European Union Operations Centre

European Union Operations Centre
Insignia of the EU Operations Centre.svg
Allegiance European Union
TypeOperational headquarters
High Repr.Federica Mogherini
HeadFrancisco Cornago Diufain[2]
Military unit

The European Union Operations Centre (EU OPCEN) was an ad-hoc, non-standing, non-commanding headquarters facilitating the planning and conduct of military operations deployed as part of the European Union's (EU) Common Security and Defence Policy (CFSP) that was active between 2012 and 2016.[1]

The OPCEN would be operational five days following a decision by the Council, and reach its full capability to command the operation after twenty days, at the latest.

The EU OPCEN was not formally part of the EU’s chains of command.[3]

From 2020, the OPCEN's role in executive operations will be transferred to the Military Planning and Conduct Capability.[4]

Mandate and tasks

Part of a series on the
History of the
European Union
Flag of Europe.svg
European Communities (1958–2009)
European Coal and Steel Community (1952–2002)
European Economic Community (1958–1993)
European Atomic Energy Community (1958–present)
European Community (1993–2009)
Justice and Home Affairs (1993–2003)
Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (2003–2009)
Common Foreign and Security Policy pillar (1993–2009)
Western European Union (1954–2011)
Western Union (1948–1954)
Treaty of Paris 1951
Treaty of Rome 1957
Merger Treaty 1965
Single European Act 1986
Maastricht Treaty 1992
Treaty of Amsterdam 1997
Treaty of Nice 2001
Treaty of Lisbon 2007
Hallstein Commission 1958
Rey Commission 1967
Malfatti Commission 1970
Mansholt Commission 1972
Ortoli Commission 1973
Jenkins Commission 1977
Thorn Commission 1981
Delors Commission 1985
Santer Commission 1994
Prodi Commission 1999
Barroso Commission 2004
Juncker Commission 2014
Von der Leyen Commission 2019
flag European Union portal
  • v
  • t
  • e

According to the Council Decision, the Mandate and tasks of the EU OPCEN are:

The EU Operations Centre shall provide support in the field of operational planning and conduct of the CSDP missions and operation in the Horn of Africa and in the Sahel region with a view to increasing efficiency and synergies for CSDP within both regions. In this framework the EU Operations Centre shall facilitate information exchange, improve coordination and strengthen civil-military synergies.

— Council Decision[3]
  • To provide, using its military and specialised planning expertise, direct support to the Civilian Operations Commander for the operational planning and conduct of the civilian missions in the Horn of Africa and in the Sahel region.
  • To provide support to the military Missions and Operation Commanders in the Horn of Africa and in the Sahel region.
  • To provide support to the Crisis Management and Planning Directorate (CMPD), at its request, in its strategic planning for CSDP missions and operation in the Horn of Africa and in the Sahel region.
  • To facilitate interaction between the respective CSDP missions and operation and the Brussels-based structures. In relation to the "train and equip" pilot cases in Mali and Somalia, the EU OPCEN may usefully provide support to a functional coordination mechanism, in view of its implementation plan.
  • To facilitate coordination and improve synergies amongst the CSDP missions and operation in the Horn of Africa, in the context of the Horn of Africa strategy and in liaison with the European Union Special Representative for the Horn of Africa and the European Union Special Envoy for Somalia.
  • To facilitate coordination and improve synergies amongst the CSDP missions in the Sahel region, in the context of the Sahel Strategy in liaison with the European Union Special Representative for the Sahel.[3]


An EU OPCEN that is activated for a particular predominantly military operation may consist of a total of 103 officers and civilians who start planning after five days following a deployment decision by the Council. The EU OPCEN would reach its full capability to command the operation after twenty days, at the latest.

The staff of an activated EU OPCEN is composed of:

The present EU OPCEN Chief of Staff is Captain Francisco Cornago Diufain. Diufain succeeded the first head, Captain Ad van der Linde.[2]


In December 2004 the European Union Military Staff (EUMS) was tasked by the European Council to be ready to set up an EU OPCEN capable of planning and conducting an operation, in particular where a joint civil/military response is required and where no national HQ is identified. The responsibility for assuring this capability lies with the OPSCEN/WKC (Watching Keeping Capacity) Branch of the EUMS Operations Directorate. Since 1 January 2007, the EU Operation Centre is ready for activation by the Council for the conduct of autonomous operations.

EU OPCEN was first activated on 23 March 2012 by the Foreign Affairs Council in relation to three CSDP operations in the Horn of Africa. This mandate was later extended until the end of 2016 and expanded the geographical and functional scope to the entire Sahel region.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b "The EU Military Staff: A frog in boiling water?". 10 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "CSDP structure, instruments, and agencies - EEAS - European Commission". EEAS.
  3. ^ a b c[bare URL PDF]
  4. ^[bare URL PDF]

