EU Foreign, Security and Defence Policy Co-operation with Neighbours: Mapping Diversity

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Publication Date May 2021
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The EU’s neighbours are diverse, and include countries that are candidates for membership like Albania and Turkey; countries that are NATO members and are not seeking EU membership like the UK and Norway; and countries that aspire to both EU and NATO membership like Georgia and Ukraine.  The EU and its partners consult on foreign policy in various formats and with varying frequency, and co-ordinate their foreign policies to different degrees. Some countries align very closely with EU foreign statements and actions, while others do so more rarely, and Turkey currently has a confrontational relationship with the EU. The EU’s neighbours have also made contributions to Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations, and some contribute to building Europe’s military capabilities. The EU should hold more frequent and broad-ranging consultations with partners at both senior and working levels and allow close partners to second staff to the European External Action Service to facilitate policy co-ordination. The EU should also informally involve its partners at an earlier stage of planning for CSDP missions. This could make them more willing to contribute personnel to EU missions, potentially allowing for more ambitious and effective EU action.

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