A permanent headquarters under construction? The Military Planning and Conduct Capability as a proximate principal

Yf Reykers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article studies the European Union (EU) Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC), which was established in June 2017 and holds the strategic command of EU non-executive missions. While this is the closest the EU has ever come to a permanent military headquarters (HQ), the MPCC has not yet attracted much scholarly attention. This article fills this gap by applying principal-agent theorization about chains of delegation. It conceptualizes the MPCC as a proximate principal which has the potential to considerably affect control dynamics and information flows between Brussels and the mission command. Focusing on EUTM Mali, it assesses how the establishment of the MPCC affects control dynamics in non-executive CSDP missions. Empirics show that, despite some initial institutional friction, the establishment of the MPCC has mainly smoothened information flows from the mission to Brussels, particularly when the mission was militarily challenged, with little effect on PSC control or mission command autonomy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-799
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of European Integration
Issue number6
Early online date12 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2019


  • training missions
  • Military Planning and Conduct Capability
  • principal-agent
  • chain of delegation
  • Mali

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