Chapter 2: the origins, aims and institutions
of CSDP |
16. The EU's CSDP (originally the European Security
and Defence Policy - ESDP) came into being following American
reluctance initially to become involved in the 1990s Balkan wars,
and the realisation by Europeans that there might be military
contingencies in which they wished to be involved but in which
NATO was not engaged.
17. The first response came from the British
and French with a summit agreement in 1998 at St Malo in France
between the French President, Jacques Chirac, and the British
Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who decided that the EU must have
"the capacity for autonomous action, backed up by credible
military forces, the means to decide to use them, and a readiness
to do so, in order to respond to international crises". The
idea was to build up capacity to undertake large-scale military
operations, with 60,000 troops available at 60 day's notice, such
as had been undertaken [by NATO] in Kosovo or Bosnia.
This had provided a stimulus for a June 1999 decision at a European
Council in Cologne when the role of the Western European Union
was incorporated into the EU.
18. At the December 1999 Helsinki Council, Member
States signed a documentthe Helsinki Headline Goalwhich
stated that, from 2003, EU Member States should be able to deploy
60,000 troops, within 60 days, and sustain the deployment for
a year. This capability was intended to support the so-called
Petersberg tasks, inherited from the WEU, which included humanitarian,
rescue and peacekeeping tasks and tasks for combat forces in crisis
management, including peacemaking.
19. In 2003 Member States agreed a European Security
Strategy (ESS) which represented their collective thinking on
the challenges and security threats facing them at the beginning
of the 21st century (see paragraphs 29-30).
Current threats and threat perceptions
20. During the Cold War, the military threat
from the Soviet Union was clear. Since then, threats to Europe's
security have become more difficult to define. Xenia Dormandy,
Chatham House, pointed out that the threats now involved food
and environmental security, energy, and water, which were issues
more easily addressed within the EU rather than the NATO framework.
Professor Malcolm Chalmers, Royal United Services Institute
and King's College, London, saw a risk to Europe's security and
prosperity in the increased uncertainty about the future of European
institutions, in particular events in the eurozone.
For him, coping with an age of "vague and uncertain"
threats and the absence of clear, large-scale security threats
made it difficult to know how to organise capabilities. He said
that Ministry of Defence (MOD) defence planners had "dozens
of scenarios" for possible conflicts in which UK forces could
be involved in the next 20 years.
Sir Peter Ricketts, National Security Adviser at the time
he gave evidence, now British Ambassador to Paris, thought that
the unpredictability of the security threat meant that the EU
had to be adaptable.
21. We were told that differing histories and
geography had led to different perceptions of the threat among
Member States, and how dangerous they believed the world to be.
Professor Anand Menon, Birmingham University, said that a
significant number of Member States saw no threat at all, which
was a weakness. Sir Peter
Ricketts told us that the new EU Member States in eastern Europe
perceived a greater threat than others from a resurgent Russia.
Countries in Europe's south would see instability in north Africa
as a more pressing threat. The US's concern about the rise of
China and its military capacity would not necessarily be shared
by all EU countries.
Major General Heinrich Brauss, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary-General
for Defence Policy and Planning, commented that Turkey and Greece
maintained "legacy structures" for political reasons.
22. Gerald Howarth, MP, Minister for International
Security Strategy at the MOD, told us that the UK Government did
not believe that Russia currently posed a threat to the UK, nor
was it likely to for the foreseeable future, though he acknowledged
that the world was uncertain.
Nick Pickard, Head of Security Policy, Foreign and Commonwealth
Office (FCO), commented that other Member States did not necessarily
agree about Russia and Robert Cooper, European External Action
Service (EEAS) reminded us that Russia remained unpredictable.
23. Ambassador Burns, formerly US Representative
to NATO, thought that the major terrorist attacks in the US and
Europe, combined with the possibility of terrorist groups potentially
acquiring the capacity to use chemical, biological or nuclear
capacity, should convince nations to build their defence capacities,
and that the ability to appreciate future threats, should be the
incentive driving defence budgets and planning.
