“EU remains committed to strengthen security and defence”: Council adopts Conclusions

On 18 May the Council adopted conclusions on security and defence in the context of the EU Global Strategy. The conclusions take note of progress in strengthening cooperation in the area of security and defence, and provide guidance for further work. The areas covered include:
 – Improving CSDP crisis management structures, in particular the ongoing work leading to the establishment of a military planning and conduct capability (MPCC) within the EU military staff (part of the EEAS) which will assume command of non-executive military CSDP missions (currently: EUTM Somalia, EUTM RCA, EUTM Mali), as agreed on 6 March 2017;
 – Strengthening CSDP cooperation with partner countries, with the aim to adopt a more strategic approach to Common and Security Defence Policy partnerships, in view of enhancing cooperation, with a focus on partner countries that share EU values, including the respect for international law, and are able and willing to contribute to CSDP missions and operations;
 – Capacity building for security and development (CBSD), in order to fully cover all the requirements needed to support partner countries in preventing and managing crises on their own;
 – Developing civilian capabilities and enhancing the responsiveness of civilian crisis management, including the possible creation of a core responsiveness capacity;
 – Reinforcing military rapid response, including EU battlegroups, with a view to developing further their modularity in a pragmatic way and to adapt as necessary the financing arrangements;
 – Deepening European defence cooperation, taking stock and providing guidance on the way forward on
  •  an inclusive permanent structured cooperation (PESCO), which would allow those member states who are willing and able to collaborate further in the area of security and defence and which would, in turn, help generate new collaborative efforts, cooperation and projects.
  • the possibility of a voluntary coordinated annual review on defence (CARD), which would be a process aimed at offering a better overview at EU level of defence spending, national investment and defence research efforts. This would support member states in delivering capabilities to tackle existing and future strategic trends and challenges, and actively promote enhance defence cooperation among member states.
  • the European Defence Action Plan of the European Commission, which foresees new financial tools for capability development and defence cooperation in support of the European defence industry and technological innovation.


On 14 November 2016, the Council adopted conclusions on implementing the EU global strategy in the area of security and defence. These conclusions set out the level of ambition in the form of the main goals the EU and its member states will aim to achieve in the area of security and defence. The Council set out three strategic priorities: responding to external conflicts and crises, building the capacities of partners, and protecting the European Union and its citizens. Progress was noted and further guidance provided through the Council’s conclusions on 6 March 2017.

The implementation plan on security and defence was presented by the High Representative, acting also in her roles as Vice-President of the European Commission and Head of the European Defence Agency, to member states. It is part of the follow-up to the EU global strategy on foreign and security policy, which was presented by the High Representative to the European Council on 28 June. The Council adopted conclusions on the global strategy on 17 October 2016.

The implementation of the EU global strategy also includes further work on building resilience and an integrated approach to conflicts and crises, strengthening the nexus between internal and external policies, updating existing or preparing new regional and thematic strategies and stepping up public diplomacy efforts.