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European Security and Defence Policy

moreThe European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) is part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the European Union and is designed to reinforce the EU's external action through a crisis management capability that includes both military and non-military aspects, while fully respecting the principles of the United Nations Charter. In response to crises, the Union's particular characteristic is its capacity to mobilise a vast range of both civilian and military means and instruments, thus giving it overall crisis management and conflict prevention capability in support of the objectives of the CFSP.

To enable the European Union to assume its responsibilities for crisis management as a whole and to play its role on the international stage, the EU has developed a whole range of instruments required for a global approach to crisis management.

The Nice European Council in 2000 approved the setting-up of the following permanent political and military bodies:

  • the Political and Security Committee (PSC)
  • the European Union Military Committee (EUMC)
  • the Military "Staff" of the European Union (EUMS)

With these new political and military bodies, the EU has the independent capacity to take decisions and, where NATO as a whole is not engaged, to launch and conduct EU-led military operations using NATO assets and capabilities (the Berlin Plus arrangements), or EU-led operations without recourse to NATO assets and capabilities in response to international crises and in support of the CFSP.

The European Union also decided to develop capabilities for the civilian aspects of crisis management based on the four priorities defined by the Feira European Council in June 2000: police, strengthening of the rule of law, strengthening civil administration and civilian protection. The scope of civil ESDP operations covers mainly police missions, as well as the development and consolidation of rule of law institutions, the strengthening of civilian administrative structures and observer missions.

Moreover, with the adoption of the European Security Strategy by the European Council in December 2003, the EU affirmed the role it wants to play in the world, supporting an international order based on effective multilateralism within the UN.

With the enhancement of military and civilian crisis response tools, the Union is able to resort to a whole range of instruments, from diplomatic activity, humanitarian assistance and economic measures to civilian policing and military crisis management operations.

The EU is a global actor, ready to share its responsibility for global security. The EU has at its disposal all the necessary capabilities (civilian and military) and appropriate structures for effective EU decision-making in the field of crisis management.

More information:

ESDP Operations more


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Date: 03.01.2008