European Defence

Working towards a better functioning of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)

France is determined to continue its efforts to strengthen the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP): Defence Europe is an ambitious but necessary means of addressing the security challenges facing Europe. On 25 and 26June2015, the European Council will assess the concrete progress achieved since December2013 and set out new guidelines for the security and defence policy.

The European Union faces security challenges in its immediate neighbourhood and beyond. The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) was launched in 1999 and relies on civilian and military resources to contribute to strengthening the security environment of European citizens and supporting peace and stability in Europe’s neighbourhood and around the world. It is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to managing crises.

The European Council meeting of 19and 20December2013 demonstrated the determination of the Europeans to shoulder their responsibilities to move forward on Defence Europe in a concrete, pragmatic and operational manner. It set out policies to confirm the European Union’s place as a major international security stakeholder and maintain its strategic independence. The Europeans thus shoulder their responsibilities to:

a) manage crises more effectively:

Since 2003, the European Union has carried out some 30CSDP missions and operations. It is currently conducting five military missions and operations (four in Africa and one in the Balkans) and 11civilian missions (three in Central Asia and the Middle East, five in Africa, and three in Eastern Europe and the Balkans and in the Caucasus, involving more than 7000staff. It is contributing to stabilization in the Central African Republic (through the EUFORRCA operation) and Mali, through a military mission to train the armed forces (EUTM Mali) and a civilian mission in support of internal security forces (EUCAP Sahel Mali).

In order to enhance the impact of its action in the field, the European Union is committed to acting more effectively on the security of borders in crisis areas (particularly in the Sahel-Sahara strip) and to building the security and defence capabilities of third countries by helping them develop crisis response tools. It also decided to acquire the means to address the challenges of maritimization, concerning the fight against piracy and organized crime as well as securing strategic marine resources, as demonstrated by the Council of the European Union’s adoption in June2014 of an EU Maritime Security Strategy.

b) build European military and civilian capabilities:

Pooling and cooperation are now the only realistic approaches to capacity-building. “We need to pool, share, and find points of coherence if we are to conserve our credibility, avoid strategic relegation and remain capable of ensuring the security of our continent and our citizens”, as Laurent Fabius declared before the National Assembly on 11July2013.

The Europeans are committed to addressing the weaknesses identified during operations, relying in particular on the European Defence Agency (EDA). Concerning aerial refuelling, several European countries will soon jointly be acquiring air tankers. The Europeans have also decided to develop the next generation of surveillance drones together. The aim of developing such a capability between Europeans is to strengthen our independence, especially as regards technology.

c) maintain their defence industry, thus ensuring their strategic independence, growth and employment:

The EU Member States demonstrated their determination to support and strengthen the European defence industry, which is a source of growth, innovation and jobs for the European economy as a whole. Europe’s defence industry thus represents 400,000direct jobs. A European defence industry made up of major groups and SMEs that are robust, innovative and competitive internationally is also essential to preserve the EU’s strategic independence.

Updated: November 2014