EU Defence Ministers: ‘EU Rapid Response Force by 2025’

Mathieu CUGNOT © European Union 2018 – Source : EP

In order to be able to act rapidly and robustly, the An institution representing the Member States’ interests. Either comprised of the heads of government (European Council) or more frequently the ministers (Council of the EU) meeting in different constellations depending on the policy area. Involved in policy-making, often together with the European Parliament. Council of the European Union wants to establish an EU Rapid Response Force of 5,000 troops. EU ministers approved the Strategic Compass, containing plans to make the EU a stronger and more capable security provider.

According to the EU, the EU Rapid Deployment Capacity (EU RDC) can be switfly deployed to respond to imminent threats and crisis situations. In addition, it can be used for situations ranging from initial entry, to reinforcement or as a reserve force to secure an exit.


The EU RDC will consists of modified EU Battlegroups. Those are military units consisting of 1,500 troops per unit from multiple The 27 countries that are part of the EU. See the list of all members here. Member States with the aim of helping out in crisis situations. They have, however, never been deployed and have recently faced challenges as shortages of personnel were reported.

The difference between the EU Battlegroups and the EU RDC can be found in its size and operational abilities. According to the Strategic Compass, the EU RDC will have longer stand-by periods, have tailored packages including air, land, maritime, space and cyber components and have different levels of operational readiness.

Constructive abstentions

The EU Rapid Deployment Capacity will be commonly funded and be subject to more flexible decision-making. EU ministers want to make use of the potential afforded by the EU treaties. One example is constructive abstentions. In general, all decisions taken on the EU’s foreign policy are adopted unanimously. With a constructive abstention, a Member State can abstain from voting without blocking the proposal.

The exact details of the EU RDC like its tasks, compositions and financial aspects will be further laid out by the end of 2022. The first live exercises of the Response Force are planned for 2023 and by 2025, the EU RDC should be fully operational.

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