, Volume 92, Number 5

Robin Allers
Can Germany lead on security? This article aims to address this question by looking at recent German contributions to European defence cooperation. In 2013 Germany introduced the Framework Nations Concept (FNC) as a systematic and structured approach towards joint capability development. The concept relies on the idea that bigger nations take the overall responsibility for coordinating the contributions of smaller partners in a capability package. The framework nation model as such is not new but the initiative has been welcomed as a potential game changer in European defence cooperation and as confirmation of Germany’s commitment to NATO. In light of the Ukraine crisis, measures to adapt NATO and to strengthen the European pillar of the alliance have become more urgent. Allies and partners increasingly want Germany to extend its role as Europe’s dominant economic and financial power to matters of security and defence. The framework nation model allows Germany to take international responsibility, while avoiding debates about leadership and hegemony. Moreover, as a framework nation, Germany can advance flexible cooperation among a smaller number of allies without undermining its commitment to multilateralism. But the FNC initiative also raises further questions: what is the added value of the framework nation model compared to similar formats; what should be the place of smaller groupings in the evolving Euro-Atlantic security architecture; and how reliable is Germany in the role of a lead nation?

To read this article, you need to be a Chatham House member

Find out more about Chatham House membership