The instrument of a Strategic Partnership (SP) represents the EU’s response to an increasingly interdependent world, since cooperation with key powers is necessary to ensure that the EU’s values and interests are preserved at the global level.
SPs are still a work in progress for the EU, which has not yet properly defined their use nor provided a clear list of its strategic partners. For this reason, common elements to the EU’s various SPs are difficult to find. This briefing focuses on the SPs with individual countries, but the EU also calls some groups of countries and international organisations strategic partners. Attempts at classification underline the diversity of the EU’s strategic partners, the varied procedures for establishing an SP and the different degrees of cooperation. Therefore, it has been disputed whether SPs are effective policy instruments. Doubts about a real EU strategy on SPs, with stated objectives and related achievements, as well as about the EU’s capacity to be a strategic actor have also been expressed.
However, experts agree that SPs should become a priority for the EU, provided they fulfil certain conditions, such as: focusing on strategic issues, promoting multilateralism and integrating into a broader EU foreign policy strategy. In this sense, the future of the EU SPs is still open.