FEPS leads a new flagship research project on EU Strategic Autonomy with top European experts

Does the EU have the capacity and agency to set priorities and make decisions autonomously […]

Does the EU have the capacity and agency to set priorities and make decisions autonomously in its external action? What are the necessary political, institutional and material steps to get there? How can strategic autonomy help the EU to face the challenges within and beyond European borders?

To answer these questions, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), in cooperation with the Brussels office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and the Fondation-Jean-Jaurès, launches Strategic Autonomy – pathways to progressive action, a new flagship research project aimed at investigating the concept of ‘European strategic autonomy’ (ESA).


Despite the concept getting more central in EU affairs circles every day, there is a persistent lack of clarity on what European strategic autonomy actually means. For this reason – and with the debate over ESA’s definition, content and implications in full swing – it’s time for progressive thinkers to provide an in-depth analysis of the concept and set an agenda on where to direct and how to operationalise the term.

High-level policy experts and academics will address the topic from three complementary perspectives – namely 1) Security and Defence, 2) Economics and Trade, and 3) Digital and Technology – and will provide analysis and concrete, actionable recommendations for policymakers.

Among the renowned researchers that take part in the project, it is our pleasure to highlight the participation of Nicoletta Pirozzi (IAI), Claudia Major (SWP), Pol Morillas (CIDOB), and Sven Biscop (Egmont) in the Security and Defence Working Group, and of Patryk Pawlak (EUISS), Andrea Renda (CEPS), and Paul Timmers (Oxford University) in the Digital and Technology Working Group.

The project is led by Vassilis Ntousas, David Rinaldi and Justin Nogarede on the part of FEPS.

The publication of the first Policy Briefs is expected by October-November 2021. You can follow the progress of this research on the dedicated project page on FEPS website or by following FEPS on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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