EU Common Security and Defence Policy

  1. EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)

The European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) is part of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) established with the aim of affirming the role of EU as an important global actor, with recognizable foreign policy and civil and military resources for crisis management, conflict prevention and maintaining international peace and security. CSDP is an integral part of the EU comprehensive approach to crisis management, including, beside civil and military capability, political, diplomatic, legal, development, trade and economic instruments. Such a broad range of instruments and means necessary for efficient crisis management puts the EU in a unique position in relation to other international actors.

Since the world and Europe face new security challenges and ever more complex and insecure environment, the EU undertook in the previous period steps with the aim of further CSDP development and strengthening. The foundation for development was set with the Global Strategy for the European Union's Foreign and Security Policy of June 2016. More concrete elaboration followed after the adoption of the Implementation Plan on Security and Defence, with the following strategic priorities: Response to external conflicts and crisis; building partner capacity; and the protection of EU and its citizens. The EU adopted in December 2016 an ambitious Defence Package, consisting of three mutually connected components: Application of the Implementation Plan on Security and Defence, European Defence Action Plan and strengthening EU-NATO relations.

To date, 38 operations for crisis management were initiated within CSDP; currently (December 2020), 17 operations are active, of which 6 military operations and 11 civil missions. These operations, beside peacekeeping, preventing conflicts and strengthening international security, are also oriented toward support to promoting rule of law and fight against human trafficking and piracy (more information on CSDP is available at:


  1. Contribution of the Republic of Serbia to the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)

Pursuant to obligations under Negotiation Chapter 31, the Republic of Serbia achieves a high level of cooperation with the EU institutions and Member States within the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy. It actively participates in almost all policy areas, thus confirming its strategic determination to join the EU as a reliable and loyal partner, contributing to global peace and security. By participating in CSDP, the Republic of Serbia simultaneously improves its operational capability, strengthens interoperability with the EU Member States and provides support to the national military industry and research potential.

The Republic of Serbia supports with the aim of strengthening CSDP all changes in the EU initiated through the adoption of the EU’s Global Strategy and the Implementation Plan on Security and Defence – the European Defence Action Plan; Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) and especially Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO); these are all projects and initiatives which Serbia actively follows and supports, ready to be actively involved.

The basis for the co-operation development and active participation of the Republic of Serbia in CSDP was set in 2011 by signing important Agreements with the EU in this filed: 1) Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Serbia on security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information (signed on 26 May 2011, entered into force on 1 August 2012) and 2) Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Serbia establishing a framework for the participation of the Republic of Serbia in European Union crisis management operations (signed on  8 June 2011, entered into force on 1 August 2012). By signing these Agreements, legal basis was created and necessary confidence for the inclusion of the Republic of Serbia in numerous different areas of action within CSDP built.

The Serbian Army is currently participating in three multinational operations of the EU with 17 members: 1) EUTM Somalia (6 members, participating as of 25 April 2012); 2) EUNAVFOR Somalia – Operation ATALANTA (4 members, participating as of 6 April 2012) and 3) EUTM RCA (7 members, participating as of 15 December 2016).

In accordance with efforts of the Republic of Serbia to actively contribute to regional and global security, and in accordance with its obligations under the Negotiation Chapter 31 (Foreign, security and defence policy), work on establishing a legal and institutional framework to enable participation of the civilian structures in multinational operations is underway. Adoption of special Law on the Participation of Civilians in the Peacekeeping Operations and forming a special organisational unit within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is being planned.

The European Defence Agency (EDA) is an EU Agency with a key role in developing defence capabilities, improving defence technologies, research and development as well as strengthening the market of defence technology and equipment. By participating in different EDA initiatives and programmes, the Republic of Serbia endeavours to improve interoperability with the EU Member States, upgrade the military industry and research potential of the national institutions, achieve technological modernisation of the Serbian Armed Forces, which leads to the improvement of military and defence capabilities. The Republic of Serbia is one of only four non-EU countries which signed administrative arrangements with ЕDA (2013).

The Republic of Serbia joined the EU battlegroup concept, i.e. HELBROC Battlegroup, led by Greece, while its other members are Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania and Cyprus, and made available its capabilities to the HELBROC Battlegroup in the first half of 2020.


3. Global security challenges

Global political and security challenges since the beginning of the 21st century (such as the terrorist attacks in New York in 2001, the events which took place during the Arab Spring, clashes in Middle East and the so-called Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh)), changed the world in many aspects. Contemporary security challenges have become transnational and global, i.e. they simultaneously affect several countries and regions and transcend the borders of any country, region and continent. Conflicts among states with the dominating use of conventional military forces, although present even today, increasingly give way to non-military risks, such as terrorism, organised crime, energy resource management, cyber and hybrid warfare, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but also global challenges, such as poverty, epidemics and climate change. Current conflicts and crisis hotspots in the world are the consequence of accumulated economic and political issues manifested in increasingly pronounced divisions at different levels, which all refers to the imperative of partnership in building global peace and security.

In this respect, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs monitors and analyses global, regional and local security challenges, threats and risks with all security implications for the Republic of Serbia, and particularly the global terrorism, energy security and cyber security.

On 27 December 2019, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted the National Security Strategy and Defence Strategy of the Republic of Serbia, aligned with the EU Global Strategy.

Serbia recognises the UN as the key forum for international co-operation in fighting terrorism, supports the principles of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and particularly the segment relating to the measures for strengthening international co-operation, i.e. joining national, regional and international efforts. Serbia supports and implements all UN General Assembly resolutions on measures used in the fight against and prevention of international terrorism. When the European co-operation is in question, Serbia is the signatory to numerous conventions regulating suppression of and fight against terrorism, the Agreement on Operational and Strategic Co-operation with EUROPOL; Serbia is also the member of the Egmont Group. The Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted on 4 October 2018 with its Conclusion the text of the Joint Action Plan on Counter-Terrorism for the Western Balkans. Serbia is the member of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS, and thus far provided help through donations of military and technical means and training of Iraqi officers.

Energy security includes reliable, secure, efficient and quality supply of energy and energy products, as well as establishing conditions for reliable and secure energy system and energy sector on the whole. Energy security of a country cannot be considered separately from the region in which it is found, nor the wider international community to which it belongs geographically and in other manner. Due to globalisation of the world economy, political crises are increasingly spilling over into the field of economy, thus to the energy and energy security fields. Serbia exercises all due diligence when considering projects which can provide stable energy supply to our country, primarily natural gas, and especially projects where the Republic of Serbia is not the end user, but a transit country for energy and a regional energy hub with the aim of providing energy stability. Serbia advocates in principle to consider with joint forces, ideas and commitment all possible options in order to improve the energy security in the region and beyond, as well as the manner of providing safe and sustainable supply of energy sources and particularly natural gas.

The Republic of Serbia actively participates in all international bodies and forums on information security, it was the member of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) for the period 2015-2016, and currently is an active member of the UN Open-ended Working Group for information security issues, Global Forum on Cyber Expertise as well as the OSCE Informal Working Group for the development of confidence building measures in the cyber security area. In accordance with the National Cyber Security Strategy, and with the aim of contributing to international security in the cyber domain, the Republic of Serbia makes an effort to support all initiatives of importance (such as the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace), maintaining at the same time its balanced position when different, frequently opposed stands of blocks of countries in this field are in question.

Within the responsibilities of the Security Policy Sector, activities of certain international security organisations and initiatives in the European and non-European space, including the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), and regional security initiatives, such as South-Eastern Europe Defence Ministerial process of defence cooperation (SEDM), Forum for Western Balkans Defence Cooperation (SEEC) and the US-Adriatic Charter (А5).