Civil-Military Interaction at the Core of the EU Comprehensive Approach

Publication Type:

Journal Article


NDU Scientific Quarterly, Volume 85, Issue 4, p.57-81 (2011)


civil-military cooperation, Comprehensive approach, coordination, CSDP, EU


The European Union is a unique and complex power, with a potential to act in the field of security that has been largely underutilized. The particular choices on future EU security roles will be shaped by the structural conditions for EU decision-making, as well as trends and factors that do and will drive the respective decisions. Towards that purpose, the first part of this article presents a study on dimensions, structural conditions, and drivers. It summarises the advances in the implementation of the comprehensive approach and outlines constraints impacting the definition of EU roles in this respect. The second part of the paper focuses on the evolution of civil-military interaction – the key ingredient in the evolution of the comprehensive approach. It looks into the origins of contemporary civil-military interaction in operations and presents the two main concepts of civil-military cooperation, or CIMIC, and civil-military coordination. It then presents current EU policies with major impact on the development and use of civilian and military assets in EU operations, including the interfaces between EU and NATO. The final section examines the civil-military dimension of future EU roles in the implementation of the comprehensive approach. It looks at potential developments in civil-military interaction in ‘external’ and ‘internal’ roles and identifies plausible EU roles in developing ‘mixed’ civil-military capabilities.