The EU's ability to deal with internal crises and promote its interests globally has been a key topic of discussion over the past decade. Strategic autonomy has become a collective term for a discussion on how the EU can secure the foundations of European integration, as well as become a more effective player in the international arena. The discussion began in foreign and security policy but has grown into more and more policy areas such as industrial policy, green transition, technology, trade, health and the euro. Developments accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic when the EU launched a joint rescue package of historical proportions linked to several of these areas.
For the Nordic EU countries, the discussion and vision of European strategic autonomy has been complicated. Denmark, Finland and Sweden are all devoted friends of free trade and strict competition law, while they are sceptical about increased coordination and deepening of European defence structures. This often fits uneasily with the Commission's high ambitions in, for example, industrial policy
In this anthology, authors from Denmark, Finland and Sweden describe how the governments of the respective countries view the central components of strategic autonomy and its policy content. Based on interviews with government officials and official documents, the authors describe how the different countries perceive changes in the business environment and how these affect EU cooperation. It also describes how it is perceived that the interests of one's own country are compatible with the proposals launched to strengthen European strategic autonomy.