EU defence – towards a stronger and more decisive Europe

Main takeaways:
– Ignored and neglected for too long, defence has risen to the very top of the EU’s agenda, even animating summit debates among Heads of State and Government. This approach reflects not only the worsening threat environment we live in, but also Europe’s acknowledgement that it needs to take more responsibility for its own security and defence.
– Russian aggression against Ukraine is a watershed moment in European security, provoking deep shifts in the EU’s and member states’ foreign security and defence outlook.
– The European Union is at a crossroads: Either it manages to become a more capable, more self-reliant actor—or it will suffer the consequences in an interdependent, yet ever more antagonistic international system.
– The making of Strategic Compass has been a very inclusive process with fruitful contributions of member states and the EU institutions. Member states have been included from the beginning by providing civil and military intelligence data for classified threat analysis that is a basis for further work on the Strategic Compass.
– The main objective of the Strategic Compass is to provide political direction for the EU’s security and defence and improve the Union’s operational effectiveness, resilience, capabilities and cooperation with partners.

On 13 April 2022 YPFP Brussels hosted an event with Stijn Mols, Head of Division Security and Defence Policy at the European External Action and Raluca Csernatoni, visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe. The panel was moderated by YPFP Brussels Security and Defence Officer, Marina Otasevic.

The event opened with an overview by S. Mols on the importance of the Strategic Compass and expectations regarding its implementation. The document lays out a common strategic vision for EU security and defense, as well as sets up a timeline for achievable and practical objectives. According to Mr. Mols, the Strategic Compass will be a barometer for both member states and the bloc’s ambitions to make the EU a leading security provider for its citizens. R. Csernatoni gave overview on Strategic Compass from the academic perspective and pointed out that the Strategic Compass provides clear guidance to common security and defence. The main message of the Compass is that each EU member can’t deal with our security threats on its own. Moreover, even the EU alone can’t face these threats, so the Compass underlines the importance of partnerships with other countries and organisations.

Written by Marina Otasevic, Security & Defence Officer, YPFP Brussels