The EU Rapid Deployment Capacity: This time, it's for real?

Christoph Meyer, Ton Van Osch, Yf Reykers

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review


The EU’s Strategic Compass (SC) calls for the creation of a ‘European Rapid Deployment Capacity’ (EU RDC) that would allow the EU to swiftly deploy up to 5 000 troops into non-permissive environments for different types of crises. The In-Depth Analysis (IDA) examines how this objective might be achieved successfully. It looks at the problems related to decision making and political will that have structurally hampered the deployment of the EU Battlegroups since their creation in 2007. It also looks at the conditions under which Member States might be willing to make first use of Article 44, which provides for small groups of Member States to act within an EU framework. Secondly, the IDA analyses operational questions, such as the Rapid Deployment Capacity’s (RDC) possible tasks, force packages and illustrative scenarios, the concept and size, exercises, costs, and addressing shortfalls. Thirdly, the analysis discusses command and control challenges, especially how to rapidly develop the Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) as the RDC’s headquarters, and the role of Operational Headquarters (OHQ). The paper highlights the considerable potential for the RDC to substantially improve on the Battlegroups, strengthen the EU’s strategic autonomy, and positively contribute to the EU’s integrated approach to security and peace. Yet, the timetable is highly ambitious and will require Member States to give its achievement a high priority in their contributions. Furthermore, the RDC is only likely to succeed if the right lessons are learnt, not just in terms of improving operational readiness and capacity, but also crucially in terms of political signalling, commitment, and stronger sense of national ownership. The authors provide a number of recommendations for EU institutions on how this might be achieved in the short and longer term.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherPolicy Department for External Relations, Directorate General for External Policies of the Union, European Parliament
Number of pages40
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2022


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