The European Union's (EU) security and defence policy (ESDP) must be broadened from its peacekeeping role, and given an offensive capability to fight international terrorism, EU defence ministers agreed late last month.

However, Javier Solana, the EU's security and defence chief, says: "This in no way means we are planning to take over NATO's collective defence role."

He adds that, should the EU decide to confront terrorist threats abroad, then "the headline goal process provides for the essential military capabilities we would need." The headline goal is the military capability required by the EU by next year.

Ministers agreed to seek means to broaden the ESDP mandate from peace-keeping to military roles; that better co-ordination and co-operation is needed between intelligence services; that European citizens need to be protected from nuclear, chemical and biological attacks; and new "single sky" regulations should be used to improve security.

Solana says: "In the crucial area of intelligence, the recent establishment of an intelligence analysis cell within the [EU] council secretariat is a concrete step towards  more effective co-ordination."

Source: Flight International