The EU’s Strategic Compass for Security and Defence: What Type of Ambition is the Needle Pointing to?


By Daniel Fiott

For the past twenty years, the EU has deployed numerous missions and operations to different parts of the world and it has agreed on a suite of new initiatives to boost capability development, synchronise defence investment plans and enhance operational capacity. However, there is still a fundamental question facing the EU and its Member States: where is the security and defence policy heading in light of rising geopolitical challenges? Is there a common threat perception among member states? The Strategic Compass offers a way forward on crisis management, resilience, capabilities and partnerships, but it will mean little without sustained political engagement by EU member states. To enhance the EU’s operational capacity, this policy brief argues that it could break the taboo on organising live joint civil-military exercises, it should use the EU Treaties to allow certain member states to undertake specific security and defence tasks and it needs to invest in protecting contested spaces in the global commons.

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