IATE Term of the Week: strategic autonomy


The concept of “strategic autonomy” has emerged as a key objective for the European Union under the leadership of the Von der Leyen Commission. Strategic autonomy refers to the EU’s ambition to become more self-reliant and capable of shaping its own destiny in an increasingly complex and competitive global environment. It aims to enhance the EU’s capacity to act independently in areas such as security and defence, digitalization, trade, and climate change. In IATE, this term is defined as the “ability of a state (or of the EU) to act independently to defend its strategic interests”.

Strategic autonomy

The Von der Leyen Commission has prioritized strategic autonomy as a response to various geopolitical challenges and shifts in the global landscape. It recognizes the need for the EU to assert itself as a global actor and reduce its dependence on external powers. By promoting strategic autonomy, the Commission seeks to strengthen the EU’s position as a sovereign and influential player on the international stage.

The European Parliament, as a key institution within the EU’s decision-making process, plays a crucial role in shaping and implementing the concept of strategic autonomy. The Von der Leyen Commission has engaged with the European Parliament to gain support for its strategic autonomy agenda. Regular dialogues, consultations, and hearings have taken place to foster a shared understanding and approach.

Besides, the Parliament has provided valuable input through resolutions, reports, and legislative initiatives, contributing to the development and refinement of the EU’s strategic autonomy framework. Through their collaboration, the Commission and the Parliament work together to enhance the EU’s capacity to act autonomously, ensuring that European citizens’ interests are at the forefront of decision-making processes.


European Parliament. (2022, July). EU strategic autonomy 2013-2023. Retrieved from EU Strategic Autonomy Monitor : https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2022/733589/EPRS_BRI(2022)733589_EN.pdf

European Parliament. (2022, July). EU strategic autonomy 2013-2023: From concept to capacity. Retrieved from Think Tank: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document/EPRS_BRI(2022)733589

Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS). (2022). Strategic Autonomy. Retrieved from FEPS – Publications: https://feps-europe.eu/theme/strategic-autonomy/

Scientific Foresight (STOA). (2023, April). The future of EU open strategic autonomy. Retrieved from European Parliamentary Research Service: https://epthinktank.eu/2023/04/21/the-future-of-eu-open-strategic-autonomy/

Written by Carmen del Campo Hermida

carmen e1678981736489

Born in Madrid, Spain, Carmen holds a Double Degree in Translation and Interpreting and Bachelor in Global Communication. She has also studied a Degree on Content Marketing and Social Media. She has been combining her studies with some part-time jobs, which has allowed her to appreciate little things in life, such as spending time  with her family and friends and enjoying her hobbies. She is keen on learning from other people and cultures and wishes to get to travel around the world someday.