in: Lafortune et al., Achieving the SDGs: Europe’s compass in a multipolar world - Europe Sustainable Development Report 2022, Paris: Sustainable Development Solutions Network/SDSN Europe, 35-39
As the EU repositions itself in a multipolar world, it should strengthen its strategic autonomy by forging cooperative alliances with a diverse range of partners and aligning its external policies to the global common good. Already in 2016, The Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy (European External Action Service, 2017) spoke of ‘times of existential crisis’ and set out to navigate a ‘difficult, more connected, contested and complex world‘. While nurturing ‘the ambition of strategic autonomy’ and calling to strengthen the Union on security and defense, the strategy also recognised that Europe ‘cannot pull up a drawbridge to ward off external threats’: the EU needed to ‘invest in win-win solutions, and move beyond the illusion that international politics can be a zero-sum game‘. The Strategy not only noted that ‘our security at home depends on peace beyond our borders’ but also that ‘prosperity must be shared and requires fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals worldwide, including in Europe‘. In 2022, for most of Europe the world looks quite different from that of 2016. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has been acknowledged as a ‘watershed moment in global politics’ (von der Leyen, 2022), but this and its political ramifications should also be seen as part of a broader and long-term global sea change that was already becoming palpable when the Global Strategy was conceptualised.