Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and growing global threats require the European Union (EU) to strengthen its security and defence policy. In the face of current challenges, the EU leaders adopted the Versailles declaration on 10 and 11 March 2022 that commits to significantly increase defence spending, to continue bolstering the mission and operations capability, to promote synergies between civil, defence, space research and innovation. Member states agreed on the need to focus on tackling disinformation, to prevent critical infrastructure cyber-attacks and to step up military mobility within the EU. A Strategic Compass includes all guidelines for action for the next 5-10 years and specific timelines to track progress.
The Foreign Affairs Council formally approved the Strategic Compass for a stronger EU security and defence in the next decade at a joint meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers on 21 March. (The Heads of State and Government endorsed the EU’s first white paper on security and defence at the European Council meeting of 24 and 25 March 2022). The Strategic Compass of the European Union does not include new commitments, but provides a common strategic vision for the EU’s role in security and defence (Articles 42-46 TEU).
The Strategic Compass contributes directly to the implementation of the Versailles Declaration. Its general part is based on the first ever threat analysis, which was carried out in autumn 2020. The Council and the European Council will discuss and review the progress made on a regular basis at least once every 3 years. The implementation of the Strategic Compass started immediately after its adoption. The document provides an assessment of the strategic environment and seeks to bring a strong common sense of purpose. It gives the European Union concrete proposals for strengthening the EU's security and defence policy by 2030 in four areas:
- Act more quickly and decisively when facing crises;
- Secure our interests and citizens against fast-changing threats;
- Invest in the capabilities and technologies we need;
- Partner with others to achieve common goals, in particular with the United Nations (UN) and NATO.
Lithuania actively participates in the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) by developing its civilian and military capabilities, increasing the EU’s resilience to hybrid threats, participating in EU missions and operations. The country also contributes to the EU’s partnership policy and its aim to ensure close cooperation and complementarity between the EU and NATO.
In response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Lithuania strongly backs the employment of all instruments of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) in order to provide support for Ukraine. Since the beginning of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, the EU has already allocated more than EUR 3 billion to the Ukrainian Armed Forces through the European Peace Facility.
Evolution of the CSDP
The Treaty of Maastricht was one of the first steps towards developing the CSDP. It entered into force in 1993 and created a European Union based on three pillars, one of which was the CFSP. The Treaty of Amsterdam, which entered into force in 1999, clarified the roles and responsibilities of the EU in the field of peacekeeping. The CSDP as we have today was codified in the Treaty of Lisbon that entered into force on 1 December 2009. After the entry into force of the Treaty, the CSDP replaced the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). The Lisbon Treaty introduces a mutual assistance clause that provides for direct country-to-country dialogue and support (Article 42 (7) of the Treaty of the European Union) and a solidarity clause (Article 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). The CSDP is a policy setting the EU’s framework in the field of defence and crisis management, which has given birth to EU political and military structures, allowing for military and civilian missions and operations abroad. Over several decades, the EU has contributed to international peace and security, undertaking nearly 40 CSDP missions and operations in regions of conflict and crisis, 18 of which are ongoing today.
Civilian missions of the European Union
Lithuania has participated in the EU civilian missions, sending civilian experts and officials to the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM Georgia) that started its activities in 2008 and to the European Union Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform in Ukraine (EUAM Ukraine) that has been deployed since 2014. In addition, Lithuanians were appointed as Heads of Missions both in EUMM Georgia and in EUAM Ukraine. From December 2014 until December 2017, the Ambassador Kęstutis Jankauskas served as the Head of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia. Kęstutis Lančinskas served as the Head of the EU Advisory Mission in Ukraine from February 2016 until May 2019.
The European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia observes the situation on the ground and reports on incidents, as well as contributes to the improvement of the security situation. The main tasks of the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia include:
stabilisation: monitoring and analysing the situation pertaining to the stabilisation process, including troop withdrawals, violations of human rights and international humanitarian law;
normalisation: monitoring and analysing the situation as regards the governance, the rule of law, and public order as well as the security of transportation links, energy infrastructures and the return of internally displaced persons and refugees;
confidence building: contributing to the reduction of tensions through liaison, facilitation of contacts between parties and other confidence-building measures; contributing to the development of European policies in the context of conflict.
