Trade and Globalisation


Recommendations for the Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy

02 Dec 2015 - 15:08
Bron: High Representative Federica Mogherini at United Nations General Assembly 2015 / Flickr / cc / EEAS

High Representative Federica Mogherini is currently drafting the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, which will be submitted to the European Council by June 2016. Clingendael makes the following recommendations, which are compiled from Clingendael publications from the last years:


  • In conveying its liberal values, the EU and its member states need more pragmatism and less pretention. As the competition between divergent ideas and underlying principles grows, mere rhetoric and claiming the moral high ground no longer work – if they ever did. It is good to explicate values in words on certain occasions, but what really matters are actual policies that promote such values directly. The message to the domestic public needs to reflect this as well: the message should be that results are traceable but can hardly be expected in the short term. The new EU trade strategy is a promising example of change in this direction; free trade agreements as a direct way to promote not just (economic) value but European values as well (more specifically: political and economic liberal values such as labour rights, civil liberties, market capitalism). (see Trade Diplomacy in EU-Asia Relations: Time for a Rethink)

Regional focus and relations with partners

  • Although it is clear that the European Union has global interests, values of global relevance and objectives that reflect these, a prioritisation of interests, values and objectives is necessary. The EU should lead the way in tackling the threats originating in the immediate neighbourhood: if the EU cannot be decisive here, it will lose all claim to a global role. (see Defence Matters: More Urgent than Ever)
  • The Trans-Atlantic relationship should remain a core pillar in the EU’s foreign and security policy, at least in the decade to come (more specifically: until more is certain about what a world with different or shared leadership might look like). The more confrontational policy of the United States towards China and the reform of multilateral governance notwithstanding, the powers on both sides of the Atlantic share core fundamental political and economic principles and related interests. The primacy of this relationship should be emphasized. That being said, the EU should not be seen as a lapdog of the US, meaning that policies should at times differ – also as an attempt to steer Washington’s policies in a different direction when deemed necessary by the EU. (see Europe’s Response to China’s Activism)
  • The EU and its member states need to develop a shared framework to underpin their dealings with China. Increasingly faced with the choice of engaging, co-opting, or confronting China’s growing activism in global economic governance as well as regional security, such a shared framework is required to strengthen the EU’s capability to get China out of its comfort zone (the trade field is a good example of this). The (re)establishment of a real China taskforce is a first practical step in this direction. (see Europe’s Response to China’s Activism
  • In its approach towards Russia and the Eurasian Union, the EU and its member states should adopt a strategy of ‘Tentative Compatibility’, which would shy away from a new, full partnership with Russia and would instead opt for an ad hoc and more technical relationship, keeping dialogue and options open for times when there would be a better perspective for closer engagement. (see  From Competition to Compatibility: Striking a Eurasian Balance)
  • The EU needs to strengthen its partnerships with sub-regional organisations (such as AU or ECOWAS) that go beyond financial support. This requires closer cooperation between CSDP, EU delegations and Special Representatives. The deployment of military liaison-officers can be helpful in this regard. (see The EU as a Security Actor in Africa – forthcoming)
  • The EU and NATO need to redefine their relationship and opt for flexible cooperation (‘just do it’). Responses to hybrid threats need to be fully aligned and a more strategic approach is required concerning EU-NATO coordination for military operations. (see New Threats, New EU and NATO Responses and European Strategy, European Defence and the CSDP
  • The EU should streamline its internal and external communication. Maintaining the traditional separation of internal and external communication spheres is completely out of touch with the reality of vast information flows that simply ignore borders (see EU Leaders Should Change Tone when Talking to the Rest of the World and Communicating Europe)  

Defence matters in Global Strategy

  • The Global Strategy should clearly acknowledge the importance of the contribution of CSDP. The EU needs strategic regional autonomy to deal with the security problems in its neighbourhood. This requires more robust military CSDP capabilities, including an autonomous Military Planning and Conduct Capability. (see New Threats, New EU and NATO Responses)
  • A follow-on exercise is required to define priorities for capacities and capability development: the elaboration of a CSDP sub-strategy or a White Book (albeit perhaps under a different title). (see New Threats, New EU and NATO Responses)
  • The increasing robustness of opposing forces, for example in Africa, places higher demands on the deployment of EU (military) instruments. More robust military forces for CSDP require more fire power, more sizeable troop contributions and increased protection.(see New Threats, New EU and NATO Responses and The EU as a Security Actor in Africa – forthcoming)
  • The EU should facilitate and support deeper defence cooperation, including by using financial incentives (see) and facilitating coordinated capability planning (and concept development), focusing on coordination and monitoring of the Member States’ efforts (see Defence Cooperation in Clusters; Defence Matters: More Urgent than Ever and Bold Steps in Multinational Cooperation)
  • The Global Strategy should include the options for flexibility in decision-making in foreign and security policies. The Lisbon Treaty provides various articles that will make this possible (Art 20 and 44 TEU; Art. 329 TFEU). (see Defence Matters: More Urgent than Ever)

The relationship between external and internal security

  • Drafting an integrated security and foreign policy strategy should remain an aspiration. For now, it is wiser to focus on a strategy that sets out the priorities for external policies, while clearly highlighting the necessity to involve the linkages between internal and external security policies and instruments. The focus should be on the phased intensification of coordination between the actors responsible for the external and internal policies. (see The Relationship between External and Internal Security and Defence Matters: More Urgent than Ever)
  • Migration across the Mediterranean will not be stopped by the EUNAVFOR Med Sophia operation alone. A truly comprehensive approach of tackling the root causes, improving regional refugee facilities, enhancing border management in transit countries and a common EU asylum policy would provide a sustainable answer to this problem. In the EUNAVFOR Med Sophia operation, close operational coordination between internal and external security instruments can be complemented by pooling & sharing of naval and air assets in order to make optimal use of available resources. (see New Threats, New EU and NATO Responses)

The comprehensive approach

  • The Global Strategy should frame processes of cooperation within the comprehensive approach. The comprehensive approach should be translated into clear deliverables by overcoming the separation between the Commission and the EEAS to make a Shared Services Centre possible and resolve the legal issues to make a ‘Train and Equip’ instrument available to CSDP missions. (see The EU as a Security Provider and Defence Matters: More Urgent than Ever)
  • The EU has to address the threats emanating from the instability in the South – migration, transborder crime and terrorism in particular – through an integrated approach connecting all internal and external security policies and instruments to address both the root causes and the current negative consequences of the conflict in its southern neighbourhood. (see New Threats, New EU and NATO Responses)
  •  In countering hybrid threats, a common policy framework is an important prerequisite for coordinating the wide range of instruments that the EU has at its disposal. (see New Threats, New EU and NATO Responses)
  • More unity of effort is needed in EU crisis management. The Global Strategy should clarify the level of ambition and principles for the application of civilian and military instruments, and ensure that these are put into practice. (see The EU as a Security Provider)
  • In its capability development the EU has not sufficiently taken into account the changed security environment and the evolving nature of the threat. Under comprehensive capability development civilian and military institutions should systematically connect requirements, research and user programmes of overlapping dual-use capacities in areas like air transport, reconnaissance, medical support, communications and others. (see Civil-Military Capacities for European Security ;The EU as a Security Provider and New Threats, New EU and NATO Responses

  • A structural approach towards civil-military interaction is urgently needed. Civil-military synergies need to be fully explored in relation to maritime, border and cyber security. Legal barriers that block structural coordination and integration need to be removed. (see Civil-Military Capacities for European Security)