European Union External Action

Europeans for security: making EU civilian CSDP missions stronger

15/11/2019 - 16:19
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Around 2,000 women and men are currently deployed to our neighbourhood in civilian CSDP missions under EU flag – working outside of the EU’s borders, providing security at home. The EU and its Member States are now implementing a set of commitments to strengthen the civilian dimension of European security and defence.

EU Civilian CSDP missions


The European way to peace and security makes use of a creative mix of tools to achieve stability beyond the EU’s borders and provide security at home. In a world that has become more complex, more contested and more interconnected, EU civilian missions play a crucial role in the European Union’s work as a security provider, contributing to address security challenges, including organised crime, terrorism and hybrid threats. They are deployed under the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

Around 2,000 civilian women and men are detached by the EU’s Member States to partner countries in our neighbourhood through EU civilian CSDP missions. They are police officers, legal experts, policy advisers and other experts with mandates tailored to the needs of the security situation in each host country.

They work to empower our partner countries to provide for their own security. They do this by assisting in border management, conflict prevention, combatting organised crime and smuggling, reforming national security sectors or in monitoring the judicial system and the rule of law. In 2018, for example, civilian CSDP missions have provided training to almost 12,000 people, monitored around 200 criminal cases, influenced the drafting of over 100 laws and legal initiatives.

A total of 10 civilian CSDP missions are currently deployed in the EU’s neighbourhood: Africa, the Middle East, the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe. By engaging beyond the EU’s borders and stabilising our neighbourhood, they also contribute directly to achieving security for European citizens at home.


Civilian CSDP missions


Over the past year, ambitious work has been ongoing to strengthen civilian crisis management missions. In November 2018, EU Member States agreed to set of concrete commitments – the so-called Civilian CSDP Compact, which was followed by a Joint Action Plan. The aim of this work is to make the civilian side of European security and defence more capable, more effective, flexible and responsive and more joined up with other EU instruments.

The work plan to strengthen civilian CSDP missions includes an annual review process to identify capability gaps and help address them. A year after the agreement, EU Member States, hosted by the Finnish Presidency of the Council and the European External Action Service, met on 14 November for the first Annual Review Conference on the Civilian CSDP Compact. They discussed the progress made so far as well as the challenges and opportunities for the next steps, and identified priorities for the work ahead.