Rising international tensions and conflicts at the doorstep of Europe urge us to take our collective security into our own hands. Lately, four major Member States advocated making security and defence a top priority for the Union. I fully agree: since the beginning of the mandate of this Commission, we have placed our Common Security and Defence Policy at the very heart of the EU’s external policy. And while we have a long way to go, there is now an increased momentum to strengthen our collective capacity for action.
Not many people may know, but right now the EU has around 5,000 women and men working for 16 crisis management missions and operations deployed on three continents – soon to become 17 with the new civilian mission to be launched in the Central African Republic. They are the beating heart of the EU’s common security and defence policy and often the face of the EU in crisis-zones around the world.