The Treaty of Lisbon makes clear that the Union’s common security and defence policy (CSDP) is an integral part of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and provides the Union with an operational capacity to undertake missions outside the Union for peace-keeping, conflict prevention and strengthening international security in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter.
In Article 42.2 TEU relating to the CSDP, it is stipulated that ‘The common security and defence policy shall include the progressive framing of a common Union defence policy’ that ‘will lead to a common defence, when the European Council, acting unanimously, so decides’. It is also stated that ‘The policy of the Union in accordance with this Section shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States and shall respect the obligations of certain Member States, which see their common defence realised in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), under the North Atlantic Treaty and be compatible with the common security and defence policy established within that framework’. The European Council conclusions of December 1999 stated that ‘NATO remains the foundation of the collective defence of its members, and will continue to have an important role in crisis management’.
In its conclusions of June 2009, the European Council explicitly stated that ‘the Treaty of Lisbon does not provide for the creation of a European army’. The issue of creating a European Army is not being debated within the Council, nor is it on its agenda.
The EU has been developing very good cooperation with the US in the field of security and defence — with, for instance, the signature of a Framework Participation Agreement in the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) area. Concerning cooperation between the EU and NATO, the Council has on several occasions recalled the objective of strengthening the EU-NATO strategic partnership in crisis management, in a spirit of mutual reinforcement and respect for their decision-making authority.
More generally, in its conclusions of July 2012, the Council emphasised the concrete impact of CSDP missions and operations on the ground and pointed out that ‘operational engagement of the Union is a very tangible expression of the EU's commitment to contribute to promote and preserve peace and stability, strengthening the EU's overall ability to respond to security challenges with civil and military crisis management instruments’.
OJ C 276 E, 25/09/2013