EU defence policy

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on European Union defence policy. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

18.11.2015France and Article 42(7) of the Treaty on the European Union
In response to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris France invoked Article 42(7) of the Treaty in the European Union on 17 November 2015. That article obligates all EU Member States to provide France with aid and assistance, although it does not go so far as to confer a security commitment, akin to NATO's Article V. This paper looks briefly at Article 42(7) TEU and the implications for the UK.
09.06.2015EU exit: impact in key UK policy areas
If the UK left the EU, would UK citizens benefit? This would depend on how the Government filled any policy gaps left by withdrawal. In some areas, the environment, for example, where the UK is bound by other international agreements, much of the content of EU law would probably remain. In others, the government might decide to retain the substance of EU law, or to remove EU obligations from UK statutes. Much would also depend on whether the UK sought to remain in the European Economic Area and therefore continue to have access to the single market, or preferred to go it alone and negotiate bilateral agreements with the EU. This paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers how it might change be if the UK left the EU.
04.12.2013The EU's Common Security and Defence Policy: A Fresh Impetus?
The European Council Summit is due to be held on 19-20 December 2013. Among the main issues for debate is the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). It will be the first time in five years that EU leaders have comprehensively discussed EU defence policy, amid criticisms that CSDP has lost momentum due to a lack of consensus over its strategic direction, an unwillingness on the part of Member States to commit the necessary resources and the prevailing economic crisis which has seen defence budgets fall across Europe and capabilities cut.
01.07.2013Leaving the EU
The Treaty on European Union provides for a Member State to leave the EU, either on the basis of a negotiated withdrawal agreement or without one. If the UK were to leave the EU following a referendum, it is likely that the Government would negotiate an agreement with the EU, which would probably contain transitional arrangements as well as provide for the UK's long-term future relations with the EU. There is no precedent for such an agreement, but it would in all likelihood come at the end of complex and lengthy negotiations.
01.11.2012European Union (Croatian Accession and Irish Protocol) Bill [Bill 76 of 2012-13]
Croatia is expected to join the EU in July 2013. This Bill would allow the UK to ratify Croatia's accession treaty and would also cover the Protocol to the Lisbon Treaty put forward by the Irish Government.
27.06.2012EU bibliographies: Defence equipment Directives
This note brings together documents relevant to legislation and the draft directives on EC defence equipment.
13.04.2012EU bibliographies: European External Action Service
This Note brings together documents relevant to the proposed legislation establishing the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service and its scrutiny in the UK and the EU. It is not an attempt to define policy in this area. For information on the institutional issues or policy developments, contact Vaughne Miller on extn 4327 or Claire Taylor on extn 3852. See also SN/IA/5558 The European External Action Service
03.06.2011EC Defence Equipment Directives
In 2009 two EU directives were adopted relating to the procurement of defence and security related goods and services, and the intra-EU transfer of defence goods. Both of those directives must be transposed into UK law in 2011. This note examines the background to these Directives, the specific provisions in each of them and current plans for transposition.
08.06.2006European Security and Defence Policy: Developments Since 2003
04.12.2002European Parliament (Representation) Bill (HL 7 2002/03)
European Parliament (Representation) Bill ( Bill 7 of 2002/03).House of Commons Library Research Paper 02/78.

Lords Library Notes

27.11.2015United Kingdom's Role in Supporting International Security and Stability
This Library Note has been prepared in advance of the debate in the House of Lords on 3 December 2015: "that this House takes note of the United Kingdom's role in supporting international security and stability in the light of the Strategic Defence and Security Review".


22.10.2015Automation in Military Operations
Automated technology is increasingly used in military activities such as intelligence gathering, navigation and weapons delivery. The most widespread use of automated technology to date has been remotely piloted air systems. However, each of the main military domains - air, land and sea - make use of automation. This POSTnote outlines current and potential future applications of automation in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and in combat. It then summarises debate over legal, ethical and societal issues, including debate over whether a pre-emptive ban is needed on future lethal autonomous weapons systems.

Select Committee Reports

17.05.2011The EU internal security strategy.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
18.01.2011Future inter-parliamentary scrutiny of EU foreign, defence and security policy.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
12.01.2011Future inter-parliamentary scrutiny of EU foreign, defence and security policy.
Foreign Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses

UK Parliament committee