Yearbook of European Law - Vol. 14

By Francis Geoffrey Jacobs | Go to book overview

Common Foreign and Security Policy

GEOFFREY EDWARDS


I. Introduction

With the entry into force of the Treaty on European Union in November 1993, the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) formally came into operation. There were perhaps hopes rather than expectations that there would be a qualitative change over European Political Cooperation (EPC), the procedure for co-ordinating Member States' foreign policy, not least because of the continuing conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Bosnia and the inability of either the Union or, indeed, the international Community through the United Nations to bring peace continued to overshadow much during 1994. Moreover, in so far as the Contact Group (effectively, Britain, France, and Germany, rather than the European Union, together with Russia and the United States) became the interlocuteur, the approach to Bosnia seemed at odds with the spirit if not letter of a common foreign and security policy. Nor were there many 'successes' elsewhere, in the sense of the European Union making a significant contribution to the resolution of disputes and conflicts, for among other issues that faced the Member States were the horrors perpetrated in Rwanda and the growing tensions in Algeria. Despite the wider coverage, the 'new' instruments available to it -- particularly joint actions -- and the strengthened obligations on the Member States, the CFSP often appeared indistinguishable from EPC, especially perhaps in its continued preference for declarations.

While defining 'success' in foreign policy might be somewhat problematic, it continued to be the case, seemingly, that the Member States, for all their individual commitments, in Bosnia, Rwanda, and elsewhere, were not prepared to commit themselves too far in common ventures. In general the Member States were still little prepared to forego national approaches, preferring, in the words of one European Parliament report, to regard the CFSP as 'a dimension and even an instrument of their foreign policy and not as its keystone'.1 Domestic considerations have continued -- perhaps unsurprisingly -- to influence government actions, sometimes even when those actions were clearly

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1
Report on the functioning of the TEU with a view to the 1996 IGC -- implementation and development of the union Co-draughtsmen's working documents (Mme Dury) A4-0102/95/Part III (PE 212.450/fin/ Part III).
© Geoffrey Edwards, 1995. Centre of International Studies, Cambridge. The author is grateful to Charles Reed of Trinity Hall for his help in gathering information for this survey.

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