analysis focuses on the case of the GMES, although other instances of EU space policy are also examined. This account is enriched by a theoretically-informed understanding of the non-correspondence between the economic and the political forms of European integration, reflected in the contradictory nature of ESDP. Special emphasis is placed on the tendency towards transatlantic competition and the necessities generated by the competitive status of the European space industry. Finally, the research output includes a set of policy proposals on the characteristics that the future orientation of ESDP-space should include. Overall, it will be argued that, if properly managed, the formation of a space dimension for ESDP purposes may signify the new ‘big project’ in the future of European integration, capable of generating critical strategic, political and economic-industrial capacities for a variety of stakeholders.







Iraklis Oikonomou is a political scientist from Athens, Greece. He has studied international and European politics in Athens, Ghent, Aberystwyth and Lund, and holds a PhD in International Politics from the Department of International Politics, University of Wales Aberystwyth. The title of his PhD thesis was "The European arms industry as a European Security and Defence Policy actor". Currently, he is conducting a post-doctoral research project on "The space dimension of ESDP and its contradictions", at the Hellenic Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, in collaboration with Sussex University, UK, and Ghent University, Belgium. The project is funded by the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, as part of the EFSPS programme. His main research interests are: EU armaments policy, ESDP and space policy, the political economy of the European arms industry, and historical materialist theories of European integration.

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Conference - Workshop Papers