What is a compass for? Finding the right direction when you’re lost, then staying the course. The expression “strategic compass”, adapted from English compass, is therefore not necessarily the happiest to express a new voluntarism in terms of European security and defense.
However, this is the tone that the head of diplomacy of the European Union (EU), Josep Borrell, intends to give to the project that he presents, Monday, November 15, to the foreign ministers of the Twenty-Seven, in Brussels, against the backdrop of the Belarusian crisis: the time has come to hard power because, he writes in the preface to this “Strategic Compass”, “Europe is in danger”.
The last European Commission document setting out the strategic orientations of the Common Security and Defense Policy, designed by Mr Borrell’s predecessor as EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, dates back to 2016.
The world has changed since – and not for the better: the general direction of this new project clearly reflects the degradation of the international environment as well as the imperative for the EU to be able to respond to direct threats itself that result. It proposes the creation of an autonomous European capacity for rapid deployment, capable of responding to a variety of missions, while avoiding the pitfalls of past systems. EU citizens, explains Josep Borrell to World, expect her to be able to “Ensure their safety”. In other words, summarizes the former Spanish minister: “Projecting outside, uniting inside, protecting Europeans”.
Crisis on the eastern border of the EU
It’s urgent. At the time when the Foreign Ministers of the Twenty-Seven, then those of Defense, meet in Brussels at the beginning of the week, the crisis born of a “hybrid attack” by the Belarusian regime against Poland, Lithuania and Latvia on the eastern border of the EU is the center of attention.
Here, the weapon used by the dictator of Minsk, Alexander Lukashenko, whom Brussels accuses of seeking to destabilize the EU, is that of the instrumentalization of thousands of asylum seekers, stranded in a disastrous humanitarian situation between Belarusian soldiers and Polish. The tension is rising every day.
At the same time, at the start of winter, Europeans are facing another strain on their gas supply, 30% of which depends on Russia. President Vladimir Putin has long understood the geopolitical value of energy and knows how to use it, whether it is powerful Germany or little Moldova.
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EU offers its “strategic compass” against the backdrop of Belarusian crisis