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Security and defence

The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) is an integral part of EU foreign policy. Through its military operations and civilian missions, the EU has contributed to regional and global stability. Since it's inception, the CSDP has responded to a shifting regional security context. It has played a vital role in crisis management in the EU's near and wider neighbourhood but it is also an essential part of the EU's broader approach to the protection of Europe and capacity building.

Although the Lisbon Treaty consolidated the EU's crisis management apparatus, the EU Global Strategy has set a new level of ambition for EU defence. In addition to the CSDP playing an operational role in the EU's integrated approach to crises, the EU Global Strategy has stressed the need for the EU to become a more capable and effective defence actor. Initiatives such as the European Defence Fund, the coordinated annual defence review (CARD) and more coherent financing for EU operations and capacity building efforts are all aimed at supporting the EU's strategic autonomy and the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base. The EUISS continues to support the development of CSDP through outreach activities and expert publications.

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    17 February 2016

    With Africans increasingly taking charge of security governance on their continent, this Brief assess to what extent the African Union’s partnership with the EU is truly strategic. Have the two continents finally managed to overcome the donor-recipient dynamic which long dominated their relationship?

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    17 December 2015

    A month after France invoked the mutual defence clause of the Lisbon Treaty, this Alert looks at the symbolic significance of the article and the implications of its invocation. What does it mean for the Union as a security actor?

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    27 November 2015

    How successful has the EU been in implementing gender mainstreaming and achieving gender balance in its CSDP missions and operations?

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    20 November 2015

    A week after the shocking events in Paris, the EUISS Director looks at France’s decision to seek the solidarity of its EU partners. Could member states now make use of instruments they created some time ago and have rarely thought about since?

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    13 November 2015

    In response to concerns of losing technological superiority, the US is implementing the Defense Innovation Initiative. This intends to ensure that the Pentagon leverages breakthrough technologies from the traditional defence industrial base and commercial-technology sector alike. Also, what role can Europe play in the US third offset strategy?

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    28 October 2015

    This Brief examines the rise of hybrid threats, focusing in particular on Russia’s ongoing info-war against the West. Could the ‘psychological defences’ developed by several countries in Western Europe during the Cold War to counter Soviet propaganda now inspire the EU?

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    28 October 2015

    The first in a mini-series of short publications on hybrid warfare, this Brief takes a closer look at what the widely-used term actually means. Now that the European Union considers itself a potential target of hybrid threats, what can it do to prepare an effective strategy to counter them?

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    28 October 2015

    The last in a mini-series of EUISS publications on hybrid warfare, the Alert assesses the tactics employed by terrorist groups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) such as ISIL. How do they differ from those of state actors in other parts of the world?

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    28 October 2015

    This Alert shows how disquiet in the West about Russia's use of hybrid tactics has elevated concern about the phenomenon to the strategic level, in particular due to fears that hybrid operations may undermine the credibility of deterrence.

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    30 September 2015

    As the EU anti-migrant smuggling operation in the Mediterranean sea – known as ‘EUNAVFOR Med’ or ‘Operation Sophia’ – enters its operational phase, this Brief examines the background to the mission and shows how this operation confirms the maritime dimension of CSDP in the management of new types of security threats.

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    15 November 2013

    The EU Battlegroups (BGs) reached full operational capability on 1 January 2007. However, they have never been deployed since, raising serious doubts about the viability of the overall initiative. This brief examines how, if the EU member states really want the Battlegroups to be Europe’s flagship military rapid response tool, they may have to address the challenges that continue to plague the BGs’ credibility and effectiveness.

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    15 November 2013

    On the eve of the European Council´s summit on defence, the EU´s six military operations to date can be considered to have been carried out with a certain degree of success. This brief examines how the Union still has room to grow as a European security provider in the context of an international division of labour for military crisis management.

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    06 November 2013

    This report is based on a conference on European defence jointly organised by the EUISS and King’s College London in September. It focuses on CSDP with a view to informing official debates leading up to the upcoming European Council meeting in December. In particular, the report stresses the importance of EU member states strengthening their political and financial commitment to CSDP, as well as the key role of the EU institutions in fostering cooperation and coordination.

