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European strategic autonomy between ambition and pragmatism


The EU is making progress towards an appropriate level of European strategic autonomy through initiatives that are set to deliver results in the coming years. Permanent Structured Cooperation has reached an impressive number of 60 cooperative projects. Allocations have started of the European Defence Fund’s €7.9 billion budget for military research and development. The fi rst drafts of the Strategic Compass have been produced and seem promising on the commitments to be agreed by EU member states in 2022. An appropriate level of European strategic autonomy means being able to deal with crisis and confl icts in regions surrounding the EU while actively contributing to Europe’s collective defence via NATO. Although the Union’s institutions will make a growing contribution to this, much will depend on the major European countries, given that defence is predominantly an intergovernmental domain. France, Germany, Italy and Spain in particular have the opportunity to move cooperation and integration forward by overcoming the challenge of embracing interdependence and shared sovereignty at EU level. A good balance between ambition and pragmatism will be key in achieving this goal.