The Strategic Compass of the European Union

The Strategic Compass of the European Union - Introduction

Executive Summary

The return of war in Europe, with Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine, as well as major geopolitical shifts are challenging our ability to promote our vision and defend our interests. We live in an era of strategic competition and complex security threats.

We see conflicts, military build-ups and aggressions, and sources of instability increasing in our neighbourhood and beyond, leading to severe humanitarian suffering and displacement. Hybrid threats grow both in frequency and impact.

Interdependence is increasingly conflictual and soft power weaponised: vaccines, data and technology standards are all instruments of political competition.

Access to the high seas, outer space and the digital sphere is increasingly contested. We are facing increasing attempts of economic and energy coercion. Moreover, conflicts and instability are often compounded by the threat-multiplier effect of climate change.

The European Union is more united than ever. We are committed to defend the European security order. Sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence within internationally recognised borders should be fully respected.

Supporting Ukraine in facing Russia’s military aggression, we are showing an unprecedented resolve to restore peace in Europe, together with our partners.

A stronger and more capable EU in the field of security and defence will contribute positively to global and transatlantic security and is complementary to NATO, which remains the foundation of collective defence for its members.

The transatlantic relationship and EU-NATO cooperation, in full respect of the principles set out in the Treaties and those agreed by the European Council, including the principles of inclusiveness, reciprocity and decision-making autonomy of the EU, are key to our overall security.

The EU reaffirms its intention to intensify support for the global rules-based order, with the United Nations at its core. It will also reinforce its strategic partnership with NATO and increase its cooperation with regional partners, including the OSCE, AU and ASEAN.

The more hostile security environment requires us to make a quantum leap forward and increase our capacity and willingness to act, strengthen our resilience and ensure solidarity and mutual assistance.

The solidarity between Member States is reflected in article 42(7) TEU.

The EU has to increase its presence, effectiveness and visibility in its neighbourhood and on the global stage through joint efforts and investments. Together, we can help shape the global future by pursuing a strategic course of action.

We must act as a strong and coherent political actor to uphold the values and principles underpinning our democracies, take more responsibility for the security of Europe and its citizens and support international peace and security, as well as human security, together with partners, while acknowledging the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States.

The Strategic Compass marks a high level of ambition for our security and defence agenda by:

1. Providing a shared assessment of our strategic environment, the threats and challenges we face and their implications for the EU;

2. Bringing greater coherence and a common sense of purpose to actions in the area of security and defence that are already underway;

3. Setting out new ways and means to improve our collective ability to defend the security of our citizens and our Union;

4. Specifying clear targets and milestones to measure progress.

To that end, we commit to the following concrete priority actions in four work strands:


We need to be able to act rapidly and robustly whenever a crisis erupts, with partners if possible and alone when necessary. To that end, we will:

1. Reinforce our civilian and military CSDP missions and operations by providing them with more robust and flexible mandates, promoting rapid and more flexible decision-making process and ensuring greater financial solidarity, while also promoting close cooperation with European-led ad hoc missions and operations. We will strengthen our civilian CSDP through a new Compact allowing for a faster deployment, also in complex environments;

2. Develop an EU Rapid Deployment Capacity that will allow us to swiftly deploy up to 5,000 troops into non-permissive environments for different types of crises;

3. Strengthen our command and control structures, in particular the Military Planning and Conduct Capability, and increase our readiness and cooperation through enhancing military mobility and regular live exercises, in particular for the Rapid Deployment Capacity.


We need to enhance our ability to anticipate threats, guarantee secure access to strategic domains and protect our citizens. To that end, we will:

4. Boost our intelligence capacities, such as the EU Single Intelligence and Analysis Capacity (SIAC) framework to enhance our situational awareness and strategic foresight;

5. Create an EU Hybrid Toolbox that brings together different instruments to detect and respond to a broad range of hybrid threats. In this context, we will develop a dedicated toolbox to address foreign information manipulation and interference;

6. Further develop the EU Cyber Defence Policy to be better prepared for and respond to cyberattacks; strengthen our actions in the maritime, air and space domains, notably by expanding the Coordinated Maritime Presences to other areas, starting with the Indo-Pacific, and by developing an EU Space Strategy for security and defence.


