Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 12/2009

Report of the workshop "Italy's Participation in EU Civilian Missions. Critical Aspects and Future Perspectives"

Valérie Vicky Miranda

November 2009

Istituto Affari Internazionali


2009 marks the tenth anniversary of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), formally launched at the Cologne European Council of June 1999 as an integral part of the European Union’s (EU) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Since then, political, civilian and military structures have been set up, capabilities development goals identified and we have witnessed a continuous evolution of the ESDP epitomised by the significant number of crisis management operations carried out by the EU since 2003. In these last ten years, the ESDP has become one of the most important instruments of European foreign policy. Indeed, the EU, thanks also to the launch of 23 missions in four continents, has built up its credibility as a global security actor. It is interesting to note that out of 13 ongoing ESDP missions, 11 are civilian. The latter have been deployed in several critical regions, such as the Balkans - Bosnia and Kosovo; the Middle East - the Palestinian Territories and Iraq; Asia – Georgia and Afghanistan; and Africa – Guinea Bissau and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Despite such a numerical predominance, the civilian aspects of the ESDP have not yet been sufficiently investigated while the military operations often capture the attention of both scholars and practitioners. Nevertheless, the civilian side of the ESDP is acquiring increasing relevance. The crucial role it is playing (or might play) in many of the current post-crisis contexts for state building purposes, as well as for the reestablishment of stability and of the rule of law, is now generally acknowledged.