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Toward European Strategic Autonomy

Far from being an abstract concept, European strategic autonomy has huge practical implications, especially in military and economic terms. Realizing this goal will make Europe more prosperous, secure, and influential in a rapidly changing world.

BERLIN – How, and to what extent, can Europe rely on itself for its wellbeing, security, and international influence? Global power shifts, geopolitical uncertainties, and doubts about the reliability of the United States as an ally have injected new urgency into this debate. Its outcome will be crucial for Europe’s future.

Much of the discussion so far has revolved around different terms. European Union institutions, as well as Germany, tend to prefer “strategic autonomy,” while France favors the concept of “European sovereignty.” But the two concepts are often used interchangeably, and are rarely defined precisely.

In an effort to clarify matters, my colleagues and I recently proposed an operationalized definition of “European strategic autonomy.” We also analyzed the likely obstacles, difficulties, and conflicts should German and European policymakers decide to pursue this goal.

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