Dies ist eine HTML Version eines Anhanges der Informationsfreiheitsanfrage 'INTCEN mandate and capabilities'.


Council of the 
 European Union 
Brussels, 18 May 2015 
(OR. en) 


COPS 152 


18 May 2015 
No. prev. doc.: 
8947/15 CSDP/PSDC 278 COPS 149 CFSP/PESC 157 POLMIL 60 
Council conclusions on CSDP 
Delegations will find attached the Council conclusions on CSDP, as adopted by the Council on 
18 May 2015. 


Foreign Affairs Council, 18 May 2015 
The global and European security environment has changed dramatically in recent years. This 
calls for a stronger Europe, with a stronger and more effective Common Security and Defence 
Policy (CSDP). The conflicts, threats and instability in the EU’s immediate and wider 
neighbourhood, affecting inter alia Iraq, Libya, the Sahel, Syria and Ukraine, as outlined in 
the report from the High Representative, together with long standing and newly emerging 
security challenges, are significantly impacting European security as well as international 
peace and security, and challenging our fundamental values and principles. 
By addressing these conflicts, sources of instability and other security challenges, the EU and 
its Member States are assuming increased responsibilities to act as a security provider, at the 
international level and in particular in the neighbourhood, thereby also enhancing their own 
security and their global strategic role by responding to these challenges together. The EU and 
its Member States, through the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and other 
policies and instruments, have a strong role to play through the unique EU Comprehensive 
Approach to preventing and managing conflicts and addressing their causes. 
The Council highlights the importance and timeliness of the ongoing strategic review, led by 
the High Representative, to assess the changes in the global environment and the challenges 
and opportunities arising for the Union. It welcomes the continuing close consultations with 
Member States, which are essential to the High Representative in fulfilling her mandate, 
aimed at providing a foundation to enable the European Council in June to decide on the way 
forward. It looks forward to continue this inclusive process. A broad European strategy on 
foreign and security policy issues could identify and describe EU interests, priorities and 
objectives, existing and evolving threats, challenges and opportunities, and the EU 
instruments and means to meet them. CSDP’s increasingly important role in the EU's external 
action would be highlighted. 


The Council strongly underlines the need to further strengthen the links between external and 
internal security. The aim is to increase synergies in the EU response to priority horizontal 
issues such as terrorism, organised crime, foreign fighters, smuggling and trafficking in 
human beings, irregular migration, hybrid threats, border management, energy security and 
cyber security, taking into account i.a. the ongoing revision of the European Agenda for 
Security. In this context, the Council encourages the development of further synergies 
between CSDP, in both its civilian and military dimensions, and Freedom, Security and 
Justice actors, notably the EU agencies (Europol, FRONTEX and CEPOL) and with Interpol, 
by inter alia building on the frameworks of co-operation signed between the EEAS, 
FRONTEX and Europol as well as between the EEAS and the European Gendarmerie Force.  
In light of the increasing use of hybrid strategies and operations by state and non-state actors, 
notably in the immediate and wider EU neighbourhood, the Council invites the High 
Representative, in close co-operation with Commission services and the European Defence 
Agency, and in consultation with the EU Member States, to present by the end of 2015 a joint 
framework with actionable proposals to help countering hybrid threats and foster the 
resilience of the EU and its Member States as well as partners. It should take into account 
relevant work regarding cyber defence, early warning, strategic communications, relevant 
internal and external EU policies and assess the implications for capability development. It 
underlines as well the need for complementarity and transparent co-operation and 
coordination in this area with relevant partner organisations, including in particular NATO, as 
well as partner countries, as appropriate.  
The Council recalls the importance of more efficient crisis management structures within the 
EEAS, including the need for more civilian expertise. The planning and conduct of CSDP 
missions and operations are still an area where progress is needed. In this respect, the Council 
looks forward to the results of the EEAS review and the associated review of EEAS crisis 
management structures. This work should enable a further embedding of the EU's 
Comprehensive Approach to crisis management. 


