The EU’s planned ‘Strategic Compass’ will define its security and defence ambitions. Though not a panacea, it could give European defence more coherence and should help foster a common strategic outlook among member-states.

Europe’s security is threatened by conflict in its neighbourhood and big power competition on the global stage. In June 2020 EU defence ministers agreed to develop a ‘Strategic Compass’, a new strategy defining EU aims in security and defence policy. The Compass, which is supposed to be adopted by European leaders during the French Presidency in the first half of 2022, will build on a comprehensive threat analysis that the European External Action Service (EEAS) will complete by the end of this year. The Compass will not replace the EU’s 2016 Global Strategy, which set out the overall priorities of the Union’s foreign policy. Instead, it is supposed to be a ‘mid-range’ strategy, translating the EU’s priorities into tangible goals and defining what capabilities the Union should develop. The Compass also aims to foster a common European ‘strategic culture’, pushing member-states towards a common understanding of the key threats to Europe and how to counter them together.

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