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Research Report

Europe Deploys TOwards a Civil-Military Strategy for CSDP

Sven Biscop
Jo Coelmont
Series-Editor Sven BISCOP
Copyright Date: Jun. 1, 2011
Published by: Egmont Institute
Pages: 42
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 7-10)
    Sven Biscop and Jo Coelmont

    The crisis in Libya is a textbook example of a situation in which Europe, through the European Union, should have taken the lead and proved that it is an actor of consequence. Security Council Resolution 1973 authorizing the use of force, the most difficult precondition for intervention to fulfil; regional support in the form of an unprecedented request for intervention from the Arab League; absolute clarity in the US that it will not take the lead. What more boxes needed to be ticked before the EU could step onto the breach and take charge of crisis management in its immediate...

  2. (pp. 11-16)

    The adoption in 2003 of the ESS was a step forward in creating some sort of strategic framework for EU external action, including CFSP and CSDP. One of the undeniable strengths of the ESS is that it defines a number of contemporary and potential threats. It does not, however, name any enemy, let alone any opposing actor that could pose a threat to the EU’s interests. Even the interests themselves are not clearly addressed. Furthermore, while the ESS does define the EU’s preferred method – preventive, holistic, and multilateral – it remains much vaguer on objectives and priorities. Therefore, even...

  3. (pp. 17-22)

    Vital interests are those that determine the very survival of the EU’s social model, which is based on the core values of security, prosperity, democracy and equality. These are:

    Defence against any threat to the territory of the Union.

    Open lines of communication and trade (in physical as well as in cyber space).

    A secure supply of energy and other vital natural resources.

    A sustainable environment.

    Manageable migration flows.

    The maintenance of international law (including the UN Charter and the treaties and regulations of the key international organizations) and of universally agreed rights.

    Preserving the autonomy of the decision-making of...

  4. (pp. 23-24)

    In the broadest sense, the possible operations and missions that can be undertaken through CSDP are defined in the Treaty, which as amended in Lisbon, comprises an extended, non-exhaustive list of types of operations, the so-called Petersberg Tasks. Legally speaking, the EU today can launch any operation, with the sole exception of operations linked to the collective defence of the territory of the Member States, but including combat operations in the context of crisis management. The EU should obviously not seek out combat operations just for the sake of engaging in them. The priority is conflict prevention: in the ideal...

  5. (pp. 25-32)

    Once objectives and priorities have been defined and the potential types of operations agreed, the EU must translate this into the scale of effort required to be successful. Quantitatively, CSDP is based on the 1999 Headline Goal. The aim is to be able to deploy up to an army corps (50 to 60,000 troops), together with air and maritime forces, plus the required command & control, strategic transport and other support services, within 60 days, and to sustain that effort for at least one year. That objective is quite ambitious: if rotation is taken into account, sustaining 60,000 first-line troops requires...

  6. (pp. 33-36)

    Defending our vital interests requires strategy. The first strategic choice is to prioritize the regions where those interests are most directly at stake, and prepare accordingly. Although the building-blocks of such a strategy already exist, there still is a reluctance however to explicitly think in strategic terms about priority regions. Three factors explain this.

    First, strategy is too closely identified with the military. The aim is not to delineate a sphere of influence in which gunboat diplomacy will uphold Europe’s interests. Rather the idea is to identify regions where our vital interests are most likely to be challenged in order...