In order to respond to the changing security environment and strategic context, the Council is 
more than ever committed to further strengthening CSDP and enhancing the EU’s ability to 
act as a security provider, in line with the Conclusions from the European Council of 
December 2013 and its own conclusions of November 2013 and November 2014. It welcomes 
the progress made, as reported by the High Representative, the European Defence Agency and 
the Commission, and calls for continuous efforts to implement them. The Council underlines 
the importance of effective communication to raise public awareness and foster a better 
understanding of security and defence matters. 
In line with the European Council Conclusions of December 2013 on security and defence, 
the Council reiterates the need to enhance the effectiveness of CSDP and the development and 
maintenance of Member States’ capabilities, supported by a more integrated, sustainable, 
innovative and competitive European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB), 
which also contributes to jobs, growth and innovation across the EU and can enhance 
Europe’s strategic autonomy, strengthening its ability to act with partners. This requires 
systematic co-operation and coordination within the EU and among its Member States, 
underpinned by the necessary means and budgetary resources, and coherent and effective use 
of EU instruments and policies for the benefit of security and defence. 
While respecting the primacy of Member States competence in defence, the EU can act as an 
enabler for security and defence co-operation, in line with the Treaties. Therefore, defence 
issues should also be considered in coherence with other relevant EU policies and sectors, and 
vice versa, thereby fully exploiting the EU’s added value.  
Ahead of the European Council, the Council, in order to address increasing security 
challenges, stresses the importance of allocating a sufficient level of expenditures for defence 
and the need to make the most effective use of these resources in order to further boost 
capability development, defence Research & Technology, and co-operation. The Council 
recalls the voluntary and collective defence spending benchmarks endorsed by the EDA 
Ministerial Steering Board in 20071, which are qualitative and co-operation-driven.  
20% of total defence expenditure for equipment procurement, 35% of which for European collaborative 
equipment procurement; 2% of total defence expenditure in R&T, 20% of which for European collaborative 
defence R&T. 


10.  Furthermore, in light of the significant engagement in civilian CSDP missions and the broad 
range of tasks that they are increasingly called upon to fulfil, the Council reiterates the need to 
fully implement the Civilian Capability Development Plan and enhance the development, 
availability and generation of civilian capabilities. This includes revisiting the priority areas 
which were endorsed by the European Council in Feira, when the civilian CSDP was 
launched 15 years ago and should reflect the follow-up of the ongoing strategic review. It also 
calls on Member States and EEAS to work jointly to help address in particular the recruitment 
and the deployment of personnel. 
11.  The Council furthermore underlines that a political decision to use the fast track procedure for 
the planning process of military CSDP missions/operations, in light of the urgency of the 
situation, requires early force sensing and should trigger faster provision by Member States of 
personnel and swifter generation of the necessary forces to enable mission launch. 
Enhancing the effectiveness, visibility and impact of CSDP  
12.  The Council highlights the significant contribution of the CSDP missions and operations to 
international peace and stability. The EU presently deploys eleven civilian CSDP missions 
and five military CSDP operations across three continents2. It expresses its appreciation for 
the work carried out by all the civilian and military personnel participating in them. 
In the light of broader EU engagement, the Council welcomes the successful launch of the EU 
Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform Ukraine (EUAM Ukraine) in 2014 and 
EUCAP SAHEL Mali in 2015. It welcomes as well the successful completion of the CSDP 
military bridging operation in the Central African Republic (EUFOR RCA) in March 2015, 
followed by the launch of the new CSDP military advisory mission in the country (EUMAM 
RCA). It notes the successful contribution of the European Gendarmerie Force within EUFOR 

EUAM Ukraine; EUBAM Libya; EUBAM Rafah; EUCAP Nestor; EUCAP SAHEL Mali; EUCAP 
Atalanta; EUPOL Afghanistan; EUPOL COPPS; EUSEC RD Congo; EUTM Somalia and EUTM 


The Council reiterates its concern on the tragic loss of life of migrants in the Southern Central 
Mediterranean and the need to prevent it. In response to and in line with the extraordinary 
European Council of 23 April, today it approves the Crisis Management Concept for, and 
adopts the Council Decision establishing a CSDP operation to contribute to the disruption of 
human smuggling networks, in line with international law. It calls for further work on this 
basis to enable further decision-making by the Council. The Council also welcomes the 
ongoing work to strengthen EUCAP SAHEL Niger to assist the Nigerien authorities in this 
respect and underlines the need for comprehensiveness and close coordination with other 
CSDP missions in the region as well as other EU instruments. The Council recalls the need to 
implement the integrated border management projects in the Sahel region in accordance with 
the Sahel Action Plan.  
13.  The Council emphasises the importance of working with its partners, in particular the UN, 
NATO, OSCE, African Union, League of Arab States and ASEAN, as well as strategic 
partners and other partner countries, within our neighbourhood and more globally, with due 
respect to the institutional framework and decision-making autonomy of the EU, and the 
principle of inclusiveness.  
In this context, and especially in light of the current strategic context, the Council welcomes 
that the EU has further developed co-operation with its international partners, and highlights 
in particular:  
the unique and long standing co-operation with the United Nations in crisis 
management, and the need to further strengthen our institutional relations and strategic 
partnership, and therefore welcomes the recently jointly identified priority areas for 
strengthening the UN-EU Strategic Partnership on Peacekeeping and Crisis 
Management from 2015 to 2018. It underlines the importance of EU Member States’ 
contributions to UN peacekeeping operations; 
the continued close and mutually reinforcing co-operation with NATO in areas of 
shared interest, both strategically and operationally, in crisis management as well as on 
military capability development where requirements overlap, and continue to seek 
further synergies and complementarity. It welcomes the High Representative's efforts to 
strengthen strategic and practical co-operation between the EU and NATO, including in  


