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May 23, 2020

European Defense and ‘Strategic Autonomy’ Are Also Coronavirus Victims

Featuring Jim Townsend

Source: The New York Times

Journalist Steven Erlanger

The coronavirus has upended the best-laid plans and priorities of many, including the European Union. But one of the biggest casualties may be European efforts to build a more credible and independent European military.

For several years, especially since President Trump came to office with his skepticism about NATO, European alliances and multilateral obligations, leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron have been pushing for what he has called European “strategic autonomy,” the ability to defend Europe and act militarily in its neighborhood without so much reliance on the United States.

But even before the virus hit so hard, and despite loud calls that the bloc was in greater peril from new technologies and a more aggressive Russia and China, the European Commission was already sharply slashing projected European military spending in the next seven-year budget.

Read the full article and more in The New York Times.


  • Jim Townsend

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Program

    James Joye Townsend Jr. is an adjunct senior fellow in the CNAS Transatlantic Security Program. After eight years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for European ...