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Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Policy Brief  No.88 - September, 2020

The European Union’s Security and Defence Policy: Struggling to Find its Role in the Big Power Game

The EU seems to be at a watershed in its foreign, security and defence policy. A number of broad trends—the migration to Europe, Brexit, the Trump Administration’s “America first” policy, the re-emerged geopolitical rivalry and the Corona crisis—suggest that the EU is confronted with tough decisions to find its role in this changing environment when the multilateral world order is crumbling. The ambition of strengthening the Common Foreign and Security Policy has been put in second place by national interests and foreign policy contradictions. Many indicators point in the direction of realpolitik and an intensified military role for the EU. In this process it is essential to design and agree upon a realistic EU Common Foreign and Security Policy, so that the priorities are clear: first the political concept, followed by the necessary civilian and military capacities.