The 2017 US National Security Strategy states that ‘great power competition has returned,’ having been dismissed as a phenomenon of the past. This is due to Russia and China, which are increasingly perceived as challenging American interests around the world. The return of great power competition has also led to intensified US calls for its European allies to shoulder a greater share of the collective burden of maintaining security in the transatlantic area, in the context of NATO. These calls have acquired a new sense of urgency as a result of President Donald J. Trump’s ‘America first’ foreign policy.
Furthermore, Russia’s continuing war in Ukraine, the migration and refugee influx of 2015-16, and multiple terrorist attacks have pushed European countries to take steps to also strengthen the EU’s defence dimension. This event tackles questions such as: what implications does the return of great power competition have for the transatlantic relationship? What is NATO’s role in mitigating great power competition from both Russia and China? How can burden sharing within NATO be improved? What implications does deeper EU defence cooperation have for NATO? And who is going to defend Europe from external threats, if not NATO and the US?