Normative foundations of foreign EU security policy from a theological-ethical perspective. Developed by the example of Mali

To deal with secu­ri­ty poli­cy from the per­spec­ti­ve of theo­lo­gi­cal ethics does not fall wit­hin the core area of this disci­pli­ne. Also, tho­se who deal with the exter­nal action of the Euro­pean Uni­on (EU) from an eccle­si­al con­text tend to be on the peri­phe­ry of the church. From the per­spec­ti­ve out­lined abo­ve, com­bi­ning both could be seen as an ent­i­re­ly off­side object of inte­rest: Espe­cial­ly if it is to be deve­lo­ped on the basis of the exem­pla­ry events in Mali. But this is not the case at all.


First­ly, secu­ri­ty is a genui­nely theological-ethical field of reflec­tion, becau­se the stu­dy of it con­fronts us both with the irri­ta­ting insight that any know­ledge of secu­ri­ty can only be hypo­the­ti­cal and with the viru­lent tempt­ati­on that we want to crea­te per­fect secu­ri­ty our­sel­ves in quasi-demiurgical atti­tu­des.

Second­ly, the EU is sup­por­ted by an effort of respect and coope­ra­ti­on in its inte­rior, so that, coher­ent­ly, its exter­nal action also has to be ent­i­re­ly influ­en­ced by this atti­tu­de: Sin­ce life based on faith, sin­ce church life is aimed pre­cise­ly at crea­ting and streng­t­he­ning peace, the EU is a genui­nely eccle­si­asti­cal place against this back­ground.

Third­ly, Mali is a plau­si­ble and worthwhile examp­le. On the one hand, its pro­blems – pover­ty, lack of edu­ca­ti­on, cor­rup­ti­on, lack of com­mon good awa­reness, inter-ethnic power and resour­ce strug­gles, smuggling of wea­pons, drugs and human bein­gs – can be found muta­tis mutan­dis in many other Afri­can sta­tes. On the other hand, the cri­ses and shocks of the com­ing deca­des in this part of the world will affect Euro­pe more inten­si­ve­ly than other parts of the world and, at the same time, the Euro­pean sta­tes are named wit­hin the Wes­tern world as having the pri­ma­ry respon­si­bi­li­ty for sta­bi­li­sing and streng­t­he­ning this con­ti­nent. Last but not least, Mali is the Afri­can sta­te in which the EU is most com­mit­ted in terms of secu­ri­ty poli­cy; and the need for this com­mit­ment will remain for Euro­peans for many years to come.

Metho­do­lo­gi­cal­ly, the pro­ject fol­lows the clas­si­cal, three-step approach of moral theo­lo­gy: see­ing – jud­ging – acting. It the­re­fo­re unfolds in three (exem­pla­ry) steps – an epis­temic, a nor­ma­ti­ve, an eva­lua­ti­ve:

  • How does the EU con­cep­tua­li­ze secu­ri­ty poli­cy and what are its signi­fi­cant con­tri­bu­ti­ons to secu­ri­ty poli­cy?
  • How can stan­dards for this be for­mu­la­ted in the con­text of the Catho­lic social doc­tri­ne?
  • What are the impli­ca­ti­ons for exem­pla­ric fields/projects/missions: how should the past be eva­lua­ted; what should future actions look like?


Project Supervisor

Dr. Mar­co Schrage