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Institutionalization or Intergovernmental Decision-Taking in Foreign Policy: The Implementation of the Lisbon Treaty

Abstract

This chapter analyses the evolving nature of the foreign policy of the EU as a consequence of the set up of new structures such as the office of the High Representative/Vice President and the European External Action Service. It argues that while decision-taking in CFSP and CSDP remains intergovernmental for the most part, the strengthened power of initiative granted to the new services has introduced critical changes in EU foreign policy-making. The first developments under the Lisbon Treaty hint a process of institutionalisation by practice in EU foreign policy initiative, which relates to the personalities at the top of new EU structures, the changes of procedures in the elaboration of policy papers and meeting agendas and the management of crisis situations. This process of institutionalisation by practice, as well as the reaction of EU Member States to it, is examined particularly with regard to the working relations between the new foreign policy structures and the Political and Security Committee of the EU.

Keywords

  • Member State
  • Foreign Policy
  • Foreign Minister
  • External Relation
  • Lisbon Treaty

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Pol Morillas—MSc International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Pol Morillas is Coordinator of Euro-Mediterranean policies at the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed), Barcelona, Spain. He was previously Coordinator at the Political and Security Committee of the EU during the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU (January–June 2010). This chapter was first published as an article in European Foreign Affairs Review [2011] volume 16 (2), pp. 243–257. The editor of this volume is extremely grateful to the EFA Rev editors for allowing it to be reproduced here. The author would like to thank Professor Michael E. Smith from the University of Aberdeen for his valuable comments on previous versions of this chapter. I am also grateful to Dr Paul James Cardwell for accepting my participation at the conference ‘EU External Relations Law and Policy in the Post-Lisbon Era’ held in the School of Law of the University of Sheffield in January 2011, where an earlier version of this chapter was presented. The views expressed here are only those of the author and do not represent the position of the Spanish Presidency or government. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the author.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Speech of the HR/VP to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, Brussels, 23 March 2010. europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/10/120&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en. Accessed 25 July 2011.

  2. 2.

    This chapter will use ‘decision taking’ to refer to the procedures by which decisions are taken in the main foreign policy committees of the Council of the EU, i.e. by unanimity and intergovernmentalism. ‘Decision making’ will be understood as a broader formulation including further elements of foreign policy-making such as the power of initiative.

  3. 3.

    Vanhoonacker 2005, 70.

  4. 4.

    Michael E. Smith’s view of institutionalisation is particularly relevant to assess the transformation of EU foreign policy from ‘an informal, intergovernmental ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with unwritten rules into a system of formal and informal legal obligations’. See Smith 2004, 11. The EEAS could become the central actor of such system.

  5. 5.

    Grevi 2007, 778.

  6. 6.

    Grevi 2007, 775.

  7. 7.

    Grevi 2007, 800.

  8. 8.

    Grevi 2007, 804.

  9. 9.

    The text of the Laeken Declaration on the Future of the European Union of 15 December 2001.

  10. 10.

    Some EU officials even refer to a fourth role exercised by the HR/VP, which is to ensure coherence of all EU external action.

  11. 11.

    For a full revision of the tasks of the HR/VP, see Piris 2010, 246.

  12. 12.

    Piris 2010, 257.

  13. 13.

    Piris 2010, 260.

  14. 14.

    Wessels and Bopp 2008, 23.

  15. 15.

    Piris 2010, 261–265; European Parliament (2008) The Lisbon Treaty and its Implications for CFSP/ESDP. www.europarl.europa.eu/document/activities/cont/200805/20080513ATT28796/20080513ATT28796EN.pdf. Accessed 25 July 2011.

  16. 16.

    Programme of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU, 5. www.eu2010.es/export/sites/presidencia/comun/descargas/Spanish_Presidency_Program.pdf, Accessed 25 July 2011.

  17. 17.

    See Smith 2004 for a detailed analysis of ‘informal customs’ and their effect on the foreign policy system of the EU.

