CEPS Project

Euro-Atlantic Triangle Project


With the gracious support of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung’s Brussels office, CEPS has bought together a coalition of researchers who aim to ‘square the triangle’ of deeper NATO-EU cooperation, greater EU strategic autonomy, and the stability of the wider Euro-Atlantic security space. While all three of these things were once thought to be desirable and simultaneously possible, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought the choices facing Americans and Europeans into starker contrast. It may be that, for the foreseeable future, pursuing one or two of these goals precludes achieving the third, at least to a significant extent. This intellectual exercise therefore highlights some of the tensions between the short- and long-term policy imperatives facing the transatlantic community.

This project begins with a series of virtual meetings aimed at probing how the American and European foreign policy communities view each other’s responses to the Russian invasion, taking stock of the proposals and language found in the EU’s Strategic Compass (agreed in March 2022) and NATO’s Strategic Concept (adopted in June 2022). It will then proceed with two in-person workshops. The first will discuss the potential to find new synergies between NATO and the EU, along with the extent to which deeper NATO-EU cooperation will affect short- and long-term relations with Russia. The second will then explore the potential for the EU to enhance its strategic autonomy in this context, as well as the extent to which it should pursue such a path.

Project page on FES Brussels website: Squaring Europe’s Triangle

Project coordinators:

Zachary Paikin, Researcher (EU Foreign Policy unit), CEPS

Sidonie Wetzig, Policy Officer (Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence), FES Brussels


Research team (affiliations included for identification purposes only):

  • Michael Mazarr (RAND Corporation, USA)
  • Samuel Charap (RAND Corporation, USA)
  • Paul Stronski (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, USA)
  • Andrea Kendall-Taylor (Centre for a New American Security, USA)
  • Sven Biscop (Egmont Institute, Belgium)
  • Tania Latici (Egmont Institute, Belgium)
  • Olga Oliker (International Crisis Group, Belgium)
  • Roland Freudenstein (GLOBSEC Brussels office, Belgium)
  • Alena Kudzko (GLOBSEC, Slovakia)
  • Orsolya Ráczová (GLOBSEC, Slovakia)
  • Daniel Fiott (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium)
  • Karine Lisbonne de Vergeron (Global Policy Institute, UK)
  • Alexander Graef (IFSH, Germany)
  • Henrik Larsen (CSS Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Nele Marianne Ewers-Peters (Helmut-Schmidt-University, Germany)


CEPS Expert Commentaries contributed through the Euro-Atlantic Triangle project:

Franco-German cooperation will be crucial for the future of European security

Zachary Paikin