Common security and defence policy (CSDP)

The foundations for the development of the European Security and Defence Policy were established in the Maastricht Treaty, which entered into force in 1993, and according to which the ESDP is an integral element of the Union’s common foreign and security policy (CFSP).

The EU’s Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) was renamed the European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009.

External Relations Council meeting – Ministerial Declaration:

ESDP Ten Years – Challenges and Opportunities (November 2009)!menu/standard/file/111253.pdf

In accordance with the Treaty on the European Union, the CSDP can lead to a common defence if the Council of Europe so decides and if the Member States, on the Council’s recommendation, accept the decision in accordance with their constitutional requirements. At present, a common defence is not a likely option.

In the framework of CSDP the European Union conducts both military and civilian crisis management operations. The so-called Capability Development Mechanism refers to improving the EU’s civilian and military crisis management capacity in view of future operations. An ambitious set of Headline Goals have been set for both the military and civilian capabilities.

The European Security Strategy, which was approved in December 2003 and revised in December 2008, provides a framework for the Union’s security political action. The EU’s common interests, strategic goals and capability requirements are determined based on the security environment and threat assessments.

European Security Strategy of 2003 and its revision in 2008:

  • European Security Strategy: A secure Europe in a better world (EN, Brussels, 12 December 2003)
  • Report on the Implementation of the European Security Strategy: Providing Security in a Changing World (Brussels, 11 December 2008, S407/08)

Decisions concerning the CSDP are made by the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), Council of foreign affairs ministers of the EU, which is chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The Political and Security Committee (COPS/PSC) takes part in policy formulation related to the European security and defence policy by giving statements to the Council. The Committee monitors the implementation of the CSDP and takes responsibility for the political supervision and strategic guidance of crisis management operations. Actual decisions concerning CSDP operations are made in the Council.

The EU Military Committee (EUMC) provides advice and recommendations on military issues to COPS/PSC and guidance to the EU Military Staff (EUMS) in military matters. Issues related to civilian crisis management are prepared in the Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management (CivCom).The politico-military working group (PMG) is in charge of preparing CSDP matters for COPS/PSC.

Related websites

  • External Relations: Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) for the European Union
  • CSDP information by the Council of the EU: Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP)
  • Implementation of The CFSP and CSDP
  • CSDP structures and instruments
  • Headline Goal 2010 (PDF)
  • Presidency Report on ESDP (CSDP), June 2009 (PDF)

One of the main challenges for the EU in the field of security and defence policy in the future is to enhance coordination and coherence between different policy areas and actors to help ensure a comprehensive approach to crisis management. This has been taken into account in the EU’s new External Action Service (EEAS), the new European diplomatic corps.

The Crisis Management and Planning Directorate (CMPD) will combine civilian and military expertise in crisis management. It is intended to be at the very heart of the External Action Service and to be the body that deals with all the toughest issues of world peace and security the EU is involved in.

In December 2008, the European Council agreed to merge civilian and military aspects of the planning for European peace keeping missions into a single CMPD.

It was a logical step that would help the EU to be more efficient in its response to conflicts. This strategic planning tool of the CSDP was set up in November 2009.

Created to belong to the EEAS, the specific constellation and staffing level of this standing structure based in Brussels under the authority of the HR/VP Mrs Catherine Ashton, has not yet been specified.

The CMPD would include personnel from all geographical task forces within the Council secretariat, from the SitCen, SatCen, the EUMS, and most particularly from its Civil-Military Cell as well as from relevant Commission services. It will be led by a civilian head and a military deputy.

Related Article:

“The Crisis Management and Planning Directorate: recalibrating ESDP Planning and conduct Capacities”

On the 26th of April, SEDE hold a hearing on the EU civil and military cooperation

“EU Civil-military cooperation: a comprehensive approach”

Programme and speeches can be found on the following link:;jsessionid=ADA24BF01FC49EF160E7E5B62CDF7A01.node2?language=EN&body=SEDE