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Research Report

CFSP, defence and flexibility

Antonio Missiroli
Copyright Date: Feb. 1, 2000
Pages: 67
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-4)
    Antonio Missiroli

    At the beginning of the twenty-first century, we happen to have not one but many ‘Europes’. We have the Europe of the single market, which encompasses the 15 member states, plus the European Economic Area (EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and, increasingly so, the candidates for accession. We have the Europe of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), which includes the 11 countries of the first ‘wave’ and the two of the new monetary system (Denmark and Greece) with, on the northern fringe, the ‘opter-out’ Britain and the ‘stayer-out’ Sweden. Furthermore, we have the Europe of ‘Schengen’, which covers the...

  2. (pp. 5-15)

    The debate about how, institutionally, to reconcile and manage diversity within the European Community/Union (EC/EU) in general – with a view to the dual challenge of ‘deepening’ and ‘widening’ – is hardly new. From the publication of the Tindemans Report in 1975 until the early 1990s, though, the supply of quality literature and convincing arguments on the subject was minimal and occasional. ⁶

    The signing of the Maastricht Treaty marked a turning point, in that it brought in problematic policy areas with a record of selective involvement, thus admitting the possibility of regimes not being universal. Once the TEU had...

  3. (pp. 16-23)

    It may be useful, at this stage, to shift the focus of analysis onto all the European institutions (and actions) related to the CFSP, starting with the Western European Union (WEU), which has traditionally personified, for good or ill, consensus on defence policy among EC/EU members.

    To begin with, the transfer of ‘constructive abstention’ to the WEU treaty or, rather, to WEU practice – as suggested by some WEU member states, most vocally by France, in the wake of Amsterdam – would probably generate similar problems to the ones sketched above. However, it would presumably concern only the ten WEU...

  4. (pp. 24-28)

    It is not by chance, therefore, that the crucial change in the traditional attitudes vis-à-vis giving the EC/EU a defence component – British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s ‘initiative’ of autumn 1998 – occurred as a consequence of the unfolding of the Kosovo crisis. Of course, Britain’s (self-)exclusion from both ‘Euroland’ and ‘Schengenland’ – that is, the two main forms of flexibility put in place in the Union to date – played a role, too. For a government such as New Labour’s, which was keen on showing ‘positive engagement’ and projecting ‘leadership’ in (and onto) Europe, dropping the decade-long British opposition...

  5. (pp. 29-40)

    So far, political scientists, and especially international relations theorists, have devoted scant and only intermittent attention to the role of ‘cores’ and ‘clubs’ in multilateral organisations and, more specifically, in defence and security matters.35 In principle, an alliance becomes a ‘club’ when and where the ‘good’ is public inside, but not outside the club. In the case of W/EU, however, the distinction is blurred by the overlap with NATO and by the mismatch of membership between the different ‘Europes’. What is relevant here is what may (or should) happen if and when some actors belong to multiple ‘clubs’ relevant here...

  6. (pp. 41-46)

    In the end, however, even such apparently minor changes and improvements need to be embedded in a more coherent political and institutional design encompassing other common policies relevant to external relations in general and to crisis management in particular. After all, the assertion of the EU’s ‘identity on the international scene’ and the ‘consistency of its external activities as a whole’ are explicitly stated as key objectives of the Union (now Arts. 2 and 3 consol. TEU).

    As far as trade is concerned, for instance, the EU has a world-wide network of cooperative partnership arrangements as well as a central...