Joint action

This type of legally binding act is no longer used since the Treaty of Lisbon came into force December 2009. The joint action constituted an operational action by the member states within the framework of the common foreign and security policy. The joint action sets out the objective, means and duration of the operational action.

The joint action was replaced by the decisionĀ i in the Lisbon Treaty.


Joint action in detail

Area of application

A joint action was legally binding. Member states were allowed to take national action, but on the condition that the member state refrained from taking any course of action that would impede with an adopted joint action and the member state was to notify the Council in advance on any action taken that might touch upon a joint action. These safeguards were put in place to ensure a level of uniformity in the area of common foreign and security policy.

Whenever circumstances would change significantly a joint action would be subject to review.

The joint action was only used in common foreign and security policy. Between 1993 and 1999 it was also used in the area of justice and home affairs, before being replaced by other legal instruments.

Adopting joint actions

When the Lisbon Treaty came into force joint actions were replaced by decisions. These are decided upon by the Council of Ministers.


Legal framework

Technically, the joint action is obsolete since December first 2009. In its current incarnation it is based on the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TfEU).

  • description: TEU title V chapter 2 section 1 art. 28
  • instrument (decision): part six TfEU title 1 chapter 2 section 1 art. 288


Further information