We need to invest more and better in capabilities and innovative technologies, fill strategic gaps and reduce technological and industrial dependencies. To that end, we will:

7. Spend more and better in defence and improve our capability development and planning to better address operational realities and new threats and challenges;

8. Seek common solutions to develop the necessary strategic enablers for our missions and operations, as well as next generation capabilities in all operational domains, such as high-end naval platforms, future combat air systems, space-based capabilities and main battle tanks;

9. Make full use of Permanent Structured Cooperation and the European Defence Fund to jointly develop cutting-edge military capabilities and invest in technological innovation for defence and create a new Defence Innovation Hub within the European Defence Agency.


We need to strengthen our cooperation with partners to address common threats and challenges. To that end, we will:

10. Reinforce strategic partnerships with NATO and the UN through more structured political dialogues as well as operational and thematic cooperation. We will also increase our cooperation with regional partners, including the OSCE, AU and ASEAN;

11. Boost cooperation with bilateral partners that share the same values and interests such as United States, Norway, Canada, UK and Japan. Develop tailored partnerships in the Western Balkans, our eastern and southern neighbourhood, Africa, Asia and Latin America;

12. Develop an EU Security and Defence Partnership Forum to work more closely and effectively with partners to address common challenges.

This is why this Strategic Compass sets out an ambitious but achievable plan to strengthen our security and defence policy by 2030. The case for a new impetus on EU security and defence is compelling: a more hostile environment and wider geopolitical trends call for the EU to shoulder a greater share of responsibility for its own security.


We are adopting this Strategic Compass at a time when we witness the return of war in Europe.

Over the last seven decades, the EU has been playing a major role for stability on our continent, projecting European interests and values and contributing to peace and security around the world.

With 27 Member States and 450 million citizens, our Union remains the world’s biggest single market, the most important trade and investment partner for many countries, in particular in our neighbourhood, and the largest source of development assistance.

The EU is a norm setter and has been a consistent leader investing in effective multilateral solutions. With our crisis management missions and operations operating on three continents, we have shown that we are ready to take risks for peace and shoulder our share of global security responsibilities.

Russia’s war of aggression constitutes a tectonic shift in European history. The EU is more united than ever in face of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine that grossly violates international law and the principles of the UN Charter and undermines European and global security and stability. We are showing an unprecedented resolve to uphold the principles of the UN Charter and restore peace in Europe together with our partners.

A stronger and more capable EU in the field of security and defence will contribute positively to global and transatlantic security and is complementary to NATO, which remains the foundation of collective defence for its members. The transatlantic relationship and EU-NATO cooperation, in full respect of the principles set out in the Treaties and those agreed by the European Council, including the principles of inclusiveness, reciprocity and decision-making autonomy of the EU, are key to our overall security.

The solidarity between Member States is reflected in Article 42(7) of the Treaty on European Union. More broadly, the EU reaffirms its intention to intensify support for the global rules-based order, with the United Nations at its core.

In this era of growing strategic competition, complex security threats and the direct attack on the European security order, the security of our citizens and our Union is at stake. The crisis in multilateralism is leading to more and more transactional relations among states. The spectrum of threats has grown more diverse and unpredictable.

Climate change is a threat-multiplier that affects all of us. After three decades of strong economic interdependence which was supposed to decrease tensions, the return to power politics and even armed aggression, is the most significant change in international relations.

Terrorism threatens the stability of many countries and continues to challenge national security systems worldwide. Interdependence remains important but it is increasingly conflictual and soft power weaponised: vaccines, data and technology standards are all instruments of political competition.

European security is indivisible and any challenge to the European security order affects the security of the EU and its Member States.

The return to power politics leads some countries to act in terms of historical rights and zones of influence, rather than adhering to internationally agreed rules and principles and uniting to promote international peace and security. The high seas, air, outer space and the cyber sphere are increasingly contested domains.

Finally, our world is becoming less free with human rights, human security and democratic values under attack – both at home and abroad. We face a competition of governance systems accompanied by a real battle of narratives.

In this highly confrontational system, the EU and its Member States must invest more in their security and defence to be a stronger political and security actor.

Despite the progress we have achieved over the past years, there is a major risk of being outpaced by our competitors: a lot remains to be done for the EU to raise its geopolitical posture.

