The CESD-Policy Archive 

Developing a Common European Security and Defense Policy

Since late 1998, the European Union is developing a Common European Security and Defense Policy (CESDP) in order to enable it to become an actor in the defense and security field. Aimed at providing military capabilities to the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the Union, this process represents a brand-new element in the European integration process. 
It is only logical that the first moves have provoked criticism and suspicion. Is the European Union serious about these plans? Does it intend to compete with NATO over the responsibility for European security? Is it prudent to transform the EU from a civilian-only institution into a military actor? Are the members of the European Union willing and able to make the necessary investments to develop these capabilities? These are just a few of the many questions raised. 

The incorporation of a defense dimension into the European integration process in the military and security field is taking place with hardly any public debate. Nevertheless, the development of CESD should be carried out in a transparent manner and accompanied by a public discussion.
This is the reason why we have created this CESD policy database. We intend to help create an informed debate reassembling a wide range of basic documents from various sources. 
This site will be continuously updated and completed. Readers are encouraged to suggest further documents or links they might find useful. 
The documents in the database are grouped in the following categories:

Section A. Basic Primary Sources
1. Background 
In 1993 the Maastricht “Treaty on the European Union” replaced the former system of treaties on which the European Communities had been based for several decades. The Maastricht Treaty replaced the "European Political Cooperation" (EPC) with the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The Maastricht Treaty formulated the goal of eventually framing a common defense policy, which might in time lead to a common defense system. Finally, an attached declaration set out that the Western European Union (WEU) should be utilized and promoted as the defense component of the EU.
Relevant provisions of the Treaty on European Union: 
During 1996 and 1997, a successor to the Maastricht Treaty was negotiated – the Amsterdam Treaty. Despite the wish of some states to move faster, the new treaty did not open the door entirely for the European Union to develop a common defense policy. Nevertheless, it authorized the European Union to integrate the Petersberg tasks agreed in the WEU into the Union’s policy and envisaged to develop the strengthened Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). It vaguely mentioned the possiblity that the CFSP "might in time lead to a common defense".  The position of a High Representative for CFSP and a policy planning unit for the foreign policy field were created. The Treaty instructed the Union to foster closer ties with the WEU with a view to the possibility of its integration into the EU.
By the end of 1998 it was clear that the enhanced Common Foreign and Security Policy would become operational by June of the following year, when the ratification process of the Amsterdam Treaty was expected to be completed.
Relevant Excerpts from the Amsterdam Treaty:
The WEU, a collective defense organisation separate from both the EU and NATO, provided a forum for European defense co-operation and dialogue. This ten-member organisation had been created on the basis of the Brussels Treaty, whose mutual defense commitment in Art V is more binding than NATO’s. 
WEU and EU membership is not identical but overlapping. The EU has some members who do not wish to join any military alliance. The WEU has a range of attached consultative bodies allowing non-members to participate in a wide range of its activities.
During 1992 attempts were made to revitalize the dormant WEU providing it with tasks in crisis-management operations in support of the UN or the OSCE (the former CSCE). The Petersberg Declaration of WEU, approved in June 1992, established the kind of operations that could be undertaken by this organisation: humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping, tasks of combat forces in crisis management and peacemaking.
2. Developing a Common European Security and Defense Policy
-----     1998     -----

Initial decisions to launch the development of a Common European Security and Defense Policy were taken in autumn 1998, in the course of the Austrian Presidency of the EU. On 23-24 October 1998 the European Council met unofficially in Pörtschach, Austria. 

This Summit  was followed by the first ever informal meeting of the Defense Ministers of the EU  in Vienna on 3-4 November 1998, which interestingly took place on invitation of the Austrian Defense Minister. The meeting was reported to have been purely informal and to have produced no results. However, activities to jumpstart the defense initiative were intense during the following months. 

Click here to read the German Defense Ministry's brief remarks on the meeting (only in German). 

Click here for excerpts from 
  • the Austrian Presidency Conclusions, published at the EU Summit in Vienna on 11-12 December 1998.
  • the speech of the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs at the National Council (Österreichischen Nationalrat) in Vienna, 16 December 1998 (only in German).
  • On 4 December 1998 a British French Summit was held in St. Malo, France. Both nations issued the Defense Initiative Declaration, which stated that the EU should give itself the capacity for autonomous military action and  proceed to the framing of a common security and defense policy. For Britain, this represented a major shift. With this declaration, both countries jointly claimed leadership in the process of developing a defense policy for the European Union. 

