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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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Conclusions 371


371 Conclusions Alicia AMBOS, Dieter MAHNCKE & Christopher REYNOLDS Foreign and security policy cooperation in the European Union (EU) is very much a dynamic field of European governance. Ever since the inception of European Political Cooperation (EPC) in the Luxembourg Report of 1970, the Union’s foreign policy-making system has essentially been subject to an ongoing widening, in the sense of the policies, issues and tools within its scope, and deepening, in the sense of greater institutionalisation and policy coordination.1 Indeed, in recent years in particular we have witnessed a period of ‘dynamic institution- alisation’ with a raft of innovations as a result of the Amsterdam and Nice treaties, and a series of proposals stemming from the Convention on the Future of Europe. In a sense, much of this book has attempted to assess whether these changes have ‘worked’, which is to say whether they have served to equip the European Union with a more effective and consistent foreign policy. And yet, as Wolfgang Wessels points out in chapter three, one of the principal reasons why the CFSP has been the subject of such constant reform in subsequent Intergovernmental Con- ferences has been the very perceived inefficiency of its institutional structures and policy outputs. Whether proposals currently on the table will have any positive impact remains, of course, uncertain. If one major conclusion can be drawn from this study, it is that the picture is ambivalent. While a ‘European foreign policy’ can be said to exist, even if sometimes only in the...

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