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The CFSP provides a wide spectrum of instruments including sanctions, missions, operations, the assignment of EU Special Representatives and measures for arms control. A systematic analysis of CFSP activities reveals considerable shortcomings in the use of these instruments. Minna Ålander, Annegret Bendiek and Paul Bochtler have gathered data to investigate the output of the EU in the area of the CFSP since the Treaty of Lisbon came into force in 2009. In this project, they made an attempt to systematically collect and compare all publicly available data on the different areas of CFSP activities.

The study shows that the numbers of missions are stagnating at a low level, while sanctions are imposed extensively and frequently – presumably because they are a comparatively low-cost instrument for achieving foreign policy objectives.

The study also demonstrates that, while the number of press releases is growing, member states rarely undertake efforts to follow up their common positions with actions.