Making policies work

The EU Global Strategy: A beacon for the EU?

In a series of stories for our Annual Report 2016, we highlight some of our ongoing and past projects. Read our story on the EU Global Strategy below or download the whole report here. 

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In June 2016, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini launched the EU’s Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy for the purpose of making Europe stronger through greater union. In a time of major uncertainty, characterised by growing Euroscepticism, the refugee crisis and an increasing number of conflicts close to home, the strategy could well provide a beacon for the EU.

The results of the Brexit vote and the US elections provoked major political and economic uncertainty in Europe. We witnessed a rising wave of populism and Euroscepticism, which might either gain or lose traction in the months to come. Moreover, Europe’s socio-political landscape bore the impacts of the refugee crisis, violent attacks in several national capitals and conflicts close to home.

The EU Global Strategy therefore comes at a crucial time. The strategy will guide European external action for the foreseeable future. It calls for a strong EU that stands united on the global stage. All, however, will depend on how this ambitious strategy is implemented. Recognising this, EU foreign ministers adopted common conclusions on implementing the Global Strategy in October. But putting these into practice will not be easy. The ideas are there, yet many challenges still need to be overcome, including the very existential crisis the EU currently faces.

What ECDPM does

During the drafting of the Global Strategy, ECDPM provided inputs and took part in the debates. Our submission in response to a call for proposals helped shape the final document. We published a range of analyses on specific aspects of the strategy, such as its implementation and the role of development diplomacy in EU external action.

We also took part in the official EU Global Strategy consultation process, led by EEAS and the EU Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), and brought African perspectives into the process. In 2017, we will continue to engage on the strategy and support its implementation.

Highlights of 2016

A range of ECDPM publications and blogs analysed the EU Global Strategy, contributing to the discussions and document. Official EU institutions, such as the EEAS and the European Commission Department for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), featured several of our blogs on their official channels. Our blogs on the topic were our most-read of the year and our analyses appeared in several media outlets, such as EurActiv.

ECDPM’s contribution to the public consultations on the strategy helped ensure that themes such as the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, joint programming and the future of ACP-EU relations appeared in the document.

We organised a conference on Europe-Africa relations together with EUISS, the Italian Institute of International Affairs (IAI), the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) and EEAS. The event, part of the EU Global Strategy consultation process, reflected on EU external action priorities in Africa. Though most participants were representatives of European institutes and organisations, ECDPM brought in African officials and policy experts to ensure a more inclusive debate. Our follow-up blog on the event received a special mention by Nathalie Tocci, Special Adviser to Federica Mogherini on the Global Strategy.

After delivering several training sessions on economic and cultural diplomacy to EU institution staff, we were invited to support the EU institutions in implementation of the Global Strategy in 2017.

Learn more

Want to learn more about what we’re doing on the EU Global Strategy? Visit or contact Andrew Sherriff.

Interested in learning more about our activities and their impact in 2016? Download the full 2016 Annual Report here.

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Photo courtesy of Garry Knight via Flickr.