This is why we need a quantum leap forward to develop a stronger and more capable European Union that acts as a security provider, building upon the Union’s fundamental values as laid down in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union. We can only do so based on a shared threat assessment and a joint commitment to action.

With this Strategic Compass, we set out a common strategic vision for EU security and defence policy over the next 5-10 years and will immediately start its implementation. This will help us build a common strategic culture, strengthen our unity and solidarity and, above all, enhance our capacity and willingness to act together, to protect our interests and defend our values. In an uncertain world, full of fast-changing threats and geopolitical dynamics, this Strategic Compass guides and enhances our action to make the EU a stronger and more capable security provider. To that end, it identifies clear goals in the area of EU security and defence, the means to achieve them and specific timelines along which we can measure progress.

Concretely it:

1. Provides a shared assessment of our strategic environment, the threats and challenges we face and their implications for the EU;

2. Brings greater coherence and a common sense of purpose to actions in the area of security and defence that are already underway;

3. Sets out new actions and means to:

• enable us to act more quickly and decisively when facing crises;

• secure our interests and protect our citizens by strengthening the EU’s capacity to anticipate and mitigate threats;

• stimulate investments and innovation to jointly develop the necessary capabilities and technologies;

• deepen our cooperation with partners, notably the UN and NATO, to achieve common goals; 4. Specifies clear targets and milestones to measure progress.

This Strategic Compass commits the European Union and its Member States in a common effort to achieve concrete results. Its objectives and proposed actions are part of an EU integrated approach and are fully consistent with and complementary to existing policies to respond to external threats that affect our internal security, in particular those laid down in the European Commission’s Security Union Strategy of 2020.

EU policies offer considerable leverage that needs to be fully mobilised to strengthen the EU’s security and defence. This Strategic Compass also builds upon the Defence and Space packages that the European Commission presented in February 2022. It contributes directly to the implementation of the Versailles agenda.

The world we face.

To prepare this Strategic Compass, we conducted the first-ever comprehensive EU Threat Analysis in 2020. This helped develop a common understanding of the threats and challenges that the EU will face in the near future. To build a common strategic culture, we will regularly revisit the Threat Analysis, at least every 3 years, or sooner if the changing strategic and security context calls for it, starting in 2022.

The overall security landscape has become more volatile, complex and fragmented than ever due to multi-layered threats. Local and regional instability dynamics that feed on dysfunctional governance and contestation in our wider neighbourhood and beyond, sometimes nourished by inequalities, religious and ethnic tensions, are increasingly entangled with non-conventional and transnational threats and geopolitical power rivalry. This erodes the capacity of the multilateral system to prevent and mitigate risks and crises.

The return of power politics in a contested multipolar world.

The EU is a determined supporter of effective multilateralism and it has sought to develop an open rules-based international order, based on human rights and fundamental freedoms, universal values and international law.

This vision of multilateralism prevailed internationally following the end of the Cold War. Today, it has come under strong questioning, through the shattering of universal values and a lopsided use of global challenges, by those promoting a strict sovereignist approach that constitutes in reality a return to power politics.

The present international reality is based on the combination of dynamics with an increasing number of actors seeking to expand their political space and challenge the security order. The use of force and coercion to change borders has no place in the 21st century.

Through the unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine, Russia is grossly violating international law and the principles of the UN Charter and undermining European and global security and stability. This follows the military aggression in Georgia in 2008, as well as the illegal annexation of Crimea and the military intervention in Eastern Ukraine in 2014.

Through this armed interference in Georgia and Ukraine, the de facto control over Belarus, as well as the continued presence of Russian troops in protracted conflicts, including in the Republic of Moldova, the Russian government is actively aiming to establish so-called spheres of influence.

The armed aggression against Ukraine is showing the readiness to use the highest level of military force, regardless of legal or humanitarian considerations, combined with hybrid tactics, cyberattacks and foreign information manipulation and interference, economic and energy coercion and an aggressive nuclear rhetoric. These aggressive and revisionist actions for which the Russian government, together with its accomplice Belarus, is entirely responsible, severely and directly threaten the European security order and the security of European citizens.

Those responsible for these crimes, including targeting civilians and civilian objects, will be held accountable. In other theatres such as Libya, Syria, Central African Republic and Mali, Russia also projects itself and uses crises in an opportunistic way, including by using disinformation and mercenaries, such as the Wagner group. All these developments constitute a long-term and direct threat for European security, which we will continue to face resolutely.

