The Common Foreign And Security Policy (CFSP): European Integration In Perspective

The Common Foreign And Security Policy (CFSP): European Integration In Perspective
Prepared By: Dr. Michel Nehme
American University of Beirut and Notre Dame University

Achieving peace by integrating smaller political units into larger ones has long been a goal of some political theorists and policymakers. The Roman Empire brought the Pax Romana for much of the world for several centuries. Although there were several revolts within the Empire and continuing battles with the Barbarians on its borders, the Roman Empire did preside over a remarkable era of peace as well as of relative prosperity. Definitely, it was largely a peace of domination, not the kind of stable peace or security community capable of peaceful change to which civilized people aspire.

Writing in the fourteenth century, Dante nevertheless looked back on the Roman Empire as being far better than the situation he knew that is almost constant warfare among the Italian city-states. He argued that "in a multitude of rulers there is evil" and hoped for the emergence of a unified Italy under a single crown. Following the devastation of World War II, the second enormously destructive war in only 30 years, and some people adopted the principles of world federalism, the idea that permanent peace could be achieved only by establishing a world government.

In Europe many leaders wowed that wars among Europeans had to cease and saw some form of European unification as the means to secure that goal. In May 1950 Robert Schumann, foreign minister of France, announced: a plan that would "establish the basis for a European Federation ... indispensable for the safeguarding of peace." This kind of plans led to major Western European institution, EURATOM, intended to undertake collectively the enormously expensive but promising development of nuclear power. It ultimately led to the signing of the 1957 Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community (EEC), or common market.

The issue of nuclear power and common security policy returns us to another motive pursued by many Europeans in the movement for European unity in addition to internal peace and prosperity. The argument has always been realized that big countries have great power, and only big countries are great powers. This aim largely motivated the attempt to recreate a European Defense Community (EDC) in 1950. Because of the continued deterioration in relations with the Soviet Union, The EDC was conceived as a way to harness German personnel and industrial strength to the common defense. Though the project of EDC was rejected because not enough Europeans were ready to give up such sweeping force to a supranational institution, still, the outcome in what was later formed and became to be know as the European Union is one of the great political success stories of the post-war world ("My continent" 3). Almost half a century ago, Western Europe began a process of integration that has now grown into an entity that has no clear boundaries, definitions, nor goals. What the now named European Union is following could be labled as a process that is leading down a road whose end nobody can agree on. Classic Integration Theory dictates initially integrating economically then politically and finally militarily (Chilton 108), and it is this process that is outlined in the Treaty of European Union signed in Maastricht, Netherlands in 1991. With the creation of the European Monetary Union in 1999 and its continuing implementation, economic integration is clearly in the process and proceeding successfully. The next two steps of political and military integration were clearly advanced by the creation of a framework for the making of a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) in the Maastricht Treaty. "The move from the European Political Community (EPC) to the CFSP, which expanded the European Union's scope in foreign policy to include security and defense issues, was in part the result of a broader process of European integration, as well as an expression of the long-term goal of creating a political union" (Peterson, A Common 96). Over ten years have passed since the taking of this new step toward integration. This goal was strengthened and reaffirmed at the 1997 Amsterdam Inter-Governmental Conference where the so-called Amsterdam Treaty addressed flaws in the CFSP process and pushed it forward. Despite this, one of the largest areas of ambiguity in the European Union integration process is the CFSP. It represents as unparalleled attempt to unify the individual foreign policies of fifteen nation states. The CFSP is ambitious in that it calls for the creation of a common defense. This aspect is hard to achieve in its progress both independently and in relation to foreign policy. The CFSP itself as a whole is striving to successes and trying to avoid failures. If we look at the CFSP's contribution to the EU's foreign policy in the former Yugoslavia, Eastern and Central Europe, the Middle East and its Trans-Atlantic relations, then clearer picture is attainable. Despite its failures and shortcomings the CFSP is a great success considering the task it is now undertaking. From examination of the last ten years of CFSP one could conclude that there is a promising future in further integrating the EU in the field of foreign policy and failures that have been observed stem from the experimental nature of European integration.

