Assuming either a limited conflict or a full scale war:

  • What optional actions can the EU take to assist a member state
  • Are there any laws that would oblige the EU to assist a member-state with specific measures

2 Answers 2


It depends on the official determination on who is the aggressor. In any but the most blatant attacks, this determination will be a political process.

  • Most EU countries are obliged to defend Turkey against armed attacks on their territory (Article 5 of the NATO treaty, most significant EU members are also NATO members).
  • All EU countries are obliged to support or defend Greece against armed attacks on their territory (Article 5 again, plus Article 42(7) TEU).
  • 1
    So even neutral Austria, Ireland, Finland and Sweden are obliged to support or defend Greece ? This deserves to be further explained.
    – Bregalad
    Mar 12, 2020 at 10:05
  • 2
    @Bregalad, I deliberately wrote "defend" for the pure NATO case and "support or defend" for the EU case. 42(7) calls for aid and assistance which "... shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States."
    – o.m.
    Mar 12, 2020 at 15:45
  • 1
    Note that NATO's article 5 leaves the amount of aid to the aiding countries; A postcard would technically be enough. TEU obliges to every possible support. Mar 13, 2020 at 17:59
  • 1
    @Bregalad Other EU countries can offer support while still remaining neutral, as some of those mentioned countries do "peacekeeping" work in other warzones already.
    – bobsburner
    Mar 16, 2020 at 10:18
  • 1
    @MSalters, it would have to defend the victim of aggession. In theory, there is one attacker and one attacked. In practice, it will be murky, see my first paragraph.
    – o.m.
    Mar 16, 2020 at 16:20

Yes, NATO's article 5 states:

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

So, as a NATO member, if Greece was attacked then all of NATO's members would have to defend them.

  • 1
    Please try to add references to support your answer.
    – JJJ
    Mar 12, 2020 at 13:57
  • 3
    Of course both are NATO mebers, so in a case of mutual accusations things would get interesting. War causes are rarely cut and dried.
    – o.m.
    Mar 12, 2020 at 16:18
  • 1
    "There won't be any attack to Greece by Turkey" - What do you mean? Turkey tried to sink 2 Greek ships so far. They systematically use afterburners in dog fights to cause stability loss. In 1996 Turkey and Greece were ready for full scale war in Imia. Given all that, and the Turkish casus belli if Greece expands its marine territory according to the Law of the Sea, i find it rather strange that you rule out an attack. Could you add your reasoning?
    – user
    Mar 12, 2020 at 16:34
  • @Fermiparadox: actually I think what Turkey is trying to do is all to put some pressure on EU and NATO for the journey they already began in Syria, where they are facing Russia. Turkey itself cannot confront with such a powerful country, so because of it's NATO's membership, they expect help, something that NATO disagree. European countries prefer not to get involved in Syrian conflict. What happened in the past between these two I don't believe to have anything to do with what is happening now.
    – Frank John
    Mar 12, 2020 at 21:01

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .