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European Council and CSDP: success or failure?

jeu, 15/09/2016 - 14:00

Written by Suzana Elena Anghel,

koya979 / Shutterstock.com

At three recent European Councils (December 2012, December 2013 and June 2015), the Heads of State or government have called for a deepening of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) namely by strengthening its crisis management dimension and further developing civilian and military capabilities. The June 2016 European Council reverted to security and defence policy with particular attention to the strengthening of the relationship with NATO, including on the development of complementary and interoperable defence capabilities.

But what are the achievements? Is there a way of measuring progress made over the past years? Is there a gap between intentions/declarations and deeds? What are the challenges and how to address them?

The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) will address these questions at a roundtable discussion on ‘The European Council and CSDP: success or failure?’ on 27 September 2016, 13h30-15h00, in the European Parliament’s Library main reading room in Brussels. Participants at this roundtable debate are: Elmar Brok MEP, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, General Jean-Paul Perruche, Former Director-General of the European Union Military Staff, Professor Alexander Mattelaer, Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), and Elena Lazarou, Policy Analyst, EPRS.

If you do not have an access badge to the European Parliament and are interested in attending the event, it is essential to register by Friday 23 September, using this link.

At the event the EPRS study on ‘The European Council and CSDP: Orientation and Implementation in the field of Crisis Management’ will be presented and discussed. This study assesses the planning, command and control of civilian and military CSDP missions and operations, progress made in developing civilian and military capabilities, particularly rapid response capabilities in the form of the EU Battlegroups, as well as challenges encountered during the force generation process, areas in which the European Council repeatedly called for further progress to be made.


Filed under: BLOG, Events, Policy Cycle Tagged: Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), CSDP, EPRS Events, European Council, events, security and defence, Study, Suzana Elena Anghel Gavrilescu

European security and the NATO summit [What Think Tanks are thinking]

ven, 01/07/2016 - 18:00

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

© mrallen / Fotolia

Challenges to security in Europe will take centre stage at the NATO summit in Warsaw on 8-9 July when its heads of state and government will discuss issues ranging from Russia’s conflict with Ukraine and its growing military assertiveness to turmoil across the Middle East and North Africa, and the future of the military alliance.

This note highlights a selection of commentaries, studies and reports by some of the major international think tanks and research institutes on European security and defence published in the run-up to the NATO summit. More reports on the subject can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are thinking’ from in November 2015.

NATO summit

NATO Summit 2016: From reassurance to deterrence. What’s really at stake?
Barcelona Centre for International Affairs, June 2016

The Warsaw summit and the return of Western nationalism
Danish Institute for International Studies, June 2016

Warsaw summit
Atlantic Council, June 2016

NATO Summit 2016: NATO must reaffirm its “open door” policy
Heritage Foundation, June 2016

National priorities for the NATO Warsaw summit
German Marshall Fund, May 2016

NATO defence planning between Wales and Warsaw: Politico-military challenges of a credible assurance against Russia
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, January 2016

What NATO for what threats? Warsaw and beyond
Istituto Affari Internazionali, December 2015

Preparing for NATO’s Warsaw summit: The challenges of adapting to strategic change
Danish Institute of International Studies, December 2015

Other studies

Restoring the power and purpose of the NATO alliance
Atlantic Council, June 2016

Time to restore conventional deterrence-by-denial
Egmont, June 2016

A new strategy: Implications for CSDP
Clingendael, June 2016

All not quiet on NATO’s eastern front
Carnegie Europe, June 2016

A threat-based strategy for NATO’s southern flank
Carnegie Europe, June 2016

Security in the Baltic Sea Region: Activation of risk potential
Finnish Institute of International Affairs, June 2016

The future of Transatlantic security
Rand, June 2016

Evaluating future U.S. Army force posture in Europe
Centre for Strategic and International Studies, June 2016

NATO must stop crowding Russia
Cato Institute, June 2016

European defence: From strategy to delivery
Clingendael, May 2016

Embedding NATO into the European Union Global Strategy: The missing link?
European, May 2016

Closing NATO’s Baltic gap
International Centre for Defence Studies, May 2016

Russia: A test for Transatlantic unity
Transatlantic Academy, German Marshall Fund, May 2016

A historic reminder, an ever-present dilemma? Assessing Brexit’s potential consequences for European security
European Policy Centre, May 2016

Russian “countermeasures” to NATO are coming
Brookings Institution, May 2016

EUISS yearbook of European security 2016
European Union Institute for Security Studies, April 2016

Envisioning European defence: Five futures
European Union Institute for Security Studies, April 2016

For a “new realism” in European defense: The five key challenges an EU defense strategy should address
German Marshall Fund, April 2016

A new Helsinki needed? What security model for Europe?
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik, April 2016