Structures and Strategies
CRISIS MANAGEMENT STRUCTURES
24. In order to fulfil the crisis management
tasks it had set itself under its CSDP, EU Ministers decided,
at the December 2000 Nice European Council, to establish permanent
political and military structures (see Box 1 below for details).
CSDP structures and instruments
|The European Council
The European Council brings together the heads of
state or government of every EU country, the Commission President
and the European Council President, who chairs the meetings. The
EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
also takes part. It sets the EU's general political direction
and priorities, and deals with complex or sensitive issues that
cannot be resolved at a lower level of intergovernmental cooperation.
The Council of Ministers
The Council of Ministers comprises ministers of each
Member State with responsibility for a given area. The composition
and frequency of Council meetings vary depending on the issues
dealt with. Foreign ministers, for example, meet roughly once
a month in the Foreign Affairs Council which develops the Common
Foreign and Security Policy, including deciding on missions and
operations, on the basis of strategic guidelines set by the European
The Political and Security Committee (PSC)
(Established by Council Decision on 22 January 2001)
The PSC meets at ambassadorial level to prepare policy
for the Council of the EU. Its main functions are to follow the
international situation, and help to define policies within the
Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) including the CSDP.
It initiates the EU response to crises and exercises political
control and strategic direction.
Crisis Management Planning Department (CMPD)
The CMPD was created in 2009 from a merger of departments
and transferred to the European External Action Service, set up
under the Lisbon Treaty. It undertakes strategic planningearly
advance planning on how the EU should address security crisesand
produces a crisis management concept (CMC) which must be approved
by the Council. If agreed, the CMPD produces a concept of operations
(CONOPS) and an operational plan (OPLAN), which also need Council
approval. The CMPD works with the EUMC and CPCC (see below) and
with geographical desks and plays an important role in coordinating
military and civilian capabilities. It also works on relations
with partner countries which participate in EU missions, eg Turkey
and the US, and concludes framework participation agreements with
The European Union Military Committee (EUMC)
(Established by Council Decision on 22 January 2001)
The EUMC is the highest military body set up under
the Council of Ministers. It is composed of the Chiefs of Defence
of the Member States, who are regularly represented by their permanent
military representatives. The EUMC provides the PSC with advice
and recommendations on all military matters within the EU. It
is currently headed by the French General Patrick de Rousiers.
In parallel with the EUMC, the PSC is advised by
a Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management (CIVCOM).
That Committee provides information, drafts recommendations, and
provides an opinion to the PSC on civilian aspects of crisis management.
The European Union Military Staff (EUMS)
(Established by Council Decision on 10 May 2005)
The EUMS is composed of military and civilian experts
seconded to the EEAS by the Member States, and officials of the
The Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC),
which is part of the EEAS, is the permanent structure responsible
for the operational conduct of civilian CSDP operations. Under
the political control and strategic direction of the Political
and Security Committee and the overall authority of the High Representative,
the CPCC ensures the effective planning and conduct of civilian
CSDP crisis management operations, as well as the proper implementation
of all mission-related tasks,
Operations Centre. An
Operations Centre has existed inside the military staff since
2004, but was not used until it was activated for the first time
in December 2011 for the EU's missions in the Horn of Africa,
to "provide direct support to the Civilian Operations Commander
for the operational planning and conduct of the Regional Maritime
Capacity Building mission; provide support to the EU Training
Mission commander and enhance strategic coordination between the
mission and other CSDP actions in the Horn of Africa; strengthen
civilian-military synergies; liaise with Operation Atalanta; and
facilitate interaction between the mission/operations and the
Brussels-based structures." 
National Operational headquarters.
