Online Event ‘EU Defence Cooperation after Covid-19: Quo Vadis?’

The main preoccupation of the EU and its member states will be, for the foreseeable future, to deal with the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, other policy areas are affected as well. Regarding the EU’s security and defence policy, COVID-19 is likely to extinguish the unprecedented dynamism that has characterised its development since 2016. The immediate impact will be decreased funding for several new initiatives, such as the European Defence Fund.

The pandemic is also likely to reduce the EU’s readiness to address crises in its neighbourhood and may hasten the Union’s relative decline as a global power, especially if its recovery is slow and wrought by prolonged disputes between the member states over the appropriate economic response to the crisis. However, even after the pandemic, the EU will continue to face familiar challenges such as cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, and instability in its neighbourhood.

This discussion thus focused on exploring three key questions: (1) What does COVID-19 mean for the future of EU defence cooperation? (2) Is ‘strategic autonomy’ still an appropriate level of ambition for the Union? (3) How will the pandemic shape the EU’s strategic environment?