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.

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.

EU CSDP Missions and Operations

The EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) provides the European Union with an operational capacity to deploy civilian and military missions and operations abroad.

The range of tasks is set out in the EU Treaties, ranging from conflict prevention and peace-keeping, crisis management, joint disarmament operations, and military advice and assistance tasks to humanitarian and rescue and post-conflict stabilisation tasks.

In-depth analysis of EU CSDP Missions and Operations

This policy brief provides an overview of what the EU has done through its Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations since 2003 until 2020, and which achievements and challenges it faces.

It evaluates how the overall political context and the EU’s approach have evolved over time, and how this has affected the launch and implementation of CSDP actions.

Handbook for missions and operations of EU CSDP

This handbook is designed for practitioners working in the field of the Common Security and Defence Policy of the EU.

It reflects the specific challenges and aspects of CSDP relevant to personnel deployed to CSDP missions and operations, and gives clear guidance on how to cope with difficult situations. It also gives a comprehensive overview of legal, political, strategic and political dimensions of the CSDP, leading from vision to action.

Roles and Responsibilities: The European Council

Under Articles 22 and 26 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the European Council identifies the strategic interests and objectives of the Union in the area of the CFSP and in other areas of the external action of the Union. In doing so, the European Council acts on the basis of the principles set out in Article 21 TEU: democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, equality and solidarity, and respect for the United Nations Charter and international law.