The European Think Tanks Group hosts a high-level conference in Berlin on 1 and 2 March 2016 to debate the EU Global Strategy and related strategy processes against the background of the 2030 Agenda and to identify a concrete course of action, combining perspectives from foreign and security, development, climate, environment, migration and trade policies.

The Juncker Commission together with the High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini have launched various strategy processes to reform both EU external and internal policies. These include the Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, the Review of the Neighbourhood Policy, the Trade Review, and a Review of Europe 2020. A Review of the European Consensus on Development is under consideration. Different views exist as to how the Global Strategy should evolve and what its main focus should be. Intensified by the migration crisis and the recent terrorist attacks, some argue for a narrow strategy that focuses on the EU’s immediate security and defence. Others argue for a comprehensive strategy for the promotion of global sustainable development that combines foreign and security policy with all areas of EU external action.

Globally, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a new normative frame for the EU and its Member States. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are universal goals that aim to guide national policies and international cooperation by all UN Member States and dissolve the artificial boundary between internal and external action. None of the SDGs ‐ be they goals related to social development, environment, climate, governance, or peace and security ‐ can be promoted by individual policy fields or institutions alone.

As of now, it is an open question how and to what extent the EU Global Strategy and the EU’s implementation of the SDGs can and should be linked. The EU strongly supported the universal nature and also the thematic scope of the 2030 Agenda and is now also expected to lead by example and to pioneer in translating the SDGs into its domestic and external engagement. Such an approach not only requires political leadership, but also a fundamental reorientation of how internal and external EU action is organised and how coherence and collective action can be improved.

See the programme here.