view of European Councils dealing with defence matters and NATO summits, with the 
overall objective of building a true organisation-to-organisation relationship, with due 
respect for the decision-making autonomy of each organisation. Without prejudice to 
EU Treaty provisions, the Council also encourages NATO co-operation with the non-
NATO EU Member States; 
the co-operation with the African Union and African partners in follow up to the 
Declaration of the EU-Africa Summit of 2014;  
the continued partnership with OSCE and encourages the further development of co-
operation in conflict prevention, crisis management, post-conflict rehabilitation and 
cooperative security in the OSCE area; it welcomes in particular EU’s enabling support 
to the OSCE special monitoring mission in Ukraine; 
the development of CSDP dialogue and co-operation with a growing number of partner 
countries and welcomes in particular the recently signed Framework Participation 
Agreements which are forging new partnerships in Asia and South America, as well as 
partners’ increasing participation in CSDP missions and operations; the Council 
encourages the EEAS to continue to associate contributing partners as closely as 
possible to the preparation and conduct of these missions and operations, without 
prejudice to the decision-making autonomy of the EU and in line with agreed 
the importance of continuing co-operation with partners to promote security in the EU’s 
neighbourhood, through dialogue, co-operation and support to security sector reforms in 
willing neighbourhood countries, including in the framework of the Eastern Partnership 
Panel on co-operation in the area of CSDP, noting also the important contribution by the 
multilateral Trust Fund to support EaP countries participation, and also through further 
engagement with Mediterranean partners.  
14.  The Council welcomes the ongoing implementation of the EU’s Comprehensive Approach to 
external conflicts and crises, as set out in Council conclusions of May 2014, including 
through the Action Plan for 2015, in view of further operationalising it together with the 
Member States, including through regional strategies, and looks forward to the presentation of 
an updated Action Plan for 2016 building on lessons learned and developed in close 
coordination with the Member States. 


15.  In line with the EU's Comprehensive Approach and in order to maximize the impact, 
efficiency and consistency of EU support, the Council invites the High Representative and the 
Commission to develop, in consultation with the Member States, an EU-wide strategic 
framework for Security Sector Reform by mid-2016. This policy concept should bring 
together CSDP and all other relevant CFSP tools as well as development co-operation 
instruments and Freedom, Security and Justice actors, while respecting their respective legal 
bases, primary objectives and decision making procedures. 
16.  The Council welcomes the recent presentation, ahead of the June European Council, of the 
Joint Communication on “Capacity building in support of security and development – 
Enabling partners to prevent and manage crises”, and welcomes its proposals for further work 
and follow-up. In line with previous conclusions calling for a systematic, coordinated and 
coherent policy approach for concrete implementation, the Council particularly welcomes the 
proposals for evaluation and monitoring and for a risk management methodology, as well as 
on enhancing regular and systematic interaction and better coordination among EU 
institutions and Member States regarding security capacity building. 
The Council underlines the flexible geographical scope of the initiative, recalling the 
European Council Conclusions of March 2014 on EU-Africa relations, and its own 
conclusions of November 2014. The Council notes the considerations regarding sustainable 
arrangements on funding, and invites the EEAS and the Commission services to further work 
in view of the FAC in October/November on the full potential of all relevant Union 
instruments taking into account their legal bases, and to assess the feasibility of: an adaptation 
of the African Peace Facility to address its limitations; the establishment of a EU facility 
linking closer peace, security and development in the framework of one or more existing EU 
instruments; and a dedicated instrument to this effect, in view of the mid-term review of the 
multiannual financial framework 2014-2020, while improving the coherence with Member 
States’ own instruments and addressing medium-term term challenges. 


