Background of the CFSP (1969-1999)
Why establish a Common Foreign and Security Policy?
Foreign and security policy are two fundamental features of a country’s sovereignty. Thus there has been reluctance to consider a transfer of powers, even in part, to this area which is not included in the Rome Treaty. This reluctance, although completely understandable, was exacerbated by the failure to establish a European Defence Community (EDC) in 1954. However, two historic fundamental movements helped bring European foreign policies closer:
A natural consequence of developments brought about by European integration:
European integration led to better mutual understanding and naturally enhanced Europe’s common economic and trade interests, but it also determined shared founding values of a democratic Europe. It prompted European countries to consider bringing their foreign policies together on account of stepped up exterior action of the European Economic Community (EEC) (common trade policy, international agreements, association agreements and development aid policy). And yet, criticism persisted that Europe was an economic giant, but political dwarf. Growing interaction between economic and trade issues and international policy reflected in the tendency to increasingly resort to sanctions, played a role in this respect. Lastly, the EEC’s successive enlargements to include the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal naturally broadened the scope of its exterior relations with the Commonwealth, Latin America and other Portuguese-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries.
The influence of sweeping changes worldwide:
The end of the cold war stepped up the process engaged since the beginnings of European integration. The end of a bipolar world gave Europe the capacity for fresh initiative. It also made it impossible to accept a status quo that was increasingly challenged by European public opinion. At the same time, the EEC became greatly involved in stabilising Eastern Europe. Last of all, it was important for Europe to catch up politically in the face of the fears of U.S. withdrawal that emerged at that time.
The outbreak of the crisis in the Balkans in 1990 was testimony to the already evident fact that for Europe, working on Europe’s political aspect was a matter of urgency. At the same time, the acquis communautaire had to be strengthened in light of its planned and expected enlargements in order to avoid making Europe merely a free-trade zone.
The European Political Cooperation stage
History of European Political Cooperation:
The Treaty of Rome can be seen as a way of using economic integration to circumvent the political obstacle after the attempt to establish a European Defence Community failed in 1954. The Six only revived their project of building a political Union at the Hague Summit in December 1969. In response to an inquiry of the Heads of State and Government, the foreign ministers proposed in June 1970 that cooperation in the field of foreign policy be enhanced. This led to the birth of European Political Cooperation (EPC), which operated over twenty years pragmatically but substantively outside the Community framework.
The main stages in building EPC were as follows:
The Davignon Report (October 1970). This was the founding text of European political cooperation. It defined its goals (harmonisation of its positions, consultation and, where necessary, joint action) and its instruments (meetings for foreign ministers twice a year, meetings for political directors in the Political Committee four times a year). These mechanisms were strengthened by recommendations from the Copenhagen Report (July 1973): From that time, ministers were to meet four times a year, and the Political Committee once a month, working groups were to be set up, the COREU network was to be set up, and the first press releases from the Nine were to be issued.
Title III of the Single European Act (February 1986), devoted to European cooperation in the sphere of foreign policy, legally endorsed some 15 years of practices rather than bringing about genuine changes. Yet the Single European Act strengthened coherence of European political cooperation and Community action in the strict sense, and established a Secretariat to be based in Brussels and placed under the authority of the Presidency.
Overall, European Political Cooperation remained a process of intergovernmental consultation based on consensus. Yet it was an essential stage in launching the CFSP. Twenty years of increasingly systematic consultation largely contributed to a better mutual understanding but also to the Europeans’ genuinely coming together on most international policy matters. The climate of trust and better understanding between Europeans, with their reflex for ongoing consultation - unique in the international diplomatic setting - and instruments they put into place, were the main achievements that made it possible to imagine the emergence of a common foreign and security policy.
The Treaty on European Union (the Maastricht Treaty)
The Treaty on European Union (TEU, adopted at Maastricht on 7 February 1992, entered into force on 11 November 1993) was the logical outcome of twenty years of European political cooperation and a decisively new and ambitious stage. In its preamble, its signatories affirmed this stating that they were «resolved to implement a common foreign and security policy including the progressive framing of a common defence policy, which might lead to a common defence in accordance with the provisions of Article 17, thereby reinforcing the European identity and its independence in order to promote peace, security and progress in Europe and the world.»
The Maastricht Treaty established to this end in a single institutional framework, i.e. the European Union, a structure based on three pillars. The common foreign and security policy constitutes the second pillar of this project. As a new dimension in European integration, it retains rules of procedure that are similar to intergovernmental mechanisms, different from those governing the first pillar (Community Affairs), and closer to those governing the third pillar (Justice and Home Affairs).
With regards to European political cooperation, the CFSP breaks new ground concerning three fundamental points:
Member States shall “inform and consult one another within the Council on any matter of foreign and security policy”, but most important they shall “ensure that their national policies conform on the common positions” that they defend within international and organisations and conferences. A State shall no longer dissociate themselves from a common position;
Lastly, a new legal instrument was created in addition to a common position: joint action, allowing the Union’s financial resources to be mobilised.
The Treaty of Amsterdam:
The intergovernmental conference which took place during the European Council of Amsterdam (June 1997), reformed the CFSP less ambitiously than France would have liked. But thanks to its results, Member States could make progress towards a more effective, coherent and visible common foreign and security policy given they made full use of the instruments made available to them.
The Treaty of Amsterdam, signed on 2 October 1997, entered into force on 1 May 1999. Its main contributions in terms of the CFSP are as follows:
Changes introduced by the Treaty of Nice:
Concluded at the European Council of Nice in December 2000, this Treaty was signed on 26 February 2001. It entered into force on 1 February 2003. Some provisions of an institutional nature (including the weighting of votes in the Council) have only been applied since the entry of the ten new member countries into the Union. The main changes introduced in the field of the CFSP are as follows:
The introduction of the Political and Security Committee in the Treaty Article 25 of the TEU was amended to take account of the establishment on 22 February 2001 of the Political and Security Committee. Based in Brussels and composed of representatives at ambassador level and members of Permanent Representations to the European Union, this Committee under the Council’s authority assumes all tasks concerning the CFSP of the Political Committee set up for European Political Cooperation. It also exercises political control and strategic direction of crisis management operations. The main innovative legal aspect is in the possibility for the Council to authorise the Political and Security Committee, for the purpose and for the duration of a crisis management operation, to take relevant decisions concerning the political control and strategic direction of management crisis operations. This is the case for the Althea Operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The introduction of enhanced cooperation in the second pillar Enhanced cooperation can only relate to the implementation of a joint action or common position. It must be adopted by all partners under the conditions provided for in the Treaty. It can not relate to matters with military or defence implications. These restrictions aim to preserve the coherence and consistency of the European Union’s external action. They also aim to ensure coherence among European partners in the management of European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). For all other areas, the conditions applied to enhanced cooperation are very similar to those provided for in the first pillar (the Council’s taking decisions by a qualified majority save referring the matter to the European Council for a decision to be taken unanimously in the case of opposition on the part of a Member State, a threshold of eight Member States to take part in it). The extension of the recourse to qualified majority voting It concerns the appointment of the Secretary-General and the High Representative of the CFSP and the Deputy Secretary-General (Article 207 of the EC Treaty) and special representatives of the European Union (Article 23 of the TEU). The Council also acts by a qualified majority when concluding international agreements concerning the second pillar when the agreement is envisaged in order to implement a joint action or common position (Article 24 of the TEU). The taking into consideration of developments in the field of European defence A «tidying up» of Article 17, concerning the ESDP, eliminated the references to the WEU (save, at our request, the reference that maintains the possibility of developing closer ties between Member States in the framework of the WEU).