The Common European Security and Defence Policy of the EU (CSDP) evolved incrementally between 1999 and 2003, and was deepened significantly by the Treaty of Lisbon. It is the essential EU instrument to cope first and foremost with the new, non-conventional security threats and it enables the EU to conduct military and civilian mission and operations for the maintenance of peace, conflict prevention and the strengthening of international security. Furthermore the CSDP serves to pave the way for a possible future common defence of the EU. Currently the EU is maintaining 17 CSDP operations and missions, of which five are military (the peace-contingent EUFOR ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the anti-piracy operation Atalanta off the Horn of Africa, the two training-missions (EUTM) in Somalia and Mali as well as the peace operation EUFOR in the Central African Republic) and eleven civilian missions in Europe (Kosovo, Georgia, Moldova/Ukraine), in the Middle East (Palestine, Afghanistan, Libya) and in Africa (DR Congo, Niger and the Horn of Africa). An additional mission in the Ukraine is in preparation.
The Austrian Federal Armed Forces are currently contributing to military operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mali and the Central African Republic (with staff officers at headquarters in Greece) as well as to the civilian missions in Georgia and the DR Congo. With 300 plus troops Austria provides more than half the troop strength of operation EUFOR ALTHEA. Austrian policemen and diplomats are taking part in CSDP-missions in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Georgia, Palestine and Libya.The European Council of December 19th and 20th 2013 focused on CSDP to „ensure the effectiveness of EU efforts aimed at meeting Europe's security responsibilities“, first and foremost to “increase the effectiveness, visibility and impact of CSDP“, to „enhance the development of defence capabilities“ and to „strengthen Europe's defence industry“ (citation conclusion of the European Council). Austria through various proposals has actively participated in the preparation of the European Council and is continuing its conceptual engagement for the further development of the CSDP in the current implementation phase as well.