The longer it takes to deal with this unacceptable limbo, the more the EU waters the seed of radicalization and fuels hatred, extremism and violence. Furthermore, the March 2020 incidents at the northern Greek borders with Turkey testify to the instrumentalization of the migration challenge from the Turkish side. The same challenge is further aggravated by the continuing instability in Libya and the existing cracks in the buffer zone that the EU is trying hard to establish at the northern coast of Africa. The political agreement on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum should rapidly evolve to concrete legislative action and a revised and more comprehensive agreement with Turkey on this issue should become the primary EU objective in the period to come.
Burden-Sharing Between the EU and the US / NATO
Countering these security challenges will contribute to the pursuit of EU strategic autonomy. After all, according to the High Representative, Josep Borrell, at the core of this concept lies the defense of European interests and values, not exclusively in the security and defense realm. Dealing with regional instability and migration by no means suggests a transatlantic rift or competition with the US. It entails the construction of a stable, rules-based regional order, inspired by the liberal and democratic values that bring the two sides together rather than drifting them apart. In that respect, the pursuit of strategic autonomy in the Mediterranean basin should be seen as an indication of a healthy and symbiotic relationship with the US, especially while the United States is operating a so-called "Asian pivot", shifting its attention to the Pacific region. Given this tectonic re-orientation and since geopolitics - very much like nature - loathes the void, it is imperative for the EU to fill in the gap, always in pursuit of a regional liberal order.
The ascendance of the EU as a political and security actor has always been welcomed by the overwhelming majority of the Greek political system, albeit seen most of the time through the prism of the Greek-Turkish rivalry. Without ignoring the importance of the American factor, as illustrated by the significant upgrade in the bilateral relations in the last couple of years, Greece is very keen on and supportive of European military collaboration schemes, be they PESCO projects or the European Defense Fund. The main concern, in Greece as in many other EU member-states, is whether such schemes can indeed lead to substantial military cooperation and in due time defense integration, or whether they rather constitute rhetoric fireworks that will not survive the test of time. At this stage, following a prudent security portfolio diversification, Greece balances with one foot on each boat, namely the American protection and the increased European autonomy, being supportive of the latter without relinquishing the former.