Friday 11 January 2008

EU Treaty of Lisbon: Foreign policy instruments

The common foreign and security policy CFSP) is subject to specific rules and procedures, and the adoption of legislative acts is excluded, according to the amended Treaty on European Union (TEU; Article 11). Thus, there is a need for specific instruments for this area.


The existing Article 12 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU; latest consolidated version 29.12.2006 C 321 E) looks like this:

“Article 12

The Union shall pursue the objectives set out in Article 11 by:
- defining the principles of and general guidelines for the common foreign and security policy;
- deciding on common strategies;
- adopting joint actions;
- adopting common positions;
- strengthening systematic cooperation between Member States in the conduct of policy.”

The proposal of the Convention Article III-195(3) and Article III-294(3) of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (OJ 16.12.2004 C 310) brought only minor changes. The Treaty of Lisbon reverts to a wording even closer to the existing TEU, since the “European decisions” have become mere “decisions” in the amending Treaty.


The Treaty of Lisbon (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306) replaces the existing Article 12 TEU with a new Article 12.

Article 12

The Union shall conduct the common foreign and security policy by:

(a) defining the general guidelines;

(b) adopting decisions defining:

(i) actions to be undertaken by the Union;

(ii) positions to be taken by the Union;

(iii) arrangements for the implementation of the decisions referred to in points (i) and (ii);

and by

(c) strengthening systematic cooperation between Member States in the conduct of policy.


The different instruments are explained in the following Articles.

Ralf Grahn

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