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Military Staff of the European Union (EUMS)

This summary has been archived and will not be updated, because the summarised document is no longer in force or does not reflect the current situation.

Military Staff of the European Union (EUMS)

The Military Staff of the European Union is the source of the EU's military expertise. It performs early warning, situation assessment and strategic planning for Petersberg tasks (humanitarian missions, peacekeeping and crisis management) and all EU-led operations.


Council Decision of 22 January 2001 on the establishment of the Military Staff of the European Union [See amending acts].


The Military Staff of the European Union is made up of military experts seconded from Member States to the Council Secretariat and is the source of the EU's military expertise. The EUMS provides an early-warning capability. It plans, assesses and makes recommendations regarding the concept of crisis management and general military strategy.

The mission and functions of the European Union Military Staff

The EUMS is a Council Secretariat department. It is under the military authority of the European Union Military Committee (EUMC). It implements the decisions and guidance of the EUMC and supports it in situation assessment and military aspects of strategic planning. This concerns the full range of Petersberg tasks, including the European security strategy and all EU-led operations.

Directly attached to the Secretary-General/High Representative, the EUMS provides support, upon the request of the Secretary-General/High Representative or the Political and Security Committee (PSC), for temporary missions in third countries or international organisations.

It also ensures the link between the EUMC and the military resources available to the EU. It is responsible for monitoring, assessing and making recommendations regarding the forces and capabilities made available by the Member States to the EU. It identifies European national and multinational forces for EU-led operations, coordinating with NATO.

More specifically, the EUMS is responsible for:

  • monitoring potential crises;
  • carrying out the military aspects of strategic advance planning;
  • organising and coordinating procedures with national and multinational HQs including those NATO HQs available to the EU;
  • programming, planning, conducting and evaluating the military aspect of the EU's crisis management procedures;
  • establishing permanent relations with NATO;
  • hosting a NATO liaison team and setting up an EU team in NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE);
  • contributing to the military aspects of the ESDP and the fight against terrorism.

The EUMS will perform these tasks with due regard to NATO's defence planning process and the planning and review process of the partnership for peace. It will also work closely with the European Defence Agency (EDA).

Crisis management and operations currently being conducted

The EUMS has additional functions as regards managing both crises and operations currently being conducted.

As regards crisis management, the EUMS requests and processes specific information from the intelligence organisations and other available sources. It provides military advice to the EUMC and the Political and Security Committee (PSC) and gives military guidance on strategic military options.

As regards the management of operations currently being conducted, the EUMS, acting under the direction of the EUMC, monitors all the military aspects of operations. It conducts strategic analysis in liaison with the designated operation commander. In the light of political and operational developments, it suggests new options to the EUMC as a basis for its military advice to the PSC.

Since 2004 the EUMS has been assisted by a civilian/military cell which, within the framework of the EUMS, performs such tasks as strategic planning in response to crises with a view to joint civilian/military operations.

Working through the civilian/military cell, the EUMS is responsible for providing the capacity needed to plan and manage independent EU military operations. This enables the EUMS, acting upon a recommendation from the EUMC, to set up an operations centre speedily in cases where a joint civilian/military response is required and no national HQ has been designated by the Council. The civilian/military cell is the permanent hub of the EU's operations centre and helps coordinate civil operations.


At its meeting on 10-11 December 1999 in Helsinki, the European Council approved the establishment of new permanent political and military bodies, such as the EUMS.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Council Decision 2001/80/CFSP



OJ L 27 of 30.01.2001

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Council Decision 2005/395/CFSP



OJ L 132 of 26.05.2005


Council Decision 2003/479/EC of 16 June 2003 concerning the rules applicable to national experts and military staff on secondment to the General Secretariat of the Council [Official Journal L 160 of 28.06.2003].

This Decision establishes the rights and obligations of seconded national experts (SNE) in the General Secretariat of the Council (GSC). Its sets out specific provisions for military staff on secondment to the GSC in order to form the European Union military staff.

Last updated: 03.11.2006