The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) is the organised, agreed foreign policy of the European Union (EU) for mainly security and defence diplomacy and actions. CFSP deals only with a specific part of the EU’s external relations, which domains include mainly Trade and Commercial Policy and other areas such as funding to third countries, etc. Decisions require unanimity among member states in the Council of the European Union, but once agreed, certain aspects can be further decided by qualified majority voting. Foreign policy is chaired and represented by the EU’s High Representative.
The CFSP sees the NATO responsible for the territorial defence of Europe and “peace-making”. However, since 1999, the European Union is responsible for implementing missions, such as “peace-keeping” and policing of treaties, etc. A phrase that is often used to describe the relationship between the EU forces and NATO is “separable, but not separate”: The same forces and capabilities form the basis of both EU and NATO efforts, but portions can be allocated to the European Union if necessary. Concerning missions, the right of first refusal exists: the EU may only act if NATO first decides not to.