Wednesday, 9 January 2008

EU Treaty of Lisbon: Foreign and security policy

One the one hand, the governments of the Member States of the European Union find it necessary to join their forces by creating a common foreign and security policy (CFSP), including a common security and defence policy (CSDP). On the other hand, these same governments are loath to give up their formal sovereignty. Therefore, in addition to the amended Treaty provisions, including requirements for unanimous decisions, they agree on a joint declaration, which says, in effect, that they can continue to do what they very well please.

The amended Treaty on European Union (TEU) has to be read in conjunction with Declaration (number 13) concerning the common foreign and security policy:

“The Conference underlines that the provisions in the Treaty on European Union covering the Common Foreign and Security Policy, including the creation of the office of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Establishment of an External Action Service, do not affect the responsibilities of the Member States, as they currently exist, for the formulation and conduct of their foreign policy nor of their national representation in third countries and international organisations.

The Conference also recalls that the provisions governing the Common Security and Defence Policy do not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of the Member States.

It stresses that the European Union and its Member States will remain bound by the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and, in particular, by the primary responsibility of the Security Council and of its Members for the maintenance of international peace and security.”

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Your glossator is caught thinking that such inconsistencies translate into weaknesses. Dealing with the great and rising powers of the world will continue to be based on the eventual good will of the Member States of the EU.

The declaration seems to be unclear enough to offer an escape route for almost any occasion, should a Member State choose to distance itself from the common efforts to achieve a consistent EU policy. Every Member State would seem to be able to release itself from responsibility concerning the formulation and conduct of its foreign policy in general and its national representation in third countries and international organisations, as well as in all questions pertaining to the “specific character” (whatever that is) of its security and defence policy. A special escape clause seems to be on offer for the members of the Security Council of the United Nations, especially the permanent members France and the United Kingdom.

On this basis, is the Reform Treaty going to create a “superstate”, a “superpower”, a “great power” or a “great regional power”?

What do the coming arrangements resemble more, the Constitution of the United States of America (1787) or the Articles of Confederation (1778) and the Continental Congress, which nearly lost the colonies the war for independence?

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The IGC 2007 Mandate (Council document 11218/07, point 15) said: The second Chapter contains the provisions of Title V of the existing TEU, as amended in the 2004 IGC (including the European External Action Service and the permanent structured cooperation in the field of defence). In this Chapter, a new first Article will be inserted stating that the Union’s action on the international scene will be guided by the principles, will pursue the objectives and will be conducted in accordance with the general provisions on the Union’s external action which are laid down in Chapter 1. (Footnote 6 contained the text of the declaration mentioned above.)

After Chapter 1 General provisions on the Union’s external action, follows Chapter 2 Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy. The new first Article (10c TEU) in Chapter 2 refers to the provisions in Chapter 1, and it forms a bridge between the two chapters. .

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The Treaty of Lisbon (OJ 17.12.2007, C 306), Chapter 2 Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy, Section 1 Common provisions, inserts an Article 10c TEU.

Article 10c

The Union’s action on the international scene, pursuant to this Chapter, shall be guided by the principles, shall pursue the objectives of, and be conducted in accordance with, the general provisions laid down in Chapter 1.

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Next time we turn to the CFSP competence of the European Union.


Ralf Grahn