  18. 18.

    Programme of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU. www.eutrio.be/files/bveu/media/documents/Programme_EN.pdf. Accessed 25 July 2011, 11.

  19. 19.

    Programme of the Spanish Presidency, 20.

  20. 20.

    European Voice (2010) Spain must show value of rotating presidency, 27 May 2010. www.europeanvoice.com/article/imported/spain-must-show-value-of-rotating-presidency/68062.aspx. Accessed 25 July 2011.

  21. 21.

    Torreblanca J I (2010) Farewell, Presidencies, European Council on Foreign Relations. ecfr.eu/content/entry/commentary_torreblanca_on_presidencies/. Accessed 25 July 2011.

  22. 22.

    Most of these comments referred to the fact that some Spanish authorities were seeking more visibility and presence during the presidency, as revealed in ‘Spain’s foreign policy push failing’, European Voice. 27 May 2010. www.europeanvoice.com/article/imported/spain-s-foreign-push-failing/68061.aspx.; Strains are showing in the EU's new foreign policy structures, Financial Times, Brussels Blog, 24 January 2010, blogs.ft.com/brusselsblog/2010/01/strains-are-showing-in-the-eus-new-foreign-policy-structures/; and Spain ends invisible EU presidency. EU Observer, 30 June 2010. euobserver.com/9/30385. Accessed 25 July 2011.

  23. 23.

    Torreblanca J I (2010) Foreign policy needs a rethink above and beyond Europe, European Council on Foreign Relations. ecfr.eu/content/entry/commentary_foreign_policy_needs_a_rethink_above_and_beyond_europe/. Accessed 25 July 2011.

  24. 24.

    The announcement of the appointment of the Permanent Chair of the PSC by the HR/VP can be consulted here: www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/117740.pdf. Accessed 25 July 2011.

  25. 25.

    de Vasconcelos 2010.

  26. 26.

    Hague the realist takes centre stage, Financial Times, 2 July 2010. UK’s intention to strengthen bilateral ties with world powers such as the US, India and China went hand in hand with the government’s will to engage more deeply with the EU and bolster UK’s influence in key European bodies.

  27. 27.

    Piris 2010, 250

  28. 28.

    Weiss 2010.

  29. 29.

    As Piris notes, ‘the organisation and functioning of the EEAS have to be laid down by a decision of the Council, acting by unanimity on a proposal from the High Representative, after consulting the European Parliament and obtaining consent from the Commission’, Piris 2010, 250.

  30. 30.

    Crowe 2008, 10.

  31. 31.

    Grevi 2007; Piris 2010.

  32. 32.

    Grevi 2007, 801.

  33. 33.

    See, for instance, the Charlemagne column, Too many cooks, The Economist, 19 December 2009. www.economist.com/node/15127624. Accessed 25 July 2011.

  34. 34.

    Germany and France dispute Lady Ashton’s ‘excessive’ EU powers, The Guardian, 28 February 2010. www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/28/germany-france-dispute-ashton-european-powers. Accessed 25 July 2011.

  35. 35.

    Hearing of HR/VP Catherine Ashton at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, 2 December 2009.

  36. 36.

    Smith 2004.

  37. 37.

    European Parliament (2010) Haiti Needs Rapid Aid and Long-term Reconstruction, 19 January 2010, www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?language=EN&type=IM-PRESS&reference=20100119IPR67605. Accessed 25 July 2011.

  38. 38.

    For details of EU’s reaction to the crisis in Haiti, see EU CSDP (2010) Newsletter 10, www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/online_100818_CSDP_Newsletter_hw.pdf. Accessed 25 July 2011.

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Morillas, P. (2011). Institutionalization or Intergovernmental Decision-Taking in Foreign Policy: The Implementation of the Lisbon Treaty. In: Cardwell, P. (eds) EU External Relations Law and Policy in the Post-Lisbon Era. T.M.C. Asser Press. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-6704-823-1_6

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