Created in 2004, the European Defence Agency (EDA) has had a moderately successful record thus far, rising as both a discussion forum between governments, industry and the military, and as a promoter of measures and policies within the framework of its four main areas – defence capabilities development; armaments cooperation; defence market and industrial base; and research and technology. Attached to the creation of the EDA is the notion that in the face of a globalised world and its threats, coordinating efforts regarding the acquisition, research and procurement of defence equipment is the best way to achieve a more efficient European defence. Building on previous work (Barrinha 2010) this chapter examines, from a critical constructivist perspective, how the agency is discursively justified by some of the key actors in the European defence field. By doing so, it attempts to understand the EDA’s raison d’être within this field. Following Meyer and Strickmann (2011: 63-65), constructivism has attempted to explain the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) in three different ways: (1) through the understanding of social interaction between relevant actors within the European institutions and between them and Member States; (2) by focusing on strategic and security cultures as crucial factors in explaining the developments in European defence; and (3) by placing a particular emphasis on discourse analysis. This chapter should be understood within the context of this last set of constructivist literature. In terms of structure, it will start by briefly delving into critical constructivism, justifying its importance within the context of European security research. This will be followed by the contemporary contextualisation of the field, highlighting three particular dynamics that the EDA has to deal with: (1) consolidation; (2) blurring between internal, and external security; and (3) defence budgetary cuts. Given the context, the third section of the chapter attempts to understand the agency’s existence within the broader context of Europe’s defence by proceeding in three steps. First, it highlights the origins of the agency, then it sets the conceptual

framework and, finally, it looks into how the EDA is more than a mere agency: how it helps to sustain a particular security context that goes much beyond its direct competencies.