The study of The European Union poses many problems that its creators foresaw and purposely left vague. What type of Union would it be? How deep and wide would it reach? How much sovereignty (i.e.: decision-making power) would individual states lose? Most importantly, what structure of institutions would be created in order to integrate smoothly? "Jean Monnet's [one of the original and most famous founding fathers of the EU] pragmatism deliberately left the ultimate scope and shape of Europe vague and open" (Hoffmann, "The Sum" 38). This also serves as a tool for advancing the process of integration. Helene Sjursen reaches an excellent conclusion that the EU does not identify an 'end' in order to satisfy all political agendas (Peterson, A Common 112). Yet this ambiguity also holds back such areas as the CFSP for "a procedure is not a purpose, [and] a process is not a policy" (Hoffmann, The European 84). What is the goal of the CFSP? It seems clear that this ambiguity has held EU foreign policy making back rather then helped it advance. One of the most prominent incentives for the creation of a united foreign policy is that of 'politics-of-scale'. This is one aspect of the possible goal of a 'Superpower Europe'. This line of reasoning is one of the leading rationales behind the 'European experiment'. By aggregating the diplomatic resources of the Member States, it will allow the EU, in the words of a former Prime Minister of Spain, "to ensure that the role we [the EU] play in the world is in accordance with what we are from an economic, trade, and cultural perspective"(Gonzalez 40). The EU has fifteen members whose combined wealth almost matches that of the US and whose population is thirty percent bigger. So in respect to this possible goal, "an opportunity undoubtedly awaits it" ("Superpower Europe"). "The idea is that governments, by imposing on themselves more co-ordination in these fields [foreign policy and defense], can give the Union a political clout in the world closer in size to its economic one" ("Javier Solana").

This being the ultimate goal of the CFSP and arguably the European Union, attempts at a common foreign policy should be examined in respect to these expectations. This line of analysis has given rise to the so called 'capabilities-expectations gap' in EU foreign policy. The CFSP aims at giving Europe a proportionate voice in international relations therefore anything less then this is considered a failure. Though the line of reasoning is valid, the conclusion is irrelevant. The "CFSP is still in its infancy. Entry into force of the Treaty of European Union did not overnight produce a ready-made common foreign policy. As any builder knows, it is important to get the foundations and the framework of the structure right first" (Hurd 427). For this reason, unlike Peterson and Sjursen, this paper will not examine the CFSP from the harsh 'capabilities-expectations gap'. But from the view that it is a work in progress and, as is any such experiment, it is liable to mistakes, failures, and shortcomings that will help it progress. In further examining the changes that the European Union is constantly implementing to improve its workings and further its objectives. Within this framework, the CFSP structural aspects will be looked at to determine its future success or failure.


II. Institutional Framework for the CFSP

The European Union itself being an experiment in supra-national government, its institutions are also experimental and subject to constant changes. One of the main focuses of CFSP literature is the institutions whose authority it falls under. For the effectiveness of the CFSP lies at the heart of the effectiveness of these institutions in their goals of integrating the interests, wishes, directives, and goals of a continent. Prior to the Amsterdam Treaty (1997), criticism of the CFSP focused on its institutional and decision-making weaknesses.

The first of these is an "EU decision-making structure entrenched in status quo and abundant with widely distributed vetoes". "Structurally, the Union is enormously complex and potentially involves an extraordinary number, range and diversity of decision-makers." These two factors together create a situation where only "lowest-common denominator decisions" are possible (Peterson, Decision-Making 31). Another weakness appears in the voting process adopted for the CFSP. In other (usually less politically sensitive) areas of EU legislation, a system of weighted majority voting, referred to as Qualified Majority Voting (QMV), is used. Yet in questions relating to the CFSP, unanimity is required. This clearly posed problems to reaching decisions on foreign policy issues and reflects the inherent difficulty in creating a foreign policy acceptable to all fifteen states.

This problem of voting relates to another flaw in the system: that the Member States clout in international relations in highly unproportional. This poses problems as to who should have vetoes and whether any state should and can be forced to accept a policy it voted against. These discrepancies in power stem from considerations such as United Nations Security Council membership, possession of nuclear weapons, military power, and EU budgetary contributions (Peterson, Decision-Making 236). In each of these areas different states hold the power therefore both, inhibits the creation of a focal point and leadership that can act authoritatively, and does not allow equality between Member States.

