The Treaty of Amsterdam was adopted by EU Member States in June 1997 and entered into force in May 1999. The Treaty codified a number of new structures and tasks for the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), and, although it did not create a common defence policy, it did increase responsibilities in the realms of peacekeeping and humanitarian work i.a. by creating closer links with the WEU [see The Western European Union].
The end of the Cold War and the subsequent conflicts in the Balkans provided the impetus for Member States to strengthen the EU’s CFSP. The Treaty of Amsterdam raised the EU’s foreign policy profile through the creation of the post of High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy. The official mandate of the post was: ‘[to contribute] to the formulation, preparation and implementation of policy decisions, and, when appropriate and acting on behalf of the Council at the request of the Presidency, through conducting political dialogue with third parties.’ (TEU Art. 26). Javier Solana of Spain, until then NATO’s Secretary-General, was appointed High Representative at the Cologne Summit in 1999, and served in this capacity from 1999 to 2009. The Treaty of Lisbon expanded the post to High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and combined it with the post of Vice-President of the European Commission, a position that is currently held by Federica Mogherini (IT).
The Treaty of Amsterdam also indicated the possibility of developing a future common defence policy for the EU. The inclusion of what would eventually become the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) under the CFSP was designed to enable the Union to adopt a coherent approach when addressing security challenges. The treaty subsequently states: ‘The common foreign and security policy shall include all questions relating to the security of the Union, including the progressive framing of a common defence policy […] which might lead to a common defence, should the European Council so decide’ (TEU Art.17).
In addition to the above, the Treaty also defined the range of military tasks – as incorporated from the WEU’s Petersberg tasks - which the EU could undertake, namely humanitarian and rescue tasks, peace-keeping tasks and tasks involving combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking (Art. 17).
Treaty of Amsterdam (Art.17, Art.26)