Beyond Intergovernmental Cooperation: The Influence of the European Parliament and the Commission on EU Foreign and Security Policies

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Series Details Vol.20, Issue 3, October 2015, p399–417
Publication Date October 2015
ISSN 1384-6299
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Although the Lisbon Treaty removed the pillar structure, the Member States have kept the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) as an intergovernmental instrument, run by special procedures. At the same time, the reality of this description is increasingly questioned in the European Union’s (EU) foreign policy literature. However, the role of supranational institutions in the CFSP remains to be studied systematically. There are no empirical studies that try to capture the de facto involvement and influence of both the Commission and the European Parliament (EP) in the CFSP. Aiming to contribute to fill this gap in the literature, this article explores if and in what way the involvement and influence of the Commission and EP testify to the claim that the CFSP has moved beyond intergovernmental cooperation. Our findings challenge the way we conventionally perceive of EU foreign policy cooperation as a policy-area firmly placed in the hands of Member States’ executives. Although the Member States formally remain in position to veto all final decisions, the EP and Commission’s involvement and influence on CFSP decision-making questions the reality of this right. Our analysis thus questions whether decision-making within the CFSP is as special as a reading of the treaties might suggest.

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