The next problem comes from the current international environment. In the new Post-Cold War world, foreign policy is increasingly practiced through a combination of financial, economic, trade, and development aid instruments and "third countries increasingly demand a linkage between economic, political and military issues" (Peterson, Decision-Making 241; A Common 46). This poses problems for the European Union because of its pillar system. Pillar II, which covers the CFSP, is separate from Pillar I that covers the traditional European Community. These Pillars form separate areas of responsibility and involve different actors and decision-makers. This has resulted in the EU being unable to effectively coordinate across Pillars (Peterson, Decision-Making 244) and therefore inhibiting the practice of an effective foreign policy. It is for reasons such as these that some authors, such as David Allen, believe that the institutions established in the Maastricht Treaty made an integrated foreign policy more difficult (Peterson, A Common 54).

These examples give a sample of the obstacles the CFSP faces to become effective. A portion of these problems have arisen due to what is now clear to have been a conceptual mistake. Jean Monnet believed in a slow and gradual process of integration. Gonzalez sees Monnet's "functional tenet" as meaning: "Take one step forward only when the time is right" (32). The conceptual mistake arises not from the merits of this method of integration but from its application to foreign policy. The method and line of reasoning is explained in the following passage:

"Neo-functionalist integration theory states that internationalized governance of inherently supranational issues is to be achieved by internationalization of the less political sectors [such as transport, communication, economy, finance, and cultural exchange], and that the benefits of internationalization in these sectors should entice national governments to slowly expand international co-operation into sectors of 'high politics', such as foreign affairs, defense, judiciary, and police..." (Shmitt 49)


The combination of this theory and the Monnet method has been shown to be unsuccessful. This is because foreign policy co-ordination has been resistant to many of the mechanisms and methods that helped and promoted market integration. It is clear that different methods are needed (Peterson, Decision-Making 249).

Yet as mentioned before one of the Union's positive traits is its ability to adapt to flaws in the Union framework at Inter-Governmental Conferences (IGC). The weaknesses and reasons for failure of the CFSP where addressed at the Amsterdam IGC in 1997. The Amsterdam Treaty that emerged made many small and large changes to the CFSP. The first was a changing of the voting rules for CFSP. Previously, as mentioned, unanimity was required and therefore Member States had only a choice of 'yes' or 'no' for any given decision. Amsterdam changed this to allow QMV voting on CFSP issues, but also opening more options for states. They could now either vote 'yes', 'no', 'constructive abstention' (not voting but accepting the decision), or blocking a vote for 'important and stated reasons of national policy'. The second change solved a long time complaint by establishing a new policy planning and early warning unit which will be headed by the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers. This person "will act as the High Representative for the CFSP, and assist the Council on CFSP matters, in particular conducting political dialogue with third parties" (Peterson, A Common 71). While other changes were made they are beyond the scope and focus of this paper.

 As is common in analyses of the CFSP, authors, politicians, and commentators have disagreed as to the successfulness of the Amsterdam IGC. David Allen states that "the [Amsterdam] Treaty was a major disappointment for those who hoped that the EU would take bold steps ... to give the EU more coherent and effective foreign policy" (Peterson, A Common 54). He sees the Amsterdam reforms as irrelevant and that they "eliminated none of the dilemmas at the heart of the CFSP and the very notion of a 'European' foreign policy" (Peterson, A Common 57). In contrast David Cameron welcomes the reforms but sees them falling short, not because of Allen's inherent faults in the CFSP, but because of another institutional fault. IGCs are the forum for constitutional and institutional change. But their agendas are over-loaded and therefore agreement is hard to reach without proper discussion. This leads to inadequate results from IGCs such as the Amsterdam Treaty (see Peterson, A Common 68-69).

It is clear there is no consensus on reforms to the CFSP. Some authors see flaws in the CFSP machinery, some in the EU institutions and some in the concept of a 'common' foreign policy for fifteen nations. By placing blame on any one of these factors and attempting to fix it through new machinery "there is the danger that CFSP will develop into a complex and cumbersome system bogged down by bureaucracy and doctrine" (Hurd 427). David Cameron reaches an excellent conclusion on this question:

"Past experience suggests that appropriate structures and procedures alone will not be enough to ensure a coherent and effective foreign and security policy. There must be the political will to fully exploit them for a real CFSP to emerge" (Peterson, A Common 76).

