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Finding Direction with a Strategic Compass? Reflections on the Future of EU Security and Defence

19 February 2021
Photo of a compass together with images of participating speakers at the conference

The EUISS and the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU co-organised a high-level conference on the EU Strategic Compass on security and defence on 19 February 2021. The Compass - to be delivered in early 2022 - offers the EU an opportunity to show greater operational clarity, enhance its resilience, develop high-tech capabilities and work closer with partners. Joined by the João Gomes Cravinho, Portugal’s Minister for National Defence, Charles Fries, Deputy Secretary-General for CSDP and Crisis Response at the European External Action Service (EEAS), and Jiri Sedivy, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency (EDA), over 200 participants tuned in for the online event.

The event gave rise to a number of creative ideas for how the EU can boost its security and defence, and two panels enlivened the debate with perspectives from national capitals, EU institutions and bodies and think tanks. One panel welcomed representatives from Portugal, Germany, Slovenia and France in order to gauge EU Member States’ ambitions for the Strategic Compass. Senior EU officials from the Security and Defence Policy Division at the EEAS, the EU Military Staff and the European Commission signalled a way forward to enhance EU security and defence with concrete operational targets. This was a lively event that stimulated further reflection on the Strategic Compass.