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Fostering Europe's strategic autonomy - Security and defence policy: Time to deliver

Security & defence / POLICY BRIEF
Giovanni Grevi , Paul Ivan

Date: 21/10/2020
In an increasingly competitive and uncertain international context, Europe cannot indefinitely outsource its security. Europeans should be able to carry out a broader range of tasks on their own, while working with the US and other allies and partners whenever possible. 

Strengthening solidarity within the EU and delivering tangible assets to cope with a wide range of threats are the twin tracks for progress towards a more strategic and autonomous Europe.  

To achieve this goal, the EU should brace, empower and engage. Bracing entails defining what we as Europeans want to be able to do together, through which capabilities and to counter which threats. Empowering requires enhancing cooperation so that Europeans have the right capabilities to carry out more demanding military tasks. And a more capable and determined EU can engage with allies and other partners on a more equal footing, at different levels of cooperation. 

The initiative launched by EU defence ministers in June 2020 to develop a 'Strategic Compass' to guide EU efforts in security and defence can make an important contribution. The ongoing analysis of the threats and challenges facing Europe should pave the way to define shared priorities and requirements better. Aligning means and ends is the core of any strategy. A more strategic Europe would be able to play a bigger role as a security provider, whether in cooperation with others or, if necessary, on its own.  

Progress towards a more self-reliant Europe in security and defence is part of a larger agenda. Advancing strategic autonomy calls for a broad approach, including trade and investment policies, completing the Single Market and technology and innovation. These dimensions are intertwined: promoting Europe's security, prosperity, and stability depends on moving forward across the board, mobilising the full EU toolbox. 

This paper is the second of a series of publications as part of the EPC-KAS project 'Fostering Europe's strategic autonomy: priorities for action' that runs through 2020 and aims to outline a concrete agenda to strengthen Europe's sovereignty and its role in the world.

The first paper was: J. Bjerkem, A new Agenda for Trade and Investment, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and European Policy Centre, June 2020.

Read the full paper here.

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