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Six EU military missions and operations are currently active in Europe's wider neighbourhood to support peace and security under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). These military missions and, more generally, recent progress on EU defence matters have often been in the forefront of public discussion. However, addressing complex security challenges in fragile partner countries also requires substantial civilian support and the EU has indeed currently ten civilian missions operating in the field.
Closer EU defence cooperation necessitates that Member States' Armed Forces are able to move within the Union. However, time consuming border formalities and inadequate infrastructure pose serious obstacles. For a more effective EU defence, it is crucial to overcome these hurdles. A comprehensive EU action programme launched in spring 2018 aims to achieve this.
The European Union and Japan leaders met today in Tokyo to reinforce their strategic partnership and sign two landmark agreements: the Strategic Partnership Agreement and the Economic Partnership Agreement, which creates an open trade zone covering over 600 million people and nearly a third of global GDP.
The Presidents of the European Council and Commission and NATO Secretary General on 10 July issued a second Joint Declaration highlighting substantial progress in cooperation between the two organisations since 2016, welcoming EU efforts to boost the Union's security and defence capabilities and agreeing to increase work in the areas of military mobility, counter- terrorism, countering chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear-related risks and the promotion of the women, peace and security agenda. The capabilities developed through the defence initiatives of the EU and NATO should remain coherent, complementary and interoperable, agreed the leaders meeting in Brussels.