Europeans on the ground provide security in our neighbourhood

Around 2,000 European women and men serve in civilian missions outside the EU. Police officers, policy advisers, legal experts and other civilian personnel are deployed to partner countries to help provide security both locally and within Europe’s borders. Last Monday, EU Foreign Affairs ministers welcomed a further step in the process towards a stronger civilian side of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy.

“None of the security challenges our world faces today can be effectively addressed with a purely military approach” EU High Representative Federica Mogherini has said regarding European and international security. Solving a crisis or preventing one also requires a creative mix of tools – including Europe’s unique soft power. The civilian dimension of the EU’s common security and defence policy (CSDP) is an integral part of it.

Around 2,000 civilian women and men are detached by the EU’s Member States to partner countries in our neighbourhood through EU civilian CSDP missions. They are police officers, legal experts, policy advisers and other experts with mandates tailored to the needs of the security situation in each host country. They assist in border management, conflict prevention, combatting organised crime and smuggling, reforming national security sectors or in monitoring the judicial system and the rule of law.

10 civilian CSDP missions are currently deployed in the EU’s neighbourhood: Africa and the Middle East, the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe. By engaging beyond the EU’s borders and stabilising our neighbourhood, they also contribute directly to achieving security for European citizens at home.


Civilian CSDP missions

From conflict prevention to stabilisation, the 10 missions build on the EU Global Strategy presented in 2016 and work to empower our partners to provide security and apply the rule of law on their own territory.

Their impact can be measured in numbers: in 2018, for example, civilian CSDP missions have provided training to almost 12,000 people, monitored around 200 criminal cases, influenced the drafting of over 100 laws and legal initiatives.

This contribution is being stepped up further. In November 2018, EU Member States agreed on a Civilian CSDP Compact aimed at strengthening civilian CSDP. Last Monday, the EU’s Foreign Affairs ministers welcomed the Joint Action Plan presented by the EEAS and the European Commission to implement this Compact, and EU Member States will follow up with National Implementation Plans.

In a world that has become more complex and contested, there is a need to strengthen the EU’s role as a security provider. Much work has been accomplished over the past few years to answer this need – and it includes this process to make civilian missions more capable, more effective, flexible and responsive and more joined up with other EU instruments.

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