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S&Ds push for EU Open Strategic Autonomy – a stronger, more united and assertive Europe


02 Mar 2023


Global Europe

Tomorrow in Warsaw, the Socialists and Democrats will be joining forces with the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) to debate on the European Union’s Open Strategic Autonomy. Our Group has recently finalised its position paper on this concept, setting our priorities for the EU as a global actor in a multipolar world.

Among the many participants, S&D MEPs Marek BelkaPedro MarquesInmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero, René Repasi, Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz and Leszek Miller will attend the event, hosted by the Kozminski University, and co-organised by FEPS, Amicus Europae Foundation and the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza. The panels in the morning, with over two dozen experts, both international and Polish, will be followed by a public session, with former Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski as a keynote speaker.

The EU has faced many challenges in recent years with the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine being only the latest of them. It is time for stronger policies and stronger action. For the S&Ds, ‘open strategic autonomy’ means a stronger, more united, and more assertive Europe that puts the interests and values of its citizens first. A Europe that decides and acts autonomously when needed, without an overreliance on the resources and support of outside players. At the same time, the European Union should continue doing everything it can to defend multilateralism, the rules-based international order, and open and fair trade.

Among our many proposals, the S&Ds call for the replacement of unanimity voting with qualified majority in the Council including in EU foreign policy, to improve the EU’s capacity to take rapid and effective decisions. They also call for more defence integration among EU countries, a more assertive trade policy through sustainable trade agreements, energy security and reshoring production in key technological sectors to Europe.

Marek Belka, S&D vice president on trade and development cooperation, said: 

“Russia's war of aggression, which accelerates a new phase of globalisation with different competing powers, should be a wake-up call for us. The European Union – the largest economy in the world, and by far the first development aid donor – has far too often acted like a political dwarf, divided across multiple national interests. 

“If the EU wants to remain in the lead on a global scale, setting global standards on trade, growth or environment, it needs to be more united and assertive. We must draw lessons from the previous crises, and pursue the necessary reforms. Improving decision-making in the Council in order to limit national vetoes and conducting an active trade and industrial policy internationally should be our first policy steps.”

Pedro Marques, S&D vice president on foreign affairs, added: 

“Whilst acknowledging the changing world, such as the rapid rise of China or the emergence of regional powers, we defined our role in the world as advocates for human rights, and the rule of law as well as a strong supporter of multilateral organisations, including a reformed World Trade Organisation. Yet, we have absolved ourselves from the need to proactively define, enforce, and defend our interests around the world. Time to grow up!

“I am proud that the S&Ds have adopted our position paper on the concept of EU Open Strategic Autonomy. It is a strategic roadmap, which will be an asset in our parliamentary work. Our goal is clear: a Union that is a strong political actor and a family of stable democracies where people enjoy freedoms, prosperity, and social welfare.”  

Note to editors:

Please register to attend the event in person. Alternatively, follow the live-stream from 13:30 on (in Polish) and on our Group’s website (in English).