From the CIAO Atlas Map of Europe 

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CIAO DATE: 07/02

European [security] Union: from existential threat to ontological security

Ian Manners

Copenhagen Peace Research Institute
December 2001


The past ten years have seen the steady escalation of attempts to securitise the EU which, for good or for bad, are now beginning to succeed. Across Europe the EU is fast becoming a convincing reason for groups to mobilise in protest and action - from Copenhagen to Nice to Gothenburg the EU has become a synonym for 'threat'. As this paper will explore, the securisation of the EU is occurring as it begins to be represented as a threat to ontological security, and eventually existential security, in the lives of Europeans and non-Europeans. But how best to think about the European [security] Union as it attempts to balance the headline security concerns of conflicts on its border with the structural security concerns of its citizens. This thinking involves questioning the very nature of the security the EU is attempting to secure through a series of reflections on the many dimensions of security, the ontopolitical assumptions of differing metatheoretical positions, and finally arguing the need to desecuritise the EU.