The parliamentary dimension of defence cooperation
Clingendael, April 2016

European defence spending 2015: The force awakens
European Union Institute for Security Studies, April 2016

Do we need an EU army? Which way for the European security and defence cooperation
Mendel European Centre, March 2016

NATO’s guns point the wrong way
Friends of Europe, March 2016

NATO, the US and Baltic Sea security
Swedish Institute of International Affairs, February 2016

The annexation of Crimea: Lessons for European security
Fondation Robert Schuman, February 2016

Ensuring deterrence against Russia: The view from NATO’s front-line States
Heinrich Böll Stiftung, February 2016

Forces terrestres et réassurance: Quelles options pour l’Alliance?
Institut français des relations internationales, January 2016

The defence of Europe before European Defence: Returning to the Schuman method
Fondation Robert Schuman, January 2016

A stronger CSDP: Deepening defence cooperation
Clingendael, January 2016

Defence budgets and cooperation in Europe: Developments, trends and drivers
Istituto Affari Internazionali, Consortium of Think Tanks, January 2016

Reinforcing deterrence on NATO’s Eastern flank: Wargaming the defense of the Baltics
Rand, January 2016

NATO and European security: back to the roots?
Istituto Affari Internazionali, December 2015

The EU, Russia and the quest for a new European security bargain
Clingendael, December 2015

European strategy, European defence and the CSDP
Egmont, November 2015

L’Europe à la croisée des chemins: La politique de défense et de sécurité a besoin d’initiatives franco-allemandes
Institut français des relations internationales, November 2015

Filed under: International Relations, PUBLICATIONS Tagged: At a glance, CSDP, defence policy, EU army, European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), Marcin Grajewski, Nato, what think tanks are thinking

Outcome of the 25-26 June European Council

jeu, 02/07/2015 - 19:00
Written by Suzana Elena Anghel, Stanislas de Finance, Ralf Drachenberg

This 25-26 June 2015 summit witnessed an intense debate. While the agenda originally covered Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), the digital single market and the European Semester, in addition to a presentation from David Cameron, United Kingdom Prime Minister to outline his vision on renegotiating his country’s relationship with the EU, the summit became a crisis Council. Many discussions again focused on the situation in the Mediterranean, with several lively exchanges. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel described the issue as the ‘biggest challenge’ Europe had faced during her time in office.

The Council’s conclusions nevertheless managed to address all issues on the agenda. The Heads of State or Government concentrated on three key dimensions of the European Commission’s agenda on migration: the relocation/resettlement of migrants; their return/readmission/reintegration; and cooperation with countries of both origin and transit. Clear differences in opinion persisted on the voluntary or mandatory nature of the relocation scheme, but agreement was reached on ‘the temporary and exceptional relocation, over two years, from the frontline Member States: Italy and Greece, to other Member States of 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection’.

Although the debate on CSDP fell short of its original ambition, the Council conclusions included a statement that the European Council ‘will keep security and defence policy on its regular agenda’, thereby clearly underlining the future importance of CSDP.

United Kingdom Prime Minister, David Cameron’s presentation of his vision on renegotiation of the UK’s relationship with the EU, did not outline any specific details, however, it provided an impetus for European level discussions on this issue, with Council President Donald Tusk seeing it as ‘the first step in a longer process that will also end at the European Council’. This issue is certain to reappear on the agenda for the Council meeting in December 2015.

The significantly shortened debate on the Commission communication on a Digital Single Market strategy for Europe, nevertheless led to Council conclusions calling for the rapid adoption of the Telecommunications Single Market Regulation, the Directive on Network and Information Security, and the Data Protection package. Heads of State or Government also stressed that action must be taken on key components of the Commission communication, such as eliminating mobile roaming charges. On this issue, on 30 June 2015, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, reached agreement to end roaming surcharges by 15 June 2017.

The EPRS publishes briefings on the European Council before summits, and European Council outcome briefings (next to be issued just after the European Council of 15-16 October 2015).

Read this Briefing on Outcome of the 25-26 June European Council in PDF
Filed under: BLOG, Institutional and Legal Affairs, Policy Cycle Tagged: briefings, CSDP, digital agenda, economic governance, EPRS briefings, European Council, migration, Post-European Council Briefing, Ralf Drachenberg, Stanislas de Finance, Suzana Elena Anghel Gavrilescu

Outlook for the European Council of 25-26 June 2015: Pre-European Council Briefing

mer, 24/06/2015 - 14:00
Written by Suzana Elena Anghel Gavrilescu and Ralf Drachenberg

The June European Council has a comprehensive list of topics to discuss, including the situation in the Mediterranean, the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), fighting terrorism, economic governance aspects, and the digital agenda. In addition, a presentation by the British Prime Minister on the future role of the United Kingdom is on the agenda.

