As the EU beefs up its military and defence capacities, EU ministers of foreign affairs on 28 May endorsed a package of measures to in parallel further strengthen the Union’s civilian security capabilities. This reflects the EU’s commitment to an integrated approach to security, combining civilian and military tools for effective conflict prevention and crisis response.
The EU currently deploys six military and ten civilian missions and operations in third partner countries as part of its security and defence policy. Currently 2,000 women and men work in the ten civilian missions in third countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, which often focus on boosting local capacity. In 2017 around 530 training events supported over 11,000 local agents on topics such as forensic techniques, combatting trafficking of human beings, border management, anti-corruption and human rights. In Kosovo, for example, EU staff work on developing rule-of-law capacity and fighting against organised crime and corruption. The EU also provides monitoring missions, for example in Georgia where the EU mission helps to defuse tension before it can result in new conflict.
In today’s world, instability and threats in any third country or region such as Libya or Palestine, can also directly affect EU security. Protecting the EU is hence a major theme in the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy submitted in 2016 by High Representative Mogherini. In this context, the EU supports fragile partner countries through a tailor made mix of policies and interventions in an integrated manner.