The Civilian CSDP Compact: A stronger EU footprint in a connected, complex, contested world

Briefing 23-11-2018

Member States demand more coordination, flexibility and efficiency from civilian Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions. The European Union (EU) is currently undertaking a strategic review of the civilian dimension of CSDP to take the form of a civilian CSDP Compact (CCC), in order to adapt the CSDP to the challenges of the current geopolitical environment. Europe's 'strategic environment has changed radically' and is surrounded by 'an arc of instability', according to High Representative Federica Mogherini. Conflict and violence used to be understood in terms of (and as caused by) hard borders. Today, however, physical distances and borders have become redundant in the face of evolving and persistent threats such as poverty, climate change or hybrid warfare. The EU has been active in recognising this changing environment through various defence integration initiatives, not least through the EU global strategy (EUGS). The most visible EU commitments to international peace and security remain its missions and operations deployed outside the Union. Missions under the CSDP can have a military or civilian nature, although the latter are more prominent in EU activities. Focused on goals such as rule of law reform, stabilisation, fighting organised crime, and reform of the security sector, civilian CSDP is currently being adapted to the EU's revitalised integrated approach to conflict prevention, which envisions much closer coordination between the relevant EU actors and instruments during all stages of a conflict. By establishing tight links between the security, development, justice and home affairs (JHA), trade, climate and energy domains, the Compact aims to widen the scope of civilian missions. The goal of eradicating conflict-provoking issues such as poverty, resource scarcity, corruption or flawed governance is combined with the aim of ensuring sustainable long-term development and the societal resilience of partner countries.