Drawing on the identified pilot cases in Mali and Somalia as well as on the need to strengthen 
the African Peace and Security Architecture, it invites the EEAS and Commission services, in 
close coordination with EU delegations and in consultation with the Member States, to 
present by Summer 2015 an implementation plan with concrete measures and actors involved. 
17.  Underlining the need to enhance CSDP’s effectiveness and responsiveness in today’s 
increasingly unpredictable and rapidly changing security environment, the Council 
furthermore in particular:  
Welcomes the progress in taking forward elements of a Shared Services Centre concept 
inter alia through the proposal of a Mission Support Platform, as part of a longer term 
process to realise greater efficiencies, flexibility and rationalise the provision of mission 
support functions to civilian CSDP missions and improve their early deployment and 
effective conduct. In this context, the Council welcomes the preparatory work done on 
the Mission Support Platform and looks forward to working with the relevant EEAS and 
Commission services to deliver improvements by the beginning of 2016; 
Calls upon the EEAS to make systematic use of lessons learned, where agreed by 
Member States, which are particularly needed to enhance rapid deployment and to 
optimise CSDP missions’ and operations’ performance; 
Welcomes the ongoing efforts to mainstream human rights, humanitarian law and 
refugee law, including protection of civilians as well as children in armed conflict, into 
planning, implementation and review of CSDP. The Council stresses the need for a 
more systematic and proactive approach to these issues at all levels.  
The Council encourages as well further efforts to mainstream and strengthen the 
implementation of UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security, its follow-up 
resolutions and a gender perspective in CSDP planning, implementation and review. It 
welcomes the intention by the HR/VP in the coming review of the EEAS to establish a 
high-level function dedicated for UNSCR 1325 and gender related matters. 


In order to achieve this, the Council welcomes the idea of a baseline study that would 
allow measuring progress and delivery on human rights, gender and related fields over 
time. The Council calls on the HR/VP to remain engaged on this matter and present 
findings and recommendations of the baseline study by 2016. 
Further to its conclusions of November 2013, welcomes ongoing Member States-driven 
efforts to promote energy efficiency in EU Member States' armed forces and CSDP 
missions and operations and enhance their effectiveness, including through EDA 
activities, in the framework of a long-term perspective of Green Defence and as part of 
the contribution of the EU and its Member States to build awareness and capacities to 
tackle the strategic and security dimensions of climate change. In this context, it notes 
the upcoming conference of the parties to the UNFCCC. 
Welcomes the new military Rapid Response Concept, noting that it provides for a 
broader and more modular approach to the EU's rapid response capabilities. 
Furthermore, the Council reaffirms that the EU Battlegroups (EU BGs) remain the EU’s 
primary military rapid reaction tool, notably for the initial entry phase of larger CSDP 
operations. The Council highlights that future EU BGs should be trained, designed and 
certified accordingly, in accordance with the full range of tasks under the EU 
Battlegroup Concept. In order to make best use of this valuable capability, the Council 
highlights, whilst keeping enough flexibility, that the EU BGs should routinely be taken 
into consideration during the planning process of CSDP operations/missions as an 
option of choice in crisis situations requiring prompt action. In this vein, it welcomes 
the recently agreed renewal of the Declaration on the EU BG strategic transport costs 
until December 2016. It encourages further work on these issues. Finally, it welcomes 
the commitments made to fill the EU BG roster, while noting the importance of further 
commitments by Member States, also in the land, naval and air forces databases.  
Notes that there is scope for further discussion on the issue of CSDP financing, 
including EU Battlegroups, while noting that the review of the Athena mechanism has 
been completed; 

Welcomes the ongoing work to implement the EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework, 
agreed in November 2014, and looks forward to the first progress report by June 2015, 
which should cover all its work strands. The Council underlines the need for enhanced 
awareness of cyber threats, and supports increasing situational awareness, including by 
organising exercises and trainings in the CSDP area. This work should be underpinned 
by a reinforcement of Member States' and EU institutions' capabilities and increased 
information exchange between EU institutions and Member States. The Council 
furthermore recalls its position that international law, in particular the UN charter, is 
applicable to cyberspace and is essential to reduce risks and contribute to peace and 
security. It therefore welcomes the relevant outcomes of the 2015 global conference on 
cyberspace in The Hague; 
Welcomes as well the ongoing work to implement the Action Plan which was agreed in 
December 2014 to implement the cross sectorial EU Maritime Security Strategy, 
including current initiatives by EU institutions and agencies and Member States, also 
with a view of supporting relevant thematic and regional EU strategies; 
Welcomes the launch of the negotiation for EU Satellite Centre procurement of next 
generation governmental high resolution imagery, and encourages the Commission, the 
EEAS, the EDA and Member States to further cooperate in the field of Space 
Surveillance and Tracking and high resolution imagery, based on Member States’ assets 
and Global Satellite Navigation System (GNSS); 
Welcomes the clarification and understanding achieved regarding the possible use of 
Article 44 TEU, which provides a potential additional modality for the EU and its 
Member States acting as a security provider together, making use of the flexibility of 
the Union framework. It encouraged testing the related CSDP modalities in an exercise 