China is a partner for cooperation, an economic competitor and a systemic rival. With China, we can address matters of global concern such as climate change. China is increasingly both involved and engaged in regional tensions.

The asymmetry in the openness of our markets and societies have led to growing concerns as regards to reciprocity, economic competition and resilience. China tends to limit access to its market and seeks to promote globally its own standards. It pursues its policies including through its growing presence at sea and in space, as well as by using cyber tools and displaying hybrid tactics.

In addition, China has been substantially developing its military means and aims to have completed the overall modernisation of its armed forces by 2035, impacting regional and global security. China’s development and integration into its region, and the world at large, will mark the rest of this century. We need to ensure that this happens in a way that will contribute to uphold global security and not contradict the rules-based international order and our interests and values. This requires strong unity amongst us and working closely with other regional and global partners.

In this contested multipolar world, the EU needs to take a more active stance to protect its citizens, defend its interests, project its values, and work with partners to provide security for a safer and more just world. Together with our partners, the EU defends the core principles on which European security is built, enshrined in the UN Charter and the founding documents of the OSCE, including the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris.

These include notably the sovereign equality and territorial integrity of States; the inviolability of frontiers; refraining from the threat or use of force; and the freedom of States to choose or change their own security arrangements. These principles are neither negotiable nor subject to revision or re-interpretation.

To uphold the international rules-based order, we will continue to strengthen our relations with partners and like-minded countries in the UN, NATO and G7. In this context, the United States remain the EU’s staunchest and most important strategic partner and are a global power contributing to peace, security, stability and democracy on our continent.

Our strategic environment.

Today, the EU is surrounded by instability and conflicts and faces a war on its borders. We are confronted with a dangerous mix of armed aggression, illegal annexation, fragile states, revisionist powers and authoritarian regimes.

This environment is a breeding ground for multiple threats to European security from terrorism, violent extremism and organised crime to hybrid conflicts and cyberattacks, instrumentalisation of irregular migration, arms proliferation and the progressive weakening of the arms control architecture.

Financial instability, extreme social and economic divergences can further exacerbate such dynamics and have a growing impact on our security. All of these threats undermine EU security along our southern and eastern borders and beyond. Where the EU is not active and effective in promoting its interests, others fill the space.

Security and stability throughout the Western Balkans is still not a given, also due to increasing foreign interferences, including information manipulation campaigns, as well as through potential spill over from the current deterioration of the European security situation. In this regard, it is of particular interest to support the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination of all citizens and constituent peoples as enshrined in the Bosnia and Herzegovina constitution, as well as the reform process on its European path and to take forward the EU-led Pristina-Belgrade dialogue.

Tangible progress on the rule of law and reforms based on European values, rules and standards needs to continue and the European perspective is a strategic choice, essential for all partners aspiring to EU membership. In our eastern neighbourhood, while Ukraine is being directly attacked by the Russian armed forces, also the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and other countries in the South Caucasus are continuously facing strategic intimidations, direct threats to their sovereignty and territorial integrity and are trapped in protracted conflicts.

Authoritarianism in Belarus is translated into violent repression at home, active military support to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the change of its nuclear-free status and hybrid tactics against the EU. Stability and security in the wider Black Sea region are severely impacted by the aggression of Russia against Ukraine with far-reaching implications in terms of security, resilience, freedom of navigation and economic development.

The Arctic region is changing rapidly, in particular due to the impact of global warming, geopolitical rivalries and increased commercial interest including on natural resources. In our southern neighbourhood, the crises in Libya and Syria remain unresolved, with lasting and pervasive regional consequences. The region is in particular threatened by terrorism movements, trafficking of human beings and organised crime, which affect both shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

As a region and maritime area of strategic importance for our security and stability, we are committed to enhance our efforts to address these threats and challenges. We will continue to strive for peace and security in the Euro-Mediterranean region, including through mediation, conflict resolution, rebuilding institutions and reintegrating all members of society. To this end, we will enhance our cooperation with regional partners.

Finally, tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean remain, due to provocations and unilateral actions against EU Member States and violations of sovereign rights in breach of international law, as well as the instrumentalisation of irregular migration, and have the potential to escalate quickly; ensuring a stable and secure environment as well as a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship, in line with the principle of good-neighbourly relations, is in the interest of both the EU and Turkey.

