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Common Security and Defence Policy

The EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) provides the EU with the capacity to undertake peacekeeping and conflict prevention missions and to strengthen international security in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter.

Irish Neutrality

During the course of the evolution of the EU’s CSDP, our EU partners have always fully respected Ireland’s sovereignty, independence and neutrality. The legal guarantees given by the European Council in June 2009 confirmed that the EU’s security and defence policy does not affect or prejudice Ireland’s traditional policy of military neutrality. The deployment of contingents of more than twelve Irish troops to any conflict zone or CSDP mission cannot proceed without what we call the ‘triple lock’ of UN authorisation, Government approval, and Dáil approval.

CSDP is a fundamental part of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Read more about the CFSP, and other EU External Policies.

The EU’s civilian and military missions go hand-in-hand with political, economic, diplomatic and development activity. The Union is involved in peacekeeping, crisis management and reconstruction efforts in conflict affected regions across the world.

Irish involvement

The Irish Defence Forces have participated in many EU military CSDP missions and operations. The value the EU places on the type of capacity and experience which we bring to these missions and operations was reflected in the appointments of senior Irish officers as Operational Commander of EUFOR Chad in 2007 and Mission Commander of EUTM Somalia in 2011 and 2013. Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed to EU missions in Mali, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the EU naval mission in the Mediterranean, Operation IRINI in addition to Ireland’s UN peacekeeping commitments.

Irish experts are also seconded to various EU civilian CSDP missions by the Department of Foreign Affairs; Irish civilians are currently serving in Somalia, Kosovo, Georgia, Iraq, Libya, and Ukraine.

In 2019 Ireland published our National Implementation Plan for the Civilian CSDP Compact. The Compact has served to make Civilian CSDP more capable, flexible and responsive to the needs of our external partners, with a second Civilian CSDP Compact to be delivered in May 2023, in line with a commitment included in the Strategic Compass.

Our involvement in civilian and military CSDP missions and operations allows us to contribute to the strengthening of international peace and security, to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to support conditions for sustainable development.

The Strategic Compass commits to reinforcing our civilian and military CSDP missions and operations by providing them with more robust and flexible mandates, promoting rapid and more flexible decision-making processes and ensuring greater financial solidarity, while also promoting close cooperation with European-led ad hoc missions and operations.

Overseas Deployments Map (PDF, 827KB)

Are you interested in applying for a seconded position as a civilian expert with the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy missions?

Positions are advertised as they arise on www.publicjobs.ie. Alternatively, you can be placed on our mailing list for new positions by contacting us.