Collective Collapse or Resilience? European Defense Priorities in the Pandemic Era

February 24th 2021 - 14:42

As the pandemic set in, the unprecedented economic crisis and breakdown of collective action it brought on were expected to hamper European defense priorities. Even before the pandemic, Europe was under severe internal and external stress and so the pandemic was expected to undermine European influence in its regions of interest.

Yet one year on, analysis by IFRI has shown that European defense priorities have in the short term remained remarkably resilient. In fact, changes brought by the pandemic are less striking than the continuity observed in most cases when it comes to foreign and defense policies, from stated levels of ambition to defense spending plans.

However, in the long term the sweeping political changes, changes in the US commitment to European security and intensified strategic competition brought on by the pandemic could effect European defense priorities in ways yet unseen. Rob de Wijk is among the co-authors who analyse this uncertain future of European defense priorities in this latest report by the French Institute of International Relations (IFR): Collective Collapse or Resilience? European Defense Priorities in the Pandemic Era ( 

Rob de Wijk is the founder of The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) and Professor of International Relations and Security at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs at Leiden University. He studied Contemporary History and International Relations at Groningen University, and wrote his PhD dissertation on NATO’s ‘Flexibility in Response’ strategy at the Political Science Department of Leiden University.