    -----     1999     -----
    On 13-14 March 1999 the Foreign Ministers of the European Union held an informal meeting at Reinhardtshausen. From the German EU Presidency's  Draft Conclusions on CFSP it becomes clear that the decision had been taken to develop a Common European Security and Defense Policy, beyond its existing dimensions, extending into the sphere of military crisis-management. Notably, this meeting was held ten days before the Kosovo bombing campaign began.
    The Kosovo war, which began on 2 March 1999 and lasted well into the summer of the same year, overshadowed NATO’s 50th anniversary Summit held on 24-25 April 1999 in Washington DC. The Summit adopted two documents containing a reference to the development of a European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI) within NATO and the EU’s Common European Security and Defense Policy. On the one hand, the Alliance approved a new Strategic Concept which referred to ESDI in the same manner as usual. 

    Click here to read the relevant excerpts of the new Strategic Concept

    On the other hand, the Summit agreed a Communique entitled “An Alliance for the 21st Century”. Two alternative draft sections existed for the section on strengthening Europe’s role. While one of them spoke of the ESDI concept as it was know so far, the alternative section reflected the developments under preparation in the EU for the European Council Meeting in Cologne. The latter was chosen for inclusion in the final version of the Communique. Click here for the
  • version that was agreed upon at the Washington Communique.
    On 10-11 May 1999, the WEU spring ministerial meeting took place in Bremen. The ministers decided to make the necessary preparations for the EU to have direct and indirect access to WEU resources. 
    Click here for the Communique of the Bremen WEU Ministerial.
    At the same time on 10 May 1999, the European Council decided on the arrangements for enhanced cooperation between the European Union and the Western European Union. 

    At the informal meeting of the EU Defense Ministers on 28 May 1999 in Bonn, decisive steps were initiated to design the European Security and Defense Policy. The decisions on these steps were finally taken in the course of the Summit meetings in Cologne, Helsinki, and Feira. 

    On 3-4 June 1999 the European Council met in Cologne. It was the first meeting after the Amsterdam Treaty had entered into force on 1 May 1999. Thus the legal basis for strengthening the EU's CFSP existed. The Council agreed that the EU should procure the capabilities necessary to conduct military crisis-management operations across the full range of the Petersberg missions either in the context of  NATO or independently from the Alliance. The Finnish EU Presidency, which took up its duties in July 1999, was given the task of continuing the work on its implementation. Click here for the relevant documents of the Cologne European Council: 

    In June 1999, Germany and France initiated the development of the Eurocorps into a European Crisis Response Corps which is at the disposal of both NATO and the EU. 

    The Declaration of the British-Italian Summit on 19-20 July 1999 called for setting a timetable to upgrade the military capabilities required to undertake crisis management operations. It also stressed the need to foster a harmonization of military requirements and collaboration in arms procurement. 

    On 18 October 1999, former NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana became the European Union's first High Representative of the CFSP. 

    During its Luxembourg ministerial meeting in November 1999, the WEU approved the results of an Audit of Assets and Capabilities for European Crisis Management Operations taking stock of existing military assets of the member states. The Audit concluded that while EU member states had in principle sufficient capabilities to conduct Petersberg missions, gaps and deficiencies needed to be overcome. The need for improvement was placed predominantly in the following fields: 

    • availability, deployability, strategic mobility, sustainability, survivability and interoperability and operational effectiveness of forces;
    • Multinational, joint HQ at Operation and Force levels, with particular reference to C3 (command, control and communications) capability and deployability of Force HQ;
    • Strategic intelligence and strategic planning.
    At a General Affairs Council meeting on 15 November 1999, the Defense and Foreign ministers of the EU agreed that the Helsinki Summit should adopt two reports on the progress of the military and the non-military aspects of crisis-management. They also authorized the appointment of the High Representative of the CFSP, Javier Solana, as WEU Secretary-General. In the same statement, the GAC made a brief reference to the European Armaments Policy.
    Click here for an excerpt of  the Protocol of the Meeting.
    The German-French Defense and Security Council in Paris announced that it expected the EU Summit in Helsinki to decide to develop an EU military crisis intervention force. Click here for the declaration (only in German). 

    The European Council Summit in Helsinki on 10-11 December 1999 approved two reports of the Finnish Presidency. A report on military crisis-management capabilities set up a 'Headline Goal', establishing that by 2003 the EU should be able to deploy up to 60.000 soldiers within 60 days for at least one year. In this report, the Summit also agreed to develop EU structures for the planning and preparation of military missions. 

