A European Union that acts globally requires realistic strategic objectives. This will improve transparency within the Union and increase its credibility with third parties.
The definition of clear objectives is the most important prerequisite for the ability to act and react. The Strategic Compass will point the way for the EU’s actions in the area of security and defence in the future.
The EU Member States differ in their respective strategic cultures as well as in their country-specific priorities and perspectives. This is precisely the EU’s strength and facilitates a 360-degree perspective of the world. Still, the Strategic Compass, being a new security policy document, must be based on a broad political consensus and a strong political will to act. It is therefore important to identify, above all, those threats and challenges that affect all Europeans and to specify those objectives pursued by all Europeans.
The EU Global Strategy has already defined the top-level priorities. In a next step, the EU Member States will now take more specific measures by deciding what the EU should – or should not – be able to do in terms of crisis management, capacity building for partner states and protecting the Union and its citizens. Agreement on these core aspects will lead to a sustainable enhancement of the EU’s ability to act.
The answer is: Europe must act together; the concept of national states acting alone has no future.German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel at a press conference speaking about the future of Europe
These specific definitions will help identifying the necessary capabilities and the priorities to be pursued together. The repercussions of the COVID crisis have yet again demonstrated the great significance of solidarity and joint action in the EU. The insights gained and lessons learned during this pandemic will be incorporated into the Strategic Compass. One thing is evident even now: More steps on the way towards better cooperation in the field of security and defence are needed. The Strategic Compass is to set the course for these steps.
The political and strategic discussions must be based on a common perspective on the security challenges the EU will be facing in the years to come. Therefore, during Germany's EU Council Presidency, the EU conducted its first common threat analysis. Supported by the national civilian and military intelligence services, the Single Intelligence Analysis Capacity of the European External Action Service (EEASEuropean Union External Action Service) presented a very comprehensive analysis of political, economic and military as well as complex hybrid risks and threats affecting the EU. Care was taken to make sure that all EU Member States and their respective threat perceptions are duly reflected in that analysis.
The EEASEuropean Union External Action Service is the EU’s diplomatic service. It supports the work of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – from the coordination of the EU’s CFSP-related measures (Common Foreign and Security Policy) to their implementation by the Council.
The road towards the Strategic Compass
After the successful conclusion of the threat analysis at the end of 2020 and its acknowledgement by the EU defence ministers, the development of the Strategic Compass can now proceed. This is a two-stage process:
First part of 2021 – dialogue phase
Second part of 2021– drafting phase
The official adoption of the final Strategic Compass is planned for the first half of 2022.
The EEASEuropean Union External Action Service Single Intelligence Analysis Capacity
The Single Intelligence Analysis Capacity (SIAC) is part of the crisis management structures of the European External Action Service (EEASEuropean Union External Action Service) and thus reports to the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. SIAC combines the two EEASEuropean Union External Action Service intelligence elements: the civilian Intelligence Analysis Centre (INTCEN) and the military Intelligence Directorate of the EU Military Staff (EUMS INTFraunhofer-Institut für Naturwissenschaftlich-Technische Trendanalysen). Both INTCEN and EUMS INTFraunhofer-Institut für Naturwissenschaftlich-Technische Trendanalysen evaluate the material already analysed by the national services and complement the accumulated findings with open-source intelligence. They do not, however, use intelligence methods to gather information. These EU intelligence bodies are thus pooled in SIAC in order to generate comprehensive information products covering both civilian and military aspects, to be handed over to the EU institutions and the Council, but also the EU Member States.