The Young Security Conference connects young innovative thinkers with experts from policy and research in a discussion on the future of European security and defence, in order to formulate concrete policy proposals. It is a unique initiative that stands out for its participatory and innovative character. As part of its efforts, the YSC has published the report “The West in Fragmentations” in cooperation with our distinguished YSC alumni and partners. This report is a result of the first YSC in 2020 at the Amerikahaus in Munich and illustrates the important findings and research of the YSC, underpinning the theoretical and conceptual framework of its mission: to strengthen civic engagement in order to prepare Europe’s future strategic autonomy in the world.
The Munich Security Conference started the security policy debate of 2020 with a discussion on “Westlessness”, an expression of a “lost past”, painting a picture of today’s “disordered” world that neither the international community nor the European Union can regulate or govern. Westlessness, however, is about more than this: the future. It presents a vision of a vacuum that needs to be filled by cohesive transatlantic institutions that must find a common purpose.
The 21st century has brought about severe crises. The Covid-19 pandemic has put European sovereignty and autonomy to the test and Europe is in a period of soul searching as it faces new and old challenges, including Brexit, the eastern borders, and cyber and hybrid threats. It can thus be argued that the EU has yet to assert itself as an independent power on the world stage.
But the 21st century has also opened doors for new opportunities. A generation that did not experience the Cold War is proposing a complete course correction – a more assertive and geopolitical Europe. The YSC report on “The West in Fragmentations” serves as a guide to this European strategic autonomy and sovereignty.