Achieving strategic autonomy for Europe essentially demands projecting military power but without reforming the EU's decision-making rules or ceding an inch of sovereignty in defence to Brussels, say national officials. Instead, EU countries should develop a shared "culture of military readiness" and a common understanding of where and when force is required, they said.
"If we don't have the ability to project hard military power, we will become irrelevant," General Fernando Alejandre Martínez, Spain's chief of defence staff, told a 4 June conference in Brussels on strategic autonomy hosted by the Friends of Europe think tank, warning that "any flank we leave open will be filled by third parties".
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