Opinion & Analysis

What ways and means for a real strategic autonomy of the EU in the economic field?

The EU has always strenuously promoted economic integration with the rest of the world. In a peaceful world governed by a rules-based system, this strategy made Europe not only one of the most important global trading powers but also one of the most prosperous regions.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent Russian invasion of Ukraine have fundamentally altered the dynamics of openness and economic integration and foreshadowed a long-term uphill struggle to preserve the EU’s prosperity. These disruptive events have underscored the need for the EU to enhance its resilience and ability to safeguard its strategic interests effectively.

As the EU is gearing up to respond to challenges that could signal a tectonic shift from the multilateral rules-based trading system that has been the hallmark of the post-World War 2 era, the EU can ill afford to be vague about what strategic autonomy means.

The study was commissioned by the EESC on request of the EESC Employers’ Group and was prepared by CEPS.

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About the authors

Dr. Cinzia Alcidi is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels, where she is also head of the Economic Policy Unit and the Jobs and Skills Unit. From 2020 to 2023 she was Director of Research.

Tamás Kiss-Gálfalvi is a Researcher and Head of Project Development at CEPS. His main areas of expertise include EU public investments, cohesion policy, policy evaluation and better regulation. Tamás has contributed to and led multiple research contracts for several European Commission DGs, the European Parliament and the EIB.

Doina Postica is an Associate Researcher at CEPS in the Economic Policy Unit, where she combines quantitative and qualitative research methods to various policy-relevant research topics.

Edoardo Righetti is a Researcher in the Energy, Resources and Climate Change Unit at CEPS.

Vasileios Rizos is heading the Energy, Resources and Climate Change Unit and is also Head of Sustainable Resources and Circular Economy at CEPS. 

Farzaneh Shamsfakhr is a Researcher in the Economic Policy Unit at CEPS.

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