Media/Opinion pieces
Media/Opinion pieces

European Sovereignty

The issue of European sovereignty has been highlighted by Russian aggression in Ukraine. Beyond the necessary debates, the EU was able to react in a coordinated manner by six sets of sanctions against Russia, signs of its economic power.
It was united in welcoming refugees. It broke a taboo by financing arms deliveries with money from the common budget.
The effort was increased from €0.5bn to €2bn, including the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine.
However, the United States forms the heart of the military reaction. 

NATO appears to most Europeans as this “life insurance”, evoked in 2019 by Heiko Maas, the then German Foreign Minister. Finland and Sweden, so long attached to their status of neutrality, want to join it. 

The question of European sovereignty, which is not limited to defence, remains open. It is true that in the face of continental states that are asserting themselves on the planet, Europeans will not weigh in isolation, but will only be sovereign in union. This reality is likely to support them on their path to sovereignty.


About the sovereignty of Europe

In his 2017 Sorbonne speech, President Macron has pleaded “for a sovereign, united, democratic Europe.” Four years have passed and France has chaired the Council of the European Union (EU) in the first half of 2022. On this occasion, the French presidency  aimed at advancing on the EU’s sovereignty. From the state of play, it emerges that, while the EU brings together elements of internal sovereignty, the Member States remain sovereign, and that, while the EU is a recognised actor in international relations, it does not have the sovereignty  which must rely on power.  


Since 2017, crises, especially the pandemic, have marked the world. The European Union has been able to overcome these crises by adding elements to its sovereignty, whether it be its budgetary capacity, the consolidation of the euro, the search for a greater industrial autonomy, the affirmation of its commercial interests, progress, albeit still insufficient, in the field of defence, and even in the judicial field, despite the crisis opened by Poland. However, the situation has not fundamentally changed and the question of Europe’s sovereignty remains open, either internally or in the face of the continental states that are imposing themselves on the international scene. 

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Digital sovereignty and cybersecurity of Europe

History is never written in advance, because it is the result of the will of the nation. This article brings together the work conducted during the first half of 2021 as part of a political and ecological think tank on the issues of security and digital sovereignty. It approaches the subject from four angles: environmental security, the digital sovereignty of citizens’ uses, the digital sovereignty of economic operators and the digital sovereignty of States.

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The untenable simplicity of the European Defence equation

The elements necessary for the realisation of a genuine European defence understood in the sense of
EU defence, by the EU and for the EU are, in theory, easy to name. But moving from theory to practice
is a formidable exercise, as it involves choices, and thus renouncements that many find unsustainable,
despite the war in Ukraine.
The equation of European defence, understood in the sense of the defence of the European
Union by the European Union and for the European Union, is simple to write. It has not
changed since Saint-Malo’s statement of 4 December 1998 between British and French: In
order “to play its full role on the international stage (…) the Union must have the capacity for
autonomous action, backed up by credible military forces, the means to decide to use them
and the willingness to do so in order to respond to international crises.” This can be
summarised as a multiplication: European Defence (ED) = Political Will (PW) x Ability to decide
(AD) x Capacity for Autonomous Action (CA), i.e.:

ED = PW x AD x CA 

If only one of these elements is zero, the product of this equation will also be zero. It is therefore imperative to bring them together at the same time since it would serve nothing to have an autonomous capacity to act without the will to use it or the means to decide on its employment. 

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