European Political Co-Operation

European Political Co-Operation

European Political Co-Operation

European Political Co-Operation

Synopsis

In light of developments in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe, the foreign policy of the European Community is becoming an increasingly important issue--for the institutional development of the Community itself and its influence in the world of international affairs. This work describes the development of the European Political Co-operation, the process by which Member States coordinate their foreign policy. It also traces the influences which have molded the EPC to its current stature. Written from an internal perspective of the EPC, it will interest students and others concerned with policy and the dynamics of institutions.

Excerpt

European Political Co-operation (EPC) is the process by which the Member States of the European Community co-ordinate their foreign policies. Although increasingly connected with them, it operates separately from the European Communities set up under the Treaties of Paris and Rome. It began in 1970 as a pragmatic way of achieving a foreign policy identity alongside the economic identity of the Communities, avoiding the institutional quarrels which had brought to nothing earlier attempts over a period of twenty years. This book sets out to describe the development of EPC and to trace the influences which have made it what it is today.

The question is an important and topical one. The foreign- policy arm of the European Community is increasingly significant both for the institutional development of the Community and for its impact on world events. As this book was being completed, the Inter-governmental Conference on Political Union was tackling the question of a common foreign, security, and defence policy, the results of which will be important both for the Community and internationally. The discussion must include an assessment of the achievements of Political Co- operation so far, and yet the procedures and political pressures which go towards shaping EPC are little known and frequently misunderstood. It is hoped that this book will improve understanding of a new form of diplomatic process, of great interest for the future, but which has barely begun.

It is too soon to write a complete history of EPC, nor would so voluminous a work be of general interest. In this book, only those events have been selected for study which cast a light on the way EPC has developed. Furthermore, the book has been written from the standpoint of Political Co-operation, frequently looking inwards on itself rather than outwards on the world. Inevitably, this approach emphasizes process rather than policy and gives a Eurocentric view of world events, neglecting related developments for no other reason than that they occurred in forums other than Political Co-operation. These are all omissions which the future historian will need to correct.

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