Does the New EU Global Strategy Deliver on Security and Defence?

06-09-2016

The Global Strategy for the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy presented by High Representative Federica Mogherini on 28 June 2016 sets out a ‘Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe’, in response to the Member States’ request for a new framework in which the EU can tackle the challenges and key changes to the EU’s environment identified in a strategic assessment carried out in 2015. Many expectations were raised ahead of its publication but it soon became clear that defence would be a central element of the Global Strategy. A number of defence priorities emerged from the exchanges between the main stakeholders: a central role for the common security and defence policy (CSDP); a clear level of ambition with tools to match; emphasis on EU-NATO cooperation; and concrete follow-up measures such as a ‘White Book’ on European defence. Seen in this light, the Global Strategy captures the urgent need to face the challenges of today’s environment and it may prove to be a major turning point in EU foreign policy and security thinking. It emphasizes the value of hard power — including via a strong partnership with NATO — along with soft power. It will not be easy for the Member States to match the level of ambition set in the Global Strategy and its success will be judged in terms of the follow-up and the measures taken to implement it. Could the first step be a White Book on European Defence?

The Global Strategy for the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy presented by High Representative Federica Mogherini on 28 June 2016 sets out a ‘Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe’, in response to the Member States’ request for a new framework in which the EU can tackle the challenges and key changes to the EU’s environment identified in a strategic assessment carried out in 2015. Many expectations were raised ahead of its publication but it soon became clear that defence would be a central element of the Global Strategy. A number of defence priorities emerged from the exchanges between the main stakeholders: a central role for the common security and defence policy (CSDP); a clear level of ambition with tools to match; emphasis on EU-NATO cooperation; and concrete follow-up measures such as a ‘White Book’ on European defence. Seen in this light, the Global Strategy captures the urgent need to face the challenges of today’s environment and it may prove to be a major turning point in EU foreign policy and security thinking. It emphasizes the value of hard power — including via a strong partnership with NATO — along with soft power. It will not be easy for the Member States to match the level of ambition set in the Global Strategy and its success will be judged in terms of the follow-up and the measures taken to implement it. Could the first step be a White Book on European Defence?