This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Media (Carnegie) - Judy Asks: Can Europe Defeat the Islamic State?


Every week, a selection of leading experts answer a new question from Judy Dempsey (Carnegie Europe) on the foreign and security policy challenges shaping Europe’s role in the world.

Please find below the contribution by Marietje Schaake on November 18, or all contributions here.

Judy Asks: Can Europe Defeat the Islamic State?

Marietje Schaake - Vice-chair of the Delegation for Relations With the United States in the European Parliament Of course Europe can defeat the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Yet Europeans must have clearly in mind that it is the continent’s open societies they seek to defend. Europe can best do this by strengthening European cooperation, at home and on the global stage. In the short term, military action against the Islamic State must continue but will produce results only in the context of a broader solution to the Syrian conflict. This must include a transition away from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Defense is a key last resort if Europeans are to be taken seriously at the negotiating table. No soft power without hard power. French President François Hollande demonstrated that he was counting on EU military support when he invoked the EU’s mutual-assistance clause. It is a shame that years have gone by without a concrete EU action plan on the table or a substantial coordinating role for the EU. Frankly, the threat the Islamic State poses is not new. The people running from Iraq and Syria have been fleeing the horrors there for years now. Europeans cannot acknowledge the gravity of threats in the neighborhood only when these dangers impact Europe’s own populations, societies, and territories. The line between domestic and international polices is already blurred, and now the EU’s policies must reflect that: an integrated approach is needed. Also in Europe’s own societies, Europeans need to fight extremism and combat radicalization. There is a lot of room for better cooperation in Europe. Yet knee-jerk responses that single out groups or erode freedoms and rights for all will come back as a boomerang.