It is based on this conclusion that the next section will look at individual Member States and their outlook toward the creation of truly Common Foreign and Security Policy.


III. Member States and the CFSP

Even with properly designed and functioning institutions to implement the CFSP, without proper co-operation and political will from the Member States, the CFSP will never be a complete success. Peterson and Sjursen in the conclusion of their edited work state that "it is only by looking at individual states and their foreign policies that one can begin to discern the impact of the CFSP" (177). This is an intuitive statement because to truly judge the CFSP record not only should its international impact be judged, but it should be examined at the micro level to understand its effect on individual foreign policies and these states' commitment to it. If there is a positive and co-operative outlook toward the CFSP at the national level then the prospects for future success will be increased.

One of the most popular areas for comment on the CFSP is that of 'interests'. One definition of foreign policy is: an attempt to design, manage, and control the external activities of a state so as to protect and advance agreed and reconciled objectives (Peterson, A Common 44). Therefore, for the European Union to practice a coherent and effective foreign policy it must have a set of common and agreed upon objectives that further a set of common interests. This raises a question that goes straight to the heart of the CFSP. Is there a set of 'European interests' as compared to conflicting 'individual interests'? The CFSP's official objectives are stated in the first article of the Treaty of European Union. They consist of broad princeples

minds of national decision-makers, under the rationale that they can be more effectively pursued, for the CFSP to have a clear mandate.

Is this possible? One author does not believe so: "a common foreign policy, it seems, is possible only where it is uncontroversial- monitoring the Russian and Palestinian elections, for example" ("The 15" 51). Another gives a realist analysis of the possibility:

"The larger point is that Europeans do not yet think, still less act, as one. Germany, now involved in foreign affairs as it has not been since the Second World War, was no more ready to fight a ground war in Kosovo than was the United States. Italy regards almost all foreign ventures with great suspicion. Many European countries see their own commercial advantage as far more important than a common front in favor of, say, human rights in China. Moreover, prickly nations like France and Britain (though an increasingly co-operative pair abroad) will not, any time soon, allow themselves to be overridden in foreign matters by a combination of other EU members" ("Superpower Europe").


There is definitely merit in the words of these anonymous authors but these opinions can also be seen as a reflection of the known conservatism of the source: The Economist. These authors do not address the, at present, federalist direction of EU reforms. The biggest factor that is pushing this along is the Economic Monetary Union that will take full affect on January 1, 2002 with the introduction of paper and coin Euro currency. This Union is serving the purpose of giving the Member States common interests and objectives since their economic wellbeing is now closely inter-linked. Yet "the impact of the Euro goes far deeper then that of mere currency; it has powerful psychological and emotional dimensions as well, particularly for the younger generation [i.e.: the future generation of leaders]" (Moisi 50). It can therefore be predicted that the more common interests will increasingly emerge the more internal integration occurs. This will in turn solve one of the CFSP flaws. In addition, when this occurs the Member States will be more willing to use the CFSP framework for their foreign policies, therefore empowering it. Of the same opinion is Michael Smith, who argues that external economic relations and policies have formed the core of the EU's foreign policy (Peterson, A Common 78). In conclusion, with the passage of time, if current trends continue, a "new European identity is slowly emerging" (Moisi 58).

One important issue that must be looked at is willingness of the Member States to take advantage of these positive factors. This will increasingly depend on the extent of each nation's defense of its 'sovereignty'. Placing foreign policy decisions at a supra-national level is by no means an easy task, especially the defense component of the CFSP (see sec. IV).  Although results have yet to emerge EU nations have been increasingly aligning themselves with the CFSP. In the words of Douglas Hurd, former British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, "in some areas of diplomacy our policy is formed wholly within a European context; and in no area is the European influence completely absent" (421). This seems to be a common notion of analysts that, despite few tangible results, individual Member States are creating and implementing their foreign policies to be in line with the CFSP. Even in analyses of individual Member States foreign policies, such as Manners and Whitman's edited work, CFSP takes a central role in the literature.

The Member States are showing a willingness to suspend some of their interests and national sovereignty for the good of aggregation of foreign policy power. Yet how far will this co-operation go? In examining the institutions of the CFSP, there appears in some areas not to be flaw in the EU machinery, but in the institutions of the individual states when it comes to their ability to interact with the EU machinery. This includes such things as national officials not having the proper authority or area of responsibility to participate effectively in the EU processes. Another common problem is the overlap of responsibilities between any combination of EU and national officials thereby resulting in turf battles. If the Member States have the political will to make the CFSP an effective area, it is possible that there will be national reforms to make individual states more complementary and effective in their dealings with the European Union.

