Concept of Comprehensive Security: A Distinctive Feature of Shared Security Culture in Europe?   [open pdf - 347KB]

"Since the end of the Cold War, most European states have begun to incorporate a broader understanding of security in their security documents and policies. As a result, security is understood in a more comprehensive way. This broader understanding of security includes, for example, issue-areas such as economics, human rights, and/or the environment. In this context, this study examines whether the adoption of the concept of a comprehensive security is leading to a convergence of the security cultures in Europe. This study examines, first, the concepts of comprehensive security and security culture. Then, using a method of structured, focused comparison, the guiding security policy documents and policies of Germany, Great Britain, and Switzerland are examined with a focus on questions related to multilateralism and use of force. Analyzing these key factors and their implementation results in a better understanding of what the concept of comprehensive security implies for Europe and whether this may lead to a rapprochement of the different national security cultures. This study demonstrates that even though Europe still displays considerable heterogeneity as to diverse national understandings of security, one finds a tendency toward convergence, which leads to a growing European security culture."

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