How can the EU become more independent in an increasingly challenging world?
The political debate on European strategic autonomy (ESA) has gained new momentum with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as the repercussions of this war have raised fundamental questions about the EU’s leverage over and dependence on other countries. The main idea behind the concept of ESA is the EU’s ability and means to enhance its freedom from a set of external dependencies – and also to enhance its freedom to conduct its policy autonomously and in line with its fundamental values and interests. Yet does the EU have the capacity and agency to set priorities and make decisions autonomously in its external action? What are political, institutional, and material steps needed to achieve strategic autonomy?
Guided by these pressing questions and in search of a progressive answer, FEPS, in partnership with Fondation Jean-Jaurès and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung EU-Office Brussels, conducted a research project between 2020 and 2023 looking into three critical policy domains in which it is vital for Europe to attain the necessary freedom and wherewithal to pursue this objective of ESA:
security and defence
economy and trade
digital and technology
This policy brief summarises the discussions and main findings of our ESA research project. Overall, Europe must adapt to the new and challenging global realities. To do this, the EU needs to act with more unity and coordination in different domains, as well as to build resilience and reduce its external dependence on certain fundamental resources. For instance, in the field of ‘security and defense’, it is highlighted the importance of further integration, convergence of interests among EU institutions and member states, more flexible and efficient institutional frameworks, and a clear definition of the EU’s interests and goals in its external action. In the field of ‘economy and trade’, the risks the EU faces from excessive dependencies have become clear, and Europe must adapt to the new realities. Policy solutions exist for key issues. Ingenuity, technical expertise, and – most importantly – European unity will be needed to implement them. In the ‘digital and technology’ field the EU will need to be able to think strategically and for the long term and to take a holistic perspective that allows for trade-offs across different domains.
This Policy Brief is part of a Strategic Autonomy Series, you can find out more about this issue on the project webpage.
Une réforme de l’UE qui intéressera forcément les Suisses
by Le Temps 24/11/2023
'EU reform bound to be of interest to the Swiss', an opinion piece in Le Temps on EU Treaties changes by Maria João Rodrigues, FEPS President, Guillaume Klossa, Director of think tank EuropaNova and Daniela Schwarzer, Executive board member Bertelsmann Stiftung
« Le moment est venu de lancer un débat sur la réforme de l’Union européenne »
by Le Monde 22/11/2023
'The time has come to launch a debate on the reform of the European Union', an opinion piece in Le Monde on Eu Treaties changes by Maria João Rodrigues, FEPS President, Guillaume Klossa, Director of think tank EuropaNova and Daniela Schwarzer, Executive board member Bertelsmann Stiftung
A Europa em tempo de guerras
by Público 06/11/2023
'Europe in times of wars'. With two wars unfolding in the European neighbourhood, FEPS President, Maria João Rodrigues, reflects in Público on the EU's capacity to play its role as a major international actor and exert its own strategic autonomy
‘SDG funding gap swells to $137trn’ New Policy Study from FEPS, together with Earth4All, to deliver a five-point plan for the SDGs.
by Edie 19/09/2023
The “SDGs for All” report emphasises that policymakers have the potential to significantly advance SDG implementation by the original 2030 deadline and beyond by enacting five “extraordinary turnarounds” that break away from current trends.
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