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Petersberg tasks

The Petersberg tasks were originally intended to guide conventional force planning. They are now – in extended form – part of the Treaty on European Union. They broadly include “joint disarmament operations, humanitarian and rescue tasks, military advice and assistance tasks, conflict prevention and peace-keeping tasks, and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peace-making and post-conflict stabilization. All these tasks may contribute to the fight against terrorism, including by supporting third countries in combating terrorism in their territories.” (Article 43.1 Treaty on European Union in the version of Lisbon)

The Petersberg tasks’ objective is to give the EU operational capacity based on both civilian and military assets, provided by the Member States. This capacity is intended for use outside the area of the European Union for the purposes of peace-keeping, conflict prevention and strengthening of international security in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter and specific assigned mandates on a case-by-case basis.

By themselves, the Petersberg tasks therefore do not currently, or for the future, constitute a global security role for the Union. Their future usability and usefulness will depend on a proper addressing of possible EU roles with global consequences, and of future strategic challenges that are different from traditional ones so far, requiring different capabilities.

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