European security strategy

In this document, the European Union clarifies its security strategy, which is aimed at achieving a secure Europe in a better world, identifying the threats facing the Union, defining its strategic objectives and setting out the political implications for Europe.


A secure Europe in a better world - European security strategy. Brussels, 12 December 2003 [Not published in the Official Journal].


The European security strategy was drawn up under the authority of the EU's High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, and adopted by the Brussels European Council of 12 and 13 December 2003. It identifies the global challenges and key threats to the security of the Union and clarifies its strategic objectives in dealing with them, such as building security in the EU's neighbourhood and promoting an international order based on effective multilateralism. It also assesses the policy implications that these objectives have for Europe.

The security environment: global challenges and key threats

In the context of ever-increasing globalisation, the internal and external aspects of security are inextricably linked. Flows of trade and investment, the development of technology and the spread of democracy have brought prosperity and freedom to many people, while others have perceived globalisation as a cause of frustration and injustice. In much of the developing world, poverty and diseases such as AIDS give rise to security concerns, and in many cases economic failure is linked to political problems and violent conflict. Security is a precondition for development. Competition for natural resources is likely to create further turbulence. Energy dependence is a special concern for Europe.

The security strategy identifies three key threats facing Europe:

The European Union's strategic objectives

To defend its security and promote its values, the European Union pursues three strategic objectives:

Policy implications for Europe

The European Union has made progress towards a coherent foreign policy and effective crisis management. However, according to the security strategy, the Union must:

The European Union: a global player

The violence of the two world wars that marked the first half of the twentieth century has given way to a period of peace, stability and prosperity unprecedented in European history. The creation of the European Union has been central to this development. European countries are now committed to dealing peacefully with disputes and to cooperating through common institutions.

The United States has played a critical role in European integration and European security, especially through NATO. Now that the Cold War is over, it has become the single dominant military power. However, no country is able to tackle today's complex problems on its own. As a union of 27 states with a total population of over 500 million, the EU has inevitably become a global player. It should therefore be ready to share in the responsibility for creating global security and building a better world.

See also

Last updated: 03.10.2011