Strategic foresight: a zero-sum game? — The EU Strategic Compass and NATO 2030

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Peace, Security & Defence
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Annual peace, security and defence summit

About

New times require new approaches. NATO and the European Union must stay ahead of the game or risk falling behind. Amidst a European and global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the emerging geopolitical environment and our increasingly digitalised world, both institutions have faced the fact that it is time to set new strategies to confront novel and increasing threats.

The EU has reaffirmed its objective to work towards a strategic autonomy that allows the Union to be a stronger global partner; to do so, it is preparing a Strategic Compass, set to launch in early 2022, that will help define what kind of security and defence actor the EU wants to be and identify the right objectives and concrete goals for its policies. Meanwhile, NATO has embarked on its NATO 2030 initiative, looking at how to adapt to the new environment and remain ready to face tomorrow’s challenges. Both initiatives highlight the importance of working with likeminded partners towards these objectives, but how do the EU Strategic Compass and NATO 2030 fit together? Are NATO and the EU setting a new – and very much needed – framework for collaboration?

Friends of Europe’s annual peace, security and defence summit will bring together up to 200 senior stakeholders from the world of European and transatlantic security to discuss potential synergies between the EU Strategic Compass and NATO 2030 and bring forward recommendations on how these initiatives should establish collaborative frameworks to work together towards shared objectives.


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Schedule

Schedule

MASTERCLASSES - Crisis management missions
Expand MASTERCLASSES - Crisis management missions

A key lesson of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the necessity of collaboration. That is no different in security, where EU-NATO cooperation has repeatedly proven vital. The EU strives to enhance its ability to prevent conflicts and strengthen international peace and security, while NATO seeks to develop its role as a global security provider. There have been overlapping areas of interest, such as in responding to hybrid threats and building resilience, where both institutions have been able to work together more closely, but there have been others, such as developing coordinated strategies to deal with regional crises, where there is still much room for improvement. Both the EU and NATO have networks of influence, tools and levers to shape developments in their eastern and southern neighbourhoods and beyond, but are they using these instruments in the most coordinated and effective way?

This session presents four masterclasses on crisis management in key areas in which EU-NATO collaboration should highlight a common understanding of threats and a balanced division of labour. Our masterclasses, held before the first session, are designed to explore and provide insights on new defence and security opportunities which may not be familiar to all participants. These courses will help participants gain a more intimate understanding of the key issues that will be discussed during the summit’s sessions. Please note that the masterclasses have a limited number of places which will be available on a first come, first served basis. The themes discussed are connected to our series of security reports and are crafted by security experts.

Table 1 – Security in the Black Sea
Table 2 – Security in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea
Table 3 – Security in Libya
Table 4 – Security in the Indo-Pacific

OPENING SESSION - Addressing common threats: can the EU and NATO raise their game?
Expand OPENING SESSION - Addressing common threats: can the EU and NATO raise their game?

New times require new approaches. The rise of authoritarian players has taken place in a world where both major and medium-sized powers are increasingly willing to take risks and use military force to coerce rivals, adversaries and neighbours. Other threats and challenges, such as the difficult global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, an increasingly digitalised world and the need to better prepare for future shocks, have led both the EU and NATO to face the fact that it is time to set new strategies.

The EU is preparing a Strategic Compass, set to launch in early 2022, that will help define what kind of security and defence actor the EU wants to be and identify the right objectives and concrete goals for its policies. Meanwhile, NATO has launched its NATO 2030 initiative, looking at how to adapt to the new environment and remain ready to face tomorrow’s challenges.

As a first step, both institutions have begun the process of identifying key emerging threats. NATO 2030 has singled out 13 key threats, with Russia, China, and emerging and disruptive technologies at the top of its list. On the EU side, the ‘360 degrees analysis of the full range of threats and challenges’ prepared by the European External Action Service remains confidential, as those working on the EU Strategic Compass consider which threats should fall under the Lisbon Treaty’s mutual defence clause as part of the EU’s security ambitions.

  • How can the EU Strategic Compass achieve buy-in from all member states without being reduced to the lowest common denominator?
  • Are the EU and NATO assessing the threat of authoritarian powers correctly, and how have their responses measured up thus far?
  • Where does NATO’s new Strategic Concept need to adapt and modernise the current roles and missions of the alliance?
SESSION II - The dawn of multilateralism: cooperation or collaboration?
Expand SESSION II - The dawn of multilateralism: cooperation or collaboration?

The EU Strategic Compass aims to set the instruments and strategies for the Union to counter increasing threats and challenges, protect its citizens and enhance its strategic autonomy to become a stronger global partner. EU officials have reiterated that the goal is to achieve strategic autonomy for rather than strategic autonomy from, pointing out that the EU should step up its game to avoid dependency on partners while enhancing the capacity of the alliance and becoming a stronger partner as a result. The Asia-Pacific region has also emerged as a strategic area of interest, highlighting the necessity for the EU and NATO to develop more structured and stronger relationships with partners in the region – whether together or in parallel. NATO 2030 recommends working ‘closer with other multilateral institutions and strategic partners to capitalise on each other’s strengths’ and aims to set a better framework for NATO-EU cooperation. But what are exactly are those ‘strengths’? Both initiatives highlight the importance of working with likeminded partners, but how do the EU Strategic Compass and NATO 2030 fit together?

