The prioritisation by the US of the Indo-Pacific theatre and of competition with China, Russian revisionism and the growing volatility in Europe’s southern neighbourhood call for greater European responsibility in the areas of security and defence. In line with the Spanish-Dutch concept of an ‘open strategic autonomy’, this brief outlines a vision that bridges greater European responsibility with transatlantic cohesion in security and defence. We aim to transcend institutional debates about the EU vs NATO and reflect on what greater European autonomy might mean in the context of three strategic priorities: deterrence, stability and a forward maritime presence. We recognise the need to prioritise security challenges in Europe and its immediate vicinity (ie, through deterrence and stability), not least in light of the evolving security situation in Eastern Europe. However, we also call on Spain and the Netherlands to step up their cooperation in the maritime domain to strengthen Europe’s maritime presence beyond its immediate neighbourhood, most notably in the Indo-Pacific.
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