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A Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy for the European Union

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The EU Global Strategy – Year 1

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The EU Global Strategy at 1 - Personal Message by Federica Mogherini

High Representative of the Union for foreign and security policy / Vice-President of the European Commission

We have lived through an eventful year in Europe and beyond. If I think back to June 2016, when I presented the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy, the world was a very different place. Since then, the Global Strategy has helped us steer the course of our foreign and security policy through difficult times.

First of all, the Global Strategy has served as a springboard to relaunch the process of European integration after the British referendum. One year ago, after that referendum, many predicted an “inevitable” decline of the European Union, and imagined that the Global Strategy would stay in a drawer or would very soon look outdated. Others told us that the change the Global Strategy advocated for would have taken years to turn into reality, or might simply never happen. This has not been the case. On the contrary, we have moved fast – and united – on concrete implementation, starting with security and defence. In this field, more has been achieved in the last ten months than in the last ten years. The new command centre for EU military training and advisory missions is now reality. A coordinated annual review of national defence budgets is taking shape. Preparations for a Permanent Structured Cooperation on defence among interested Member States are moving forward.

Far from being outdated, the Global Strategy has stood to the test of time in a very dense year. The Global Strategy’s push for a European Union of security and defence, in complementarity with NATO and all our partners, anticipated the debate on military burden-sharing across the Atlantic. In a moment when the crucial role of the United Nations’ system, the importance of development cooperation, or the reality of climate change are put into question, the Global Strategy has been a reminder of the European Union’s strategic interest in a cooperative world order. It has helped us swim against the tide, keeping our unity and building strong global alliances around our key priorities.

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A Global Strategy for the European Union

We need a strong European Union like never before. It is what our citizens deserve and what the wider world expects. The European project which has brought unprecedented peace, prosperity and democracy is being questioned. To the East, the European security order has been violated, while terrorism and violence plague North Africa and the Middle East, as well as Europe itself. Yet these are also times of extraordinary opportunity. Global Growth, mobility, and technological progress – alongside our deepening partnerships- enable us to thrive, and allow ever more people to escape poverty and live longer and freer lives.

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 that keeps citizens safe, preserves our interests, and upholds our values. To confront new challenges and keep us safe we need a response that combines internal and external policies. The EU Global Strategy helps makes our Union more effective in confronting 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. We will navigate this difficult, more connected contested and complex world guided by our shared interests and principles. We will stand united in building a stronger Europe.

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.

Strategic Priorities

Security and Defence

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 to ensure the Security of our Union 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 and taking an Integrated Approach

Building resilience at home and abroad means creating a more responsive union. The EU will strengthen the resilience of states and societies by supporting good governance, accountable institutions, and working closely with civil society. Our support will target in particular the EU's surrounding regions in the East and the South, spanning from Central Asia to Central Africa. The EU also supports an integrated approach to conflicts and crises, which means being fully engaged in all stages of a conflict, from early action and prevention, wherever possible to staying on the ground long enough for peace to take root.

Strengthening the Internal/External Nexus

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 by joined-up EU policies and institutions.

Updating existing strategies or preparing new ones

In a more complex world, we need to combine traditional diplomacy and security and defence policy with being engaged in effective climate diplomacy, energy diplomacy, economic diplomacy, and cultural diplomacy. Following the launch of the EU Global Strategy we are reviewing all our policy fields to make sure our policies re aligned and reflect the realities of a rapidly changing world and the demands for greater security coming from our citizens.

Enhancing Public Diplomacy

In a more connected world, it is important to project a clear vision of what the EU stands for and seeks to achieve in the world. We are working closely with state and non-state partners, as well as boosting EU study exchanges, our alumni networks and youth initiatives. Promoting EU programmes such as Erasmus+, our flagship study programme and Horizon 2020, a multi-billion EU Research and Innovation programme, 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 are an integral part of all our policies. 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.

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