Thursday, April 24, 2003
What future for the Common Foreign and Security Policy? - 24th April 2003, 22.45

Dr Simon Duke of the European Institute of Public Administration has written a paper on the shortcomings of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) over Iraq, in a pained style that laments the waywardness of individual countries acting on their perceived national interests and undermines the value of solidarity in the European Union. An example:

France and the United Kingdom vigorously defended their positions but both appeared to have forgotten their treaty-based obligation to defend 'the positions and interests of the Union' in the UN Security Council as permanent members.

Duke argues that the CFSP should be strengthened through proposals to the European Convention and using the Iraqi crisis as a spur to reform. This would include a strategic overview of the European Union and the following is noted as a positive outcome (since no other strategic alternative is discussed:

This has led some to conclude that the EU will not be taken seriously by the U.S. until it is a complete actor in its own right. This implies that the EU Member States must be able to combine diplomatic leverage, with economic persuasion (through aid and assistance or sanctions) and, critically, the credible threat of military force and the will to use it where circumstances demand.

Although the CFSP may fail as individual members act on their national interests without reference to the European Union, Duke argues that this is a clear failure of the CFSP.

Finally, the question of whether CFSP has any relevance at all, having been side-stepped in such a blatant way in the Iraq crisis, is one that the Member States must answer. In the absence of the political will on the part of the Member States to act in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity, no amount of institutional tinkering will revive CFSP. The choice is relatively simple. The EU Member States will either have to respond to the fundamental challenges outlined above together, or they will have to shape their destinies individually - or uncommonly. The gap between rhetoric and action has simply become too blatant to paper over cracks, it is time for some fundamental decisions. In this sense the Iraq crisis may prove positive for CFSP.

Papers like this are very important as examples of the concepts underlying the European ideology, embracing an ideal and demanding that all countries follow the values laid down as appropriate in ordering and confining their actions. It is an updated Continental system, antithetical to free trade and liberty.


Post a Comment

Blog Archive