IR434      Half Unit
European Defence and Security

This information is for the 2024/25 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Spyros Economides


This course is available on the MSc in European and International Politics and Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Politics and Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in European and International Public Policy, MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in International Relations (Research). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

All students are required to obtain permission from the Teacher Responsible by completing the online application on LSE for You. Admission is not guaranteed.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access). In previous years we have been able to provide places for most students who apply but that may not continue to be the case.

Course content

This course examines the role of defence and security issues in European integration. It traces the evolution and nature of decision-making with respect to European defence initiatives, and examines the structures and institutions of EU defence and security. It also seeks to understand the relationship between foreign policy and security/defence policy in the EU especially in the context of transatlantic relations, and NATO, and the EU's wider international role. The course examines defence and security issues in European integration, as well as addressing the question of defence and European identity, the relationship between European defence and the national objectives of Member-States, the link between collective defence and collective security, and the role of defence in the EU's evolution as a civilian, normative and global actor in international relations. The course also examines the relationship between NATO and European security concerns, and more contemporary developments with regard to provisions for crisis management and conflict prevention.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the AT.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy. 

Formative coursework

Students will produce a formative essay of 2000 words in the AT.

Indicative reading

  • Anne Deighton (Ed), Western European Union: Defence Security Integration;
  • Andrew Cottey, Security in the New Europe;
  • Jolyon Howorth, Security and Defence Policy in the European Union;
  • Simon Duke, The Elusive Quest for European Security;
  • From EDC to CFSP;
  • Paul Gebhard, The United States and European Security;
  • Heather Grabbe, The Sharp Edges of Europe;
  • Francois Heisbourg et al, European Defence: Making it Work;
  • Sean Kay, Nato and the Future of European Security;
  • G Rees Wyn, The Western European Union at the Crossroads;
  • Stanley Sloan, The United States and European Defence;
  • Panos Tsakaloyannis, The European Union as a Security Community (1996).


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the January exam period.

The exam will be an on campus 'e-Exam'.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2023/24: 44

Average class size 2023/24: 15

Controlled access 2023/24: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.