A Strategic Compass for Security and Defence

The European Union and its Member States formally approved the Strategic Compass in 2022, just a few weeks after the return of high-intensity war on our continent. Since then, the global threat landscape has become even more alarming.

The Strategic Compass is an ambitious plan of action for strengthening the EU's security and defence policy by 2030. It's an EU security and defence strategy to advance towards a common forward-looking strategic culture as well

The strength of our Union lies in unity, solidarity and determination. The objective of the Strategic Compass is to make the EU a stronger and more capable security provider. The EU needs to be able to protect its citizens and to contribute to international peace and security. This is all the more important at a time when war has returned to Europe, following the unjustified and unprovoked Russian aggression against Ukraine, as well as of major geopolitical shifts. This Strategic Compass will enhance the EU’s strategic autonomy and its ability to work with partners to safeguard its values and interests.

A stronger and more capable EU in security and defence will contribute positively to global and transatlantic security and is complementary to NATO, which remains the foundation of collective defence for its members. It will also intensify support for the global rules-based order, with the United Nations at its core.

The Strategic Compass provides a shared assessment of the strategic environment in which the EU is operating and of the threats and challenges the Union faces. The document makes concrete and actionable proposals, with a very precise timetable for implementation, in order to improve the EU's ability to act decisively in crises and to defend its security and its citizens.

The Compass covers all the aspects of the security and defence policy and is structured around four pillars: act, invest, partner and secure.

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    Strategic Compass report cover

2024 Progress Report on the Implementation of the Strategic Compass for Security and Defence

Since its adoption in March 2022, the EU has swiftly implemented many of the goals set in the Strategic Compass.

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has instilled further urgency into our efforts to make the EU a stronger and more credible security and defence actor.

Our response to this military aggression has been united and unprecedented from the start, rapidly putting the Compass into motion and mobilising tools foreseen across its four pillars. This included the provision of lethal and non-lethal equipment as well as the training of more than 40,000 Ukrainian military and capacity building of Ukrainian armed forces. With our new training target of 60,000 by the summer the EU will be the largest provider of military training to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Under the guidance of the Compass, we continue to advance on our ability to guarantee access to strategic domains.

In the past year, we updated existing and elaborated a number of new strategies and policies. Since the beginning of last year, we launched new CSDP missions and operations, such as EU maritime operation ASPIDES, our Security and Defence Initiative in the Gulf of Guinea and our EU Mission in Armenia, in the context of the deteriorating security situation at the border with Azerbaijan.

Video: Strategic Compass 2024

Two years ago, we adopted the Strategic Compass: a common vision & concrete objectives for the EU security and defense. The Compass has been a crucial guide for our action & many goals have been achieved. But much more is needed to face challenging times.

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    2024 Progress Report on the Implementation of the Strategic Compass for Security and Defence


To act rapidly and robustly whenever a crisis erupts, with partners if possible and alone when necessary, the EU will:

  • Establish a strong EU Rapid Deployment Capacity of up to 5000 troops for different types of crises.
  • Be ready to deploy 200 fully equipped CSDP mission experts within 30 days, including in complex environments.
  • Conduct regular live exercises on land and at sea.
  • Enhance military mobility.
  • Reinforce the EU's civilian and military CSDP (Common Defence and Security Policy) missions and operations by promoting a rapid and more flexible decision-making process , acting in a more robust way and ensuring greater financial solidarity.
  • make full use of the European Peace Facility to support partners.


In order to strengthen its ability to anticipate, deter and respond to current and fast-emerging threats and challenges, and safeguard the EU's security interest, the EU will:

  • boost its intelligence analysis capacities
  • develop Hybrid Toolbox and Rapid Response Teams bringing together different instruments to detect and respond to a broad range of hybrid threats
  • further develop the Cyber Diplomatic Toolbox and set up an EU Cyber Defence Policy to be better prepared for and respond to cyberattacks
  • develop a Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference Toolbox
  • develop an EU Space Strategy for Security and Defence
  • strengthen the EU’s role as a maritime security actor


Member States have committed to substantially enhance their defence expenditures to match our collective ambition to reduce critical military and civilian capability gaps and strengthen our European Defence Technological and Industrial Base. The EU will:

  • exchange on national objectives on increased and improved defence spending to match our security needs
  • provide further incentives for member states to engage in collaborative capability development and jointly invest in strategic enablers and next generation capabilities to operate on land, at sea, in the air, in the cyber domain and in outer space
  • boost defence technological innovation to fill strategic gaps and reduce technological and industrial dependencies


In order to address common threats and challenges, the EU will:

  • Strengthen cooperation with strategic partners such as NATO, the UN and regional partners, including the OSCE, AU and ASEAN
  • Develop more tailored bilateral partnerships with like-minded countries and strategic partners, such as the US, Canada, Norway, the UK, Japan and others
  • Develop tailored partnerships in the Western Balkans, our eastern and southern neighbourhood, Africa, Asia and Latin America, including through enhancing dialogue and cooperation, promoting participation in CSDP missions and operations and supporting capacity- building.

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