European defence – A year on from the global strategy

Briefing 12-07-2017

On 7 June 2017, the Commission presented its reflection paper on 'European defence by 2025'. The paper, part of the white paper process on the future of Europe, comes almost a year after the unveiling of the European Union's global strategy on foreign and security policy, and follows 12 months of significant progress in decisions on the course of EU security and defence policy (CSDP). During the last quarter of 2016, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini, presented a set of three specific action plans to upgrade EU security and defence policy: the implementation plan on security and defence, the European defence action plan, and the implementation plan for the EU-NATO Warsaw Declaration. The three plans, which are sometimes referred to as the 'winter package on defence', detailed a series of actions to be taken in the medium- and long-term to implement the Lisbon Treaty provisions on security and defence. These are expected to lead to stronger coordination within the EU, as well as strengthen the EU defence industry and market. Debates on the future of European defence were significantly affected by two major events that took place in 2016: the decision of the United Kingdom (one of the strongest players in European defence) to withdraw from the EU; and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. This briefing complements an earlier version of July 2016, PE 586.607. The centrespread of this briefing presents a timeline of the major developments in EU defence policy in the year since the global strategy's release.