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Foreign & security policy at EU level




By means of its Common Foreign & Security policy (CFSP), which covers all areas of foreign policy and all questions relating to the EU's security.

The CFSP also includes a Common Security & Defence Policy (CSDP), which covers the defence, military and civilian crisis management aspects of EU policy.


EU foreign & security policy is subject to specific rules and procedures:

Decision making

The European Council (a summit consisting of EU heads of state/government which convenes at least 4 times per year) identifies the EU's strategic interests, determines the objectives and defines the broad thrust of the CFSP.

Taking into account these objectives and strategic direction, the Council of the EU votes on actions or positions to be taken under the CFSP.

While decisions made by the Council of the EU require unanimity, aspects of decisions can be decided by qualified majority voting, which means 55 % of EU country votes, representing at least 65 % of the EU's population.


The CFSP is put into effect by the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy.

The High Representative is assisted by the EU’s diplomatic corps, the European External Action Service (EEAS).

The Court of Justice of the European Union has no jurisdiction in the field of the CFSP (Article 24 of the Treaty on European Union - TEU), except for:

when reviewing the legality of restrictive measures (e.g. sanctions) taken by the EU against individuals and legal persons;

when monitoring the implementation of the CFSP by the EU institutions.


EU countries finance operations with military or defence implications.

Other operational expenditure is financed from the EU's general budget.


The CFSP, as it is known today, together with the position of High Representative and the EEAS, was created by the 2009 Lisbon Treaty.

last update 08.12.2015