The Mission’s mandate therefore consists of stabilisation, normalization, confidence building, as well as reporting to the EU in order to inform European policy-making and thus contribute to the future EU engagement in the region. The Mission has its Headquarters in Tbilisi and three Regional Field Offices in Mtskheta, Gori and Zugdidi.
The European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine is a non-executive mission that began operations on 1 December 2014. It aims to expedite a sustainable reform of the civilian security sector, providing strategic advice and practical support for specific reform measures in accordance with EU standards and international principles of good governance and human rights. In March and April 2022, new tasks were issued to the Mission. Thus, EUAM now provides support to law enforcement agencies to facilitate the flow of refugees from Ukraine to the neighbouring member states and the entry of humanitarian aid into Ukraine. The Mission also supports the rule of law institutions to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of international crimes committed as a result of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.
European Union military missions and operations
Once the Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuania decides to send Lithuanian Army units to an international operation, army units shall be entitled to participate in that international military operation. Lithuanian soldiers shall be assigned to perform military service in international institutions or training missions, in accordance with the order of the Minister of National Defence. Lithuanian troops are currently participating in the following EU military missions and operations: the Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI in the Mediterranean that has as its core task the implementation of the UN arms embargo on Libya; the EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta that contributes to the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast; the EU-Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali), the EU Military Training Mission in the Central African Republic (EUTM RCA), and the EU Training Mission in Mozambique (EUTM Mozambique).
The EU stands united in its unwavering support to Ukraine and its people. There are various EU initiatives to support substantially not only Ukraine’s economy, but also the capacity building of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. To that end, a new EU military assistance mission (EUMAM Ukraine) was launched in October 2022. The European Union Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine (EUMAM Ukraine) aims to enhance the military capability of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to allow them to defend Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognised borders, as well as to protect the civilian population. It has a non-executive mandate to provide individual, collective and specialised training to the Ukrainian soldiers over multiple locations in the territory of EU member states.
EUMAM Ukraine has a non-executive mandate to provide individual, collective and specialised training to up to 15 000 Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel over multiple locations in the territory of EU member states.
For more information on Lithuania’s participation in international military operations and training missions, please visit the website of the Ministry of National Defence of Lithuania: https://kam.lt/en/international-operations-and-training-missions/
Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)
The Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) was established by a Council decision on 11 December 2017, based on the provisions of the Treaty on European Union. It is a framework for deeper cooperation in the field of security and defence of those EU member states, whose military capabilities fulfil higher criteria and which have made more binding commitments to one another in this area with a view to the most demanding missions.
The Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/2315 of 11 December 2017 established PESCO and determined the list of participating member states: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/dec/2017/2315/oj
25 EU member states, including Lithuania, joined PESCO. The Council Decision on the establishment of a Permanent Structured Cooperation provides that, on an exceptional basis, third States, i.e. non-EU countries could be invited to take part in individual PESCO projects, but it does not contain any rules.
In November 2020, member states established the general conditions under which non-EU countries could exceptionally be invited to participate in individual PESCO projects, thereby paving the way for stronger and more ambitious defence cooperation with partners in the EU framework.
Currently, 60 PESCO projects are being developed. In March 2018, the EU Council of Ministers formally adopted a first set of 17 PESCO projects, including the Cyber Rapid Response Teams and Mutual Assistance in Cyber Security (CRRT) project. In 2020, the European Council approved the first PESCO Strategic Review (PSR). It assesses the progress made during the initial phase (2017-2020) of the Permanent Structured Cooperation and provides guidance for its second initial phase (2021-2025). The review highlights the need to fulfil the more binding commitments and achieve concrete outputs and tangible deliverables by 2025. 14 new PESCO projects were launched in November 2021.
For more information on PESCO projects, please visit here: https://www.pesco.europa.eu/
The Lithuanian-led Cyber Rapid Response Teams project aims to expand and deepen voluntary cooperation in the field of cybersecurity, and to provide mutual assistance to help tackle cyberattacks, including by sharing information, offering joint training and joint capacity building.