EU Defense (Doctrine)

Europe must have strategic autonomy (Michel Barnier)

© CP Europe de la Défense / F. Daburon
© CP Europe de la Défense / F. Daburon

(BRUSSELS2) Event at the European Commission today. For its last meeting, before the summer break, commissioners Tajani (Industry), Barnier (Internal Market) led by President Barroso present a communication on a subject that is rarely discussed, in the top floors of the Berlaymont (where the commissioners sit). We met Michel Barnier shortly before. Here, in a few sentences, is how we can not summarize this text, but situate its importance (a paper published in Ouest-France this morning).

• You are presenting today a communication on the defense industry, why is this important?

Europe is not just a big supermarket. It must be a human and social community, living together. And it must be a political power. Europe's political power must be built. And it goes through foreign policy and defense policy in particular.

• Does this mean changing your state of mind?

Yes. Europe must emerge from naivety. A new common political will is needed from Europeans with regard to their own security. There are a number of sensitive topics such as geolocation, cloud (virtual storage), key technologies and sensitive materials that we should not be subcontracting or dependent on China, Russia or others. We must be autonomous and independent. Europe must equip itself with a culture of strategic autonomy.

• What do you offer concretely?

We propose in particular to think about the critical capabilities that Europe should equip itself with. For example hospital boats, means for cybersecurity, strategic transport planes (NB: useful in Mali for the Serval operation), canadairs (against forest fires), boats capable of pumping oil on the high seas in the event of a disaster... There is no shortage of examples where we can do better, with less money, together! The Commission is ready to support a political decision to pool capacities.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

3 thoughts on “Europe must have strategic autonomy (Michel Barnier)"

  • Sergio Ribeiro

    Finally we talk about work. Instead of constantly looking at itself in the mirror, Europe must be built through these projects. Because of their cost, there are dimensions of human activity that no longer make sense if borne by a single country. For example, canadairs may very well be European instead of national. The canadairs are a good example. But a European industrial policy would be another. Finally, there are plenty of projects that can be opened up, on which we can work together, which will give real meaning to European integration.

  • Congratulations Mr Barnier, yes it is high time for Europe to become aware of what it can represent in the world.
    Its autonomy in large sectors is essential, it will be if the politicians show it the challenge of the next European elections but it will have to be explained because the brains are sometimes sluggish.

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