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The EU and its strategic partners

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Herman Van Rompuy, José Manuel Barroso and Catherine Ashton have each identified strategic partnerships as a priority axis for their mandate, and most Member States agreed it should top the European foreign policy agenda. It remains essentially a vague concept, which is difficult to grasp for most scholars. But the flexibility resulting thereof is perhaps what is most widely appreciated by policy-makers. More broadly, strategic partnerships are a useful narrative and instrument to define the EU’s policies in a new global order in the making. As uncertainty continues to underpin the conduct of international relations, under the forces of globalization and multipolarization, strategic partnerships are likely to remain a useful tool in the EU’s foreign policy toolbox.

Published in J. Rehrl (ed), The ESDC Handbook for Decision-Makers, Vienna: Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports of the Republic of Austria, pp. 26-30.
(Photo credit: President of the European Council, Flickr)