    In contrast, a second report dealing with the development of non-military crisis-management capabilities did not outline any concrete 'Headline Goal'. But notably was the agreement to establish a “Rapid Reaction Facility / Mechanism”. It is supposed to provide mainly personnel and funding in situations where a quick response to avoid the evolution of a crisis into open conflict. 

    The following presidency issued a proposal for a Council regulation concerning the creation of a Rapid Reaction Facility (RRF). The RRF would finance only non-military actions, which should aim at the preservation or re-establishment of public order, security and safety and the facilitation of dialogue, conciliation and mediation in country or society. 
    See also the European Parliament report on this council proposal, 7 December 2000 and the final resolution dated 17 January 2001. 

    While the Finnish Presidency had prepared draft reports that carefully balanced military and non-military capabilities to be developed by the Union, the four large EU-members Britain, France, Germany and Italy made a common front for more rapid progress in the military than in the non-military area. The reports adopted in Helsinki were substantially different from the drafts Finland had presented earlier. Click here for the drafts prepared by the Finnish Presidency:
    -----     2000     -----

    On 28 February 2000, Foreign and Defense Ministers met in Sintra, Portugal to prepare the ground for establishing the interim bodies that were to govern EU crisis-management missions. Click here to read the: 

    These interim bodies were put in place officially on 1 March. The standing Political and Security Committee began to meet on a weekly basis on 3 March, the EU’s Interim Military Committee and the EU Military Staff commenced their meetings on 7 March. The Foreign and Defense Ministers scheduled a “Capabilities Commitment Conference” for 20 November, at which each member state was to commit forces to the 'Rapid Reaction Force'. 

    Click here for the Headline Goals and the GAC Statement

    On 23-24 March, the Portuguese Presidency presented its draft report on the progress of CESD to the European Council in Lisbon, addressing the question of the future relationship between the EU "Rapid Reaction Force" and NATO. 

    To read the Report by the Portuguese Presidency, click here. 

    On 15-16 May, the WEU Council at Porto decided to grant the EU direct access to its capabilities for the conduct of Petersberg tasks. 

    Click here to read the WEU Porto Declaration

    On 22 May 2000 the General Affairs Council decided to set up a “Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis-Management”. 

    To look at the decision, click here. 

    For its part, the European Parliament passed a resolution on the establishment of a Common European Security and Defense Policy with a view to the European Council in Feira. While stressing that priority should be given to non-military crisis management, it welcomed the developments since the Pörtschach meeting and stated that the availability of a military instrument would broaden the Union's options in conducting its foreign policy. 

    Click here to see the EP Resolution

    On 19-20 June 2000 the European Council at Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal, officially released the documents prepared under the Portuguese EU Presidency. The modalities for participation of non-EU NATO members and EU accession candidates were released, and a ‘Headline Goal’ for Civilian Crisis Management was agreed. Importantly, four NATO-EU working groups were set up to conduct negotiations on permanent arrangements between both organisations, including the delicate issue of EU’s access to NATO capabilities. 

    To see the Santa Maria da Feira European Council Documents, click here. 

    In its statement of 10 July 2000, the General Affairs Council also makes a brief reference to the ESDP in the follow-up of the Feira Council meeting. 

    A great deal of controversy was raised when the General Affairs Council decided to adopt new rules for public access to documents of the EU and the European Council. These rules allow to classify and withhold classified documents as well as groups of documents containing classified papers in total from public access. The new rules entered into force on 23 August 2000. 
    For a word by word comparison of the old and new rules on public access to EU documents, click here: 

    The new rules have been widely criticised and will be subject to a Dutch, Swedish and Finish appeal in front of the European Court of Justice. The European Parliament has decided to follow suit. 

    Click here for the respective press releases or for details of the European Parliament decision to take the case to the European Court of Justice. 

    Click here to see the "Solana Decision" (pdf-version available in German). It proposed that three members of the parliament should be given access to classified documents - the parliament's President, the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee and a third MEP appointed jointly by the EP and the Council. See also the Regulation of the European Parliament and the European Council regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents of 30 May 2001 (pdf, also available in German). 

    Meetings between the Interim Security and Political Committee and the Permanent North Atlantic Council began on 19 September 2000. 

    The decisions on the transfer of the functions of WEU to the EU were completed at the WEU Council meeting in Marseille on 13 November. While WEU was kept as an organisation, it was deprived of all its operational capacity. Its mission consists of maintaining links with the Parliamentary Assembly, supporting the work of the Western European Armaments Group and safeguarding the mutual defense commitment of the Brussels Treaty. 

    Check here for the WEU Marseille Declaration.