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    18 October 2013

    As the conflict in Syria rages on, this brief provides a succinct analysis of the causes and consequences of the longest, and bloodiest, of all forms of human conflict. Why do civil wars break out? And more importantly, how can they be brought to an end?

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    13 September 2013

    A decade after the UN and the EU signed a Joint Declaration on UN-EU Cooperation in Crisis Management, this brief examines the achievements and obstacles faced by the two organisations in this field. With the December 2013 European Council on defence looming, what opportunities exist to further enhance this partnership?

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    13 September 2013

    For the EU to continue to attract civilian and military contributions from member states it needs to show its comparative advantage over other actors in bringing about lasting peace and security. This brief explores the question of the ‘added value’ of the CSDP compared to NATO and UN as well as to other EU instruments deployed in response to crises.

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    13 September 2013

    This alert examines the role of the EU as a security provider in the light of recommendations contained in a report issued by HR/VP Catherine Ashton in the run-up to the European Council in December. The report underlines the need to enhance the CSDP with credible defence capabilities.

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    11 September 2013

    The unmanned revolution in military affairs is reshaping global power and the conduct of warfare. This brief highlights the implications of drone adoption for the EU: from industrial base issues to force structure, from public support to the development of appropriate battle-networks.

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    26 July 2013

    This alert explores the Communication ‘Towards a more competitive and efficient defence and security sector’, adopted by the European Commission on 24 July, demonstrating how it makes an important contribution to the efforts to bolster the Common Security and Defence Policy.

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    08 July 2013

    As the twelfth year of military engagement in Afghanistan draws to a close, NATO troop numbers are set to be significantly reduced and reoriented to training Afghan forces rather than carrying out executive security functions. But how will international actors (including the EU) recalibrate their approach in order to ensure stability in both Afghanistan and the wider region?

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  • 01 September 2003

    With the current 'big bang' enlargement nearing its conclusion, it has become crucial to assess if and to what extent the European Union can and will widen further. The ISS devoted a seminar to this issue, with participants from both current and future member states.

  • 28 June 2003

    The Rome conference was the second transatlantic conference organised by the EU Institute for Security Studies in 2003. It focused on the EU and US strategic concepts, EU-NATO cooperation, armaments cooperation, and future trends for transatlantic links.

  • 01 April 2003

    The April 2003 Transatlantic Conference, The EU and the US: partners in stability?, was held in Paris. Bringing together officials and academics from both sides of the Atlantic, the conference analysed the state of transatlantic relations after the invasion of Iraq.

  • 07 March 2003

    The 8th meeting of the Institute’s Task Force on South-Eastern Europe was held on 7 March 2003 in Paris. Attended by a number of European and American officials and experts, this session assessed the convergences and divergences between EU and US policy in the Western Balkans today and the next imperatives of the international community’s agenda for the region.

  • 01 January 2003

    The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is one of the major security threats facing Europe today. However, a genuine European assessment of the threat is still lacking. This prompted the EUISS to invite a group of European experts and officials to present their analysis of current trends in missile-, nuclear-, biological- and chemical proliferation.

  • 25 November 2002

    A transatlantic ‘brainstorming’ on Iraq brought together more than 40 officials and experts from both sides of the Atlantic. In the seminar, the options for tackling the Iraqi threat, from UNSC-sponsored inspections to military intervention, were considered. Special attention was paid to the difficulties of the aftermath of a war and occupation, and the implications for the transatlantic alliance and the Middle East region.

  • 07 November 2002

    On 7 November 2002, at the request of Michel Barnier, chairman of the Working Group (Defence) of the Convention, the EU Institute for Security Studies organised a seminar in Brussels on the future of European defence policy.

  • 11 October 2002

    A major conference on 'The UN, the EU, NATO and other regional actors: partners in peace?' was hosted by the Institute, in cooperation with the International Peace Academy, on 11-12 October in Paris. The conference focused in particular on the interplay between the United Nations and other organisations in terms of peace operations in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

  • 11 September 2002

    A seminar on 'The EU and Russia: a Security Partnership?', in association with the Russia and Eurasia Programme of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, took place at the Institute on 25 March 2002.

  • 07 June 2002

    The Madrid conference was organised in cooperation with the Real Instituto Elcano, under the aegis of the Spanish Presidency of the European Union.

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