Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, Part 2

(This is part 2 of a piece on the European Union's foreign policy, how it works, and what it is capable of. Part 1 is here.)

Origins of EU Cooperation – Lessons in Building a Supranational Organization

The founding members of the EU (France, Germany, Italy, and the Benelux countries) were all countries that had suffered significantly from the Second World War. They did not necessarily work towards the EU out of a deep commitment to ideological tenets of integration, but out of personal self interest: all of the founding members believed they would gain more than they surrendered by working within the Union’s framework.[5] They were willing to hand over aspects of their sovereignty to a central organization; with that trade off came economic and security benefits. The CFSP, like previous economic integration, has had to walk a fine line between being an effective organization that can take action when needed, and one that does not trample on the rights of the EU member states.

The Treaty of Paris in 1951 created the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The first step towards major economic integration in Europe, it incorporated the steel and coal communities of France and Germany to avoid war between the two countries in the future. Each subsequent treaty helped thicken and deepen integration, setting new standards for cooperation by taking down restrictions. By making the first step toward economic unity in Europe, the ECSC showed that transnational cooperation was a viable avenue to averting conflict in Europe.[6] Following the Treaties of Paris, the original EU members decided that an agreement had to be made that incorporated more than simply coal and steel into their community economy. This was done in the Treaties of Rome, which established the Treaty on the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community in 1957. This exemplified the first line of the Treaty of Rome read, “to lay the foundation of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe.”[7]

In the 1980s and 1990s, under the auspice of the European Political Cooperation (EPC), European nation states increasingly began to cooperate with each other on a number of foreign policy actions. The organization became so pervasive in the European community that it was given its own section in the Single European Act (Title III), and stated that “the High Contrasting Partiers, being members of the European Communities, shall endeavor jointly to formulate and implement a European foreign policy.”[8] Title III was not incorporated into the treaties however, and as Neill Nugent argues, this generally had to due with the unwillingness of the European member states to relinquish control over foreign policy matters to the procedures required in the EU to pass legislation.[9] The EPC’s configuration was loose, so that no state could prevent another from taking action independent of the organization, if the organization failed to unanimously come to a decision.

It wasn’t until the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 that the CFSP took substantial shape, following the decades of increased incorporation on the continent through previously mentioned political and economic institutions.[10] The Maastricht Treaty established nine areas of common interest that were subject to intergovernmental cooperation, and represent the broad implications of an open border policy. These areas included those seeking asylum and immigration, as well as fighting drugs and fraud, and the judicial procedures each state should follow when cooperating on civil and criminal matters.[11] The Treaty also established a coordinating committee “of senior member state officials to work on justice and home affairs issues and prepare Council meetings.” This increased the speed and efficiency the EU was able to move this aspect of the project forward.[12]

Most importantly however, the CFSP was placed firmly in the control of the EU organization, and fully integrated into its decision making process, making it officially part of the Second Pillar within the organization.[13] Whereas in the past, where foreign affairs matters were delegated out to individual states, with the 1990s and the conflicts and crises following the collapse of Communism in the east, presented problems in Europe’s immediate vicinity. This forced the EU countries to increase the role of collective foreign policy decisions. In 1999 they strengthened the existing CFSP devices with the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), enabling the EU to also undertake conflict resolution and peacekeeping processes using military emergency management instruments.[14]

Following these important steps, came the Schengen Agreement through the Treaty of Amsterdam. This agreement removed border controls between EU nations, and placed many of the concerns outlined in the Maastricht treaty in the hands of the first pillar within the European Union.[15] Furthermore, the Amsterdam treaty established the office of the High Representative for the CFSP, which is currently held by Javier Solana. The European People’s Party and European Democrats (EPP-ED) find the creation of the High Representative as a positive step towards the realization of the European Union’s initial goal to unite and represent the continent. They write, “The Treaty of Amsterdam … set out an institutional basis for the structures needed to launch a common foreign and security policy. Its objectives are to safeguard the principles of independence and the common values of the European Union, as well as to maintain peace and international security.”[16]

At the Cologne European Council in June 1999, EU leaders agreed that "the Union must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed by credible military forces…without NATO.”[17] At the European Council in Helsinki in December 1999, the Helsinki Headline Goal was created, setting a number of important goals for the EU’s foreign policy: “co-operating voluntarily in EU-led operations, Member States must be able, by 2003, to deploy within 60 days and sustain for at least 1 year military forces of, the Union will be able to carry out the full range of the tasks up to 50,000-60,000 persons capable of the full range of tasks stated in Article 17 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU).”[18]

The CFSP was not simply to protect Europe from attacks, but to be a force for democratic change in Europe and elsewhere; making clear that the EU’s mission was broader than simple economic agreements, but was a vision for future political cooperation. The European Security Strategy argues, “European countries are committed to dealing peacefully with disputes and to co-operating through common institutions. Over this period, the progressive spread of the rule of law and democracy has seen authoritarian regimes change into secure, stable and dynamic democracies. Successive enlargements are making a reality of the vision of a united and peaceful continent.”[19]

5. Wallace, Helen. “Policy-Making in the European Union.” 5th edition. Oxford University Press, 2005. pg. 5
6. Wallace, Helen. “Policy-Making in the European Union.” 5th edition. Oxford University Press, 2005. pg.35
7. Oudenaren, John Van. “Uniting Europe”, 2nd ed. Bowman & Littlefield, New York, 2005
8. Nugent, Neil. “The Government and Politics of the European Union.” 5th Edition, Duke University Press, 2003. pg. 415
9. Nugent, Neill. “The Government and Politics of the European Union” 5th edition. Duke University Press, 2003.
10. “The European Union and the World.” The European Commission, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2001. http://www.delalb.ec.europa.eu/al/eu_global_player/print.htm
11. Dinan, Desmond. “Ever Closer Union.” Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2005 3rd edition. Pg. 566
12. Nugent, Neil. “The Government and Politics of the European Union.” 5th Edition, Duke University Press, 2003. pg.61
13. Nugent, Neil. “The Government and Politics of the European Union.” 5th Edition, Duke University Press, 2003. pg. 67
14. “Common Foreign and Security Policy.” Federal Foreign Office, Auswartiges Amt. http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/diplo/en/Europa/Aussenpolitik/GASP/GASP-Start.html
15. Nugent, Neil. “The Government and Politics of the European Union.” 5th Edition, Duke University Press, 2003. Pg.310
16. “Progress within the framework of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP)”. The EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament, June 2004. http://www.epp-ed.eu/Policies/pkeynotes/06common-foreign-security_en.asp
17.Council of the European Union. Military Capabilities, September 2008. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/cms3_fo/showPage.asp?id=1349&lang=EN
18. Council of the European Union. Military Capabilities, September 2008. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/cms3_fo/showPage.asp?id=1349&lang=EN
19. European Security Strategy: A Secure Europe in a Better World. Brussels, December 12 2003.

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