The Petersberg tasks are a list of military and security priorities incorporated within the European Security and Defence Policy, now called the CSDP as of the Treaty of Lisbon, of the European Union.
The Petersberg tasks are the military tasks of a humanitarian, peacekeeping and peacemaking nature that the European Union (EU) and the Western European Union (WEU) are empowered to do. They were defined in June 1992 at the Hotel Petersberg, near Bonn in Germany, at a meeting of the Council of the WEU, where the member states agreed to deploy their troops and resources from across the whole spectrum of the military under the authority of the WEU. As a part of the partial merger of the WEU with the European Union these tasks now form a part of the European Security and Defence Policy, and are central to strengthening the European Union's second pillar, the Common Foreign and Security Policy.
The Petersberg tasks were first formulated by the Western European Union (WEU) in 1992 during a summit in at the Hotel Petersberg near Bonn. In 1997, during the European summit in Amsterdam, the tasks were incorporated in the Treaty on European Union. Both the WEU and the EU are empowered to enforce the Petersberg tasks, but with the transfer of the most important WEU assets to the EU in 1999, this distinction is mostly artificial. Recent creation of the European Defence Agency made the WEU obsolete, furthermore the WEU was intended to act for 50 years and today is a relic of the past.
The Petersberg tasks cover a great range of possible military missions, ranging from the most simple to the most robust military intervention. They are formulated as:
- Humanitarian and rescue tasks
- Peacekeeping tasks
- Tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking.
Officially, the range of tasks the EU commits itself to "includes" the above, but is not limited to them. In practice, the task of territorial defence is considered the domain of NATO. As many European countries are fervent supporters of NATO, there are many provisions to prevent competition with NATO.
- European Union Police Mission
- European Security and Defence Policy
- Common Foreign and Security Policy
- Western European Union
- Treaty on European Union
- The Petersberg Declaration in full via the WEU website (pdf)
- The Petersberg tasks according to the EU Glossary
- "Petersberg tasks, and missions for the EU military forces" - Martin Ortega (pdf)