The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many lessons, one of them being the importance of a more assertive role for Europe as a security provider and a reliable defender of the rules-based international order. The pandemic accelerated already existing and worrisome trends—questioning of multilateral institutions, the disengagement of some of our allies, growing vulnerabilities in critical sectors of our defence co-operation. The pandemic also happened at a time when the U.S.—so far, the unquestionable security and power provider—continued to withdraw from many parts of the world due to its increased focus on China, while the rules-based international order came under permanent pressure from many sides.
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