External links

  • EEAS Description
  • Leaflet
  • The EU Military Staff: a frog in boiling water?, Militaire Spectator
  • v
  • t
  • e
External Action Service
Council preparatory bodies
European Commission bodies
  • v
  • t
  • e
Union level
Provided through
TEU Article 42.3
  • v
  • t
  • e
Overseas interventions of the European Union1
Military operations
[Ground] force (EUFOR)
Naval force (EUNAVFOR)
  • Adriatic Sea (Operation Sharp Guard, 1993–1996)
  • Somalia (Operation Atalanta, 2008–present)
  • Mediterranean Sea (Operation Sophia, 2015–2020, Operation Irini, 2020-present)
Military missions
Training mission (EUTM)
Civilian missions
Police mission (EUPOL, EUPM)
Capacity building mission (EUCAP)
  • Sahel Mali (2014–present)
  • Sahel Niger (2012–present)
  • Somalia (2012–present)
Border assistance mission (EUBAM)
Rule of law mission (EULEX)
  • Kosovo (2008–present)
Monitoring mission (EUMM)
  • Aceh (2005–2006)
  • Georgia (2008–present)
Military advisory mission (EUMAM)
  • RCA (2015–2016)
Aviation security mission (EUAVSEC)
  • South Sudan (2013–2014)
Mission in support of the
security sector reform (EUSSR)
  • Guinea-Bissau (2008–2010)
Integrated rule of law mission (EUJUST)
  • Iraq (2015–2013)
  • Georgia (2004–2005)
Mission to provide advice and assistance
for security sector reform (EUSEC)
  • RD Congo (2005–2016)
Advisory mission (EUAM)
  • Ukraine (2014–present)
  • Iraq (2017–present)
Police advisory team (EUPAT)
  • FYROM (2005–2006)
  • AMIS EU Supporting Action (2005–2007)
  • PAMECA (2002–present)
  • Minesweeping operation in the Strait of Hormuz, (Operation Cleansweep, 1987–1988)
  • Police and customs operation with OSCE on the Danube (1993–1996)
  • Police contingent in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina (1994–1996)
  • Multinational Advisory Police Element in Albania (MAPE, 1997–2001)
  • Demining Assistance Mission to Croatia (WEUDAM, 1999–2001)
  • General security surveillance mission in Kosovo (1998–1999)
1: Conducted by the Western European Union prior to 2003. These missions were not named using conventional prefixes such as EUFOR, EUNAVFOR etc.
  • v
  • t
  • e
Western Union (1948–1951/1954) Flag of the Western Union.svg
  • Treaty of Dunkirk (precursor, 1947)
  • Treaty of Brussels (1948)
  • Flag
  • Exercise Verity (1949)
  • Operation Gladio
European Defence Community (plan that failed in 1954)
Western European Union (1954–2011) Flag of the Western European Union (1993-1995).svg Flag of the Western European Union.svg
European Union (1992–present) Flag of Europe.svg
Period before the union had defence structures (1993–1999)
  • Maastricht Treaty (1992)
  • Treaty of Amsterdam (1997)
  • Saint-Malo declaration (1998)
European Security and Defence Policy (1999–2009)
  • Helsinki Headline Goal (1999)
  • Seville Declarations (2002)
  • European Security Strategy (2003)
  • CAPECON project (2002–2005)
Common Security and Defence Policy (2009–present)
  • Treaty of Lisbon (2007)
  • Lancaster House Treaties (2010)
  • Operations Centre (2012–2016)
  • v
  • t
  • e
Militaries of the European Union
Austrian Armed Forces

Map of Southeast Asia
Belgian Armed Forces
  • Belgian Land Component
  • Belgian Air Component
  • Belgian Naval Component
  • Belgian Medical Component
Bulgarian Armed Forces
  • Bulgarian Land Forces
  • Bulgarian Air Force
  • Bulgarian Navy
Armed Forces of Croatia
  • Croatian Army
  • Croatian Air Force
  • Croatian Navy
Cypriot National Guard
Army of the Czech Republic
  • Czech Land Forces
  • Czech Air Force
Danish Defence
Estonian Defence Forces
  • Estonian Land Forces
  • Estonian Navy
  • Estonian Air Force
Finnish Defence Forces
  • Finnish Army
  • Finnish Air Force
  • Finnish Navy
French Armed Forces
  • German Army
  • German Navy
  • German Air Force
  • Joint Support Service
  • Joint Medical Service
  • Cyber and Information Domain Service
Hellenic Armed Forces
Hungarian Defence Forces
  • Hungarian Ground Forces
  • Hungarian Air Force
Irish Defence Forces
  • Irish Army
  • Irish Air Corps
  • Irish Naval Service
  • Reserve Defence Forces
Italian Armed Forces
  • Italian Army
  • Italian Navy
  • Italian Air Force
  • Carabinieri
Latvian National Armed Forces
  • Latvian Land Forces
  • Latvian Naval Forces
  • Latvian Air Force
  • Latvian National Guard
Lithuanian Armed Forces
Luxembourg Army
Armed Forces of Malta
Netherlands Armed Forces
Polish Armed Forces
  • Polish Land Forces
  • Polish Air Force
  • Polish Navy
  • Polish Special Forces
  • Territorial Defence Force
Portuguese Armed Forces
  • Portuguese Army
  • Portuguese Navy
  • Portuguese Air Force
  • National Republican Guard
Romanian Armed Forces
  • Romanian Land Forces
  • Romanian Naval Forces
  • Romanian Air Force
Slovak Armed Forces
  • Slovak Ground Forces
  • Slovak Air Force
Slovenian Armed Forces
Spanish Armed Forces
Swedish Armed Forces
  • Swedish Army
  • Swedish Air Force
  • Swedish Navy
  • Home Guard
EU member states
Austria Austria
Belgium Belgium
Bulgaria Bulgaria
Croatia Croatia
Cyprus Cyprus
Czech Republic Czech Republic
Denmark Denmark
Estonia Estonia
Finland Finland
France France
Germany Germany
Greece Greece
Hungary Hungary
Republic of Ireland Ireland
Italy Italy
Latvia Latvia
Lithuania Lithuania
Luxembourg Luxembourg
Malta Malta
Netherlands Netherlands
Poland Poland
Portugal Portugal
Romania Romania
Slovakia Slovakia
Slovenia Slovenia
Spain Spain
Sweden Sweden
European Union portal · War portal