'The European Union's common foreign and security policy has been more rhetoric than reality'

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‘The European Union’s common foreign and security policy has been more rhetoric than reality’



The treaty on the European Union stated that ‘The Union shall define and implement a common foreign and security policy covering all areas of foreign and security policy’ The European Union is an absolute and ineffable power of the Western world comprising of twenty-five member states and is home to four hundred million people. The CFSP was established under the Treaty of Europe, which was signed at Maastricht in 1992, (and was then further developed in the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997) with the aim of protecting the interests of these member states. Five key principles are integral to the operation of the CFSP. These are to ‘(1) safeguard the common values, fundamental interests, independence and integrity of the Union in conformity with the principles of the United Nations charter,

(2) To strengthen the security of the Union…. (3) To preserve peace and strengthen international security…(4) to promote international co-operation, (5) to develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms’. What shall be examined here is whether this theory can be successfully translated into practice i.e. is the CFSP more rhetoric than a reality.

        The CFSP was established as the second of the three pillars of the European Union in Maastricht (1992), the other two pillars being the European Community, and Justice and home affairs. The CFSP is based on a system of intergovernmentalism.  This means that …… Maastricht in 1993 was the first time that the CFSP become a working policy, but it has in fact been in formulation for the best part of sixty years. The first of these initiatives was in


                Background to the European Union

The history of the European Union lies in the decade following the Second World War. Many people were afraid that that political unrest could once more escalate into turmoil. The idea of European integration with increased political and economic co-operation was thought to be a solution to any further annihilation that may take hold. Robert Schumann first mentioned this concept in one of his speeches on the first May 1950, and this day has since been known as ‘Europe Day’. Defence was integral to the concept of European integration and has since proved to be one of the most sensitive areas of the system to date. Although the beginnings of the EU promised a central goal of security, economic factors were the primary factors for the formation of the (as it was then known) European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). Whilst economic and trade facets of the union have experienced success, the establishment of a common foreign and security has proved problematic, in becoming a reality.

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        The historical setting of the ECSC pact was one of the biggest problems posed, with relation to achieving any kind of common security system. This was the period of the Cold War – a bitter war between the two superpowers of Russia and America. Several rivers and block of mainland – Europe, separated these two countries. As the European Union was not involved, its common goals of peace and security became slightly negated during this period. Although efforts were delayed, it soon became apparent that ‘in international affairs, the only successful action would be collective action’


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