European Union External Action

The EU strengthens cooperation on security and defence

13/11/2017 - 11:34
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Ensuring peace on our continent and the security of our citizens is at the very heart of the European project.

Thanks to European integration, it is all but impossible to imagine renewed war between the countries of our Union. Today however, guaranteeing our security means dealing with threats that transcend borders. No single country can address them alone, but together we are strong.

At the European level we are together investing in building peace and addressing the root causes of today's security concerns – from political and economic insecurity to climate change, in our neighbourhood and beyond. We know that hard power alone can never solve a crisis. But we need to complement our soft power with more cooperation in the field of defence.

In December 2016, EU leaders agreed on a plan to deepen our security and defence cooperation. Our shared plan focuses on three complementary strategic priorities:

  1. protecting the EU and our citizens
  2. responding to external conflicts and crises
  3. strengthening the capacities of our partners
Already, the EU member states have substantial experience working together to promote security, including with 16 EU military and civilian missions on the ground.
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To build on this, in 2017 we moved to set up a common European Defence Fund to finance joint research and development, established the first ever single command centre for EU military training and advisory missions (the MPCC), launched a Centre of Excellence to improve our analysis and capacity to address hybrid threats, and stepped up our cooperation with NATO.

security and defence

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Now, two additional major steps are being taken.

For the first time member states are sharing their defence spending plans to better identify shortfalls, be more coherent and benefit from economies of scale, in a process to be known as the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD).

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Then, we are setting up a permanent framework for defence cooperation among those member states willing and able to jointly develop defence capabilities, invest in shared projects, or create multinational formations. Dozens of projects are to be discussed by the member states participating in such "permanent structured cooperation" (PESCO).

By doing more together and with our partners, we will be more effective, more efficient, and stronger. Together we can deliver the security our citizens need in a rapidly changing world.