The common security and defence policy (CSDP) is an integral part of the EU’s common foreign and security policy (CFSP). The CSDP is the main policy framework through which Member States can develop a European strategic culture of security and defence, address conflicts and crises together, protect the Union and its citizens, and strengthen international peace and security.

As a result of the tense geopolitical context, the CSDP has been one of the fastest developing policies over the last 10 years.

Evolution of EU CSDP: A timeline of shaping

The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) enables the Union to take a leading role in peace-keeping operations, conflict prevention and in the strengthening of the international security. It is an integral part of the EU's comprehensive approach towards crisis management, drawing on civilian and military assets.

The scale and complexity of the inter-linked security threats and challenges that the EU is facing are beyond the capacity of a single Member State.

The CSDP toolbox

This text provides an overview of recent developments in the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the European Union. It highlights key achievements since 2016, including the establishment of new structures and initiatives aimed at enhancing cooperation and capabilities in the defence sector.

Since 2016, the CSDP has achieved a number of successes, including:

Handbook on CSDP

This handbook (Volume I, 4th edition, 2021) gives a general overview of the various topics dealt with in the Common Security and Defence Policy of the European Union.

It describes the various structures at EU level and summarises the procedural guidelines for the establishment of the CSDP missions and operations. This publication is the reference document for all those interested in the security and defence dimension of the EU.

Military CSDP Capabilities

The EU disposes of a unique array of instruments to help promote peace and security where needed.

The world is changing and Europe faces an increasingly complex and uncertain security environment. There is a growing demand for the European Union to become more capable, more coherent and more strategic as a global actor. A comprehensive approach is a key asset to tackle the complex, multi-actor and multidimensional crises and growing security threats of today and tomorrow, as highlighted in the Strategic Compass.