However, there is one more obstacle to the CFSP at the domestic level. Foreign policy decisions are frequently made for domestic and electoral advantage. At the EU/CFSP level this becomes negligible since EU officials are not popularly elected and individual governments' or politicians' contributions are unknown or unacknowledged. "Links between societal interests and EU decision-makers are weak in the absence of traditional structures- such as political parties- for aggregating interests" (Peterson, Decision-Making 31). There is accordingly a break in the link of accountability between the electorate and the elected. This creates an asymmetrical relationship between national foreign policies and CFSP decisions in relation to domestic interests. Any EU reforms should address this lack of democratic accountability that is distorting, not only the CFSP, but other sectors of EU responsibility.

Though there are domestic obstacles to the furthering of CFSP effectiveness, future prospects for overcoming these barriers are positive. With the increasing appearance of 'European interests', possible domestic institutional reforms and a developing domestic mentality that will alter political opposition to the CFSP, the integration of individual foreign policies will continue on a clear track.


IV. Security Policy

In the process of analysing a common foreign policy for the European Union, security and defense issues must be addressed and examined for two reasons. First, military capability has a huge role in determining the strength of any foreign policy. Second, the EU has, appropriately, linked their goal of a unified foreign policy with that of defense, in the structure of the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Notwithstanding, there are difficulties that the EU has experienced in creating a common defense and security arrangement. This is relevant because, as mentioned, "in order for the EU to be taken seriously in the international system, it must have military capabilities" (Peterson, A Common 99). Therefore, without a defense identity for the EU, one of the original purposes of creating the CFSP (i.e.: superpower status) will be defeated.

'The [CFSP] shall include ... the eventual framing of a common defense policy, which might in time lead to a common defense' (The Treaty of European Union J.4). In accordance with the vagueness of this mandate, little was achieved post-Maastricht toward this goal. The Treaty gives the Western European Union (WEU) the job of implementing this objective. Yet it did not address the multitude of difficulties that are entailed in such a task. First, the WEU has no troops. Second, the WEU does not include all the Member States of the EU, and the nature of its charter only allows NATO members to join ("Quick March" 59). Furthermore, "WEU members have an obligation of mutual defense, which is hard for traditional neutrals, such as Ireland, Sweden, Finland and Austria, to swallow. And if the EU one day includes the Baltic States, they are likely to be virtually indefensible" ("The 15" 51). Yet these difficulties represent only the beginning of the problems that the establishment of a combined defense create.

The largest obstacle is by far NATO. In NATO, Europe already has a powerful defense establishment, and one that has been tested and proven to be effective. But NATO is not the separate defense identity that the EU wants to enhance its foreign policy. NATO has in fact undermined the EU's attempts at defense integration through its success' where the EU has failed (see sec. V).

"NATO proved itself to be far more 'agile' in terms of adjusting itself to the new security agenda in Europe. It effectively seized the initiative from the EU in the early 1990s" (Peterson, A Common 111).


Furthermore, such entrenched interests, such as the US, will resist any weakening of NATO in favor of a stronger EU defense identity. While the US wants Europe as whole to shoulder more of its own defense it will always want a voice in the decision-making process. In effect it will resist giving autonomy or decision-making power to the WEU/CJTF (see below) (see Peterson, A Common 104). Also, the possibility of having a separate defense identity for the EU within the context of NATO is unlikely due to US domination of NATO's resources, including intelligence (Peterson A Common 103). For the EU to develop a common defense, that will serve the objectives of its establishment, it must be separate from NATO/US with its own resources. Yet, "having to develop independent European defense capabilities would require a substantial financial commitment which the European economies, struggling with the effects of the Maastricht criteria for EMU, are clearly reluctant to provide" (Peterson A Common 110).

