Strategic Autonomy of the European Union in Security and Defence
Volume 18, Issue 1 (2020), pp. 5–22
Pub. online: 1 December 2020 Type: Article Open Access
1 December 2020
1 December 2020
The paper presents theoretical considerations regarding the understanding of strategic autonomy in the field of security and defence. It starts with the theoretical understanding of the term “autonomy” and dilemmas concerning autonomy in the EU. Then it identifies and describes the key initiatives in the field of security and defence conditioning the EU’s achievement of strategic autonomy in this area and the main problems of their implementation. The presented conclusions are based on the qualitative analysis of the source material, mainly, the EU normative documents. They lead to the following observations. First, there is no clear definition and interpretation of “strategic autonomy” in the EU normative documents. This can lead to confusion and over-interpretation by individual Member States which may understand strategic autonomy differently, especially in the area of security and defence. Secondly, the majority of the Member States recognise security and defence as an area enabling the achievement of strategic autonomy. However, there are differences between countries in terms of understanding strategic autonomy. Two approaches are visible amongst the EU members: full sovereignty and flexible autonomy in the field of security and defence. Thirdly, the security and defence initiatives adopted by the EU over the past few years can provide the basis for achieving strategic autonomy in this area.