Combined, these threats and challenges affect the security of our citizens, our critical infrastructure and the integrity of our borders. The impact of a strongly deteriorated relationship with the Russian government is particularly severe in many of these theatres. It interferes actively through hybrid tactics, compromising the stability of countries and their democratic processes. This also has direct implications for our own security.

The future of Africa is of strategic importance to the EU. Given its economic and demographic growth, the African continent has considerable potential. However, ongoing conflicts, poor governance and terrorism across the continent affect our own security.

This is in particular the case in Mali, the wider Sahel region and Central Africa where instability, terrorist groups, weak State structures, mercenaries and widespread poverty constitute a dangerous mix and call for enhanced EU engagement.

Stability in the Gulf of Guinea, the Horn of Africa and in the Mozambique Channel remains a major security imperative for the EU, also as they are key trade routes. At the same time, we see growing geopolitical competition in Africa, with an increased presence of both global and regional actors. Some of them do not hesitate to use irregular forces in zones of instability, thereby undermining international efforts towards peace and stability, destabilising countries and their economies as well as being complicit in human rights violations.

In the wider Middle East and Gulf Region, active conflicts and persistent instability put our security and economic interests at risk. Addressing nuclear non-proliferation challenges in the region remains of capital importance. Iran is central to security in the region, though its direct and indirect support to political and military proxies as well as the ballistic proliferation and transfer of missiles and weapons to state and non-state actors remain an important source of regional instability. Efforts to achieve a return to full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are of utmost importance. The region’s efforts in addressing violent extremism will also be of crucial importance for the global fight against terrorist groups such as Al Qaida and Daesh.

A new centre of global competition has emerged in the Indo-Pacific, where geopolitical tensions endanger the rules-based order in the region, and put pressure on global supply chains. The EU has a crucial geopolitical and economic interest in stability and security in the region. We will therefore protect our interests in the region, also by ensuring that international law prevails in the maritime and other domains. China is the EU’s second biggest trading partner and a necessary one to address global challenges. But there is also a growing reaction to its increasingly assertive regional behaviour.

Elsewhere in Asia, Afghanistan continues to pose serious security concerns for the region as well as for the European Union in terms of terrorism, the smuggling of drugs and increasing challenges regarding irregular migration. Certain actors, such as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), continue to endanger regional and international peace and security, through weapons of mass destruction and their nuclear and ballistic missile programmes but also increasingly through intelligence operations, cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns. Persistent older conflicts also continue to hamper the development of comprehensive pan-regional security arrangements.

Finally, with Latin America we share deep historical and cultural ties, as well as a commitment to multilateralism based on common fundamental principles and values. Nevertheless, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the fore socio-economic imbalances in a number of Latin American countries and, in some cases, threatened political stability. A fragile Central America and a persistent crisis in Venezuela contribute to regional divisions and strong migratory pressures, fuelling further drug related organised crime challenges and endangering peace efforts in Colombia.

Emerging and transnational threats and challenges.

On top of these regional conflicts and tensions, we are also confronted at a global level with transnational threats and complex security dynamics that have a direct impact on the Union’s own security.

Terrorism and violent extremism in all their forms and irrespective of their origin continue to constantly evolve and pose a serious threat to peace and security, inside the EU and beyond.

These include a combination of home grown terrorists, foreign fighter returnees, attacks directed, encouraged or inspired from abroad, as well as the propagation of ideologies and beliefs that lead to radicalization and violent extremism. In particular the threat from Da’esh, al-Qaeda and their affiliates remains high and continues to undermine stability in various regions, as well as the EU’s security.

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery are a persistent threat, as witnessed notably by the DPRK’s and Iranian nuclear programmes, the repeated use of chemical weapons and the development and fielding of new advanced ballistic, cruise and hypersonic missiles. Both Russia and China are expanding their nuclear arsenal and developing new weapon systems. The Russian leadership has used nuclear threats in the context of its invasion in Ukraine.

Regional powers have also access to sophisticated conventional weapons, ranging from anti-access and area denial systems to ballistic and cruise missiles. These trends are exacerbated by the erosion of the arms control architecture in Europe, from the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty. This normative void is directly impacting the stability and security of the EU.

