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In spite of its record of failure the EU continues to try to develop a common foreign policy. Why?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Creation of European defence community and the concept of a common foreign policy.
    1. Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).
    2. Political background of member states.
  3. Reasons for which EU needs a common policy.
    1. To guarantee peace after two devastating wars.
    2. Creating a political Europe.
  4. The effectiveness of the common policy.
  5. Conclusion.
  6. Bibliography.

The European Union is often described as an ?economical giant but political pigmy? . The Union is indeed the first commercial power in the world, but its political representation on the global stage is weak. From many points of view, the former attempts to develop a common foreign policy have failed. Not only were they unable to allow an efficient European intervention in crisis situations, but they also failed in creating an effective common policy. But new ideas still emerge to encourage a common external policy. What are the reasons for that? First of all, the failure of a European common foreign policy underlined several times that the EU actually needed such a policy. It needs it also because, facing a changing world, the EU has to tend to more political integration and to become a single actor in international relations. Between 1954, when the plan to create a European defence community came up against the French assembly vote, and 1969 in the Hague Summit, the European integration was only economical. The concept of a common foreign policy emerged in the 1970s when the EU began to take common positions on international issues such as the condemnation of the apartheid.

[...] For some European states, mainly France and Great-Britain, foreign policy is a matter of high politics, whereas the EU may concentrate on low political issues. Even if the idea of a common foreign policy is better accepted today than it used to be, the member states are still reluctant to enforce it. The CFSP came after a lot of bilateral agreements or alliances, which are still up to date. For instance, the Elysée treaty signed between France and Germany in 1963 planned an eventual common defence. Moreover the division of powers between the EU and the member states are unclear. [...]


[...] The EU realized the inadequacy of its foreign politic when it had to negotiate a broad political and economical agreement with the United States. Several foreign ministers came to meet Henry Kissinger, who finally assessed: ?Europe must unite and increasingly speak with one voice if it wants to make itself heard and play its proper role in the world.?[16] The relation with the United States is indeed one of the issues the CSFP is dealing with. For historical reasons, the United States ensured the defence of Europe after the Second World War and until the breaking up of the Soviet Union, even if some countries as France tried to set up an autonomous defence. [...]

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