What is the common security and defence policy?

The EU’s common security and defence policy was launched in 1999 to provide the EU with the capacity to deal with security challenges. Since then the EU has carried out 30 missions in Europe, Africa and Asia. These include:

– Border assistance missions, helping countries to establish more effective borders

– Conflict monitoring missions

– Peacekeeping missions

– Missions to tackle piracy in the Horn of Africa

– Missions to provide training to judges and police.

– Missions to provide military training.

The EU has not taken on any military missions of any great scale to date. An EU mission is launched by agreement of all the Foreign Ministers of EU member states acting as the Foreign Affairs Council.  Missions can only be launched by unanimity. Only those states that want to participate in missions. The EU does not have its own personnel, so the personnel is made up of people contributed by the member states. Missions are commanded by military officers and civilians from participating member states.

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