The marked increase in the use of chemical weapons must not be tolerated. Safeguarding the global prohibition of chemical weapons is a shared global responsibility. We will therefore continue to support in particular the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

State and non-state actors are using hybrid strategies, cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, direct interference in our elections and political processes, economic coercion and the instrumentalisation of irregular migration flows. The increasing misuse of law to achieve political, economic and military objectives is also a growing concern. Our competitors are not shying away from using emerging and disruptive technologies to take strategic advantages and to increase the effectiveness of their hybrid campaigns. Some have seized on the uncertainties created by the Covid-19 pandemic to spread harmful and false narratives.

At the same time, free and safe access to global strategic domains is more and more contested.

Cyberspace has become a field for strategic competition, at a time of growing dependence on digital technologies. We are increasingly facing more sophisticated cyberattacks. It is essential to maintain an open, free, stable and secure cyberspace. Notwithstanding the principle of the peaceful use of outer space, competition in this domain has strong security and defence implications. It is key for observation, monitoring, navigation and communication capabilities, but it is a congested and contested domain, as illustrated by irresponsible behaviours of strategic competitors.

Maritime security in the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and the North Sea, as well as of the Arctic waters, the Atlantic Ocean and the outermost regions is important for the EU’s security, our economic development, free trade, transport and energy security. Maritime zones, critical sea lanes of communication and several maritime chokepoints as well as seabeds, are increasingly contested, from the Gulf of Aden to the Strait of Hormuz and beyond the Strait of Malacca. Finally, our security in the air is also contested through increasingly aggressive air postures with the rise of anti-access/area denial tactics.

Climate change, environmental degradation and natural disasters will also impact our security landscape over the next decades and are proven drivers for instability and conflict around the globe – from the Sahel to the Amazon and the Arctic region. The competition for natural resources such as farm land and water and the exploitation of energy resources for political purposes are concrete examples in this regard.

Decarbonising and making our economies more resource-efficient and circular come with specific security challenges, including access to critical raw materials, value chain management and sustainability, as well as economic and political shifts caused by the transition away from fossil fuels.

Global health crises can also impose considerable strains on societies and economies, with far-reaching geopolitical implications. The Covid-19 pandemic has fuelled international rivalry and showed that disruptions of key trade routes can put critical supply chains under pressure and affect economic security.

Strategic implications for the Union.

All these challenges are multifaceted and often interconnected. Our security is at stake, at home or overseas. We must be able and ready to protect our citizens, defend our shared interests, project our values and contribute to shape the global future. We need to redouble our efforts to implement our integrated approach to security, conflicts and crises.

We have to be bolder in how we combine our diplomatic and economic instruments, including our sanctions regimes, with civil and military assets to prevent conflict, respond to crises, contribute to peacebuilding and support partners. We will also strengthen our cooperation with bilateral, regional and multilateral European security and defence initiatives that contribute to Europe’s security.

Solidarity, unity and our ambition deriving from the EU Global Strategy of 2016 are more vital than ever. We will strengthen our ability to contribute to the peace and security of our continent, respond to external conflicts and crises, build the capacities of partners and protect the EU and its citizens.

While since 2016 we have reinforced our work to strengthen the EU’s role in security and defence, we recognise that there is a new strategic landscape emerging that requires us to act with a far greater sense of urgency and determination and show mutual assistance and solidarity in case of aggression against one of us. The moment for decisive steps to ensure our freedom of action is now.

Recent geopolitical shifts remind us that the EU urgently needs to take more responsibility for its own security by acting in its neighbourhood and beyond, with partners whenever possible and alone when necessary. The strength of our Union lies in unity, solidarity and determination. This Strategic Compass will enhance the EU’s strategic autonomy and its ability to work with partners to safeguard its values and interests. A stronger and more capable EU in security and defence will contribute positively to global and transatlantic security and is complementary to NATO, which remains the foundation of collective defence for its members. These two go hand in hand.

In the following chapters, this Strategic Compass sets out how we will act and be prepared to respond to various crises and challenges. It specifies how we should anticipate threats, secure our interests and protect our citizens. This in turn requires that we innovate and invest in technologically superior and interoperable defence capabilities and reduce technology and resource dependencies. In all these efforts, we must deepen partnerships where it serves EU values and interests.