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The Azure Forum Webinar on ‘Covid-19 and European Strategic Autonomy: Is the emergency driving an expanded ‘soft security’ concept?’
This is the fifth event in The Azure Forum 2020 Webinar Series on ‘Peace, security and defence during and beyond the Covid-19 Crisis: Lessons for future global crises’. Experts will examine policy-relevant questions surrounding ‘strategic autonomy’ that are being debated across Europe, with particular focus on what strategic autonomy means and what it does not mean in a geostrategic/security context. What are the implications of questions surrounding unanimity necessary for foreign policy and the nexus with defence matters which are not an EU competence like other areas. Our expert panellists will explore connections between these developments and other factors that have since become apparent during the global health emergency for both Europe and Ireland. They will explore the prospect of “an expanded ‘soft security’ concept as a ‘new grand narrative to link climate change with public health and perhaps other matters of ordre public, such as public morality, public order and public security’, asking whether the COVID-19 trauma will give rise to a new doctrine of Europe qui protège. President of the European Council, Charles Michel, recently argued that ‘autonomy is not protectionism’, arguing that European strategic autonomy must pursue three objectives, namely stability, disseminating European standards, and promoting European values. Aspects of these objectives include a pursuit of so-called ‘digital sovereignty’ and securing the supply of critical resources. Is this the right approach? The political use of terms such as sovereignty, independence, technological sovereignty and empowerment are sometimes used interchangeably. What does this move towards ‘less dependence, more influence’ actually mean; and how are global crises like the current global health emergency driving such strategic thinking where there is more awareness of vulnerability within traditional physical and digital supply chains?

Oct 29, 2020 12:30 PM in Dublin

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