The EU’s external policies, strategies, instruments and missions – overseen by the European External Action Service – have four key aims. They support stability, promote human rights and democracy, seek to spread prosperity, and support the enforcement of the rule of law and good governance. The policy mix is vast, ranging from bilateral agreements to guidelines and legislation.
Much of the EU’s work with international partners is focused on tackling the challenges facing Europe as well as the rest of the world. It is clear that problems as diverse as climate change, terrorism, drugs and energy security have the potential to pose a threat across the world.
Through its policies, programmes and partnerships, the EU is an active player in confronting these challenges head-on, and finding solutions appropriate for the global community.
A range of EU policies are designed to support collaboration between the EU and its neighbours. Where necessary, initiatives also support development in neighbouring countries.
EU Member states have committed themselves to a Common Foreign Security Policy for the European Union. The European Security and Defence Policy aims to strengthen the EU's external ability to act through the development of civilian and military capabilities in Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management.