ISSUE: 4/2019

  • Volume 23
  • Number 4
  • 2019

Studia Europejskie –
Studies in European Affairs

ISSN: 1428-149X
e-ISSN: 2719-3780

Ccbync License


Articles published in the journal are under a Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial – No Derivatives 4.0 International License

The End of Transatlanticism? EU Security and Defence Policies and the ‘Strategic Autonomy’ Debate from a Historical and Contemporary Perspective


This article examines whether calls for European ‘strategic autonomy’ in response to Trump’s rhetoric are qualitatively different from earlier disagreements in US-EU relations. By doing so, it re-assesses Geir Lundestad’s concept of “Empire by Invitation” to illustrate constraints for the development of such an autonomy especially in defence affairs. We argue that the US’s involvement in European defence affairs was never an invitation to ‘empire’, as the invitational aspect was based on consent. A process has been accelerated by the Trump presidency whereby this consent has shifted towards strategic estrangement. However, the article argues that the reactive and intergovernmental nature of EU foreign and security policy continues to hamper more autonomous policy planning in CSDP matters – different readings about cyclical disruptions in EU-US relations notwithstanding. The article finally discusses how the introduction of new CSDP mechanisms impacts on this debate.


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Language: English

Pages: 23-44

How to Cite:


Pieper, M. and Lak, M. (2019) "The End of Transatlanticism? EU Security and Defence Policies and the ‘Strategic Autonomy’ Debate from a Historical and Contemporary Perspective". Studia Europejskie – Studies in European Affairs, 4/2019, pp. 23-44. DOI: 10.33067/SE.4.2019.2