Security and Defence Policy: Time to Deliver
Fostering Europe’s Strategic Autonomy
In an increasingly competitive and uncertain international context, Europe cannot indefinitely outsource its security. Europeans should be able to carry out a larger range of tasks on their own, while working with the US and other allies and partners whenever possible. Cooperation at EU level is not the only way to strengthen Europe’s assets and resolve in security and defence matters, but it can and should play a bigger and decisive role. To be a more effective security provider and a viable partner, Europe needs to become more strategic and more autonomous. Advancing strategic autonomy in this domain is an uphill struggle. European countries have different strategic cultures and major shortfalls in military capabilities. 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.
This paper argues that the EU should brace, empower and engage. Bracing entails developing a common strategic culture and building up Europe’s resilience against old and new challenges. Europeans need to define what they want to be able to do together, through which capabilities and to counter which threats. Empowering requires enhancing cooperation to deliver the capabilities that Europeans need to carry out more demanding military tasks, and to achieve the operational capacity to do so. Improving coherence between the instruments for defence cooperation recently established at EU level, and a stronger engagement from member states, will be critical to make concrete progress.