Migration is the main topic of this June European Council. Heads of State or Government will discuss the recently published European Agenda for Migration and take stock of the progress made since the extraordinary European Council meeting on migration in April 2015. The European Council will discuss the European Commission’s proposal for a temporary relocation mechanism, which envisages relocating 40 000 persons from Italy and Greece to other Member States.

The European Council should also agree on a new CSDP roadmap and set the objectives for capabilities development, fostering the defence industry and the defence market, and strengthening relations with international organisations (i.e. the UN, NATO, the African Union). The Heads of State or Government will decide on a timeline for the completion of the strategic review process, most probably by June 2016. Within the broader context of discussing security aspects, the European Council will also examine the implementation of the informal February 2015 European Council‘s decisions on the fight against terrorism. 

During discussions on the 2015 European Semester the European Council endorse the Country Specific Recommendations that Member States should implement to ensure sound public finances and to make their economies more competitive. Whilst on the topic of better economic governance in the euro area, the ‘Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union’ report is expected to be presented to the Heads of State or Government.

The European Commission’s recent Digital Single Market strategy for Europe will be tabled for examination, and the European Council will most likely call for a rapid adoption of pending legislation in this field, such as the European Single Market for Electronic Communications, the Directive on Network and Information Security and the proposal for a Regulation on Data Protection.

This European Council meeting will also hear United Kingdom Prime Minister, David Cameron outline his vision for renegotiating his country’s relationship with the EU.

Read the complete ‘Outlook for the European Council of 25 – 26 June 2015‘ in PDF.
Filed under: BLOG, Policy Cycle Tagged: briefings, counter-terrorism strategy, CSDP, digital agenda, economic governance, EPRS briefings, European Council, Pre-European Council Briefing, Ralf Drachenberg, Suzana Elena Anghel Gavrilescu

Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) [What Think Tanks are thinking]

ven, 20/03/2015 - 18:00
Written by Marcin Grajewski

The recent interview by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, in which he advocated ‘a joint EU army’ as a means to strengthen European foreign policy and ‘allow Europe to take on responsibility in the world’ has revived an on-going debate in think-tank and academic circles about how to maximise the effectiveness of existing national and Europe-wide efforts in the field of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The European Council adopted an extensive set of conclusions on the subject in December 2013.

This note highlights a selection of recent studies, reports and commentaries by some of the major international think tanks and research institutes that analyse issues surrounding the development of CSDP.


© TebNad / Shutterstock

Federalist rhetoric or political tactics? The what, where, who, when and why of Juncker’s call for a common European army  European Policy Centre (EPC), March 12, 2015

Does the EU need its own army?  Carnegie Europe, March 11, 2015

The illusion of an independent EU army  Carnegie Europe, March 10, 2015

If not now, when? The Nordic EU battle-group

European Union Institute for Security Studies (ISS), February 17, 2015

The EU and the UN: together for peace

European Union Institute for Security Studies, December 18, 2014

Europe’s global power potential: locked in the EU28’s defence silos  Friends of Europe, December 4, 2014

2014: a centenary and a discovery  Egmont, December 2014


The EU neighbourhood in shambles  Bertelsmann Stiftung, March 3, 2015

More Union in European defence  Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), February 26, 2015

European Defence Trends  Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), January 6, 2015

Report: EU as a security provider  Clingendael, December 18, 2014

Why Europe must stop outsourcing its security

European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), December 15, 2014

Peacemaking: Can the EU meet expectations?  Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, December, 2014

Europe’s changing security landscape: What role will the EU play in security and defence?

Finnish Institute of International Affairs, December 12, 2014

Actors in the European defence policy area: roles and developments

Istituto Affari Internazionali, November 24, 2014

Constructing the defence dimension of the EU

International Security Information Service Europe, June, 2014

Security and defence: an issue for the European citizen?

Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA), March, 2014

Livre blanc français de la défense 2013 : lignes de forces autour de la sécurité-défense européenne

L’Institut royal supérieur de défense, December, 2013

Why do Europeans need armed forces?  Fride, November, 2013

 Related publications

Why peacekeeping matters to Europe  Friends of Europe, March 11, 2015

The Wales pledge revisited: A preliminary analysis of 2015 budget decisions in NATO member states

European Leadership Network, February, 2015

In the belly of the beast: A European view on sending arms to Ukraine

Brookings Institution, February 4, 2015

Challenges for European Foreign Policy in 2015: How others deal with disorder  Fride, January 12, 2015

A new European security order: The Ukraine crisis and the missing post-Cold War bargain

Fondation pour la Recherche Strategique, December 8, 2014

Integrating EU defence and migration policies in the Mediterranean  Fride, November, 2014

EP publication

The Cost of Non-Europe in Common Security and Defence Policy

European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), European Added Value Unit, June 2013

Read this At a glance on Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) in PDF
Filed under: International Relations, PUBLICATIONS Tagged: Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), CSDP, Marcin Grajewski, what think tanks are thinking

Human rights applied to CSDP operations and missions

mer, 29/01/2014 - 08:30

The European Union (EU) must not only promote the observance of human rights by other international actors, but also respect them itself in the course of all its actions abroad. However, the applicability of international human rights instruments to EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations is problematic since the EU itself, as opposed to its Member States, is not party to these instruments. International human rights apply to EU-led missions as part of customary international law.


