Strategic Autonomy of the European Union:
Reality or Good Intention?

Arbatova N.K.,

Professor, Head of Department on European Political Studies, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences,

elibrary_id: 261811 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2019.06.04
For citation:

Arbatova N.K. Strategic Autonomy of the European Union: Reality or Good Intention? – Polis. Political Studies. 2019. No. 6. P. 36-52. (In Russ.).

This article was prepared with the support of the Russian Science Foundation, the project No. 17-18-01536


Integration processes as the highest level of integration, in the formation of a common security and defense policy, have traditionally been – and remain to this day – the most difficult area of life of the EU. Firstly, it has always been especially difficult for EU member states to sacrifice a part
of their sovereignty in the field of foreign policy and security. Secondly, the existing disagreements in the European Union on these issues have reflected the dichotomy of the EU member states that are trying to reconcile traditional atlantism with the security interests of the EU. The article analyzes the evolution of the military component of European integration at the current moment both in the context of international political changes in the field of global and regional security, and through new imperatives for the EU to gain strategic autonomy. In particular, special attention is paid to objective deep-seated changes in transatlantic relations after the end of bipolarity, primarily the crisis of allied relations in NATO, which in modern conditions inevitably leads to a structural demarcation of allies. The article proves that the European Union’s adoption of the Global Security Strategy (GSS), and subsequent EU initiatives in the development of the GSS, opened a new period in the formation of the military autonomy of the Union.

European Union, European Integration, Permanent Structured Partnership, Common Security and Defense Policy, Ghent Initiative, Global Security Strategy, populist nationalism, European Defense Action Plan, European Defense Agency, European Defense Fund, NATO, European security.


Biscop S. 2018a. Letting Europe Go Its Own Way. The Case for Strategic Autonomy. – Foreign Affairs. 06.07. URL: (accessed 12.09.2019).

Biscop S. 2018b. European Defence: Give PESCO a Chance. – Survival. Global Politics and Strategy. Vol. 60. No. 3. P. 161-180.

Biscop S. 2019. Fighting for Europe. European Strategic Autonomy and the Use of Force. – Egmont Paper 103. January. 22 p. URL: (accessed 12.09.2019).

Coelmont J. 2019. European Strategic Autonomy: Which Military Level of Ambition? Egmont. Royal Institute for International Relation. No. 109. URL:­tonomy-which-military-level-of-ambition/ (accessed 12.09.2019).

Fiott D. Strategic Autonomy: Towards ‘European Sovereignty’ in Defence? 2018. – European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS). Breif Issue. November. URL: (accessed 12.09.2019).

Major С., Mölling С. 2010. EU-Battlegroups: Bilanz und Optionen zur Weiterentwicklung europäischer Krisenreaktionskräfte. – SWP-Studie. S. 22. Berlin: Stiftunk Wissenschaft und Politik. 35 S. URL: (accessed 12.09.2019).

Techau J. 2012. Time for Strategic Europe. – Strategic Europe. Ed. by J. Techau. Washington: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. P. 9-13.

The Memoirs of Captain Liddell Hart. 1965. Vol. II. London: Cassell.

Walt S.M. 2019. Europe’s Future Is as China’s Enemy. – Foreign Policy. January 22. URL: (accessed 12.09.2019).


Arbatova N. 2012. The Crisis and the European Union: Political Aspects. – World Economy and International Relations. No. 11. P. 33-42. (In Russ.)

Evropeiskii Soyuz i regional’nye konflikty [European Union and Regional Conflicts]. 2011. Ed. by N.K. Arbatova, A.M. Kokeev. Moscow: IMEMO RAS. 143 p. (In Russ.)

Content No. 6, 2019

See also:

Arbatova N.K.,
EU Security: Micro-Aggression with Macro-Consequences. – Polis. Political Studies. 2021. No5

Novikova O.O.,
European Union in the System of International Security: New Instruments of Crisis Settlement. – Polis. Political Studies. 2008. No4

Sheynis V.L.,
Russia’s national security. durability trial. Part II. – Polis. Political Studies. 2010. No1

Kholodkovskii K.G.,
Freedom vs Security? Europe and Mass Immigration. – Polis. Political Studies. 2019. No2

Ponamaryova A.M., Tatuntz S.A.,
Immigration as problem of national security of the RF. – Polis. Political Studies. 2010. No4



Introducing an article

Polis. Political Studies
5 2004

Blyakher L.Ye.
Political Myths of the Far East

 The article text


   2022      2021   
   2020      2019      2018      2017      2016   
   2015      2014      2013      2012      2011   
   2010      2009      2008      2007      2006   
   2005      2004      2003      2002      2001   
   2000      1999      1998      1997      1996   
   1995      1994      1993      1992      1991