When an EU military mission is launched, the operational headquarters
of one of five Member States has traditionally been used. They
are Northwood, UK (used for Operation Atalanta); Paris, France
(used for the Chad operation); Rome, Italy (used to prepare a
possible humanitarian assistance operation for Libya); Potsdam,
Germany; and Larissa, Greece. When these headquarters are used,
they are augmented by EU experts. It is also possible to use the
EU's Operations Centre or NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Command
THE EUROPEAN DEFENCE AGENCY
25. In July 2004 Member States set up a small
European Defence Agency (EDA) "to support the Member States
in their effort to improve European defence capabilities in the
field of crisis management and to sustain the ESDP as it stands
now and develops in the future".
This was refined in Article 42.3 of the Treaty on European Union,
as amended by the 2009 Lisbon Treaty, which states that the EDA,
"in the field of defence capabilities development, research,
acquisition and armaments shall identify operational requirements,
shall promote measures to satisfy those requirements, shall contribute
to identifying and, where appropriate, implementing any measure
needed to strengthen the industrial and technological base of
the defence sector, shall participate in defining a European capabilities
and armaments policy, and shall assist the Council in evaluating
the improvement of military capabilities." The EDA's role
is further expanded in Article 45 of the Treaty.
26. All EU Member States subscribe to the EDA,
except Denmark. Norway (not a Member of the EU) also subscribes
to the EDA. The Agency is small, with 120 staff, based in Brussels
and is headed by the High Representative who chairs its Ministerial
Steering Board. It has four main functions:
- Defence capabilities
- Armaments co-operation
- The European defence technological and industrial
base and defence equipment market
- Research and technology
27. Madame Claude-France Arnould, EDA Chief Executive,
explained that the Agency had also developed an intergovernmental
regime on defence procurement. In November 2005, Member States
had approved a Code of Conduct on defence procurement which was
a voluntary, non-legally-binding mechanism encouraging competition
in the European defence equipment market. Twenty-five Member States
(all except Denmark and Romania) plus Norway subscribed to the
Code. The EDA had
established an "electronic bulletin board" on which
over 680 contract opportunities with a total value exceeding 25
billion had been posted. Over 440 contracts, totalling approximately
5.7 billion, and almost 150 cross-border contracts had been
awarded, which represented progress. Two subsequent Directives
on defence procurement and intra-community transfers were, she
believed, a strong incentive to create, progressively, a single
European defence market. The interpretation of the Directives
and the possible use of Article 346 of the Treaty on the Functioning
of the European Union
were being explained to Member States.
28. The UK Government in 2010 announced that
they would continue British support for the EDA for two years,
until autumn 2012, and would then make a decision on future support
depending on improvements in the EDA's performance.
THE EUROPEAN SECURITY STRATEGY (ESS)
29. In 2003 Member States agreed a European Security
Strategy aimed at bringing together Member States who had been
divided by the Iraq war. It "represents the collective thinking
of Member States on the challenges and security threats facing
them at the beginning of the 21st century." It "sets
three important EU security objectives: addressing the threats,
building security in the EU's neighbourhood and working with other
states and organisations to achieve 'effective multilateralism.'"
Our Committee gave its views on the ESS at the time of its review
by Member States in 2008.
30. Our witnesses made little reference to this
Strategy: General Syrén, Chairman of the EU Military Committee
(EUMC), considered the ESS to be an important starting point for
EU missions and operations;
Sir Peter Ricketts believed that there was a case for updating
it, which should include the importance of sustaining key military
31. Professor Menon was critical of the
institutions: "None of the EU institutions is very well adapted
to defence policy" because the design of the EU as an institution
was intended to tame the powers of its Member States, in particular
Germany and other large Member States, not to project them. Problems
arose if attempts were made to use the institutions to deploy
power abroad. Sir Peter
Ricketts pointed out that institutions in themselves did not generate
greater capabilities for nations
and Etienne de Durand, Institut Français des Relations
Internationales, told us that the real problem was capabilities
across Europe at the Member State level where matters were decided.
The organisation by European countries of their institutional
relations was of a secondary order.
