Three conditions and five dilemmas

IED Strategic Research Paper by Lorenzo Vai



Internal EU issues related to the exercise of its decision-making power are at the heart of the debate on strategic autonomy. The problems are not exclusively with regard to the competences assigned to Brussels or the related decision-making procedures, but also involve the shortcomings and divergences between the 27 different political wills.

This paper deals with the subject of EU strategic autonomy, the current cornerstone of European political and public debate. The article is divided into three parts. The first describes the genesis and development of the idea of strategic autonomy, from the vision promoted by President De Gaulle to the most recent developments. The second part explores some aspects of the concept: what it means; what are the essential conditions for its realization; and to which political areas does it apply. Finally, in the third part, five trade-offs ‒ or dilemmas ‒ of a political nature are presented that encompass the reflections concerning the strengthening of Europe’s capacity for action. The paper examines alternatives that are certainly very current, and that must be kept in mind whenever the search for autonomy requires political compromises, which is almost always.


About the author

Lorenzo Vai is a Diplomat and works at the Policy Planning Unit of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

#StrategicAutonomy # Atlanticism #consectetuer