Sunday

23rd Jan 2022

Podcast

Europe on a power trip

  • With Joe Biden as US president-elect, does the French concept of 'strategic autonomy' for the EU still hold water? (Photo: Helena Malikova)

"Strategic autonomy" has become the mantra for European Union officials.

It started as a broadly French idea: that Europe needs sufficient military power to promote peace and security independent of the US.

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Nowadays the term also includes the power in trade and technology that Europe needs to avoid getting squeezed by China and America.

But with Joe Biden as US president-elect, and prospects for a renewal of trans-Atlantic ties, the urgency and relevance of the concept are again up for debate.

Nathalie Tocci wrote the European Global Strategy that gave the concept of strategic autonomy its prominence. She says strategic autonomy should remain a guiding principle for Europe, even after Donald Trump leaves the White House.

Another challenge for strategic autonomy comes from EU member states with liberal economic and internationalist outlooks.

Financial Times Brussels reporter Mehreen Khan talks about the implications of strategic autonomy for Europe's free traders, the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, and the durability of Europe's soft power credentials.

Author bio

EU Scream is the progressive politics podcast from Brussels. Produced by James Kanter with graphics by Helena Malikova and music by Lara Natale.

You may also subscribe via iTunes, Spotify or from the EU Scream website.

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Speaking at the Global Progressive Forum, former Italian prime minister Enrico Letta describes the victim-shaming of Italy and Spain during the financial crisis - and explains how a big bag of money from Brussels may be helping heal the wounds.

Book Club: The Scent of Wild Animals

Liberal lawmaker Sophie in 't Veld says the European Union's survival depends on overcoming creeping sclerosis, ending acquiescence to autocrats, and embracing the kind of political spectacle that captures the public imagination.

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