Strategic Autonomy: Not without integration

European Strategic Autonomy series - Security & Defence

Policy Brief

13/01/2022

One dimension of strategic autonomy has been firmly decided upon since the EU created its Common Security and Defence Policy in 1999: the projection of military force outside the borders of the EU. That is also the dimension that must, and can, be acted upon in the very short term.

Autonomy is a mindset. An actor that does not think autonomously will never act autonomously, regardless of its capabilities. Five components of that mindset are essential. First, member states must see the EU is a great power, in the same league as the US, Russia, and China. Second, the EU must take the lead in stabilising its own periphery – nobody will do that for it. Third, the only meaningful level of ambition remains the Headline Goal of up to 60,000 troops.


Fourth, autonomy can only be achieved in a European grouping, not by any member state alone. Finally, autonomy requires integration of national forces, not just interoperability between them. While the weak argue amongst themselves – Do we have strategic autonomy? Do we want strategic autonomy? – the strong exercise their autonomy. There is no time to waste, therefore.

Those member states that share this mindset can create a set of permanent multinational formations, with national brigades, ships, and air squadrons as building-blocks. They can do that now, so that when the EU adopts its Strategic Compass in March 2022, it can unveil a real capability initiative at the same time.

Read the Policy Brief

Find all related publications
Publications
06/07/2022

Europe needs high-tech talent:

European Strategic Autonomy series - Digital & Technology
06/07/2022

Countering economic coercion

European Strategic Autonomy series - Economy & Trade
06/07/2022

Leveraging trade policy for the EU’s strategic autonomy

European Strategic Autonomy series - Economy & Trade
04/07/2022

Partnerships and European strategic autonomy

European Strategic Autonomy series - Security & Defense
Find all related events
Events
Upcoming
13/10/2022
Berlin (Germany)

Progressive Governance Summit 2022

This conference brings together cutting-edge intellectual thinking and impactful political actors for a renewal of the progressive […]
Past
07/07/2022
Online

Strategic Autonomy – Digital & Technology

Policy Breakfast Series
06/07/2022
Online

Strategic Autonomy – Economy & Trade

Policy Breakfast Series
Find all related news
News
31/05/2022

HRVP Josep Borrell participates in FEPS expert meeting on the war and the reconstruction of Ukraine

On May 23rd, FEPS organised a timely expert meeting on the war and the reconstruction […]
12/05/2022

New report shows young Europeans fear war spreading across Europe and call on EU countries to spend more on defence

Brussels, 12 May 2022 – As war continues to rage in Ukraine, a new survey has found that nearly […]
22/09/2021

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 […]
21/09/2020

On the eve of the UN General Assembly, FEPS unveils a proposal for a new, inclusive and fair multilateralism

On the eve of the 75th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Foundation for European […]
Find all related in the media
In the media

Ukraine uses Russian invasion to pass laws wrecking workers’ rights

by Open Democracy 20/07/2022

Flames of Kyiv

by Encompass 17/05/2022

Crise na Ucrânia pode ser o toque de caixa para a Europa enfrentar temas “onde tem estado a marcar passo”

by SAPO 10/05/2022

EU sees strengthened partnership with US vital for global recovery – EURACTIV

26/01/2022