Volume 44 (2007)

Volume 44 (2007) / Issue 3

Sebastian Graf von Kielmansegg, 'The meaning of Petersberg: Some considerations on the legal scope of ESDP operations' (2007) 44 Common Market Law Review, Issue 3, pp. 629–648


The article examines the legal scope of the so-called Petersberg Tasks in Article 17(2) TEU and of their modified version in the Constitutional Treaty. The Petersberg Tasks provide the only specific catalogue of military activities of the EU. Therefore, they offer important insight as to the legal scope of the European Security and Defence Policy. The article argues that the various mission types listed in the Petersberg Tasks have a fairly wide scope. In this context, it is the last mission type – “tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking” – which raises the most difficulties. It is suggested in this paper that the term “crisis management” comprises military interventions in any conflicts that constitute a threat to the peace or a breach of the peace as long as they are outside the scope of the mutual defence clauses of NATO and the WEU. Crisis management interventions must be of a containing nature but they may include the repulse of aggression and the restoration of the integrity of the international legal order. The term “peacemaking” describes a specific aspect of crisis management: the forcible pacification of a conflict between third parties (“triangular peace enforcement”). The modifications introduced by the Constitutional Treaty are of limited importance. However, to a certain extent they mark a conceptual step from reactive emergency measures to a more proactive, constant and holistic policy.

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ISSN: 0165-0750
ID: COLA2007058