Bundesheer Bundesheer Hoheitszeichen

Bundesheer auf Twitter

A Review of the Military Aspects of the European Security and Defence Policy since 2004 (I)


By early 2004 the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) started to gather momentum. In 2003 two military missions of the EU, ARTEMIS and CONCORDIA, were completed, but larger-scale operations, such as ALTHEA and EUFOR/DR CONGO, had yet to be conducted. Also, most of the EU civilian missions had not been carried out at that stage. The European Security Strategy had just been adopted and a new Headline Goal with a target date of 2010 was set to succeed that of 2003. The development of EU Rapid Response (and, particularly, the Battlegroup concept) was in its infancy. The establishment of the Civ-Mil Cell was not officially proposed until December 2004 and co-operation with partners, such as the UN, NATO, the Mediterranean Partners and third states was not fully developed. This article provides some background information and shows how the ESDP has evolved from the European Union Military Staffs’ (EUMS’) point of view since then.


In the past few years, the spectrum of tasks to address conflict prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict situations has considerably widened within the ESDP. The missions that may be assigned under it are described in article 17.2 of the Treaty on European Union: "(and) include humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peace enforcement".

To make Europe more capable of managing crises, the European Security Strategy widened the spectrum of missions to include joint disarmament operations as well as support of third countries in combating terrorism and security sector reform. The latter of these would be part of broader institution building.

Within the last few years, operational activity in the field of crisis management has expanded exponentially. The EU is now undertaking its fourth military operation covering a total of sixteen missions on three continents, with the tasks ranging from peacekeeping and monitoring implementation of a peace process all the way down to advising and assisting in the most diverse sectors, such as the military, the police, border monitoring and also rule of law. Further missions are under active preparation. The EUMS has been involved in the preparation of many of these missions.

With regard to the Lebanon crisis, the EUMS collected information on the use of military assets of member states and monitored their offers regarding the enhanced UNIFIL operation, sharing the information obtained with all member states.

Development of European Military Capabilities


At the end of the European Council meeting in Cologne, Germany (3rd to 4th June 1999) EU leaders expressed their determination that "the European Union shall play its full role on the international stage. To that end, we intend to give the European Union the necessary means and capabilities to assume its responsibilities regarding the Common European Policy on Security and Defence. … the Union must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed by credible military forces, the means to decide to use them, and the readiness to do so in order to respond to international crises without prejudice to actions by NATO" (See para 1 of European Council Declaration on Strengthening the Common European Policy on Security and Defence, Annex III to Presidency Conclusions Cologne European Council, available at http://ue.eu.int/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/ec/kolnen.htm).

Headline Goal 2003

At the Helsinki European Council in December 1999, the EU set a military target known as the Helsinki Headline Goal. The member states agreed to put at the Union’s disposal, on a voluntary basis by 2003, forces capable of carrying out the tasks as set out in Article 17.2 of the Treaty on European Union in operations up to army corps level (50,000 to 60,000 troops) with the necessary command, control and intelligence capabilities, logistics, other combat support services as well as additional air and naval elements as appropriate. This force should be able to deploy in full at this level within 60 days and be sustainable for a year.

At the European Council in Laeken at the end of 2001 the Presidency concluded that "the Union is now capable of conducting some crisis-management operations". This position was confirmed at the May 2003 General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC), which declared that "the EU now has operational capability across the full range of Petersberg tasks, limited and constrained by recognised shortfalls".

Headline Goal 2010

Following the adoption of the EU Security Strategy (ESS) in December 2003, the EU decided to set a new Headline Goal 2010 (adopted in 2004). Based on the Headline Goal 2003, it envisions that member states "be able by 2010 to respond with rapid and decisive action applying a fully coherent approach to the whole spectrum of crisis management operations covered by the TEU" (Council of the European Union, doc. 6805/03). The Headline Goal 2010 plan was endorsed by the June 2004 European Council summit meeting.

The process of developing EU Military Capabilities towards the Headline Goal of 2010 is deliberate and thorough. The first step was to identify Strategic Planning Assumptions. Five Illustrative Scenarios were prepared, which encompassed a wide spectrum of military operations. These were: - Separation of parties by force; - Stabilisation, reconstruction, and military advice to third countries; - Conflict prevention; - Evacuation operations (in a non-permissive environment); - Assistance to humanitarian operations.

