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Common Security and Defence Policy

The EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) provides the EU with an operational capacity to undertake missions outside the EU for peace-keeping, conflict prevention and international security strengthening purposes, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations 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. Irish troops will not be deployed to any conflict zone or CSDP mission, 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 troubled regions across the world.

Irish involvement

The Irish Defence Forces have participated in many EU military operations. The value the EU places on the type of capacity and experience which we bring to peacekeeping operations was reflected in the appointment of a senior Irish officer as Operational Commander of EUFOR Chad in 2007.

Irish experts are also seconded to various EU civilian missions by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Irish civilians are currently serving in Libya, Mali, Niger, Somalia, Kosovo, Georgia, Ukraine and the Palestinian Territories. Members of An Garda Síochána are also serving in the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX Kosovo).

Our involvement in CSDP missions allows us greater opportunities to contribute to the strengthening of international peace and security, to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to support conditions for sustainable development. To this end, Ireland contributes to EU Battlegroups, which are a specific form of the EU’s rapid response elements and is one possible answer to the timely provision of the necessary capabilities for an EU rapid response operation.

The EU Global Strategy (EUGS) sets out a clear vision for EU CFSP and CSDP missions. As part of the EUGS, it is Ireland’s intent to engage in Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) on security and defence. This initiative will enhance coordination, reduce duplication of effort and increase cooperation in the development of EU common security capabilities.

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 Alternatively, you can be placed on our mailing list for new positions by contacting us.