  • Will NATO and the EU’s revised strategies set a new framework for collaboration?
  • Should the new transatlantic grand bargain on security be framed as an updated division of labour between NATO and the EU?
  • Is NATO taking on too many new roles or producing a more effective alliance?
SESSION III - If the competition is all about technology, science and innovation, how prepared are we?
Expand SESSION III - If the competition is all about technology, science and innovation, how prepared are we?

Recent technological developments have brought necessary advancements and progress, but they have also come with their fair share of security challenges. The security impact of these developments is not limited to state competition, especially in light of the democratisation of lethal and disruptive technologies that will be in the hands of non-state actors, private companies and individuals. The widespread use of Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will continue to radically change the ways in which citizens interact with information, while at the same time creating new weaknesses to be exploited by internal attacks and intelligence operations. Future security challenges will be more disparate as a result.

The post-pandemic environment underscored the need for resilient supply chains to make use of the aforementioned technological developments and the necessity to absorb best practices and lessons learnt. It is also a prime opportunity for the EU and NATO to influence each other’s reflection processes and work together more closely.

  • How resilient are Western partners in terms of technology, science and innovation?
  • What are the EU’s technological strengths and weaknesses?
  • Are authoritarian regimes really out-competing democracies in the high-tech challenge?
End of the summit
Speakers

Speakers

General Robert Brieger
General Robert Brieger

Chief of Defence Staff of the Austrian Armed Forces

Show more information on General Robert Brieger

As an officer of the armoured corps, General Robert Brieger has worked on various assignments in the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence. In addition to having previously served as the former chief of staff of the Minister of Defence, Brieger is the former head of the Logistics Planning and Coordination Division and of the Operational Requirements Directorate. He was appointed force commander of the EU-led Operation EUFOR ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina, prior to which he was also the Austrian contingent in Kosovo and chief of staff of the 9th Armoured Infantry Brigade in Lower Austria.

Silvia Colombo
Silvia Colombo

Senior Fellow in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa programme at Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI)

Show more information on Silvia Colombo

Silvia Colombo is an expert on Middle Eastern politics, whose work focuses on Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, transatlantic relations in the Mediterranean and domestic and regional politics in the Arab World. Her research interests also include the relations between the European Union and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as energy dynamics in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Colombo speaks Arabic fluently and has travelled extensively throughout the Middle Eastern region.

Mary Fitzgerald
Mary Fitzgerald

Journalist and analyst specialising in the Euro-Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya, Trustee of Friends of Europe and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Mary Fitzgerald

Mary is a journalist and analyst specialising in the Euro-Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya. She has worked on Libya since 2011 and lived there throughout 2014. Her work has appeared in publications including The Economist, Foreign Policy, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Financial Times and The Guardian. Mary has also conducted research on Libya for the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMED), among others. She is a contributing author to an edited volume on the Libyan revolution published by Oxford University Press. In her previous role as Irish Times foreign affairs correspondent, Mary reported from 40 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. She is a member of the Global Women’s Forum ‘Rising Talents’ network.

Tania Lațici
Tania Lațici

Policy Analyst at the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS)

Show more information on Tania Lațici

A security and defence policy expert, Tania Lațici currently works as a Policy Analyst at EPRS. In parallel, she is an Associate Fellow with the Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), in which roles her work focuses on transatlantic relations. Latici was also appointed by NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg to co-lead the NATO Young Leaders advisory body to assist the NATO2030 process. A former Denton Transatlantic fellow at CEPA, she has also been recognised as a GLOBSEC Young Leader and a Warsaw Security Forum New Security Leader.

Andrea G. Rodríguez
Andrea G. Rodríguez

Research Fellow and Project Manager at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB)

Show more information on Andrea G. Rodríguez

Andrea G. Rodríguez is an expert in emerging technologies, whose research focuses on the strategic consequences of quantum information science and artificial intelligence (AI). In addition to her role at CIDOB, she also serves as a member of the Programme Committee at the European Cybersecurity Forum (CYBERSEC) and Lead Researcher at the Global Observatory of Urban Artificial Intelligence (GOUAI), a joint initiative of CIDOB and the cities of Barcelona, Amsterdam and London that aims to support members’ AI policy work with evidence-based knowledge. Rodríguez is a NATO 2030 Young Leader.

Stefano Sannino
Stefano Sannino

Secretary-General of the European External Action Service (EEAS)

Show more information on Stefano Sannino

Prior to his current role, Stefano Sannino served as deputy secretary-general for economic and global issues at the EEAS. Throughout his career, he has held various senior positions at the European Commission, including director-general for enlargement and director for crisis management at the Directorate-General for External Relations. A renowned Italian diplomat, Sannino formerly served as ambassador of Italy to Spain and Andorra and as the permanent representative of Italy to the EU. He was also previously the diplomatic advisor to the Italian prime minister and his personal representative to G8 summits.

John J. Sullivan
John J. Sullivan

Ambassador of the United States of America to the Russian Federation

Show more information on John J. Sullivan

chair of the global law firm’s national security practice, during which time he also served as chairman of the US-Iraq Business Dialogue. Sullivan has previously held senior positions at the US Justice, Defense and Commerce Departments, most notably as the deputy secretary of commerce and the general counsel of the Department of Commerce.

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