Derived from them, Focused Military Options were developed as to how to best deal with the relevant crises. These Options led to a Planning Framework from which was deduced a Detailed List of Required Capabilities the EU would need. Generic Force Packages which identified the type of force groupings the EU would require to solve the crises were compiled and a List of Reference Units was established. All of this information was fed into a Requirements Catalogue, which listed in detail the actual types of units, resources and assets required in order to fulfil EU needs.

At that point the EU had to ask the member states to what extent they could offer assets and resources to fill the Total Force Requirement listed in the Requirements Catalogue. This was done by means of the Headline Goal Questionnaire, which was distributed to member states and through which they could make their "bids" or offers. As these offers were received, the contributions by member states were compiled into the Force Catalogue. In addition, a Scrutinising Methodology was developed and the Scrutinising Handbook established, which puts member states in the position to conduct the necessary self-assessment of their contributions and describes the way towards the Force Catalogue via the Clarification Dialogue.

The Force Catalogue provides a view of the military capabilities that are intended to be available by 2010. It will also be the basis for EU shortfall identification. The identified shortfalls and the possible operational risks caused by these shortfalls will be reflected in the Progress Catalogue due by the end of 2007. The remaining tasks for the achievement of the Headline Goal 2010 will consist of solving the shortfalls identified, while maintaining a credible operational capability of the EU.

Throughout the whole process, the EUMS has cooperated, and will continue to do so, with the EDA in many areas, particularly in the Integrated Development Teams (IDTs) and the Project Teams (PTs), which are intended to support and enhance the member states’ efforts to solve the identified shortfalls. In addition, the EUMS will supply all necessary support to the EDA in order to continue the progress towards the objective of shaping the EU’s Long Term Vision and the follow-on work entailed by it.

With regard to Rapid Response, in the latest Battlegroup coordination conference, member states committed the required number of Battlegroup packages for 2007, 2008 and 2009. There were indications that half of the required numbers for 2010 will be committed. The member states committing Battlegroups in the first half of 2007 decided to provide naval enablers for these Battlegroups. From January 2007 onwards the EU will have achieved Full Operational Capability in order to undertake two Battlegroup-sized rapid re- sponse operations almost simultaneously.

A milestone in the improvement of the strategic airlift capabilities was achieved with the formal approval of the Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS) by 15 EU member states plus Canada and Norway, thereby ensuring timely availability of an additional capability to deploy oversized cargo. It was recognised that SALIS has fur-ther growth potential and will continue to remain open to participation by other EU member states and NATO nations. SALIS is a good example of fruitful cooperation in finding effective and efficient solutions to overlapping capability shortfalls of the EU and NATO.

Regarding the global approach to deployability, it was recognised that improving strategic mobility was crucial for achieving the Headline Goal 2010 and, particularly, the Full Operational Capability of EU Battlegroups by 2007. In view of the known shortfalls in strategic lift assets (both in NATO and the EU), focussing on the more effective use of all available means for transport coordination, was seen as key to improve strategic transport capability.

Five tasks were identified with regard to coordination, interaction, roles and responsibilities of transportation enablers and these tasks were undertaken by the EUMS under the auspices of the EUMC and PSC. Most of the remaining tasks within the framework of the global approach to deployability have been completed.

Efforts were continued in the field of the maritime dimension in the ESDP by investigating the contribution of EU maritime forces in ESDP missions/operations and their use in a rapid response capacity.

In line with the EU Military Rapid Response Concept, a Rapid Response Air Initiative is being considered which is to be further developed within the framework of the Headline Goal 2010. This initiative aims at enhancing the generation of Air Rapid Response elements and proposes a draft concept for a European Deployable Air Station.

(to be continued) ___________________________________ ___________________________________ By Lt. Gen. Jean-Paul Perruche, Director General, EU Military Staff

Eigentümer und Herausgeber: Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung | Roßauer Lände 1, 1090 Wien
Impressum | Kontakt | Datenschutz | Barrierefreiheit