Numerous emergencies in the European Union’s strategic neighbourhood, hybrid security threats, years of uncoordinated cuts in defence spending and rapidly evolving global trends have all eroded the EU’s role as a security actor in a multipolar world. The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) is the weakest link in the European integration project. Longstanding obstacles block further integration, such as differences between member states in threat perceptions and strategic cultures, divergences in intentions and preferences and, in some cases, a lack of mutual trust and solidarity. Yet the Lisbon Treaty demands and permits a great deal more in terms of our common security and defence activities. The CSDP needs to be more efficient and more effective if it is to meet today’s security challenges and promote the EU’s own values and interests. It also needs to fire the imagination of its citizens.

CEPS thinks ahead about the security and defence agenda for Europe, treating both its EU and transatlantic dimensions and its civil and military aspects. Our research aims to recommend an array of policy actions for further cooperation between member states and European integration as the natural steps to join all the dots of the security and defence debate – strategic, institutional, capabilities, and resources.


Ongoing projects

‘Preventing and Responding to Conflict: Developing Civilian Capabilities for a Sustainable Peace’ (EU-CIVCAP) is a three-year project under H2020 that will provide a comprehensive, comparative and multidisciplinary analysis of the EU's current conflict prevention and peace-building activities.

The project has three specific aims:

  • to assess EU civilian capabilities for external conflict prevention and peace-building;
  • to identify and document lessons learned and best practice in these areas;
  • to enhance future policy practice and research.


Selected publications:

More Union in European Defence

Diplomatic Spin: EU3+3 talks on Iran’s nuclear file

The Governance Gap in European Security and Defence

Common Security and Defence in 2014: Revise and resubmit