A Global Strategy for a soul-searching European Union

13 July 2016
Giovanni Grevi (Head of Europe in the World programme and Senior Fellow)

On 28 June 2016, just a few days after the historic Brexit vote, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini presented the paper on the new European Union Global Strategy (EUGS) at the European Council, outlining the strategic coordinates for the EU’s foreign and security policy. In this Discussion Paper, Giovanni Grevi takes a closer look at the EUGS and assesses its main rationale, features, added value and prospects against the backdrop of an ever more complex world. Not only is the EU dealing with increasingly contested and polarised politics at home, but the global theatre itself has become hugely disorienting, more integrated and yet more fragmented at the same time. The paper recalibrates the overall foreign policy posture of the EU and sketches out a more modest and concrete approach compared to earlier aspirations, and a more joined-up one compared to current practice. By doing so, the strategy seeks to square the circle between the need for Europe to be cohesive and purposeful in a harder strategic environment and the fact that domestic politics within the Union constrain its external action and drain its attractiveness. The EUGS calls on the EU and member states to fully take on their responsibility to underpin unity, prosperity and security at home by taking more effective and joined-up action abroad. The question is, of course, whether this call will be heeded.

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