European Union (EU) critics are a very heterogenic group. Amongst them, there are people who think that this organization has too many responsibilities. Sometimes this disapproval is summarized in only one word: ‘Brussels', the city where several institutions of the EU and especially the European Commission have their seat. According to these critics, the European Commission and its bureaucracy interfere in national legislation everywhere and every time. Their desire is to prevent this and to protect the sovereignty of the EU member states, in particular as regards the important aspect of foreign policy. In opposition to this point of view, even if it is a rarer phenomenon, other detractors complain that the EU hasn't got enough responsibilities and is in fact too weak. Some want the EU to become a genuine federation with exclusive or large competences in the field of foreign and defense policy. The debate about latter is particularly controversial: Should the EU get more competences in foreign and defense policy or should this be a domain reserved for the nation-states? Of course, this issue is purely matter of opinion. No truth about this controversy can be established. In opposition to this normative approach, however, there is the possibility of a positive approach, i.e. to find out to what extent the EU has got competences today in the area of foreign policy. The result of such an analysis could then serve as a base for a later comment on the question. The positive approach is the topic with which this term paper will deal. But first of all, we have to define what is meant by ‘European foreign policy' and what ‘competences' we are talking about in order to limit the topic and make clear what is exactly the question to which we will try to answer.
[...] This brings a considerable limit to the foreign policy of the EU seen as a unified entity. There are, however, elements which strengthen this unified character of CFSP and CSDP. The current HR Javier Solana for instance has managed to personify efficiently European foreign policy and has gathered a momentum of its own. Moreover, recent treaties have created several possibilities of decision-making within the GAERC which differ clearly from the intergovernmental principle of unanimity. We can therefore conclude this second part by saying that CFSP 'has developed almost as a third way between the intergovernmental and communitarian methods'. [...]
[...] The French-British Summit of Saint-Malo It was also outside the institutions of CFSP that took place the French- British Summit in Saint-Malo in 1998 where Jacques Chirac and Tony Blair called for the ‘capacity for autonomous action, backed up by credible military forces'. This can be seen as a kind of initial declaration of the ERFF which was founded some years later. There exist other examples for cooperation in the area of foreign and security policy outside the formal EU structures. [...]
[...] Assessment of the institutional framework of CFSP and CSDP The Europeanization of foreign and security policy As we have seen, the institutions of the EU have obtained more and more competences in the field of CFSP and CSDP. Today, there isn't any area of foreign policy anymore which is excluded from the European decision process. This is why we can speak of a Europeanization of foreign and security policy. But the fact that European institutions are allowed to deal with a policy matter doesn't mean necessarily that it is a supranational, integrated policy. [...]
[...] The debate about latter is particularly controversial: Should the EU get more competences in foreign and defence policy or should this be a domain reserved for the nation-states? Of course, this issue is purely matter of opinion. No truth about this controversy can be established. In opposition to this normative approach, however, there is the possibility of a positive approach, i.e. to find out to what extent the EU has got competences today in the area of foreign policy. The result of such an analysis could then serve as a base for a later comment on the question. [...]
[...] The right of initiative In opposition to the communitarian areas of the first EU pillar or even to external relations matters like trade and development policy, the European Commission has only a non-exclusive right of initiative in CFSP. The General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC), i.e. the EU foreign ministers and the EU commissioner for CFSP, are also competent to make proposals. Fixing Guiding lines and general principles The European Council, the meeting of EU heads of state and government with the president of the European Commission, fixes guiding lines and general principles. [...]
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