    The "Capabilites Commitment Conference" (also known as the "Force Generation Conference") was held on 20 November. EU members would provide a total of 80.000 rather than 60.000 soldiers for the Union’s Rapid Reaction Force. In addition to land forces, there will be fleets of 80 ships and 300-350 combat aircraft were identified to be put at the disposal of the Union. Not only EU member states made public their future force commitments, but also third countries - EU accession candidates and non-EU NATO members - were invited to announce possible contributions. Click here for: 

    Click here for the Resolution of the European Parliament on the progress in the establishment of CESDP, approved on 30 November. 

    Finally, the European Council at Nice (7-9 December 2000) adopted a comprehensive report on CESDP. Notably, it included a reference paper on conflict prevention by the EU. Click here for the documents adopted by the European Council at Nice: 

    Documents submitted to the European Council in Nice:  In order to accommodate the new decisions on CESDP, two amendments have been made in the Treaty of Nice. First, the provisions defining the relations between the Union and the WEU have been removed. Further, the former political committee has been renamed Political and Security Committee (PSC) in the Treaty and the possibility has been introduced that the Council, in order to manage a crisis and for the duration of that crisis, can itself take the appropriate decisions under the second pillar in order to ensure the political control and strategic leadership of the crisis management operation. 
    While the Treaty of Nice has introduced the possibility of establishing enhanced cooperation in the area of common foreign and security policy, issues with defense or military implications have been exempted from this rule. 
    -----     2001     -----

    In the last months, a great amount of effort is being directed at working out the civilian conflict management structures and elaborating a conflict prevention approach. 
    At the meeting of the General Affairs Council on 26-27 February 2001, a new Rapid Reaction Mechanism (or Facility) was adopted. Click here to see: 

    The Commission recently tabled a Commmunication to the Council on Conflict Prevention, 11 April 2001.Click here to see Commissioner Patten's remarks at a press conference on the same date. Previously, Patten had held a Speech on crisis management/ conflict prevention before the European Parliament following a debate on the subject. 
    Click here for the European Parliament Resolution on the Commission communication on Conflict Prevention. 

    See two interesting documents published on the eve of the Gothenborg Summit, on 12 June: 

    • The Communiqué (in German only) of the last Summit meeting of the Franco-German Security Council and 
    • a letter to the editor of the London Telegraph signed by eleven British and French Generals and Admirals expressing their concerns about the European military crisis-management. 
    The EU Council Summit meeting in Gothenborg on 15-16 June approved the Report on European Security and Defense Policy, marking a breaktrough in the development of civilian crisis management and conflict prevention in the EU. The Report contains documents on  "Contributions of Non-EU States to EU police missions on civilian crisis management", "EU cooperation with international organisations on civilian aspects of crisis management", new concrete targets for civilian aspects of crisis management, a EU Exercise Policy and a Policy Action Plan. 
    Also, the European Council adopted the Conclusions of the General Affairs Council on 
    "EU-UN co-operation in conflict prevention and crisis management" and an 
    "EU Statement on Strengthening the Organisation and increasing its relevance for the participating States

    Following on the Commision Communication of 11 April , the Council approved the "EU Programme for the Prevention of Violent Conflict", on whose implementation will be reported. 

    As a follow-up to the Capabilities Commitment Conference in 2000, the General Affairs Council held the Capability Improvement Conference (CIC) on 19 November.Having solved some shortcomings on the list, the member states agreed on an European Capability Action Plan to address the remaining shortfalls of the EU military capability. The further progress will be monitored by the Military Committee. 
    General Affairs Council: Statement on Improving European Military Capabilities, 19 November 2001 
    Statement by the President of the Assembly of WEU on the ESDP Capabilities Enhancement Conference, 19 November 2001 

    On 29 November, a UK-French Summit in London followed on the timetable. In the joint communique, both states' leaders expressed  the expectation that a limited operational capability would be declared at the Council in Laeken. Further, they announced to tackle three of the shortcomings listed earlier by the CIC and renewed their commitment regarding the purchase of the military transport aircraft A400M in accordance with the agreed timetable and participation. 

    At the European Council in Laeken in mid-December, the EU heads of state and government adopted the declaration on the operational capability, which declares the capability of the European Union for the conduct of some crisis-management operations. Additional progress has been made in the relations with Turkey concerning the use of NATO assets. But the so-called 'Ankara Agreement' reached with Turkey caused Greece to express reservations, which could not be dissolved during the summit. Further improvement of capabilities and of cooperation with NATO is supposed to enable the EU by 2003 to carry out the whole range of Petersberg Tasks. 

