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The Petersberg tasks are a list of military and security priorities incorporated within the European Security and Defence Policy of the European Union (renamed the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) per the Treaty of Lisbon).
The Petersberg tasks are the military tasks of a humanitarian, disarming, peacekeeping and peacemaking nature that the European Union (EU) is and the Western European Union (WEU) was empowered to do. They were defined in the Petersberg Declaration during a ministerial summit of the Council of the WEU on 19 June 1992 at Hotel Petersberg, near Bonn in Germany. There, 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 became part of the European Security and Defence Policy, and were central to strengthening the European Union's second pillar, the Common Foreign and Security Policy.
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. The 2004 creation of the European Defence Agency made the WEU obsolete, and the WEU was abolished in 2011.
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 22 of the 28 EU member states are also NATO members, there are many provisions to prevent competition with NATO.