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European Foreign Policy

From Rhetoric to Reality?


Edited By Dieter Mahncke, Alicia Ambos and Christopher Reynolds

There is agreement in political and academic circles that the European Union needs a common foreign and security policy (CFSP). The question is how to move from recognised necessity to practical implementation: from rhetoric to reality. Many efforts have been made, and indeed the creation of a European foreign policy is ‘work in progress’. Bringing together a multinational team of both young researchers and established academics, this volume offers a comprehensive analysis of this process, uniquely combining the examination of the foundations, institutions, procedures and obstacles of EU-level foreign policy with an extensive range of case studies exploring European policy ‘on the ground’ in key areas such as the Balkans, Africa or the Middle East.
Of use and interest to students of European politics and the general reader alike, it breaks through the Euro-jargon to provide a clear, accessible and up-to-date account of this unprecedented system of international relations, with a particular focus placed on the questions of why EU member states participate in the CFSP and what impact it enables them to have in geopolitics.
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Introduction 17


17 Introduction Alicia AMBOS, Dieter MAHNCKE & Christopher REYNOLDS A Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) has long been the holy grail of the European integration process. Attempts at institutional- ising foreign and security policy cooperation in Europe stem back at least to the early 1950s and the proposals for a European Defence Community (EDC), while intellectually the idea can be traced much further back through the writings of, amongst others, Saint-Pierre, the Duc de Sully and William Penn. And yet, despite over thirty years of such cooperation within the EU itself, and the bold pronouncement in the Maastricht Treaty on European Union (1992) that a “common for- eign and security policy is hereby established” (interestingly, in the Amsterdam Treaty in 1997 the phrase was changed to a more modest “The Union shall define and implement a common foreign and security policy…”), few would disagree that even today the notion of a common European foreign policy largely remains “more an objective than a reality”.1 Almost everybody favours a common European foreign policy. In public opinion polls a vast majority of those asked express support for the idea.2 The same is true for politicians, although they probably have rather differing ideas about desirable outcomes. The European Conven- tion paid a great deal of attention to it. Among academics specialising in the politics of European integration, the making of a common European foreign policy is a much debated issue. This study, appropriately undertaken at the College of Europe, is an attempt to...

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