Word of the Week: Strategic Compass

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The European Union is on its way to militarise itself. After the chaotic withdrawal of Western troops from Afghanistan, showing how reliant Europe was on US firepower, plans for an EU army are back on the table.

In Brussels this plan goes by the name of strategic compass. But what does it mean?

The name comes from the navigation compasses and the EU’s also points in four different directions. Instead of North or West, the bloc is looking to increase its abilities in crisis management, defence capabilities, resilience and partnerships with allies.

The most controversial has been the creation of a rapid reaction force with 5,000 soldiers. This has been one of the sticking points for the EU countries. But in words of EU’s Foreign Policy chief, Josep Borrell, “I don’t care if its controversial, indifference is worse”.

Efforts to create EU troops have been stalled for over a decade, with bickering over financing and when to deploy. But EU foreign and defence ministers hope to get the greenlight for the policy by March 2022.


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