    Excerpt from the Presidency Conclusions, 15 December 2001 
    Annex II to the Presidency Conclusions, 15 December 2001 
    Presidency Report on ESDP, 11 December 2001 
    Laeken European Council: Details of topics and issues 

    With the terrorist attacks of 11 September, the European Union has taken new steps to prevent a growth of the threat posed by violent extremist groups. Regardless of the fact that counterterrorism is an essential component of security policy, a significant amount of the measures considered and approved by the EU fall in the realm of the third pillar of the European Union; i.e. Justice and Home Affairs. Exceptions are the reexamination of the relations to third countries in the light of their stance on terrorism, the new linkage between the Common Security Defence Policy and the EU's effectiveness in the fight against terrorism, and the improvement of air transport security. 

    While the European Union asserted the United States of its support in the Joint EU - U.S. Ministerial Statement on combating Terrorism in Washington on 20 September 2001, it also started to increase its own measures to meet the challenge. 
    The first step was taken at the extraordinary Council meeting in Brussels on 21 September with the adoption of a Plan of Action to increase the EU's capabilities to prevent and prosecute terrorism. It included several measures to be developed, priority was assigned to: 

    • the European arrest warrant, the common definition of terrorist offences and the freezing of assets;
    • increased cooperation between the operational services responsible for combating terrorism, enabling a list of terrorist organisations to be drawn up;
    • effective measures to combat the funding of terrorism, and
    • examination and improvement of the European air transport security
    On 9 December 2001, the Council for Justice, Home Affairs and Civil Protection agreed on the creation of the European arrest warrant, a Framework Decision that defines terrorist aims and offences and establishes thresholds for minimum/maximum penalties (not formally agreed), and the final establishment of Eurojust to enhance the cooperation of the national prosecutors. 

    Click here for the Presidency Report on European Union action following the attacks in the United States, 13 December 2001 
    Click here for an Excerpt of the Laeken Presidency Conclusions, 14/15 December 2001 

    New Council acts were adopted on the 27 December 2001. These regulations deal with the personal, financial, and otherwise material support of terrorist individuals or groups, with an annexed list of identified individuals and organizations. Another subject is the regulation of the freezing of financial assets. 

    -----     2002     -----

    After witnessing the start of the Spanish presidency, its Minister of Defence, Federico Trillo, presented the Spanish Presidency's priorities for European Security and Defence. These include the institutionalization of EU Defence Ministers Councils, the last step to setting up the EU Rapid Reaction Force, and the application of international humanitarian law in the context of peace and security missions. 

    With the beginning of the year (18 February 2002), the Council of General Affairs started planning its first civil operation, in the context of the ESDP. The following Council on 11 March 2002 agreed on a Joint Action for the replacement of the UN International Police Task Force (IPTF) in Bosnia-Herzegovina by an EU police force beginning 2003. But the issue of the financing of the operation has not been fully solved, which means that some costs are not yet covered by some kind of national commitment or a decision on community funding.

    Second, the Informal Council of Defence Ministers in Zaragoza expressed the wish to take over the mission "Amber Fox" in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia from NATO in the fall of 2002. But as of yet, the European Union has neither the agreement of the Macedonian side nor a final agreement with NATO over the use of its capabilities.

    On 13 May 2002 the defence ministers met for the first time in the framework of the General Affairs Council in Brussels. The Council examined all relevant aspects of the development of EU military capabilities as set out at Laeken: the Capability Development Mechanism; progress within the framework of the European Capability Action Plan and the Rapid Response Elements of the Helsinki Headline Goal.  Javier Solana´s intervention on European Security and Defence Issues at the Ministers of Defense Meeting highlights the progress and underlines the need of further cooperation in the field of European  military capabilities.

    The General Affairs Council´s meeting was followed by the first defence exercise of EU crisis management, denominated CME02, from 22 - 28 of May 2002. The operation marked an important step forward in the evaluation of the ESDP capacities.

    EU foreign affairs ministers finally settled the question of financing EU military operations on 17 June 2002. Non-military costs of EU military operations are to be financed from a common budget, while the military costs are considered as individual costs and will be financed on a ´costs-lie where they fall´ basis.

    The Spanish Presidency outlined in its Report on Implementation of the EU Programme for the Prevention of Violent Conflicts (18 June 2002) the progress achieved since the adoption of the so called Göteborg programme in 2001. Short and long term prevention measures, intensified co-operation and partnership with other international organisations and the benefits of intercultural dialogue are the promissing cornerstones of Europe´s systemic approach to Conflict Prevention.


    Section B: Inter-Parliament, Government and other Official Reports. 

    Section C: Research and Policy Reports