You are here

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.




  • 26 November 2013

    A delegation from the EUISS traveled to the German capital in order to promote the shortened German version of the EUISS Yearbook for European Security (YES) and attend the Berlin Security Conference.

  • 19 September 2013

    The EUISS, in collaboration with King´s College London, organised a conference in London on 19 and 20 September in order to develop a series of practical proposals on CSDP leading up to the December 2013 European Council.

  • 23 May 2013

    The 2013 Annual Conference of the EU Institute for Security Studies, entitled ‘European Security. Taking stock and moving forth’, took place in Paris on 23 and 24 May. In addition to a keynote address by HR/VP Catherine Ashton, the conference provided a platform to present the new team of the Institute as well as the first EUISS Yearbook.

  • 13 March 2013

    Taking place in Washington, D.C on the 13-14 March, the 2013 EUWF served as a reminder that diplomacy, development and defence are all important elements in attempts to maintain stability and generate growth, even in times of budgetary constraints.

  • 08 June 2012

    This seminar, jointly organised by the EU Police Mission (EUPM) and the EUISS and held in Sarajevo on the 7-8 June, marked 10 years of EU civilian crisis management in the Western Balkans and examined the impact of the EUPM in Bosnia and Herzegovina and lessons learned for the future of CFSP/CSDP.

  • 18 March 2012

    In March 2012 the EUISS and the EU Delegation to the United States organised a briefing session for a group of aspiring American journalists in Brussels. Following this event, the EUISS, in partnership with the Medill School at the Northwestern University in Chicago, published the best work of selected students here online.

  • 16 September 2011

    What strategic direction should Euro-Atlantic security cooperation take? And what are the major challenges that need to be addressed? This roundtable, taking place in Brussels on 16 September 2011, reflected upon these crucial issues faced on both sides of the Atlantic.

  • 13 July 2010

    This first seminar in the 'Unfinished business in Europe' series focused on the Western Balkans and Turkey with a particular emphasis on securing and stablising Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia.

  • 18 June 2010

    Organised with the support of the Instituto Español de Estudos Estratégicos (Spanish Ministry of Defence), Middle East Technical University (METU, Ankara) and the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this seminar explored Turkey's role in CSDP operations and ways ahead for future cooperation.

  • 03 May 2010

    This brainstorming meeting explored European perspectives on NATO's new strategic concept. Taking place in Paris on 3 May 2010, the two sessions focused on what Europe should think about NATO's new strategic concept and what the future holds for EU-NATO cooperation.



  • Download document
    08 April 2016

    While the EU is drafting a new strategic framework for Security Sector Reform (SSR), this Alert examines the main challenges that the EU faces in this field.

  • Download document
    01 April 2016

    China’s army-centric military structure – based on a 1950’s Soviet model – had long mismatched the country’s status as world’s second largest economy. This Alert looks at how the push for military reforms reflects Beijing’s changing domestic and regional priorities.

  • Download document
    15 March 2016

    In response to the worsening security environment, cuts to European defence budgets are finally being reversed. In this Brief, defence spending data from 2015 are spliced by region and by category to show how the calculus is changing in defence ministries across Europe.

  • Download document
    04 March 2016

    Intelligence support for the EU’s foreign and security policy has developed from being a small cubicle within Javier Solana’s office into dedicated all-source intelligence units. But what challenges still exist in European intelligence cooperation, and what can be done to bolster it further?

  • Download document
    26 February 2016

    2015 saw Russia, Saudi Arabia and China invest heavily in their militaries, while Europeans have largely reversed long-standing defence budget cuts, too. Increases in defence spending have, however, had very different implications for the military activities of the respective regional powers.

  • Download document
    23 February 2016

    In 2015, the European Commission invited key personalities from European industry, government, the European Parliament and academia to advise it on establishing a Preparatory Action on Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)-related research. This Report is the result of several months of regular conversation and consultation among a group of experts encompassing the ‘sherpas’, officials from the European Commission and the EUISS.

  • Download document
    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?

  • Download document
    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?

  • Download document
    27 November 2015

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

  • Download document
    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?