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    European Strategic Autonomy: new agenda, old constraints

    Lavery, Scott, McDaniel, Sean and Schmid, Davide ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6931-505X (2022) European Strategic Autonomy: new agenda, old constraints. In: The Political Economy of Geoeconomics: Europe in a Changing World. International Political Economy Series . Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 57-80. ISBN 9783031019678 (hardcover); 9783031019685 (ebook)

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    Over the past decade, the global economy has experienced a wave of protracted turbulence and change. Economic instability, the continued rise of China and the weakening of the traditional leadership role of the United States have given shape to a more ‘decentred’ and volatile global order. In response to these changes, European leaders and policymakers have insisted that Europe needs to secure a greater degree of ‘strategic autonomy’, understood as the need to develop into a more cohesive regional bloc capable of projecting its power internationally. Originating in the sphere of defence, this concept has expanded to incorporate a range of geoeconomic questions related to industrial policy, financial markets, the euro and supply chain resilience. This chapter traces the development of strategic autonomy as a geoeconomic programme, with a particular focus on the thinking of German, French and European-level officials. Through an in-depth document analysis of policy reports, speeches and white papers on strategic autonomy, it identifies the shared assumptions but also the tensions and differing visions which characterise contemporary European thinking on strategic autonomy. This chapter argues that while strategic autonomy embodies a new agenda for Europe, it is shaped by a series of long-standing constraints which will limit Europe’s capacity to act as a fully fledged geoeconomic actor.

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