"The Union must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed up by credible military forces, the means to decide to use them, and a readiness to do so, in order to respond to international crises without prejudice to actions by NATO". Helsinki European Council, December 1999.
When the EU took over peacekeeping duties from NATO in Bosnia at the end of 2004, their aim was to give an absolute guarantee that hostilities will not resume. The 7000 strong mission in Bosnia is by far the most ambitious EU military deployment to date. It’s perhaps fitting that Europe is deploying its new military capabilities here. It was in the Balkans, after all, in the 1990s that the EU learned many lessons during the break up of the former Yugoslavia. Since then, the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) has much evolved. From the Balkans to Africa and more recently the Caucasus.
The huge advantage the EU has in developing a security and defence policy is that it has more than just military means to call upon. It can use diplomatic or economic measures to manage crises as well as civilian intervention. The former Soviet state of Georgia saw the Union apply a new approach in civilian crisis management.
After Georgia’s Rose revolution in 2003, the country was ready for a fresh start but first had to tackle a legacy of of corruption and instability. With a barely functioning police and judicial system, the country's new President asked the EU for help. Within just 11 days of the request in April 2005, it was agreed to set up the first EU Rule of Law Mission here: EUJUST.
These two ongoing ESDP operations demonstrate that the European Union has come of age as a global security player.