The Centre of Excellence at the Annual Review Conference

23 November 2020

The Security Policy Directors of the EU Member States and the EU as well as other interested parties services virtually met on 23 November for the second Annual Review Conference (ARC) on the Civilian Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Compact. The Centre of Excellence (CoE) was honoured to participate in the conference which reviewed the state of play on the implementation of the Civilian CSDP Compact in the 27 Member States. In addition to that, waypoints for the Compact implementation in 2021 were established.  

A collaborative and integrated approach  

Miguel Berger, State Secretary of the German Federal Foreign Office, underlined the positive progress made and the importance of collaboration as well as sharing good examples: 

"Based on the exchange of national good practices we see first positive results on the ground."

In her keynote speech, Helga Schmid, Secretary-General of the EEAS, noted: 

"We are happy to see significant efforts and results both in Member States and among EU institutions and services’. She further emphasised the crucial role of cooperation amongst Member States and EU institutions: "Member States and EU services working together is key for our security."

The CoE takes the floor 

The Centre of Excellence was warmly welcomed by Joanneke Balfoort, Director SECDEFPOL DMD, EEAS.  The Chairs of the three main clusters (National Systems of Coordination and Management, Legislation, Regulations and Budget as well as Strategic Communications) gave insights into the progress made in their respective department and invited the CoE to add on to their remarks.  

The CoE team presented the main findings of its recent report on Member State Capability Development. The report marks the beginning of the CoE’s substantive support to its members in implementing key commitments under the Civilian CSDP Compact.  

Regarding the Centre’s Member State Capability Development Report, CoE Director Volker Jacoby stated: 

"It was a collective effort, and the result is a solid starting point for the creation of a system of collaboration that is fit for its purpose to build the capacities of Member States through the exchange of good practices, through true peer learning. We look forward to discussing the way ahead and to filter – together with our members – those launch pads that seem to be most interesting, and that are feasible and viable." 

Good practices and launching pads for further cooperation were highlighted. The main future working points for the CoE will focus on employing the integrated approach and prioritising overarching (cross-cutting) issues such as full gender equality, CSDP-JHA cooperation, strategic secondment, the alignment of Mission preparation training as well as the conceptualisation of leadership.  

Member States and the participating institutions of the conference appreciated the CoE’s involvement and its inputs regarding the facilitation of the exchange of good practices as well as the offered support in providing advice and future tailored support, and are welcoming further collaboration in the future. The CoE is delighted to continue working with its members to provide expert support and tailored solutions, promoting an integrated approach towards fulfilling the goals of the Compact.    

A more capable, effective, flexible and responsive Civilian CSDP