These human rights obligations are enforced through specific accountability mechanisms. The EU is also responsible for human rights violations committed by private military and security services when fulfilling duties assigned by the EU.

The envisaged accession of the EU to the European Convention on Human Rights raises questions as to the attribution of acts during CSDP operations to theMemberStates and EU. The European Court of Human Rights’ case law on the extra-territorial application of the Convention gives guidance as to its future relevance for EU missions abroad.

Click here for the whole briefing

Filed under: Institutional and Legal Affairs, International Relations, PUBLICATIONS Tagged: Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), CSDP, EPRS briefings, European Convention on Human Rights, Foreign Affairs, human rights, international organisations, international security, legal affairs, military, peacekeeping missions

The maritime dimension of the EU’s CSDP

dim, 08/09/2013 - 18:30

© apfelweile / Fotolia.com

6 language versions available in PDF format

Die maritimen Aspekte der GSVP der EU

La dimensión marítima de la PCSD de la UE

La dimension maritime de la PSDC

La dimensione marittima della PSDC dell’UE

Wymiar morski unijnej WPBiO

The maritime dimension of the EU’s CSDP

As piracy off Africa has become a global security issue, the need for the European Union (EU) to protect its interests at sea through a maritime dimension to its Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) has also been recognised.

Importance of the sea for the EU

With a coastline of 70 000 kilometres and with 90% of its external trade transported by sea, the EU has vital maritime interests: security of global maritime flows, safety of maritime transport, fish, energy resources etc. Protecting the world’s maritime routes and lines of communication is an essential dimension of the EU’s security. The EU requires to develop an active approach to the varied challenges and threats to maritime security (terrorism, transnational crime, piracy, environmental degradation, depletion of marine resources etc.) in its neighbourhood and other zones.

EU’s role in maritime security

Although no EU maritime strategy as such exists, a maritime dimension has developed across EU policy areas and through EU agencies, e.g. fisheries, marine pollution, maritime transport, maritime surveillance, and energy security, as well as maritime power projection through CSDP. The Integrated Mari­time Policy for the EU (2007) aimed at uniting the various approaches, but its underlying economic rationale left little room for security issues. Equally, neither the European Security Strategy (2003) nor its Implementation Report (2008) directly addresses maritime security.

Despite some initiatives taken under the CSDP, there are still calls for a maritime dimension to CSDP strategy. In particular, the EU should actively seek to safeguard key trade routes (“Suez to Shanghai”, the Arctic) and prevent state or non-state actors from disrupting them.

The surge in African piracy prompted the launch in 2008 of the EU’s first CSDP naval operation, EUNAVFOR-Atalanta, with the objective of combating piracy off the coast of Somalia and protecting UN food aid deliveries to the country. Two further CSDP missions (EUCAP Nestor – improving regional maritime capacities – and the EU Training Mission (EUTM) Somalia – to train Somali security forces) – are part of a broader EU approach, based on the EU Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa (2011). Although Operation Atalanta enhanced the credibility of EU CSDP, the Somali case proves that a combination of threats (weak governance, piracy, illegal fishing, under-development) requires complex policies and tools.

Towards a Maritime Security Strategy

In this context, academics have called for an EU Maritime Security Strategy (EUMSS). This should take a holistic approach, integrating civil and military aspects, and state the EU’s maritime strategic objectives and the means to implement them, while avoiding duplication of capabilities at EU level. Cooperation with other maritime forces (NATO, the United States, China, Russia etc.) also needs to be tackled.

In 2010, EU Foreign Ministers launched the process of preparing “options for the possible elaboration of a security strategy for the global maritime domain.” The Commission and the European External Action Service are expected to present a formal proposal for the December 2013 European Council meeting, dedicated to CSDP matters.

European Parliament

The EP has adopted several resolutions addressing maritime security. The latest report on the Maritime dimension of the Common Security and Defence Policy (rapporteur Ana Gomes, S&D, Portugal) states the importance of global maritime flows and calls for an EUMSS combining approaches to maritime safety and maritime security, and considering the “nexus between human security, state governance and human development”. It also stresses the need for improved exchange of information and intelligence on maritime risks and threats between EU Member States, and proposes the creation of EU coastguards.

Filed under: International Relations, PUBLICATIONS Tagged: CSDP, deutsch, español, fisheries, Foreign Affairs, français, italiano, maritime security, plenary at a glance, polski