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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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    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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    24 July 2015

    This Brief seeks to improve the understanding of the relation between (cripplingly) expensive capabilities and complex security challenges. What are the true effects of cost escalation of weapon systems? And is European defence suffering as a result?

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    09 July 2015

    Since Modi took office last year, India has embarked on a number of measures to encourage the development of the country’s economy and the streamlining of its indigenous defence capabilities. Is there a role for the EU in this process?

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    03 July 2015

    Is the mutual solidarity between EU and NATO member states strong enough to collectively defend Europe if worse comes to worst? And what could be done to assure European allies, especially in the east, about the transatlantic alliance’s ironclad guarantee to defend them?

  • 02 July 2015

    On 2-3 July 2015, the EUISS and the European Security and Defence College (ESDC), with the support of the European Parliament and the Luxembourg Presidency of the EU, organised an expert seminar on learning and training.

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    19 June 2015

    The EU is seeking to acquire the necessary military capabilities to foster security in its neighbourhood and beyond. But can scattered islands of collaboration at a bilateral or mini-lateral level be brought together to form a coherent and mutually supportive European archipelago of defence?

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    18 June 2015

    This Brief examines the debates within the EU over the provision of military equipment to third states in order to bolster their capacity for crisis management. What are the technical, legal and political constraints which exist?

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    12 June 2015

    This Chaillot Paper looks at CSDP operations and missions, and explores how they fit into the broader crisis management environment and multilateral efforts towards international peace. It highlights the inherent constraints facing CSDP and how these inevitably limit its overall impact or degree of success. The paper also examines the EU’s added value and the extent to which CSDP is moving forward at various levels.

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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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    03 June 2013

    This alert examines President Obama’s recent speech at the National Defense University, in which he laid out the US approach to counter-terrorism and redefined the parameters of the ‘global war on terror’. But if this speech marks a new beginning, what are the possible ripple effects across the Atlantic for Europe?

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    29 May 2013

    The Institute’s Yearbook of European Security (YES) contains key facts, figures, chronological lists, documents and maps relating to the EU’s external security dimension. Its purpose is to present a comprehensive picture of what the EU has achieved in the security policy domain during the preceding year/s. The inaugural edition covers 2011 and 2012, and includes a mapping section on foresight practices and trends in governments.

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    06 May 2013
    Rapporteur(s): James Rogers, Andrea Gilli

    What sort of armed forces are Europeans likely to have (and need) by 2025? How might Europeans better organise themselves to take part in the new global competition for wealth, influence and power? This report seeks to place European military capabilities in a broader perspective and demonstrate how the only way to safeguard common ‘strategic interests’ and counter potential risks is to do more together.

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  • 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.

  • 18 March 2002

    A conference on 'European Defence after 11 September' took place at the Institute on 18 March 2002. The meeting addressed the impact of 11 September and the fight against terrorism on the EU and the ESDP in particular.

  • 01 January 2002

    The first meeting of the European Defence Book Task Force took place in Paris on Monday, 13 May, 2002. The purpose of the meeting was to establish the mission, the method, the structure and the timetable of the European Defence Book (EDB).

  • 02 April 2001

    A seminar entitled ‘Defining a European Strategic Concept’, took place in Paris on 2 April 2001 (Julian Lindley-French). This seminar examined the relationship between the evolution and development of the political and military aspects of European defence.

  • 12 March 2001

    A seminar entitled ‘Police for Peacebuilding: what role for the EU?’, took place in Paris on 12 March 2001 (Maartje Rutten). The aim of the seminar was to look at the process of establishing the EU pool of 5,000 police officers. The discussions centred on lessons learned from previous involvement of police in crisis management operations, the specific challenges for the EU in assembling police and ideas for enhancing implementation of the EU plans in this field. Participants comprised representatives from the EU Committee for Civil Aspects of Crisis Management, the Situation Centre/Crisis Cell at the Secretariat General at the EU Council of Ministers, the EU Military Staff, Europol, UN, OSCE, WEU, Gendarmerie and Carabinieri, in addition to many academics.

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