Monday was an important moment in my mandate, when I presented the Strategic Compass to EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence. I invite you to read my personal foreword to the Strategic Compass, which focuses on the why, the what, the how and the why now: LINK TO PDF.
We have been working on the Strategic Compass for months, gathering input and refining the text. I was pleased that the initial reactions from member states were positive. Many Ministers commended us for underlining the seriousness of the deterioration of Europe’s strategic environment: threats are coming from everywhere; they are intensifying; becoming more connected; and the capacity of individual member states to cope is declining. Ministers agreed on the gravity and urgency of the situation and that we cannot afford ‘business as usual’.
There was also a welcome degree of support for the range of concrete policy options identified by the Strategic Compass how to respond to the challenges we face. These cover the full policy spectrum, with clear timelines to measure progress. From my side I stressed that we must avoid the risk of treating this as yet another EU paper, with limited buy in and follow up.
The next steps belong to the member states: they have the prerogatives and the assets. We will work on the text together, to adopt it in March 2022, under the French EU Presidency. In the coming months, I will continue to work for an approach that is both ambitious and result-oriented. The cost of passivity and inaction is high, which is why I am convinced that the moment for decisive steps is now.
The Strategic Compass is no magic wand, but it is a guide for action, setting a direction. In the end, only the decisions of member states will determine whether the geo-political shifts are yet another wake up call that goes unheeded. Or, whether we are starting a new chapter in European security and defence when we finally decide to face our security responsibilities.