Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)

Logo of the EU Training Mission in Mali

Germany is participating in the EU Training Mission in Mali, © dpa


The CSDP enables the EU to use civilian, police and military instruments to cover the full spectrum of crisis prevention, crisis management and post-crisis rehabilitation.

For Europe’s security

The member states of the European Union are working together to ensure Europe’s security. The EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) was first conceived at the Cologne European Council in June 1999. The EU launched its first mission in 2003: Concordia in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Since then, civilian experts, police officers and soldiers have helped foster peace and stability in more than 30 missions.

German civilian experts, police officers, customs officers and Bundeswehr soldiers are involved in almost all CSDP missions and operations. The members of the German Bundestag are briefed on missions on a regular basis. In the case of armed military operations, they hold debates and vote on the Bundestag mandate, which is a prerequisite for such missions.

A common vision for the next years: the Strategic Compass

With the Strategic Compass, Member States will set out a common strategic vision for EU security and defence for the next 5-10 years. Building on a common assessment of the threats and challenges we face, the Compass will provide operational guidelines to enable the EU to become a stronger security provider and a more responsible and reliable partner, namely when it comes to responding to external crises, building the capacity of partners and protecting the Union and its citizens.

Launch of the Permanent Structured Cooperation: the Foreign Ministers with the signed joint notification
Launch of the Permanent Structured Cooperation: the Foreign Ministers with the signed joint notification© Thomas Koehler / photothek.net

PESCO: deepen defence cooperation between member states

The establishment of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) by the Council in December 2017 has raised cooperation on defence among the participating EU Member States to a new level. It allows willing and able member states to jointly plan, develop and invest in shared capability projects, and enhance the operational readiness and contribution of their armed forces. The ultimate objective is to optimize the available resources and improve their overall effectiveness, with a view to the most demanding missions and operations and contributing to the fulfilment of the Union level of ambition.

Eröffnung des Europäischen Kompetenzzentrums für Ziviles Krisenmanagement (CoE)
Das Europäische Kompetenzzentrum für Ziviles Krisenmanagement (CoE) eröffnete am 17. September 2020 in Berlin. Internationale Partner werden dort gemeinsam daran arbeiten, Konflikte mit zivilen Mitteln zu entschärfen© Florian Gaertner/photothek.net

The European Centre of Excellence for Civilian Crisis Management (CoE)

The European Centre of Excellence for Civilian Crisis Management (CoE) is an international non-profit association based in Berlin comprising 18 European Union Member States. The Centre of Excellence was established in February 2020. It will gather, analyse and share national good practices in the field of civilian crisis management. Based on this knowledge, the CoE will provide tailored solutions and expert advice to member states, EU Institutions – especially the EU External Action Service – and to EU missions. This will also be done in coordination and complementarity with privileged partners such as NATO. Read the Speech by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to mark the opening of the European Centre of Excellence for Civilian Crisis Management (CoE) here.

List of EU missions and operations

A complete list of military and civilian missions and operations of the EU can be found on the website of the

European External Action Service

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