Despite these drawbacks, the EU and the WEU have made some improvements in order to give themselves some defense options. The first of these is the inclusion of the Petersburg tasks within the legal framework of the EU. These include humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping and crisis management. These became the core functions of the WEU (Peterson, A Common 99). Furthermore, Combined Joint Task Forces (CJTF) were created to allow the WEU to take advantage of much needed NATO resources. These can be considered progress, but represents integration in the context of the WEU and NATO (CJTF) co-operation and not in the context of the EU and Maastricht Treaty (Chilton 102).

To examine the political and military implications and obstacles to an EU defense identity is not an easy task, for it is clear that they are substantial. However, in order for the EU to further this objective it must re-examine its defense affiliations and clarify not only their ultimate goal but also the method to implement it. Maastricht is clearly too vague. Furthermore, the defense and security aspect of the CFSP cannot be clarified and strengthened until the conflicts between memberships, priorities, and capabilities of NATO, the WEU and the EU are resolved. This would in fact re-define the European Union's international and European role in relation to the US and its commitments to European security.


V. CFSP Case Studies

Criticism of the CFSP has arisen from what has been seen as large failures in some crises that should have been handled by the EU but required American intervention. These areas of interest will each be briefly examined to determine the contribution of the CFSP and its success.


"'This is Europe's hour', boasted Luxembourg's foreign minister, Jacques Poos, as he clambered on board a European-Union aircraft heading for a disintegration Yugoslavia in June 1991" ("A long hour"). This turned into a fiasco that at the end of the EU came out humiliated, its CFSP discredited, and the US coming to the rescue and taking over the reigns in Bosnia. With the crisis, arising immediately after the advent of the CFSP, the EU jumped at its opportunity to show its new solidarity. Yet "the Union clearly was not ready or able to bring peace to the Balkans" (Peterson, Decision-Making 242). Why did the Union's initiative fail? If it was unable to handle conflicts in its 'own back-yard' how was the CFSP to succeed?

Many factors contributed to the failure of the CFSP in Bosnia. One of those is the German insistence on EU recognition of Croatia, which inflamed the crisis and pushed Serbia closer to war. In this case the principle of unanimity and consensus hurt the EU, because the other states were forced to follow the German lead. Another factor was the CFSP's dependence on analysis from Member States. There was no independent analysis unit, a problem solved at Amsterdam. Yet all these factors entail a very daring assumption: that the war could have been stopped by some EU action.

"Bosnia has been regarded quite widely as the test for CFSP. Indeed, it is sometimes argued the CFSP has been found to be futile because we have not been able to stop this war. Indeed we have not ... But the fact that twelve countries of western Europe have not been able to stop a civil war outside their own boundaries ... is hardly an argument for bringing the co-ordination of European foreign policy to an end" (Hurd 424).

This seems to be a view taken by many authors. Though there was some serious faults in the EU's actions, weaknesses in the CFSP, and a failure to achieve results, there is little evidence that with effective EU action the war would not have happened. "After the war broke out ... it is difficult to see how it could have been halted before 1995" (Peterson A Common 172). As observed from the EU enthusiasm for their first use of the CFSP, the importance they placed on the conflict, and the overtures they made "if it failed in its goals [in ex-Yugoslavia], it was not through want of political investment in the cause" (Piening 11).

While this conflict exposed some serious flaws in the CFSP, that were subsequently addressed at Amsterdam, the 1998 Kosovo crisis was another dose of reality for CFSP supporters. Through more modest rhetoric and less ambitious actions in Kosovo, the EU was able to have a bigger role. But again the CFSP was overshadowed by the US initiative in the guise of NATO. This proved beyond a doubt to even EU skeptics that the CFSP was in need of a military dimension to be effective. "The first-ever (informal) EU meeting of defense ministers was convened under the 1998 Austrian Council presidency. It no longer seemed certain, as it did for most of the 1990's, that the CFSP would continue to lack a military dimension for a very long time" (Peterson, Decision-Making 234).


The Balladur Plan:

This initiative toward the Central and Eastern Europe by the EU represents one of its clearest successes. In 1993, French Prime Minister Edward Balladur proposed his plan to convene a series of pan-European conferences to try to settle ethnic and border disputes in Central and Eastern Europe before they flared. This initiative resulted in 47 agreements between the EU and its member and the other European countries, and 76 agreements between the target countries themselves. They succeeded, through such incentives as aid funding and prospects for EU membership, in solving or reducing many long standing tensions and border disputes in Central and Eastern Europe (Peterson, Decision-Making 238-239).

