Skip to content Skip to footer

In the EU, when it comes to the use of military force, the necessary consensus is often lacking. Security interests and the perception of threats differ immensely across the bloc. And decisions at the Council level are taken by unanimity. In case a rapid response is required, would the EU be capable of reacting militarily? Decision-making procedures for joint action are lengthy and no previous EU-endorsed combat operation has been recorded. However, the EU could overcome its frequent disagreements on matters of foreign and security policy if it mandated operations by coalitions of willing member-states through Article 44, the only element in the EU treaties granting rapid intervention.[1]

The brutal aggression Russia perpetuated in Ukraine represents a crucial test for the Union. It has been said that President Putin achieved the impossible: breathing new life into the EU by uniting a bloc that has never felt this strong.[2] Nonetheless, some countries seem to be dragging their feet as time and sanctions go on.[3] The displayed unity of purpose and the shared intention to counter Moscow’s expansionism – shown through the latest threat analysis run by the EU’s Strategic Compass – will have to be turned into action where necessary. Who would come together if Russia were to pose further threats? Most probably, NATO countries would take action.[4] However, according to the brand-new strategic vision laid out in the Compass, the EU plans to act geopolitically while seeking strategic autonomy. After having warned Washington that “cooperation is not dependence”,[5] could Brussels do it on its own?


Click Here to Read the Entire Paper 


[1] Scazzieri, L. (2022). Could EU-endorsed ‘coalitions of the willing’ strengthen EU security policy? Centre for European Reform.

[2] Politico. (2022). How Putin made the EU great again. February 27.

[3] Conclusions of the European Council meeting of 24-25 March 2022. Debate: Guy Verhofstadt (Renew).

[4] Lindley-French, J. (2022). What if Russia Attacked NATO? Sage International.

[5] The New York Times. (2021). Macron Tells Biden That Cooperation With U.S. Cannot Be Dependence. January 29.