Enhancing the development of capabilities 
18.  Recognising the continuous high demand for rapidly deployable, well trained civilian experts, 
including in specialised profiles, the Council underlines the need to further improve and 
expedite the development of civilian capabilities. To this end, the Council welcomes the 
finalisation of a List of Generic civilian CSDP tasks common to all missions, allowing for a 
more systematic approach to civilian capability development as a substantial contribution to 
the full implementation of the Civilian Capability Development Plan with a view to the June 
European Council. Furthermore, the Council recalls the positive contributions that National 
Strategies could offer in facilitating the deployment of civilian personnel. The Council also 
encourages the EEAS to further progress on improving recruitment procedures and increasing 
To support these efforts in civilian capability development, the Council also looks forward to 
a sustainable solution to cover the training needs in civilian CSDP by the relevant training 
providers at national and European levels, to be addressed in the EU CSDP Training Policy. 
In this regard, the Council also stresses the need to finalize the work on the software platform 
called Goalkeeper, which serves as an information hub for Member States and EEAS 
supporting training, recruitment, development of national rosters as a matter of urgency, and 
underlines the importance of allocating necessary EEAS resources to sustain this project.  
19.  The Council welcomes the results achieved by the European Defence Agency (EDA), in 
particular its contribution to fulfilling the taskings from Council in November and the 
European Council in December 2013. It welcomes in particular the progress achieved by 
Member States with the support of EDA in Pooling & Sharing projects and programmes, 
notably in the four key projects endorsed by the European Council in December 2013: Air-to-
Air Refuelling (AAR); Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS); Governmental Satellite 
Communications (GOVSATCOM) and Cyber Defence. The Council encourages further 
progress to be made:  

on AAR: other Member States to join the initiative and synergies with similar fleets in 
Europe to be identified; greater interoperability through the setting up of a AAR training 
cycle; and the use of the European Air Transport Command (EATC) as a centre of 
on RPAS: EDA and Commission to intensify their activities in the field of air traffic 
insertion, certification and regulation for a safe integration in Single European Sky; 
interaction with other partners to be facilitated in order to ensure the viability of the 
business case of the MALE RPAS programme; other Member States to join the 
initiative in due course; 
on GOVSATCOM: EDA and the European Commission to consider possible next steps 
on the basis of the finalised assessment of the respective military and civilian user 
on Cyber Defence: a cooperative framework programme to be considered; efforts in the 
field of training and education to be intensified. 
20.  Cooperative programmes are important for enhancing capabilities in Europe, but also for 
clarifying priorities for industry. On the basis of new security risks and challenges, the 
Capability Development Plan, an assessment of cooperative opportunities derived from the 
Collaborative Database (CODABA) and EU wider policies, potential additional priority 
capability areas could be investigated within EDA’s remit. With a view to taking the most 
promising capability priorities forward, EDA may establish appropriate roadmaps with 
interested Member States. 
21.  The Council encourages EDA to continue supporting cooperative capability projects 
including through the development of enablers and incentives in close coordination with 
Member States. It takes note of the work on non-market distorting fiscal measures in 
accordance with existing European law, incentives for and innovative approaches to co-
operation, including pooled procurement, and on potential European Investment Bank 
support. It encourages EDA, in close co-operation with Member States, to develop concrete 
proposals and demonstrate their added value.  