Why was the EU so successful in this initiative? It seems that the Balladur Plan was a pre-emptive strike at preventing tensions in Europe, after the hard-learned lesson of Bosnia. Thus because of its pre-emptive nature there was no time constraints or violence forcing hasty or rash decisions. The EU was able to examine the issue, plan a course of action, and co-ordinate individual states' overtures and actions. Furthermore, the Balladur Plan was intuitive in being properly timed to force disputing parties to negotiate out of fear of reducing their future chances for EU accession. Finally, in implementing the plan the CFSP did not face any of its deficiencies that could have held it back, such as, lack of a military option, Member State consensus, or a planning and analysis unit.


The Middle East:

The US has recently dominated the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict. "The introduction of the CFSP did not have much effect on the Community's credibility in the eyes of Israel, which continued to regard the USA as the primary mediator" (Peterson, A Common 141). Yet, in another apparent success of EU foreign policy, the EU was able to enter and gain influence in the Middle East through its economic power. In 1992, the EU began the process of negotiating bilateral trade and co-operation agreements with Mediterranean basin countries called the Euro-Mediterranean agreements. The second element of the EU's push into the Middle East was the Barcelona Conference, "a grandiose multilateral scheme that was conceived in order to convince the [participants] of the EU's commitment to the Mediterranean and to provide a new, inclusive forum for regional co-operation" (Peterson, A Common 143).

While both of these initiatives have experienced minimal success, they represent an increasingly positive sign for EU foreign policy and accordingly the CFSP. While the Barcelona conference did not produce any tangible gains, it represented successful example of international co-operation, sponsored by the EU. The Euro-Med. agreements are only partially successful because they have moved along extremely slowly and are still being negotiated with some countries. But, aside from their slow progress, they represent a successful attempt by the EU to gain favor in the Middle East and exert influence. The EU entered the Mediterranean/Middle East region through its strong suit; economics, which separated it from the US dominated Middle East Peace process. "The EU was finding its niche in regional politics" (Peterson, A Common 148).


Trans-Atlantic Relations:

In the post-Cold War era, US-EU relations are being re-defined. While the EU still depends on US security guarantees through NATO, these are also changing with increasing calls for independence. The Kosovo crisis (1998) had a clear affect on European perceptions of their long alliance:

"For the European governments, the spectacle of American power unleashed in their corner of the map was frightening and chastening. They found most of their weaponry humiliatingly obsolete when set against the American arsenal of stealth bombers and precision-guided missiles" ("An ageing alliance" 9).

The disappearance of their common enemy is causing a re-assessment of the relations and questions as to what their future relations will look like. As seen from the quote above the largest area of uncertainty is that of NATO and its future role. With the collapse of the enemy it was created to face, NATO no longer has a clear objective. Combined with the US dominance of its resources, some Europeans are starting to view it as a tool of US hegemony (see "The Ageing Alliance"). Yet these questions have remained questions and not actions due to the EU's inability to establish a formidable defense identity that can offer them the security that the US-dominated NATO does. The already complex relations become more so when taking into consideration individual states interests, in particular, Britain. "The development of an independent security and defense identity for the EU has been seen by the UK as a potential threat to Trans-Atlantic co-operation and thereby also to a very fundamental element in British post-war foreign policy" (Peterson, A Common 107). For the EU to lead a proper CFSP, it must both detach itself from US hegemony and develop a NATO independent military capability to give itself credibility in diplomatic initiatives. The complications come in doing this without offending or threatening good relations with the US. The Economist again gives us an often-needed dose of conservative realism:

"The strategic argument says, in essence: 'You never know.' America is a foreign country and a long way away. However sound Trans-Atlantic relations may be at any given time, a prudent Europe cannot pursue a long-term policy of dependence on America, because Europe cannot possibly have any guarantees about the future direction of American policy. Hostility is unlikely. Indifference or incomprehension are perfectly possible. So if Europe can provide for its own security, it should do so" ("An ageing alliance" 10).


Yet we must also examine the American side of the alliance to understand its changing dynamics properly. Does the US want to continue its supporting role in Europe and NATO, which entails vast financial and military obligations? Or would it prefer the EU to take a larger role, thereby forfeiting a part of its vast influence? The answers to these questions are unclear, for the simple reason that the Americans are unsure what they want.

