The EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) is part of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, which defines the EU’s role in defence and crisis management, including cooperation and coordination between Member States. The CSDP enables the EU to increase its military capabilities, conduct military and civilian missions and operations abroad, and develop the EU’s political, military and crisis response structures. The CSDP is implemented in accordance with the Treaty on European Union.
Articles 42–46 of the Treaty on European Union (also known as the Treaty of Lisbon), which entered into force in 2009, set out the basic principles of the CSDP system. Under the EU Treaty, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who heads the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Defence Agency (EDA) and chairs the EU Foreign Affairs Council of Defence Ministers, plays a key institutional role. The High Representative of the Union shall contribute to the formulation and modification of the CSDP through his proposals and shall ensure the implementation of the decisions taken by the European Council and the Council. The High Representative is assisted in his mandate by the European External Action Service, including the EU Military Staff, whose main task is to provide EU military expertise in areas such as early warning, situation assessment and strategic planning. The EU Council takes decisions in the field of CSDP on the basis of unanimity, except in certain cases concerning the EDA (Article 45 of the Treaty on European Union) and permanent structured cooperation (PESCO, Article 46 of the Treaty on European Union), where decisions are taken by qualified majority.
Development of the CSDP
The Treaty of Lisbon contains many important new elements of the CSDP, including the provisions on mutual assistance and solidarity, the creation of PESCO, the extension of the so-called Petersberg tasks, and the creation of the EEAS. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the CSDP has become one of the fastest growing EU policies.
In June 2016, the EU’s Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy was launched, with the aim of giving a new impetus to the EU’s external action and increasing the effectiveness of security and defence. Two more documents were submitted in the autumn of the same year:
- The “Implementation Plan on Security and Defence”, which sets out concrete proposals for how EU security and defence policy should be developed, including the development of a united and inclusive PESCO based on the agreement of Member States to strengthen the CSDP through concrete commitments; the harmonized annual review in the field of defence (CARD); strengthening the EU Rapid Reaction Package, etc.
- The creation of the “European Defence Action Plan”, the three main pillars of which are the creation of the European Defence Fund to finance defence research and capacity building; promoting investment in the defence supply chain and strengthening the EU’s single defence market.
These documents have contributed to consolidating the new role of the CSDP, enhancing and harmonizing defence cooperation between Member States. The European Union is currently working hard to increase European security and defence capabilities, with 60 PESCO projects in 2017 encouraging states to invest and develop joint defence capabilities to increase the operational readiness of their armed forces. When the European Defence Fund was launched, steps were taken to improve military mobility, cyber security policy was developed, and EU and NATO cooperation was further strengthened.
In 2021, in order to give a new impetus to the CSDP, the EU published the “Strategic Compass for Security and Defence”, which aims to define a common vision for the EU’s security and defence for the next 5–10 years.
Lithuania’s participation in EU security and defence policy initiatives
Lithuania actively and constructively contributes to EU defence initiatives and actions by participating in EU missions and operations, actively working with EU partners in the field of military mobility, which is of strategic importance, as it is directly related to the need to ensure rapid and unhindered entry of allies into our region. Lithuania chairs the working group of the European Defence Agency, the task of which is to harmonize and simplify the procedures applied to the military movement and to prepare optimal solutions without increasing the administrative burden.
Lithuania participates in five of the seven EU military operations and training missions: in the Central African Republic, Mali, Mozambique, in the naval operations IRINI and ATALANTA. Participation in such missions and operations is an important expression of Lithuania’s commitment to international security and a means to contribute to the implementation of the EU CSDP. The decision on the participation of Lithuanian military units in international operations is made by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on the recommendation of the President of the Republic of Lithuania.
In the context of PESCO, Lithuania is leading one of the most successful projects, on the basis of which Cyber Rapid Response Teams are being developed. In total, Lithuania participates in 13 PESCO joint military capability and competence development projects in various fields, including military mobility, logistics, cybernetics, target detection, satellite intelligence, electronic combat, military medical support, unmanned aerial vehicles, medium-sized ships, tactical transport aircraft and tactical armaments development projects.