The European security architecture inherited from the period of the Cold War encompasses a few most important international organisations – first of all, NATO, EU and OSCE, members of which are most European countries – and institutional rules as well as numerous informal patterns of state behaviour and status. 2019 is to see the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, which is one of the key institutional “axes” of the European security architecture. This will potentially have an impact on the future of the entire organisation, hence – on the security on the old continent. This article aims at compiling a set of alternative scenarios of the evolution of the European security through the use of the scenario building technique which is still bizarre in political science. To this end, interaction of four “driving forces”, namely, 1) USA involvement, 2) threats of regional scope, 3) leadership of Germany (and France) in the promotion of the European integration, and 4) stability of the UK government, in the next seven years, is analysed. Various combinations of these variables lead to the crystallisation of three alternative plots of scenarios: 1) closer European security and defence union, 2) new Cold War, and 3) revival of the global “Anglosphere”. Still, as seen from the practice of application of the scenario building technique, in the medium term, a parallel and only partial materialisation of all three scenarios is most likely.
In 2010s, the mainstream academic debate slowly but surely shifted towards European Union’s internal crisis and the possibility of its disintegration. United Kingdom applying to exit the Union in 2017 is the most recent and arguably the strongest indicator of such possibility. “Brexit” (as this process was dubbed) provides an interesting testing ground for latent European disintegration theories proposed by some political scientists. As the withdrawal negotiations have just started, one can only raise causal arguments for the future (if..., then); therefore this article employs scenario-building methodology recently established in political science with an aim to develop a set of scenarios of possible UK-EU relationship after Brexit. Four driving forces are cross-combined: (1) U.S. involvement in European security matters and bilateral relations with UK, (2) German leadership of the integrationist projects within the EU, (3) activism of the European Commission and the European Court of Justice, and (4) the stability of current minority cabinet in UK under Prime Minister May. The three scenarios that logically follow are: (1) UK as member of a nascent European security and defence union, (2) UK’s return to the EU, and (3) UK as an independent power in an “anglobal” world. Rarely, however, do any scenarios composed by political scientists ever materialize in full and a mix of all three scenarios is most likely to come to pass over the course of the next five years or so.