With migration being the predominant preoccupation of June’s European Council, discussion on security and defence was not particularly detailed. Reflecting a relatively wide political consensus around the security and defence agenda, the conclusions adopted therefore do not represent a significant step forward in terms of further integration but remain consistent with the steady trajectory of progress in this policy domain.
Following a firm recognition that ‘Europe must take greater responsibility for its own security’ (present in previous Council conclusions), the European Council simply highlighted the significant progress observed in strengthening cooperation in various dossiers, such as military mobility in the framework of PESCO and EU-NATO cooperation, and provided further guidance on next steps. Regarding PESCO, a next set of projects is expected to be agreed in November 2018, while leaders also called for an agreement on a civilian CSDP compact by the end of 2018.
Two other items of importance is the invitation of the European Council to the High Representative and the Commission to present an ‘action plan with specific proposals for a coordinated EU response’ when it comes to disinformation by the end of this year. Ahead of the July NATO summit, leaders also exchanged views with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, at a critical time for the Alliance given the various policy pronouncements coming from Washington DC on what the next steps should be. Other items, such as the European defence industrial development programme, and the use and proliferation of chemical weapons were also discussed.