EU-LISTCO Policy Papers nº. 9 (2021)
There is a growing scepticism regarding the implementation of the European Union Global Strategy (2016), which builds on the idea of fostering resilience to the east and south, in a neighbourhood increasingly threatened by governance breakdown and violent conflict. Scholars highlight the vagueness of resilience, as well as the existing contradictions between policy sectors and member states’ preferences, as key elements constraining EU foreign policy. In response to these shortcomings, the idea of ‘strategic autonomy’ is currently being deployed to entertain a geopolitical EU and implement the Global Strategy more efficiently. This paper discusses how the idea of strategic autonomy is used, contrasts it with that of resilience as envisioned in the Global Strategy, and highlights some unforeseen risks for the EU external action: 1) strategic autonomy might be unrealistic in the short term and thus widen the gap between capabilities and expectations; (2) intervening geopolitically can also imply a move away from aspirations to foster resilience in a constructive and cooperative way with other partners.