Common Foreign and Security Policy - Policy Essay Example

Common Foreign and Security Policy



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            Considering the presence of interrelated nations, the implementation of foreign policies and security measure require coherence and credibility. Foreign policies can be defined as the part of a state’s policy that determines its relations with other states and with international community[1]. The concept of foreign policy considers a wide range of components, such as diplomacy, fostering and maintaining of alliances, military policies, trade and economic policies, etc, which are part of the broad and complex nature of multi-connected political affairs. On the other hand, security policy comprises the idea of defense from possible external threats, linkages or connections within the international society, and defense towards possible global threats, such as terrorism, increasing price commodities, social unrest, etc. The arrangements for negotiating trade policy had been rather different from the regulations provided by the general foreign and security policies; hence, an alternative to resolve the issue founded European Political Cooperation (EPC). After a while, it was February 7, 1992 when the member states of the European Economic Community (EEC) initiated a new stage of enhancement in their political affairs. The establishment and signing of the TEU provided significant foreign and security cooperative measures that became part of the European Union[2].

            Within the study, the aim is to analyze the significant policy objectives, development, implementation and arguments that have been accumulated from its entire course of application of Common Foreign and Security Policy. The study considers the historical overview of the policy in order to determine the rationale and the proceedings it took prior to its establishment. After which, the study provides an analysis of the policy itself, which later on moves to gathering of possible effects and implication of policy.


Historical Overview

            In 1990, at a Franco-German initiative, a letter was sent to the EU Presidency asserting the need to initiate a CFSP. The request was further reinforced under the Italian Presidency later in the same year. Finally, the Gulf War of 1990 had been imperative in exposing the weaknesses of the lack of an integrated European approach to CFSP (Eliassen, p.5). It was during November 1993 when CFSP became a realization through the presence of a treaty that came into the scene within 22-months of ratification[3]. The presence of Treaty on European Union (TEU), also known as Maastricht Treaty in November 1993 paved the way for the European Union to establish the CFSP, which should attempt to address development from the external Western Europe[4].

            During December 1990, the European Council provided their vote for the establishment of CSFC policy under a prioritized claim. In 1991, the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) took hold of the issue of CSFP initiation under the Conference on Political Union. The TEU upgraded EPC in order to enhance foreign relations and to form part of the three pillars of the European Union. The CFSP was established under the backgrounds of an intergovernmental mechanism initiated by governments of the member states in EU and the Council of Ministers[5].

            From the earlier historical sense, the European Defense Community proposal, which can be considered as the original CFSP, during May 1952 was rejected by the French Parliament in 1954[6]. From there on, various trials to establish Defense Community took place in the European history. In 986, the state members of the EEC tried to establish a policy that should develop culture of cooperation, which consequently gave rise to EPC. In the long run, this policy recognized the need to establish their stance towards the international scenery; hence, initiating the development of CFSP[7]. From 1993, the implementation of CFSP had attained the attention of United States and United Nation in terms of its advances.

            During 1998, significant advances had been made through Britain’s move towards the development of policy activity and the EU’s maintenance of the policy. The United States’ increasing reluctance to consider the problems of European security supervisions can no longer afford not to act as one in its security requirements[8]. The policy had somehow obtained development in fostering foreign relationships with independent countries; however, the issues on security development became problematic with regards to United State’s participation of European security alliances. The security guarantees had caused conflicting sides within European Union (e.g. Germans against United States, France and United Kingdom’s security concerns, etc.) since it is only by United States that these guarantees can be provided through NATO[9]. Hence, this resulted to American predominance in the security policies that significantly limited the Western Europe’s capacity to initiate diplomatic policy agreements[10].

Policy Analysis

            After the implementation of CFSP, the performance had somehow provided disappointing results, since the union’s goal the obtain enhancement in their foreign policy and security fields was the met[11]. During the operations of CFSP, problems and questions aroused due to its failure to fulfill the aspirations declared during TEU’s agreement. Significantly, the creation and approval of TEU for CSFP can be summarized into five components[12]. First, the end of the Cold war had somehow caused international division among nations who played significant role in the incident; hence, a longstanding security structures disappeared and incapacitated the line of policy, which needed the European Union’s policy alternatives. Second, the idea of Europeanization of security policy provided the hint of necessity for such policy that can facilitate selective withdrawal of United States from European economy. Third, the European Union began to realize the suppression of their political powers due to United States widening influence within their economic firms and industries that made their country economically strengthened but politically manipulated. Fourth, the perception of EPC’s fragile rule and weakness over political and institutional framework led to the need of establishing stronger institutionalization and clearer hold on political affairs. Lastly, the spillover effects made by economic and political merging in the perspective of single-market project stimulated political cooperation. The primary instruments utilized by the policy to maintain its operation involved the adoption of Joint Actions and Common Positions by the Council of Ministers and the European Council. Political analysts (Rhodes, 1998; Roney, 1998; Webber, 2001) argued that the proposed objectives were not even concise and clear. Considering the general notion of these objectives, the policy failed to acquire specific and detailed objectives that should cover the entire proceedings and function of the policy. In analysis of the policy, the study utilized the proposed objectives of the policy under Article J.1(2) of the TEU[13]:

To safeguard the common values, fundamental interests and independence of the EU
To strengthen the security of the EU and its Member States
To preserve peace and strengthen international security
To promote international cooperation
To develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
From the analysis of CFSP’s failure to succeed in implementation, one of the main weaknesses of the policy was that it copied the functional roles that should had been accomplished by NATO, the United States, or United Nations. In this argument, the CFSP somehow manifests irrelevance in implementation for political or economic needs[14]. The duplicate of function instituted by CFSP should only lead to two outcomes, either replacing NATO, United States and/or United Nation’s foreign and security policies, or be considered irrelevant in the field since the same policies were much more considered by the international perspective. On the other hand, under the concept of viability wherein it noted the participation and special interests of the member states, the international cooperation cannot be facilitate since the success of the policy cannot convince the joint policy goals of the members. Lastly, the adequacy of the policy cannot be justified only by appropriate policy strategies, but rather through intergovernmental cooperation. The duplication of an existing and well-justified policy significantly placed the success of CFSP in the lower case.

