*Gregoire Roos is a visiting Think Visegrad scholar and this policy paper was produced within the Think Visegrad Non-V4 Fellowship programme.

What do we, Europeans, want to be able to achieve on our own?” The question, underpinning the much-discussed concept of strategic autonomy at a time of increasing divergence with the U.S., has become central to the discussion on the future of EU defence and security framework. If for the French and, to a large extent, the Germans, the issue is that of the EU’s ability to foster capability development and military-industrial cooperation between the Member States, it still sounds to the Visegrad Group (V4) as a threat to NATO and U.S.-EU relations.

In their unshakable commitment to NATO and their cautious support to the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), the V4 offers a very insightful example of the rationale and arguments of the EU countries still reluctant to fully commit to the concept of strategic autonomy and its underlying political ambition. This policy paper aims at addressing the following questions:

  • What do the V4’s consensus and divergence, as regards European defence and security, tell us about the strengths and weaknesses of the concept of “EU strategic autonomy”?
  • What concrete lessons can we draw from the V4 case study to enable greater EU resilience in defence and security?

The debate around European strategic autonomy is not a unitary one. And, the V4 is all the more enlightening case study that, in spite of its attachment to NATO, it cannot be grasped as a homogeneous group when it comes to EU defence cooperation and CSDP initiatives. This policy paper stresses the importance of increased EU-NATO interoperability and cooperation. And at a time when the challenge for the EU is to do more together, it tackles the sensitive question of the lack of consideration of Paris and Berlin for some of the V4’s most pressing concerns. Finally, put forward are several recommendations on how to push the V4 to further engage in the global EU discussion on defence cooperation, so as to avoid a detrimental multi-speed EU of defence.

Read the full report below.