The EU's "Strategic Compass" with Greek blessings in view of Russia and Turkey

EU Strategic Compass

The formation of a European rapid reaction team of up to 5,000 soldiers was approved by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence of the EU member states on March 21 in Brussels as part of the "Strategic Compass" project.

Russia, Turkey, Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans

This plan, presented by Josep Borrell last November and which has been in the works since 2020, met with reactions, which were bent after the war in Ukraine According to sources, the text that was approved is now full of references to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The unprecedented unity of the EU is underlined by the text of the Compass Strategy, which points out the need for quick and robust action in times of crisis. At the same time, it is pointed out that the goal is to strengthen the security and defence policy by 2030.

Strengthening cooperation with NATO

The 47-page text also states that the EU must have the means to safeguard both its interests and the protection of its citizens, while emphasising the need to strengthen cooperation with partners such as NATO. In addition, emphasis is placed on the Western Balkans.

Regarding the Eastern Mediterranean, there is a reference to challenges and unilateral actions against EU Member States, as well as violations of sovereign rights and the instrumentalisation of refugees, stressing the importance of a stable and secure environment that will be in the interest of both the EU and Turkey.

These actions by Turkey are part of the threats and challenges facing the EU, which endanger the security of its citizens and its critical infrastructure, as well as the integrity of Europe's borders.

The war helped build consensus

"The war has helped to build a consensus on European defense," Nathalie Loiseau, a member of the European Parliament and chair of the European Parliament's subcommittee on defense, told the French newspaper Le Monde. "Europe is in danger."

Capturing France's recent European defences, Loiseau said: "The Ukrainian conflict has brought the views of the countries of Central and Western Europe closer together and highlighted the common desire to create a rapidly growing force of 5,000 trained soldiers."

Concluding, the MEP notes that Europeans must stop believing that strategic autonomy and transatlantic ties are contradictory issues.

Olaf Scholz is not a prisoner of the choices made by Schröder-Merkel 

On the same subject, however, a chronographer for the newspaper Les Échos points out in today's issue that Schröder and Merkel's bad choices have created such German subjugation to Russia that Chancellor Scholtz's government is now captive.

Germany is dragging parts of Europe with it and depriving it of collective defence weapons, the paper said, adding that the war in Ukraine should encourage Europeans to read between the lines of German policy and the balance of power it intends to impose.

In his view, Germany has its own strategy and a stronger French industry would be a threat to its desire for hegemony in its main sectors, especially in the automotive industry.

The Greek side expresses satisfaction

Diplomatic sources underline the satisfaction of the Greek side with the final text of the EU "Strategic Compass" adopted by the EU Foreign and Defense Council, in which Greece was represented by Foreign Ministers Nikos Dendias and National Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos.

The final text of the "Strategic Compass" is the product of an agreement after many months and painstaking negotiations, which were influenced by the developments in Ukraine after the Russian invasion and according to diplomatic sources, the text makes clear references to fundamental principles of Greek foreign policy and explicit references to provocative unilateral actions by Turkey.

The Greek side, in close coordination and cooperation with the Cypriot side, succeeded in introducing a vocabulary that refers to both short-term and long-term challenges, where in fact there is an explicit reference to Turkey.

There is a real risk of revisionism and military aggression

In this context, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, in his speech to the Council, stressed that the revisionism and military aggression are a clear threat and a real danger, wherever they come from and that they should be categorically discouraged and condemned.

The text contains a clear reference to the fundamental principles that govern Greek foreign policy and that should govern relations between states in general, such as the need for full respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence within internationally recognised borders, as well as the promotion of effective multilateralism and international order based on the rules of International Law and in particular the International Law of the Sea.

Mutual assistance in the event of a third party attack (Article 42.7 of the EU Treaty)

At the same time, the text underlines the readiness and determination of the Member States for mutual assistance in the event of a third party attack (Article 42.7 of the Treaty on European Union)

The text also contains references to the dangers posed by the growing dispute over maritime zones, continental shelf and the growing aggressive stance in the airspace.

It also underlines the importance of protecting cultural heritage and stresses the need for EU partners to align themselves with Politics and Defense.

The text contains several important references to Turkey. In particular, it is becoming absolutely clear that provocations and unilateral actions against sovereign rights against Member States continue, in violation of international law.

It is also stressed that these actions can lead to a rapid escalation of tensions in the region. The same applies to the instrumentalisation of the refugee.

Threats and challenges

All these actions by Turkey are explicitly included among the threats and challenges that affect the security of European citizens, the critical infrastructure of the European Union and the integrity of Europe's borders.

In order to promote the cooperation desired by the European Union, there are critical conditions that Turkey must respect.

In particular, Ankara must commit to following the path of co-operation, consistent de-escalation and responding to the Union's concerns, as set out in the Declaration of 27 Leaders in March 2021.

It is recalled that with this Declaration, the EU directly called on Turkey to refrain from provocations, unilateral actions, illegal drilling in violation of international law.

Otherwise, the Declaration recalled that the EU has the tools and means at its disposal to defend the interests of the Member States and to safeguard regional stability.

Unilateral national declaration on defense spending

It is noted that Greece gave its consent to the adoption of the "Strategic Compass" and at the same time submitted a unilateral national statement, in which it emphasises that due to the challenges and threats it has been receiving for a long time, its annual defence expenditures far exceed 2% of GDP.

This is a goal that goes hand in hand with the reference to the text of the "Compass Strategy" to increase defence spending.

According to diplomatic sources, Greece has long stressed the need to exempt part of defence spending from the rules regarding public debt and hopes that an agreement will be reached on this point as soon as possible.

A similar unilateral statement was made by other Member States.

Finally, it is noted that the adoption of the "Strategic Compass" strengthens the efforts made for European autonomy, efforts supported by Greece, in harmony with the strategic relationship it maintains with the United States.

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