What is Strategic Autonomy?
Strategic Autonomy is a policy objective of the EU – put simply, the capacity to act independently. It started out as a term to be used when discussing the development of EU defence capabilities separate to NATO.
In her 2021 State of the Union speech, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen flagged the Strategic Compass review on European defence as ‘a key process of this discussion’. France has been a leading advocate for the EU’s strategic autonomy – Von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron are due to convene a Summit on European defence.
The term ‘Strategic Autonomy’ is also more widely applied to other policy areas such as trade and digital technologies. Some have developed the term into the related ‘open strategic autonomy’ – in other words, a combination of independent and interdependent action in particular with regard to trade.
Read more about whether the EU has its own army here.