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European Strategic Autonomy in Security and Defence

04 Dec 2020 - 13:56
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Now the going gets tough, it's time to get going. 

Based on the current situation some argue against European strategic autonomy, out of a fear that it could lead to an American withdrawal of its military support to the European continent. On the opposite side one can find proponents of a European Union with full strategic autonomy to play its part in the global competition with the great powers (China, Russia and the US), implying once again that the concept is wider than only being autonomous in security and defence.

The ‘against school’ seems to deny the increasing doubt about the US security guarantee to Europe and neglects the need for the EU to pursue its own strategic interests, backed up with military forces when required. The ‘pro school’ assumes too easily that the EU can overcome its disunity and that serious military shortfalls will be rectified within a couple of years.

Aiming for “a certain degree of autonomy” might be a way out, but this raises several questions such as: what degree of strategic autonomy, for what purposes and which related military capabilities are needed? Furthermore, are Europe and the EU synonyms?

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Dick Zandee (Head Security Unit/Senior Research Fellow, the Clingendael Institute)

Bob Deen (Senior Research Fellow/Coordinator Russia and Eastern Europe Centre, the Clingendael Institute)

Kimberley Kruijver (Junior Researcher, the Clingendael Institute)

Adája Stoetman (Junior Researcher, the Clingendael Institute)