The Actors in Europe's Foreign Policy

The Actors in Europe's Foreign Policy

The Actors in Europe's Foreign Policy

The Actors in Europe's Foreign Policy

Synopsis

Five years ago observers might have doubted that national foreign policies would continue to be of importance: it seemed inevitable that collective European positions were becoming ever more common and effective. Now the pendulum has swung back with a vengeance. The divided European responses to the prospect of war with Iraq in 1990-91, and to the war in the Balkans have made what happens in the national capitals seem divisive. The Actors in Europe's Foreign Policy is a timely survey of the interplay between the European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy and the long-established national foreign policies of the Union's Member-States. The book contains a chapter on each country in the Union as well as a chapter on the United States in its role as the `thirteenth seat at the table'. There is also a chapter on the European Commission, whose role in the external relations of the Community steadily grew during the 1980's. This book will be invaluable for students and scholars of the European Union and of international politics. It will also be of great interest to practitioners in all countries concerned with Europe's role in international affairs.

Excerpt

This book is the successor to National Foreign Policies and European Political Cooperation, published by George Allen and Unwin for the Royal Institute of International Affairs in 1983. The present volume advances the themes explored in the first in a number of significant respects. Unusually, it also draws on a high proportion of the same participants as in 1983, thus making possible a high degree of continuity and comparability.

National Foreign Policies met a clear need, being the first comparative study of European foreign policies which was also the product of a multinational group of scholars from all the EC states. It sold out its print run and was thereafter in persistent demand from students and observers of European affairs. It represented a particular perspective on European foreign policy which was otherwise barely represented in the literature—and is still thin on the ground. This is far from being an ideological position—the contributors disagree widely amongst themselves on, for example, the desired future path for the European Union. It is, rather, a corrective to the general tendency to discuss European Political Cooperation (EPC), and from 1993 the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) largely in terms of the common positions and joint actions which they are supposed to have produced, with the states left on the margins of the analysis. This tendency is more common these days than the opposite, crassly realist mistake of assuming that Europe’s international presence amounts to little more than the sum of the national interests of the EU’s two or three major states. Rather, the premise of both this volume and that of 1983 was that this important and fascinating new development in international diplomacy can only be understood properly in terms of the interplay between the attempts at collective action on the one hand and the national foreign policies which continue vigorously, on the other.

Accordingly, from the early 1990s I have had it in mind to produce a sequel to National Foreign Policies which would do more than simply change dates and add a page or two of contemporary history to each chapter. That I was able to do was thanks to the hospitality and resources of the European University Institute at San Domenico di Fiesole near Florence, where I was

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