Having elaborated the aspects and objectives of the project called EU Strategic Compass, Yasser Nour Alivand in an interview with the site of Strategic Council for Foreign Relations and noted that its most important objectives are foreseeing and identifying of threats as well as providing a common evaluation of the EU strategic environment of the Union among its members. He stated:” through compilation of the Strategic Compass, EU is looking to set up a common perspective or Strategic Culture among its members in security and defense areas. An issue that the EU suffers from its absence”.
Objectives of Strategic Compass
Having stated that the EU members have not an coherent understanding of threats, particularly in security and defense areas said:” the European Union is looking for boosting its operational preparedness, capacity building for autonomous action and also deepening strategic partnership among members and improving the capability for collective action, which so far, they have not managed to realize it.
Having regarded the developments in new technologies, the analyst of European issues called giving momentum to renovation in security and defense areas as other objectives of putting forward the project and continued:” within the framework of the project, the European Union is looking for removing the weak points of its Common European Defense and Security Policy and setting up coherence among initiatives that has started from 2016”.
According to Nour Alivand, Permanent Structured Cooperation, European Defense Fund, Annual Coordinated Review on Defense are among the programs that the Compass is to follow up. He added:” From operational aspect, the Compass has four noticeable objectives including Developing a European Union Rapid Deployment Force with a capacity of 5000 troops, putting stress on maritime cooperation, setting up a combined toolbox for mixed and hybrid threats and placing importance to military aspect of new technologies like artificial intelligence, outer space, cyber domain, and counter-intelligence, particularly in mass media field”.
Ambiguity on the Possibility of Implementation of Defensive Strategy
Having stated that the EU plans to turn from an economic player to strategic and decisive player in a changing international order, he said:” in this process, the EU is facing numerous challenges which make doubtful the realization of its perspective in mid-term and it seems that it adds to the list of inapplicable aspirations of the Union”.
The Expert of European issues noted:” Europe had already presented other programs that followed the objectives concerning Strategic Compass, but none of them could attain the objectives. It seems that the project will suffer from the same destiny”.
Nour Alivand explained:” contrasting understandings and viewpoints among the members about the severity of threats and particularly different viewpoints on Russia, China, immigration and other strategic areas are important issues. Moreover, extensive threats as referred to in the Strategic Compass will impede the setting up as well as the implementation of an effective and practical agenda. In addition, the design of the Compass can be interpreted as reinvention of wheel! Because, instead of improvement and strengthening of previous existing mechanisms, the Union has presented the same mechanisms with an updated literature”.
Having stressed on the importance of adjustment of national – defensive processes and paying attention to defensive and national strategies of the EU member countries, he continued:” if the alignment, harmony and coverage of the Compass in line with the national policies are not taken into attention, countries will not cooperate to implement it. However, concerning budgets and defensive logistics we also witness remarkable gap among the EU member countries and in view of the differences of countries in this respect, they can not extend their support to the Compass equally”.
The expert on European issued added:” there are no balance and adjustment between the identified threats and capabilities that are considered for the Compass. Threats are numerous and overwhelming but capabilities and mechanisms are old and repetitious. Moreover, vulnerable European economies showed serious weaknesses under the influence of Corona pandemic in a situation when they had not got rid of 2008 crisis as they should. At the present situation, only five European countries are bound to have allocated 2% of their GDP to NATO as their most important defensive – security instrument”.
Necessity of Paying Attention to Transparency in Relations between Strategic Compass and NATO Tasks
Having referred to the necessity of transparency in relation between Strategic Compass and NATO tasks to achieve a bright perspective, Nour Alivand said:” In line with this, the EU structural security – defensive dependence to the U.S. should also be taken into attention. The Union is incapable to guarantee its defense and security in a foreseeable future without the U.S.”.
He mentioned the lack of pragmatic political will as the most important impediment for the realization of the EU Strategic Compass and continued:” EU member countries consider the political and security fields as the national sovereignty and the last defensive stronghold to defend the sovereignty of their national government and they show no willing to transfer to the EU the decision taking in this field”.
Having referred to the willingness of France for the EU strategic autonomy particularly after Brexit and to play an active role in this connection during its presidency over the EU, the expert on European issues added:” more than any other country, France is dreaming of an autonomous Europe. Moreover, they have always been looking for a leadership role to play in the Union and thus increase their international clout as well as bringing Europe closer to its dream of unity and strategic autonomy. After Brexit and in views of the passive foreign policy of Germany, the opportunity has been created for France to assume the leadership role. The opportunity that has even a greater chance to exploit in view of its presidency over the EU”.
In the meantime, Nour Alivand said:” however, there exists a major doubt that France can meet some success alone in this respect. The EU performance is inherently based on partnership and sympathy among its members, and France can only play a role as the driving force in this field. Moreover, one should not forget the upcoming presidential election factor in France. Because, if extremist Nationalists win, any idea related to the European unity will be waned but if Macron will be reelected in the upcoming election, one can be hopeful that discussions linked to the European Strategic Autonomy and Strategic Compass will, at least, gain a momentum ahead in discourse and theoretical fields”.