Security, particularly defence, is at the forefront of the European Agenda. The election of President Trump on an “America First” ticket in 2016 raised the stakes for European defence. The European Union responded in 2018 by launching the European Defence Fund and the Permanent Structured Cooperation mechanism. French President Emmanuel Macron is leading the search for strategic autonomy from the United States. However, he sparked considerable controversy in November 2019, when he called NATO ‘brain dead’. European leaders reacted strongly, fearing the repercussion of undermining NATO at a time in which the US has weakened its commitment to European security. How Europe reconciles its divisions about the future of the continent’s security and the changing relationship with the USA is central to the next phase of European integration.

Chair: Brigid Laffan, Director, RSCAS, EUI