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Protecting Europe and providing security through cooperation in security and defence

The EU promotes peace and stability. In a challenging geopolitical environment, the EU needs to strengthen its security and defence cooperation to protect its citizens. The EU has an important role as a global security provider and a partner to other international actors.

There has been significant progress in the EU cooperation on security and defence in the past few years. The launch of permanent structured cooperation (PESCO), together with the European Defence Fund and the coordinated annual review on defence, and establishment of a military planning and conduct capability are important steps towards deeper security and defence cooperation.

Finland’s Presidency aims to  

  • ensure efficient implementation of existing goals and targets to deepen EU security and defence cooperation
  • pursue an active strategic debate on security and defence within the EU
  • promote discussion on artificial intelligence and digitalisation with a view to developing the capabilities of tomorrow
  • further enhance EU−NATO cooperation, notably in areas such as military mobility and in countering hybrid and cyber threats.

General background: Common Security and Defence Policy

The Common Security and Defence Policy is an integral part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. It sets the framework for EU political and military structures and military and civilian missions and operations abroad.

Three milestones in the history of the EU’s cooperation on security and defence:

  1. The EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy was established by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993. This treaty also laid the foundations for a common defence policy. 
  2. The European Security and Defence Policy was renamed the Common Security and Defence Policy in the Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force in 2009.
  3. The Council adopted conclusions on security and defence in December 2016. Based on the EU Global Strategy for Foreign and Security policy, the conclusions set out actions to be taken to develop EU security and defence policy.

Read more about important topics during Finland’s Presidency

EU2019FI backgrounder: EU’s new defence and security initiatives 

EU2019FI backgrounder: Security and defence proposals for the multiannual financial framework 2021–2027 

EU2019FI backgrounder: EU military and civilian crisis management

EU2019FI backgrounder: Cooperation between the EU and NATO

EU2019FI backgrounder: Digitalisation and artificial intelligence in defence

Read more about EU defence cooperation

Council of the EU: EU cooperation on security and defence  

Council of the EU: Timeline: EU cooperation on security and defence 

European External Action Service: Common Security and Defence Policy