Global Agenda Strategic Thinking

EU ́s Strategic Compass and its Implications: What is the Future of European Strategic Sovereignty?

Michaela Dubóczi

The Strategic Compass represents a major political proposal to prevent the risk of “strategic shrinkage”. Strategic shrinkage refers to three main courses: the EU’s economic reach is becoming circumscribed, its strategic theatre is increasingly contested, and its political sphere is being squeezed. Therefore, the ambition of the document is aiming for “strategic sovereignty”.

The Strategic Compass stresses the need to create space for political will and operational efficiency, which should maintain the real credibility of the EU. The document was to reflect three main questions: What challenges and threats do we face? How can we join our resources and use them more effectively? How can Europe exercise its influence as a regional and global player?

The Compass lists deliverables for the short (2022) and medium terms (2025) across the compass’s four “baskets”. The first basket, “Crisis management”, focuses on strengthening the EU’s ability to react quickly to crises and to enhance its overall preparedness. It is manifested through the EU’s military and civilian missions and operations. “Resilience”, the second basket, is seen as the concept of ‘preparedness and prevention, early warning systems and coordination structure

The row of events such as Brexit, migration crisis, Covid crisis, and Ukraine crisis leading to war, have significantly undermined European confidence. On the other hand, it has brought more unity and commitment that is required in building the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy and its integral part – Common Security and Defence Policy. The present publication addresses all of the above-mentioned topics and seeks to reflect on and bring an assessment of the aims and significance of the Strategic Compass.s’, needed to prevent shocks and crises and also to ensure the ability to withstand them. The basket focuses on the protection of the EU’s key functions and interests and on reducing vulnerabilities on the continent and abroad. The third component is represented by the “Defence capabilities”, meaning cooperation and frameworks for joint research and defence capability development. The fourth basket is named “Partnerships” and is focused mainly on the links between the EU and NATO, and the transatlantic partnership.

The perception of European security was slightly changed in the light of the recent events in the European neighbourhood – mainly the Russian aggression against Ukraine. There is a certain amount of criticism pointing at the alleged doubling or copying the NATO responsibilities or powers. However, the case of war in Ukraine shows the importance of EU-NATO cooperation and common goals. Strategic Compass is to offer a range of proposals to bring greater coherence and common sense of purpose to European security and defense actions.

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EU ́s Strategic Compass and its Implications: What is the Future of European Strategic Sovereignty?

– Michaela Ružičková

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