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EU Crisis Management after the Lisbon Treaty: Civil-Military Coordination and the Future of the EU Operational Headquarters

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by Nikola Hynek
ECIA Fellow
European Security, Vol. 20, n. 1, 2011

This article focuses on key issues and developments in the European Union (EU)’s comprehensive crisis management planning, civil–military coordination and cooperation, as well as the future of the EU Operational Headquarters (OHQ). The article begins with a short overview of key changes in the EU’s external action after the Lisbon Treaty, and focuses on the area of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The impact of the European External Action Service on CSDP–CFSP cooperation in planning and on EU’s crisis management is being examined. Further on, the article continues by addressing the issue area of EU crisis management. After the evolution of the concept and practice at the EU level is examined and different phases are discussed, the article analyses the main political, strategic and operational trends in this field. Indeed, this part reflects on the implications of the Lisbon Treaty for crisis management. What follows is an assessment of the civil–military coordination in the EU’s crisis management structures. In order to contextualise the most recent transformations that are investigated at length, basic concepts and terms are outlined, and the evolution of civil–military coordination at the EU level is presented. The final substantive part tackles current and future EU OHQ options. After the necessary contextualisation, the characteristics and shortcomings of the three current options are analysed, and based on these limits, the case for the establishment of a permanent strategic planning and conduct structure in Brussels is put forward. Finally, concluding remarks and recommendations are attached.