In addition to the policy problems, the idea of establishing a common foreign and security policy for the EU was somehow problematic. Considering the importance of merging political and economic powers, only a well-coordinated and fully functioning common foreign policy would be able to attain such goal. In the Title V of the TEU statements, the evident declaration of a common foreign and security policy to be established proposed a misleading context[15]. The conflicting arguments of the policy had somehow provided significant hints of ineffectiveness, such as the conflict that occurs between the groups of Integrationists by France and Germany against Atlantacists by the United Kingdom, and the fact that even after the initiation of the policy, the effects had played insignificant roles in Bosnian war[16]. With these results, the problem can be traced from the state policy agreements that were formulated during the initial phases of the policy and the actual formulation of abrupt goals and ideals that were note verily evaluated[17].

The commission based their evaluation from an assumption that in order to obtain position in political affairs, Europe must be placed under the jurisdiction of commonalities that merges the state’s political and economical powers, which consequently creates a purely European society[18]. As far as European integration was concerned, the target of political community surpassing the borders of national communities require more than just common racial lineage. Moreover, the diverse national interest was another condition that hindered the policy’s success since the operational implementation can be voted by majority by the Council members or by unanimous decision; therefore, national interests still required coordination on every issue since every member of the council possessed their veto powers. The diverse national interest could mean that the lowest common policy denominator was achieved[19].


            The policy of CFSP was designed in order to concentrate European states into a common foreign and security policy that was thought to potentate enhancements and development of European political and economical power over United Nations and United States. However, significant problems aroused during its implementation that caused the limitation and failure of targeting its goals. Within the study, some of the etiologies that had been analyzed were the policy duplication, misleading objectives and treaty statements, unrealistic goals and problematic objectives. CFSP, in conclusion, had not reached its aims of political and economical development for EU.


Bretherton, C. and Vogler, J. The European Union as a Global Actor (Routledge, 1999) p.169

Eliassen, K. A. Foreign and Security Policy in the European Union (SAGE, 1998) p.1

Koskenniemi, M. International Law Aspects of the European Union (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1998) p.19

Koutrakos, P. Common Foreign and Security Policy CFSP (Hart Publishing, 2006) p.383

Laurent, P. and Maresceau, M. Deepening and Widening (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999) p.133

Price V.C. The Enlargement of the European Union: Issues and Strategies (Routledge, 1999) p.136

Rhodes, C. The European Union in the World Community (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998) p.65

Roney, A. The European Union: A Guide Through the EC/EU Maze (Kogan Page, 1998) p.774

Webber, D. New Europe, New Germany, Old Foreign Policy? (Routledge, 2001) p.83

Wessel, R. A . The European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1999 p.1

[1] Eliassen, K. A. Foreign and Security Policy in the European Union (SAGE, 1998) p.1
[2] The history of CFSP reveals an ongoing struggle to reach an agreement between members of the EEC on political cooperation alongside their economic cooperation, and legal institutional relationship between economic and political issues (Wessel, R. A . The European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1999) p.1
[3] Price V.C. The Enlargement of the European Union: Issues and Strategies (Routledge, 1999) p.136
[4] Part of the agreement involves the Western Europe and those Member States themselves, that, after the Cold War, the Community’s economic strength should translate into greater political influence in the international system (Price p.136).
[5] The rules on the EU’s CFSP were not laid down in a legal and political vacuum. Instead, a considerable body of rules, principles and customs had accumulated since the early days of European integration (Koutrakos, P. Common Foreign and Security Policy CFSP (Hart Publishing, 2006) p.383).
[6] Ibid, p.383
[7] The emerging EPC was incremental in nature, a fact acknowledge by the European Council itself, when it referred to the vocation of the Union to deal with aspects of foreign and security policy, in accordance with a sustained revolutionary process and in a unitary manner (Ibid, p.384)
[8] Webber, D. New Europe, New Germany, Old Foreign Policy? (Routledge, 2001) p.83
[9] North Atlantic Treaty Organization
[10] Ibid, p.83-84
[11] This is somehow demonstrated by Yugoslavia in their decisive conflict-resolution activities that was not achieved by CFSP (Rhodes, C. The European Union in the World Community (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998) p.65).
[12] Ibid, p.65
[13] Roney, A. The European Union: A Guide Through the EC/EU Maze (Kogan Page, 1998) p.774
[14] According to Rhodes (1998), when new international policy instruments are created by a group of states (as in the case of CFSP), their performance will depend on the existence or nonexistence of other policy instruments run by the same actors for dealing with the same issues. (p.66).
[15] The CFSP cannot be regarded as a common policy in a sense analogous to the Common Commercial Policy; rather, it is a highly institutionalized and complex process of consultation and cooperation between Member State governments. This reflects a traditional view of foreign policy – as pursuit of national interests and state security through formal, intergovernmental relations (Bretherton, C. and Vogler, J. The European Union as a Global Actor (Routledge, 1999) p.169).
[16] Laurent, P. and Maresceau, M. Deepening and Widening (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999) p.133
[17] Koskenniemi, M. International Law Aspects of the European Union (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1998) p.19
[18] Ibid, p.19
[19] Rhodes, p.67

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