The Foreign Security Policy of the European Union. Past, present and future

Author (Person)
Series Title
Series Details No.7
Publication Date December 1999
ISBN 1-84127-001-6
Content Type

Book abstract:

This book provides an overview of the efforts to develop a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) for the European Union. The EU has steadily grown as an actor in international affairs, but its power and influence are predominantly in the domain of non-military, or 'soft', aspects of security. This includes political, economic, financial, trade, and environmental issues as well as concerns such as illegal immigration and cross-border crime. There are however signs that this may be changing. The author identifies a number of reasons why the EU needs a CFSP. First, the EU will only be heard in world affairs if it has a single voice. Second, the end of the Cold War has dramatically changed the European Union's strategic situation. Although the Soviet threat has disappeared, new risks have appeared in its place that need to be handled collectively by the Union. Third, the US has reduced its military presence in Europe and pressed the EU to take on more responsibility for its own security and regional security.

The first chapter considers the ideas of the Founding Fathers of European integration on security issues, reviews the proposals for the European Defence Community in the 1950s and discusses the creation and operation of the system of European Political Co-operation. The second chapter covers the establishment of the CFSP, analyses the debates during the negotiations leading to the Treaty of Maastricht and includes an assessment of the EU's performance in dealing with the Yugoslav crisis. The third chapter describes CFSP structures, while the fourth examines the CFSP in operation. The changes made as a result of the Treaty of Amsterdam are reviewed in the next two chapters and chapter seven sets the CFSP against the positive balance sheets of the EU's overall external relations. Chapter eight examines the challenges facing the CFSP and chapter nine concludes by looking towards the future.

The book is aimed at an undergraduate audience. It includes a sizeable bibliography, website addresses of relevant organisations and appendices containing treaty and other documentary extracts.

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