Participating Countries

All EDA Member States




Since 2008, the European Defence Agency (EDA) has been producing a Capability Development Plan (CDP) to address long-term security and defence challenges. It looks at future security scenarios and makes recommendations about the capabilities European militaries will need to react to a variety of potential developments. The CDP is a comprehensive planning method providing a picture of European military capabilities over time. It can be used by Member States’ defence planners when identifying priorities and opportunities for cooperation.


  • Provide a picture of European military capabilities over time;
  • Help Member States’ defence planners identify priorities and opportunities for cooperation.
  • Look at the long term trends affecting European Defence
  • Identify list of priority actions detailed enough to direct work on capability development


The European Defence Agency produces updated Capability Development Plans (CDP) since 2008, in close cooperation with its Member States and with the active contributions of the EU Military Committee (EUMC) and the European Union Military Staff (EUMS).

The purpose of the periodic CDP revision, a key tasking of the Agency, is to provide a full capability picture that supports decision-making at EU and national levels regarding defence capability development. The overall objective is to increase coherence between Member States’ defence planning and to encourage European cooperation by looking together at future operational needs and defining common EU Capability Development Priorities.  The CDP revision benefits from several inputs such as the Headline Goal Process, studies on long-term trends, lessons from operations and information on current plans and programmes.

The CDP is regularly updated and the latest version was endorsed by the EDA Steering Board in Capability Directors formation in June 2018. It is of particular strategic significance as it serves as a baseline and reference for the implementation of major European defence initiatives launched following the 2016 EU Global Strategy: the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), and the European Defence Fund (EDF).

The most tangible output of the 2018 CDP revision are the 11 new EU Capability Development Priorities, developed together with Member States. They are the result of an in-depth assessment conducted on the basis of contributions provided by Member States, the EU Military Committee (EUMC) and the EU Military Staff (EUMS) on short-term, mid-term and long term trends: capability shortfalls analyses and lessons learned from recent CSDP operations; planned capabilities and the potential for future European cooperation in each of the capability domains; and a study into the long-term capability-related and technological trends and needs (2035 and beyond).

More details on the 2018 CDP revision and the 11 EU Capability Development Priorities can be found here.

A detailed overview of the 2018 EU Capability Development Priorities is available here