One major component of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP), empowers the EU to respond proactively to international crises through a broad mix of civilian and military crisis management and conflict prevention operations. To date, more than 30 CSDP operations have taken place on three continents.
Currently, sixteen CSDP missions—both civilian and military—involve 7,000 personnel around the world. Civilian crisis management operations help support fragile states by ensuring the functioning and legitimacy of government and its institutions, with a particular emphasis on police and security management, the rule of law, civilian administration, civil protection, and monitoring. Civilian missions help train police officials in Afghanistan and contribute to Kosovo’s efforts to develop an independent and multi-ethnic justice system and police and customs services.
Military operations have helped stabilize conflict zones in the Western Balkans and parts of Africa—some in support of United Nations or NATO efforts, others as stand-alone actions. The EU’s most important naval operation so far—EUNAVFOR Atalanta—helps deter, prevent, and repress acts of piracy and armed robbery on the high seas and protects vulnerable vessels cruising off the Somali coast.
In order to strengthen practical, on-the-ground coordination in crisis situations, in 2011 the EU and the U.S. formalized an agreement to allow U.S. civilians to participate in EU Common Security and Defense Policy operations.
Previously, agreements for U.S. participation in CSDP operations, including the EU’s Rule of Law mission (EULEX) in Kosovo and the EU’s Security Sector Reform mission (EUSEC) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, had been negotiated on an ad hoc basis.
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