"George Robertson, the NATO secretary general of NATO, has spoken of America as suffering from a 'sort of schizophrenia'. It was...on the one hand saying, 'You Europeans have got to carry more of the burden.' And then, when the Europeans say, 'OK, we will carry more of the burden,' they say, 'Well, wait a minute, are you trying to tell us to go home?'" ("An ageing alliance" 9-10).

Different interpretations of America's intentions and expectations of Europe depend on the commentator's view of international relations and this is perhaps the source of the indecision affecting the US. The realist will see the US as threatened by a stronger and more independent Europe, which would entail a loss of the absolute US hegemony. The idealist sees the US as encouraging a stronger and more independent Europe to become its partner in a new international order. Richard Haass, director of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution (an American think-tank) says:

"The bigger irritant to Trans-Atlantic relations would be a Europe too weak politically or militarily or economically to be a partner. The United States is looking for partners. We're the sheriff, and we're looking for people to ride with us" (quoted in "An ageing alliance" 10).

The future of EU-US relations will have a huge effect on the future course of the Union, specifically in the area of the CFSP. It is clear from the evidence presented here on EU-US relations, and the need for an independent EU defense identity, that a re-definition of NATO and the EU and US's roles in it is imminent and needed. When that occurs the CFSP will have overcome another obstacle.


VI. Conclusion

The future of the CFSP is an extremely interesting area of study because if it is successful it will signal a new era in international relations. A strong EU, united in their policies and with a military capability, will offer a new kind of actor in world diplomacy. The questions addressed here are: will the CFSP continue to progress and become more effective? Does its failures give a forewarning of imminent failure?

In answering these questions emphasis was placed at the past and future prospects for the CFSP in 4 different areas. The first section examined the institutional framework and it was seen that though it has flaws, they are recognized and being adjusted. The CFSP's institutional progress from 1991 until now hints of further progress. The next section looked at the individual Member States and their convictions concerning losing some sovereignty in the area foreign policy. The diversification of interests that would hold back the CFSP, were seen to increasingly coinciding due to the success of the Economic Monetary Union and changing perceptions within EU. It was also seen that even though there was little external evidence of a unified EU, the CFSP is playing a central role in individual foreign ministries. Finally, since the aggregation of power under the CFSP will be beneficial to the Member States, the political will to commit to the CFSP will be reluctant but self-interest will overcome this. The fourth section looked at the security dimension of the CFSP and its prospects. It was clear that this area has lagged behind the integration of foreign policy but this is because it faces different and more substantial barriers. To solve these problems will require more than decisions at an Inter-Governmental Conference, but rather a re-assessment of the EU's alliances and role in the international balance of power. Finally, the last section examined how all these areas have actually affected the CFSP in diplomacy. It was clear that the EU decision-makers learned valuable lessons from their CFSP failures and attempted to fix the flaws, such as the Amsterdam reforms. Also, EU decision-makers have learned to use the EU's economic power as a backing for the CFSP in such areas as Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.

In conclusion, the CFSP has gained a momentum and inertia that is steadily pushing it forward. Its record of internal reforms and small successes, represent progress, for "it is unrealistic to expect a truly Common Foreign and Security Policy to emerge quickly" (Peterson, A Common 76). The expectations of the CFSP at its inception were unrealistically high due to high expectations of the EU with the end of the Cold War. What will the future require and hold for the CFSP? It is clear from the examination of the security area and Trans-Atlantic relations that a re-definition of the EU's role in NATO and the nature of the alliance with the US are required to gain more independence for EU initiatives. Furthermore, for the CFSP to truly act as an instrument of a 'Superpower Europe' there must be a clarification and decision on the Union's final end. For "the sum of the agenda's part do not explain what kind of Europe we want" (Gonzalez 32). The Union currently is in a conceptual 'no-mans land' and must solve this before substantial progress is made. This must all be done before there is eastern enlargement because accession of the weaker states of Central and Eastern Europe will only aggravate the flaws in the system. This enlargement will also change the nature of the CFSP and will be an important area of discussion in the near future. As for the CFSP and its achievements, it is without a doubt that "Europe has never been more united than it is today" (Peterson, Decision-Making 251). It is a work in progress and with the proper conditions it will continue to progress.



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