EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels with defence ministers of the 27 member states have adopted the Strategic Compass, a document aimed at defining priorities in the field of security and defence policy in the coming years, in order to strengthen and coordinate the military capacity and strategic autonomy of the EU.
It is thought in Brussels that this instrument will make the EU a “true defence and security geopolitical actor”, capable of acting “rapidly and forcefully whenever a crisis occurs, with partners if possible and alone when necessary”.
“With today’s adoption of the Strategic Compass, we are strengthening our common security and defence”, said Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde. “In challenging times, we must work to strengthen our security and defence cooperation, both within the EU and through strong transatlantic relations.”
Work on the Strategic Compass began in the EU in 2020, when the EU conducted an analysis of key threats and challenges to the union and its member states, including global and regional threats, and neighbourhood conflicts caused by state and non-state actors.
The over 40-page document envisions improving the readiness of EU armed forces and developing the capacity to quickly deploy up to 5,000 troops in conflict zones, and jointly investing in the EU’s military capability to operate on land, at sea and in the air, space and cyberspace.
The importance of strengthening the EU’s capacity to deter and respond to cyber attacks and foreign disinformation campaigns and interference is emphasized. At the same time, it points to the importance of strengthening the EU’s cooperation with NATO, the UN and the OSCE, and encouraging cooperation with individual partners such as the United States, Canada, Norway and other countries.
In the light of the war in Ukraine, the vocabulary related to Russia has been sharpened, while in the adopted document, a section on “engagement with Russia on some issues” has been deleted.