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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.


  • Download Brief
    16November 2023
    Against the backdrop of the biggest rearmament effort in Europe since the 1950s, this Brief examines whether the EU defence industry is as fragmented as is commonly believed. It argues that new EU initiatives should focus on strengthening long-term demand for critical strategic enablers, but also on facilitating competition in defence industrial sectors where possible to promote innovation and cost control.
  • Image of authors presenting Yearbook 2023 © EUISS
    15September 2023

    On 15 September, the EUISS and the Council of the European Union Library co-organised an event presenting the 2023 Yearbook of European Security. 

  • Download document
    02August 2023

    The 2023 Yearbook of European Security provides an overview of events in 2022 that were significant for European security – in particular, inevitably, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

  • Image of roundtable discussion © EUISS
    28June 2023

    On 28 June, the EUISS together with the EU Task Force on Security Sector Reform hosted an expert roundtable on ‘The EU’s Approach to Security Sector Reform Amidst Shifting Geopolitics’.

  • Image of HRVP Borrell © BR&U
    27June 2023

    On 27 June, to mark the 20th anniversary of CSDP missions and operations, the Institute held its annual conference in Brussels to discuss the future of EU security and defence. 

  • Image of panel © EUISS
    12June 2023

    On 12 June, the EUISS and the Directorate General for International Relations and Strategy (DGRIS) of the French Ministry of Defence co-organised an expert seminar entitled 'European Defence Cooperation in a Time of War'.

  • Download document
    17May 2023
    Food for impact

    This book presents 38 contributions from EU civilian crisis management experts, which fed into the policymaking process leading to the adoption of the new Civilian CSDP Compact in May 2023.

  • Panelists (three men and one women) posing for photo with bouquet of flowers © UI
    12May 2023

    On 12 May 2023, the EUISS and the Swedish Institute of International Affairs co-organised a panel discussion on the EU’s role as a security and defence policy actor in light of the war in Ukraine, Sweden’s EU presidency and application to NATO.

  • Download Brief
    03April 2023
    After many years of underinvestment in defence, EU Member States are rearming. This Brief reviews the record of European armaments collaboration and sets out under what conditions common defence acquisition and joint arms procurement make most sense (and when it does not).
  • 2 men and one woman sitting at a table, speaking © EU delegation to Norway
    30March 2023

    The Institute participated to the first Symposium on EU-Norway security and defence cooperation. The focus of the discussion was on the opportunities and challenges for further security and defence policy cooperation between Norway and the EU within the broader context of transatlantic security.