The purpose, even existence, of our Union is being questioned. Yet, our citizens and the world need a strong European Union like never before. Our wider region has become more unstable and more insecure. The crises within and beyond our borders are affecting directly our citizens’ lives. In challenging times, a strong Union is one that thinks strategically, shares a vision and acts together. This is even more true after the British referendum. We will have to rethink the way our Union works, but we perfectly know what to work for. We know what our principles, our interests and our priorities are. This is no time for uncertainty: our Union needs a Strategy. We need a shared vision, and common action.
Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission
The EU Global Strategy sets out the EU's core interests and principles for engaging in the wider world and gives the Union a collective sense of direction. Its ambition is to make Europe stronger: an even more united and influential actor on the world stage to keep citizens safe, preserve our interests, and uphold our values. Aspects of our security need a response that combines aspects of both internal and external policies. The Strategy helps the EU become more effective in confronting challenges such as energy security, migration, climate change, violent extremism, and hybrid warfare. Because none of our countries can tackle these challenges alone, we are taking steps to solve them together.
From Vision to Action - Strategic Priorities of the EU Global Strategy
The EU Global Strategy seeks to turn vision into common action. In October 2016 EU Foreign ministers decided on the most important strategic priorities for implementing the EU Global Strategy (Council Conclusions in October 2016). These are Security and Defence, Building Resilience and taking an Integrated Approach to conflicts and crises, addressing the Internal/External Nexus, updating existing strategies and preparing news ones, and enhancing Public Diplomacy.
To implement the EU Global Strategy, decisive steps are being taken on Security and Defence. In November 2016, EU Foreign and Defence ministers decided on a new level of ambition and key steps to upgrade cooperation on Security and Defence in line with the Global Strategy (Council conclusions). These Conclusions were based on HRVP Federica Mogherini's Implementation Plan on Security and Defence. This aims to improve the protection of the EU and its citizens, help governments jointly build military capacity, and develop better response to crises. Further actions to step up EU Security include the European Defence Action Plan, which proposes financial help for Member States for more efficient joint procurement and capability development, and steps to put into effect the EU-NATO Joint Declaration.
Building resilience at home and abroad means creating a more responsive union. The EU will focus on enhancing both state and societal resilience, which includes supporting governance-building, accountability, and enhancing links with civil society. In particular, resilience-building will target the EU's surrounding regions in the East and the South, spanning from Central Asia to Central Africa. Furthermore, taking an integrated approach to conflicts and crises will strengthen the EU's ability to address the multiple dimensions and stages of the conflict cycle.
Strengthening the internal/external nexus requires promoting a more joined up union. Issues such as Counter-Terrorism, Counter-Violent Extremism, Migration, Sustainable development, and Cyber security can only be addressed with a joined up approach without drawing a distinction between 'internal' and 'external' issues, which looks increasingly artificial. Many issues are both internal and external, and can be better addressed by optimising synergies and ensuring coherence between EU policies and institutions.
In a more complex world, the Global Strategy should be reflected in all issue areas of strategic cooperation, including fields such as climate diplomacy, energy diplomacy, economic diplomacy, and cultural diplomacy. This includes, for example, implementing actions under the Communication on "Culture in EU external relations." The EU will also continue its engagement on the multilateral scene to promote a rules-based order for addressing global challenges.
In a more connected world, it is important to project a coherent image of the EU and its core values. This can be done by engaging more effectively with state and non-state partners, as well as consolidating EU public diplomacy efforts such as study exchange networks and youth initiatives. Promoting EU programmes such as Horizon 2020, a multi-billion EU Research and Innovation programme that focuses on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges, is also an important part of EU public diplomacy.
The sustainable development goals will be a cross-cutting dimension of all this work. Human rights, peace and security, and gender equality and women's empowerment will continue to be mainstreamed into all policy areas. Moreover, to ensure that a wide range of views are included, the EU Global Strategy and its implementation will continue to build on input from numerous outreach events and analysis of the research community.