32. In Brussels we took evidence from the officials
operating the systems. General Syrén told us that the EU's
new "comprehensive approach" to crisis management introduced
by the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 had brought together two different
cultures, military and civilian, which had led to some difficulties.
Strong leadership was needed for effective coordination, in which
the Crisis Management Planning Department (CMPD, see Box 1 above)
played an important part. However, he was optimistic that management
structures were in place, that top-level management was aware
of the need for some fine-tuning and he thought that the EU's
structures were "going in the right direction".
33. Pierre Vimont, Executive Secretary General
of the European External Action Service, also said that some early
difficulties had been experienced with the new post-Lisbon arrangements
as officials were unfamiliar with working with other services,
for example, the Development Directorate General (DG) in the Commission,
but all the services were working well together in the crisis
in Syria. The EEAS Delegations now had to adapt to the new situation
and new ways of working.
34. Walter Stevens, Director of the Crisis Management
and Planning Department (CMPD) described the institutional difficulties
in setting up military rather than civilian missions, which led
to delays. For civilian missions, the Civilian Planning and Conduct
Capability (CPCC, see Box 1) was closely involved in developing
a Crisis Management Concept (CMC) from the outset and the process
of approval by the Council could proceed as soon as the CMC had
been developed. On the other hand, for a military mission, additional
steps were required before the Council could decide to launch
it. Military advisers had first to decide on strategic military
objectives and directives after the CMC had been developed; time
was also lost bringing in the experts from the Member State which
would host the operational headquarters.
We discuss this in Chapter 5.
35. Former US Representative to NATO, Ambassador
Nicholas Burns, was sceptical about the CSDP; the pan-European
security establishment, which linked Europe to the US, was NATO.
The CSDP should not diminish NATO, threaten its lead role, or
subtract from Europe's ability to contribute militarily to NATO.
He believed that it would be unacceptable to the US if the EU
asserted a combat capacity outside the Berlin Plus arrangements
(see Box 5 below); the US would prefer Europe not to act unless
NATO agreed and NATO chose not to act.
He also believed that the US should meet its responsibilities
within NATO and play a leadership, rather than a supportive, role
in any operation.
3 The Americans were later involved in the 1999 NATO
bombing campaign targeted at strategic Serbian installations. Back
Cooper Q 117 Back
Sir Peter Ricketts, National Security Adviser at the time of the
evidence, Q 7 Back
The Western European Union was formed in 1954 and tasked with
implementing the modified version of the 1948 Treaty of Brussels.
The treaty contained economic, social and defence provisions,
and included a strong commitment to mutual defence. Back
Vimont Q 117, also Pickard Q 43 Back
Q 80 Back
Q 81, also Burridge Q 318 Back
Q 114 Back
Q 2 Back
Q 93 Back
Q 3 Back
Q 238 Back
Q 353 Back
QQ 70, 128 Back
Q 282 Back
Press release on 23 January, on Conclusions at 3142nd Council
meeting, 1 December 2011. Back
Joint Action of the Council of Ministers on 12 July, 2004 Back
EU Council website: www.consilium.europa.eu/eeas/security-defence
Q 216. See also:
Article 346 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
allows Member States to exempt certain defence articles from Community
rules on the free market if the article in question is essential
to the government's security interests. In practice, this means
that governments do not have to open all their defence orders
to competition and can award the sensitive ones directly to a
company of their choice. The Commission's new Directive on defence
procurement has been designed to make it more difficult for governments
to invoke Article 346. Back
Q 216 Back
31st Report (2007-08) Adapting the EU's approach to today's security
challenges - the Review of the 2003 European Security Strategy
(HL Paper 190). Back
Q 157 Back
Q 13 Back
QQ 94, 98 Back
Q 30 Back
Q 295 Back
Q 156 Back
QQ 178, 181-186 Back
Q 147 Back
Q 269 Back
Q 285 Back
Q 288 Back