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EU Should Develop 'Strategic Autonomy' to Secure Proper Role in Int'l Arena, Borrell Says

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The European Union should secure its proper place in the international arena amid rising geopolitical competition by taking the bloc's fate "into its own hands" and developing the so-called strategic autonomy, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell wrote in an opinion piece for Project Syndicate published on Friday.

"It is now more clear than ever that Europe must take its security, broadly understood, into its own hands. Doing so will not only secure the European Union's proper place on the world stage but will also ensure a healthy transatlantic partnership in the years ahead," Borrell wrote.

In particular, the EU official believes that the bloc should achieve the so-called strategic autonomy — "an ability to think for oneself and to act according to one’s own values and interests" — while strengthening its alliances and remaining committed to multilateralism and openness.

"The EU is facing serious strategic challenges in today’s antagonistic international environment, where geopolitical rivalries and great-power competition are on the rise. That is why, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel once bluntly put it, 'We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.' We must stand on our own feet," Borrell added.

The diplomat said further that the bloc's strengthening and reaching the strategic autonomy, which is focused mainly on security and defence, was always supposed to be pursued within NATO. However, Europe's security challenges today go beyond the alliance's competence — there are numerous regional crises the EU needs to respond to. Therefore, the bloc needs to develop its own common position to maintain regional stability.

"To succeed, Europe must develop its own framework for monitoring and analyzing threats, so that it can move quickly from threat assessment to operationalization and response. That is why we are now developing a Strategic Compass. It is crucial for the strategic-autonomy discussion to expand far beyond the issues of defence and security. As the COVID-19 crisis has shown, issues such as public health and economic interdependence are no less important," Borrell added.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell addresses a video press conference at EU headquarters in Brussels, Tuesday, June 2, 2020 - Sputnik International
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According to the diplomat, the concept of strategic autonomy will help the EU strengthen its role at the global level and become "the partner of choice for every other country and world power."

The idea came in light of hopes that Democratic candidate Joe Biden's victory in the US presidential election will put relations between Washington and Brussels back on track. However, according to the EU diplomat, such a scenario is only possible as long as the transatlantic relationship benefits the US, and only a stronger EU "shouldering a greater share of global responsibilities" can make this relationship valuable.

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