European Interest

MEPs call for firm response to the external security challenges

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The EU should affirm and implement its capacities for a better assessment of crisis situations, faster decision-making and more robust action where circumstances so require.
In the annual report 2021 on the implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs warn that the EU is facing new threats and call for firm response to the external security challenges.

Security and defence challenges for the EU

Terrorism, hybrid threats, cyber-attacks, instrumentalisation of migration, disinformation and foreign interferences which have blurred the lines between war and peace are among the new and evolving threats that are emanating from both state and non-state actors, say MEPs in the report that was adopted by 41 votes in favour, 17against and 8 abstentions. The increased militarisation around the world, instability and unpredictability on the European Union’s borders and in its neighbourhood also pose threat to the security of the continent.

Strategic Compass -a major step towards a genuine European Defence Union

The report notes that 2020 was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which exposed EU’s insufficient coordination and dependencies vis-à-vis the rest of the world. MEPs call the EU to learn lessons and reinforce its resilience, security of supply, digital and technological sovereignty and overall strategic autonomy.                                                              Welcoming the launch of the work on the Strategic Compass as an unprecedented strategic reflection, MEPs state that the Compass should constitute a major step towards a genuine European Defence Union. A robust defence policy would give the EU the means to effectively work towards peace, human security, democracy and sustainable development, says the report.                                                                                                                  In the contexts of the EU’s objective of achieving strategic autonomy, the response to the external security challenges is in a better assessment of threats, crisis situations, in faster decision-making and more robust action where circumstances so require. The EU should also act autonomously where necessary, in order to defend its interests and values, while respecting alliances and partnerships, state MEPs.                                                        The report underlines the need to strengthen partnership with the allies, notably NATO and the UN, as well as a reinforced EU-US transatlantic cooperation on the basis of an equal partnership.

More flexible and more robust mandates for CSDP Missions and Operations

Acknowledging the contribution of CSDP missions and operations to peace security and stability, the report stresses the importance of providing military missions with more flexible and more robust mandates which are tailored to the situation on the ground. The report also supports the ambition of creating a ‘rapid entry capacity’ with air, maritime and special forces components that can be mobilized in a context of security emergency.              Rapporteur Natalie Loiseau (Renew, FR) said: “It’s time to move from words to action in European Defense. Our environment has become more dangerous, less stable. Regional powers, authoritarian regimes are threatening our democracies. This is the reason why we must be able to send swiftly troops in crisis situations and when we have to evacuate our nationals. Also, we need to be able to work together against hybrid threats, cyber -attacks, disinformation, weaponisation of migration as well as to be strong security providers alongside our partners, but also autonomously, if we need to. Europe also needs a strong defence industry, as we cannot rely only on others for our security and to protect our value’s. ”

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