Algieri and Schubert on European Autonomy in Space


A new book titled European Autonomy in Space features writings from Webster IR professors Dr. Samuel Schubert and Dr. Franco Algieri.

The book, published by Springer and edited by the European Space Policy Institute, collects writings from a variety of experts with different perspectives on Europe’s autonomy in space policy.

Dr. Schubert’s article, “Lessons for European Autonomy in Space from Past Pursuits of Energy Autonomy,” looks to past American experiences to glean insight into Europe’s future. Europe and America have both pursued energy autonomy for decades with little success.

By contrast, America succeeded in the Manhattan Project, creating a nuclear navy, and the Apollo program. Dr. Schubert argues that the success of autonomy initiatives is contingent on several factors including a (1) precise mission or goal, (2) a dedicated authoritative institutional customer in the security or foreign policy establishment, (3) a perceived urgency to the national interest, and (4) sustained substantial budgets.

Dr. Algieri’s article, “In Search of Shared Autonomy: The EU as a Restricted Foreign, Security and Defence Political Actor,” discusses the idea of “shared autonomy” as it pertains to EU security policy.

Dr. Algieri posits the EU as a non-autonomous actor, wherein partial autonomy depends on the decisions of individual member states. Entry into the EU inherently reduces a state’s ability to act autonomously in particular ways, namely where economics is concerned.

Security policy is an interesting counterpoint, where national governments act with significantly more autonomy. This creates a host of challenges for the EU to overcome as it seeks to be a politically cohesive body in international politics. The cooperation of European national governments (or lack thereof) will determine whether or not the EU can pursue security interests in both the terrestrial and extraterrestrial spheres.

European Autonomy in Space is available for purchase online.