22.  The Council encourages the EDA in its new role to facilitate the coordination of military 
views in Single European Sky (SES), in order to address the objectives of Member States. 
Military views must be taken into account in the evolution of the European airspace in order 
to preserve the military’s operational requirements and their specificities. 
23.  The Council encourages Member States to explore ways to cooperate taking into account the 
benefits of models such as the EATC, recalling the December 2013 European Council 
24.  The Council encourages Member States, through their national decision making processes, to 
further utilise and implement the Policy Framework for Systematic and Long-Term Defence 
Co-operation, adopted in November 2014, in view of reinforcing systematic defence co-
operation in Europe, from priority-setting through in-service support to 
Strengthening the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base  
25.  The Council welcomes the consultation process of all stakeholders co-organised by the 
Commission and the EDA on the Preparatory Action on CSDP-related research to be 
launched by the Commission in 2017. The Preparatory Action should, based on a positive 
evaluation with Member States, lead to a proposal for a wider research programme under the 
next Multi-annual Financial Framework, taking into account inter alia the Capability 
Development Plan and other CSDP requirements. The Council stresses that this CSDP-related 
defence-oriented research should recognise the specificities of the defence sector; be 
developed in close consultation with Member States at each phase; be aligned and consistent 
with the EDA activities and complementary to national research programmes for which 
Member States need to maintain their funding efforts; and that the importance of Member 
States' decision making is fully recognised, in line with applicable procedures. It welcomes 
the establishment of the Group of Personalities to provide advice on objectives, governance, 
modalities and scope. It also calls for the Preparatory Action to have the maximum available  

budget according to the financial regulations and due budgetary process to fully test the 
benefits of EU support for CSDP-related research. Moreover, EDA's capacity to manage this 
kind of projects will be tested and assessed in the meantime. 
26.  The Council reiterates the need to maximise dual-use synergies in Research & Technology, in 
line with the December 2013 European Council conclusions. It invites the Commission, in 
consultation with EDA, to promote that relevant EU funding mechanisms are made more 
accessible to the defence industry, and SMEs in particular, to allow for full synergies in dual 
use technologies, noting that military capabilities remain owned and operated by Member 
27.  Underlining the importance of the EDTIB, the Council welcomes the Commission's and 
EDA's efforts to support the EDTIB including to enhance its competitiveness and 
sustainability in the global market, and to stimulate jobs, innovation and growth in Member 
States. The Council recalls that these efforts should be inclusive with equal opportunities for 
defence industry in the EU, balanced and in full compliance with EU law. The Council 
encourages exploring linking investments in the European defence industry to the wider 
growth and investment agenda as put forward by European Commission President Juncker. It 
underlines the importance of improving cost-effectiveness and efficiency in the European 
security and defence market. To this end, it reiterates the need for the implementation and 
application of the two Defence Directives of 20093, without prejudice to the Article 346 
TFEU. It also encourages the impact of the directives on cross-border defence co-operation in 
Europe to be analysed by the Commission and EDA in close co-operation with Member 
States, in order to provide policy recommendations based on this shared assessment. The 
Council also notes EDA’s ongoing work to identify Key Strategic Activities. 
Directive 2009/43/EC on transfers of defence-related products and Directive 2009/81/EC on defence and 
security procurement. 

28.  The Council welcomes the support of the Commission and EDA to Small and Medium-Sized 
Enterprises (SMEs) in the security and defence sector including through raising awareness 
about business opportunities and access to EU funding, facilitating access to EU funding 
programmes and cross border markets. The Council invites the Commission to further 
develop activities in this regard, including by promoting the participation of SMEs in the 
Preparatory Action on CSDP-related research. It welcomes the actions deriving from the EDA 
SME Action Plan and the establishment by the Commission of the Advisory Group on cross-
border access for SMEs to defence and security contracts and underlines the need for active 
participation by all relevant stakeholders, including Member States. The Council looks 
forward to the results of the Advisory Group in the next 12-18 months.  
29.  The Councils encourages further work on standards and certification to be continued, which 
will benefit governments and industry alike by reducing costs and enhancing interoperability.  
30.  Reiterating the political commitment expressed in the December 2013 European Council 
Conclusions, the Council emphasises the importance of security of supply arrangements for 
the development of long-term planning and co-operation, and for the functioning of the 
internal market for defence, and thus underlines the need to further improve security of 
supply. It notes ongoing efforts to this end, including through the development by the 
Commission, working with the Member States and in co-operation with the High 
Representative and the EDA, of a roadmap for a comprehensive EU-wide security of supply 
regime; and through other initiatives and actions. It recognises the need to explore all 
elements needed for such a wide-ranging regime. 
* * * 
31.  The Council looks forward to the forthcoming discussion among Heads of State and 
Government providing strategic guidance to strengthen CSDP and deepen co-operation on 
security and defence in Europe, in light of the changing security environment, in accordance 
with the Treaties. The Council will continue to remain seized of the matter, monitor progress 
and provide input, and will take stock by November 2016 in order to allow the European 
Council to provide further guidance.