The Russian aggression against Ukraine has led to a rapid and fundamental rethink of the EU’s concepts about security and defence. At this important juncture the Strategic Compass, the EU’s new defence and security agenda developed over the last couple of years, looks to step up the EU’s ability to act, increase its resilience and invest in capabilities. With a unified strategic vision for its 27 member states, the EU strives to sustain its role as a global actor and aims to be a more effective partner when it comes to cooperation with NATO, the US, the UK and others.
With this new strategic vision, what are the potential avenues for cooperation with the UK? And how can the EU and NATO work together to achieve their political objectives?
Ambassador João Vale de Almeida: Ambassador of the European Union to the United Kingdom. Prior to his current role, Ambassador Vale de Almeida served as EU Ambassador to the United Nations (from 2015 to 2019). In New York, he coordinated the EU’s presence in all UN bodies, working closely with the Permanent Representatives of the EU Member States. Ambassador Vale de Almeida previously served as the first EU Ambassador to the United States of America, from 2010 to 2014.
Joanneke Balfoort: Director of Security and Defence policy at the European External Action Service. Joanneke has been with the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more than 25 years. During her career at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she has worked as a project officer for human rights and humanitarian projects, responsible for political affairs at the Netherlands embassy in Moscow, first secretary within the Netherlands NATO delegation in Brussels, coordinator EU affairs within the Ministry and head of the economic section at the embassy in London. From 2017 till mid 2020 she was the Dutch Ambassador to the Political and Security Committee of the European Union in Brussels. Since June 2020 she is the Director Security and Defence policy at the European External Action Service.
Charles Grant CMG: Director of the Centre for European Reform think-tank, which operates in London, Brussels and Berlin. He works on, among other subjects, EU foreign and defence policy, Russia, China, the euro and Brexit. Previously he worked for Euromoney and The Economist, where he covered the European Community in Brussels before returning to its London office in 1993, where he soon became defence editor. He is on the advisory board of the Turkish think-tank EDAM, of the French think-tank Terra Nova and of the Italian think-tank Aspen Italia. He is a governor of the Ditchley Foundation and is a member of the advisory board of the UCL European Institute, of the Scottish First Minister’s Standing Council on Europe, and of the Brexit Advisory Panel of Make UK (formerly the Engineering Employer’s Association).
Dr Benjamin Martill: lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh. He joined the Department in 2019 from the Dahrendorf Forum at LSE IDEAS, where he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. His research and teaching focuses on European security, Brexit, and the politics of foreign policy. Benjamin has worked previously at the London School of Economics, University College London, Canterbury Christ Church University, and the University of Oxford. He received his DPhil (PhD) from University College, Oxford in 2015 for a thesis on the party politics of Cold War security.