The European Foreign Policy in a Hostile Environment
In a brittle world without enduring strong international alliances, the debate on Europe’s ‘strategic autonomy’ has gained new resonance, but it should not shadow the EU’s unique key international assets in the global economy and multilateral order. Working with global networks to promote norms and public goods is key to push back on nationalism, the rise of geopolitics and transactionalism.
Strategic autonomy’ and ‘complementarity with NATO’ usually appear in the same sentence in the European debate – the latest doctrinal iteration to be found in the EU Global Strategy of June 2016. The ensemble reflects Europe’s need to rely on its transatlantic relationship for security and territorial defence, empowering it to carry out foreign policy too. The EU’s greatest foreign policy achievement of enlarging to Central Europe after the Cold War, pursued in tandem with NATO expansion, is testimony to this pairing.