About CSDP - The Berlin Plus Agreement

NATO’s Washington Summit in 1999NATO’s Washington Summit in 1999
  • Package of arrangements that allow the EU to make use of NATO assets and capabilities for EU-led crisis management operations;
  • Improves the working partnership between the EU and NATO, ensuring effective consultation, cooperation and transparency in crisis management and peace-building operations;
  • Operations launched in the framework of Berlin Plus: Operation Concordia (2003), EUFOR Althea(2004-current).


The Berlin Plus agreement refers to a comprehensive package of arrangements finalised in early 2003 between the EU and the NATO that allows the EU to make use of NATO assets and capabilities for EU-led crisis management operations.

The creation in 1999 of what would later become the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) reinforced the need to establish a formal agreement between the EU and NATO, building on the previous arrangements between the Western European Union (WEU) and the Alliance inaugurated in Berlin in 1996. Overlapping memberships and concerns over the duplication of assets and capabilities required both partners to agree on modalities for crisis management operations. Improving the working partnership between the two institutions remains vital to ensure effective consultation, cooperation and transparency in crisis management and peace-building operations.

This framework for EU-NATO permanent relations was concluded in March 2003, building on the conclusions of NATO’s Washington Summit in 1999, the European Council in Nice in December 2000 and the EU-NATO joint declaration of 16 December 2002.

The formal elements of the Berlin Plus agreement (details of which are classified) include:

  • A NATO-EU Security Agreement that covers the exchange of classified information under reciprocal security protection rules;
  • Assured access to NATO planning capabilities for EU-led operations;
  • Availability of NATO assets and capabilities for EU-led civil-military operations;
  • Procedures for release, monitoring, return and recall of NATO assets and capabilities;
  • Terms of reference for using NATO’s DSACEUR (Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe) for commanding EU-led operations;
  • EU-NATO consultation arrangements in the context of an EU-led operations making use of NATO assets and capabilities;
  • Arrangements for coherent and mutually reinforcing capability requirements, in particular the incorporation within NATO's defence planning of the military needs and capabilities that may be required for EU-led military operations.


The conclusion of the Berlin Plus agreement facilitated the launch of the EU’s first-ever military operation, Operation Concordia, in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in December 2003. EUFOR Althea, the military operation launched in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2004, was the second military CSDP operation carried out within the wider framework of Berlin Plus.


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