The EU Strategic Compass

EESC opinion: The EU Strategic Compass

Key points


  • Takes the view that the Strategic Compass paints an overly positive picture of European security and defence policy, and calls for a broader definition of security and for a reflection on strategic interdependence.
  • Believes that the Strategic Compass marks an essential step forward as a catalogue of important concrete projects and measures that enhance European security, but it must be expanded to form a comprehensive strategy for EU foreign and security policy and civil society must be involved in this process (possibly via public forums for strategic debates at European and national level).
  • Stresses that security goes far beyond defence; a comprehensive strategy should focus on civilian and preventive aspects as well, to back up and complement the concrete defence measures. Security sensu largo includes also aspects of energy, transport, food security, citizens' security etc., so civil society should be a key stakeholder in a debate, where this opinion marks the first step.
  • Recalls the preventive importance of social justice, economic prospects and environmental sustainability. Social peace and economic stability are prerequisites for non-violence. Limiting global warming and managing its consequences are key to maintaining social order and peace in the world.
  • Affirms that the EU's defence should not compete with NATO, but should be a strong addition to it. NATO is the EU's key security provider. Europeans must contribute greater added value to NATO by boosting their own ability to act strategically. So far, the EU and NATO have not fully exploited the potential of their cooperation. Strengthening the European pillar of security and defence means strengthening NATO.
  • Calls on the EU to take more responsibility and create a European Defence Union as the European pillar of NATO, ensuring respect for the neutrality of some of its MS. The EU advocates peace, the use of military power must be a last resort in conflict prevention and resolution, but we need to be able to defend ourselves robustly when necessary.