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New Compact, Renewed Impetus: Enhancing the EU’s Ability to Act Through its Civilian CSDP

New compact, renewed impetus
Publisher: SIPRI
SIPRI, Stockholm :
November, 2023

In May 2023, European Union (EU) member states adopted a new compact to further strengthen the EU’s civilian Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The new Civilian CSDP Compact succeeds the compact established in 2018 and is in line with the 2022 Strategic Compass for Security and Defence, in particular its objective to increase the EU’s ability to act whenever crises emerge. 

While most stakeholders agree that the old compact was a worthwhile initiative, EU member states under-delivered on the commitments to increase national contributions and raise the number and share of seconded personnel in civilian CSDP missions. The new compact doubles down on these commitments—not only by renewing them but also by refining them, and by raising the level of ambition when it comes to capability development and increasing women’s representation. 

Among other things, this has implications for the review process of the new compact, which this paper recommends that the European External Action Service and EU member states consider before setting the process in motion.


I. Introduction 

II. The EU’s evolving role as a civilian crisis management actor

III. The ‘old’ compact: Mixed results and messages

IV. The ‘new’ compact: Continuity and innovation

V. Reviewing progress and looking forward

VI. Policy recommendations 


Timo Smit is a Senior Researcher in the SIPRI Peace Operations and Conflict Management Programme.