Polish PM voices a clear stance on EU strategic autonomy at EU summit

Friday's EU video summit revealed several differences of opinion of EU leaders regarding a so-called strategic autonomy, writes Politico. Adam Guz/KPRM

During an EU video summit, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki argued that if "strategic autonomy" is misunderstood by Poland's allies, it might negatively affect transatlantic relations, the Brussels-based portal Politico has reported.

Friday's EU video summit revealed several differences of opinion of EU leaders regarding a so-called strategic autonomy, writes Politico.

In the opinion of the portal, EU leaders differed over how much priority should be given to security and defence issues within the EU framework. They diverged over how closely to align with NATO, and deviated over how much independence — if any — to seek from the United States, historically the bloc's closest ally.

The election of U.S. President Joe Biden has heightened concerns among some EU countries, especially those bordering Russia, about antagonising Washington with talk of strategic independence.

Politico wrote that Morawiecki made these differences clear. The Polish PM argued that "European strategic autonomy in security and defence is a challenging issue not only for Poland.

"The consensus on this term in security and defence has not been reached at the EU level. If misunderstood by our allies, this concept might negatively affect transatlantic relations," he continued.

In contrast, French President Emmanuel Macron insisted that strategic autonomy has become a stronger imperative after the last four years during which disagreements with former US President Donald Trump showed that European allies should not rely on the United States for security guarantees. He also insisted on pursuing a rapprochement with Russia.

Politico also referred to Macron's interview with the Financial Times, in which the French president defended his previous criticism of NATO, saying: "Nobody can tell me that today's NATO is a structure that, in its foundation, is still relevant. It was founded to stand up to the Warsaw Pact. The Warsaw Pact is no more."

Other leaders taking part in the video summit said that Europe should seize the opportunity to work with the Biden administration to strengthen the EU's security capabilities and to improve relations with the US.

Furthermore, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who was invited to the talks, made a speech in support of efforts to strengthen ties between NATO and the EU. In his address, he listed major challenges which "no country or continent can face" alone, including Russian aggression, international terrorism, cyberattacks, "the rise of China" as well as climate change.