European Union External Action

Promoting peace and security - EU moving forward with its multilateral partners

26/10/2018 - 15:34
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Europe has quickly grown in its role as an international security provider. But promoting peace and security around the world can only be effectively achieved within a rules-based multilateral system and in partnership with other actors. That is why the EU has joined forces with the United Nations, the African Union and NATO, to mention just three of its major partners


The proliferation of violent and complex conflicts and crises around the world has increased the need for the EU to further boost its role as an established security actor. Over the past two years a variety of new initiatives in the area of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) were launched. In particular, EU Member States have significantly expanded cooperation in key security related areas from military research, planning or procurement over capacity to counter hybrid threats or fielding joint EU military or civilian missions in third countries. While contributing to security outside Europe, these efforts also enhance the safety and security of the EU and its citizens. The EU cooperates in this respect closely with a number of partners such as third countries and importantly multilateral or regional organisations such as in particular the United Nations, African Union and NATO.

EU and United Nations (UN)

The UN is at the core of a rules-based global order and sustainable, multilateral solutions of global issues. The EU and the UN have a long and successful track record of close cooperation in crisis management around the world. Most recently in September 2018, the EU and UN agreed a new set of forward-looking priorities for cooperation on peace operations and crisis management.

Currently 11 out of the 16 EU missions and operations are deployed in parallel with UN missions, e.g. in Mali, with the G5 Sahel Joint Force, the Central African Republic, Somalia, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Libya or Iraq.


EU and African Union (AU)

The EU and Africa have progressively built a solid strategic and political partnership.  EU, AU - and UN - cooperate closely on peace and security in Africa. There are currently eight EU missions or operations linked to or deployed on the African continent. For example the EU is helping to fight piracy in the Horn of Africa, trains military and police and helps with programmes for conflict prevention. The EU also supports the establishment of a Joint Force of Sahel countries, under the mandate of the AU, to combat terrorism, transnational organised crime and all trafficking in the region. The EU is the main contributor to African Peace Facility and, in Somalia, supports  AMISOM, the African Union mission.

EU and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

EU-NATO cooperation constitutes an integral pillar of the EU’s work aimed at strengthening European security and defence, as part of the implementation of the EU Global Strategy. It also contributes to Trans-Atlantic burden sharing. A stronger EU and a stronger NATO are mutually reinforcing.

Against this background both organisations have significantly stepped up their cooperation. Following a Joint Declaration in 2016, common sets of proposals were endorsed by the EU and NATO Councils in December 2016 and 2017. Altogether 74 concrete actions are currently under implementation in various areas with successive progress reports already highlighting rapid progress and added value of EU-NATO cooperation.

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