Mogherini’s global strategy moves beyond zero-sum game

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the EC, speaks during a visit to Iraq, 22 Dec. 2014

"Giving the coordination of the neighbourhood declustering to Mogherini is no silver bullet, but certainly an option to consider. Neighbourhood policy is part of foreign policy," said Pascal Lamy. [European Commission]

Against growing internal and external threats, the new global strategy devised by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini reinforces the soft power mantra and urges jettisoning the illusion that international politics can be a zero-sum game, has learned.

“This is no time for global policemen and lone warriors,” writes Mogherini in a strategy to be presented on Wednesday (29 June) to EU leaders and seen by EURACTIV. “The European Union has prided itself on its soft power and it will keep doing so, because we are the best in the field.”

“Our foreign and security policy has to handle global pressures and local dynamics, it has to cope with super-powers as well as with increasingly fractured identities,” she said, stressing that the EU will invest in regional orders and in cooperation among and within regions.

Against the backdrop of many, including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, calling for an EU army, Mogherini goes towards strengthening defence cooperation.

EPP leaders bang drum for European army

EXCLUSIVE / Centre-right leaders will greenlight a plan to move towards an EU defence union at the European People’s Party congress in Madrid next week, has learned.

“When it comes to collective defence, NATO remains the primary framework for most member states,” she said, adding therefore that the EU will need deepen cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance.

“The EU needs to be strengthened as a security community,” she said adding that defence policy and spending remain national prerogatives. But since no member states can afford to do this individually, this requires a concerted and cooperative effort, she said.

In the wake of the referendum on the EU in the UK, the strategic note will not be discussed at the EU summit, diplomats told EURACTIV. Brexit itself has implications for the EU’s global strategy, the UK being one of the two nuclear forces and permanent UN Security Council members. “But the postponement [of the presentation of the Global Strategy] could have been the end of it,” a diplomat said.

An EU official told EURACTIV that the strategy reflects very much Mogherini’s own assessment of global issues. “This is not a traditional Commission’s communication or policy paper from the European External Action Service. It is really her vision,” the official said, noting that the Commission’s services gave input but nothing more.

Pragmatism and tailor-made policies

The strategy, drafted by Mogherini and her close adviser Nathalie Tocci, aims to be a political and intellectual framework, a reference, on which to pin future actions, and should be read in terms of competences rather than on geographical terms, a close aide to Mogherini told EURACTIV.

“Global” is not just intended in a geographical sense, Mogherini writes in the forward, but it also refers to a wide array of policies and instruments the strategy promotes. “It focuses on military capabilities as much as job opportunities, inclusive societies and human rights. It deals with peace building and the resilience of states and societies in and around Europe.

The vision eyes five priorities – security, state and societal resilience in the EU’s East and South, an integrated approach to conflicts, cooperative regional orders and global governance in the 21st century.

Tailor-made policies should be developed when it comes to increase the resilience in our surrounding regions, the strategy emphasises. Putting the finger on the Western Balkans and Turkey, Mogherini notes that the resilience of these countries cannot be taken for granted.

“We will develop common and tailor-made approaches to migration featuring development, diplomacy, mobility, legal migration, border management, readmission and return,” the strategy reads.

Russia threatens peace and stability in Europe

The paper identifies Russia as being a key strategic challenge for the EU, calling for a united approach as the cornerstone of EU policy towards Moscow.

“Peace and stability in Europe are no longer a given. Russia’s violation of international law and the destabilisation of Ukraine, on top of protracted conflicts in the wider Black Sea region, have challenged the European security order at its core,” the strategy argues, urging to stand united in upholding international law, while enhancing the resilience of the EU’s eastern neighbours.

EU to label Russia a 'strategic challenge'

Until the illegal annexation of Crimea, the European Union had labelled Russia its “strategic partner”. But in the new EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, which is expected to be unveiled at the end of June, the bloc will label Russia its “strategic challenge”, a diplomat said yesterday (30 May).


Regional governance

Identifying the complex regional webs of power, Mogherini notes that regions represent critical spaces of governance in a increasingly decentralised world.

“Voluntary forms of regional governance offer states and peoples the opportunity to better manage security concerns, reap the economic gains of globalisation, express more fully cultures and identities and project influence in world affairs,” the strategy insists, calling for promotion of support of cooperative regional orders worldwide.

“We will not export our model, but rather seek reciprocal inspiration from different regional experience,” the strategic paper stresses.

Member states will consider the strategy’s implementation until the end of the year, a diplomat told EURACTIV.

Diplomats prefer the text to be adopted via the regular ministerial meetings in the Council of the EU, including the foreign affairs and defence Council, but also possibly the energy and trade Councils.

In June 2015 the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini – presented her strategic assessment of the global context to EU leaders.

They asked her to prepare an EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy to guide the European Union's global actions in the future.

The Global Strategy, which will be presented to EU leaders at the EU summit in June 2016, will be developed in close cooperation with member states, as well as with EU Institutions and the broader foreign policy community.

Subscribe to our newsletters