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date: 17 February 2018

European Foreign Policy

Summary and Keywords

As a research field, European foreign policy (EFP) is defined as the study of how certain European states manage their foreign policy responsibilities, whether individually, through coordinated national foreign policies, or through EU policies and institutions. EFP effectively comprises at least three major research fields: traditional foreign policy analysis (FPA) or comparative foreign policy (CFP); theories of international relations (IR) or international cooperation; and the study of European integration. The critical link between these fields involves the growing role of the EU as a major reference point for “Europe,” so much so that it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish EU foreign policy from European foreign policy. There are two major phases in the emergence of EFP as a research field: the first recognition of European foreign policy cooperation and some very limited conceptual innovation; and the period surrounding the advent of the Single European Act, which placed European foreign policy cooperation on a new institutional path that resulted in the reforms under the Treaty on European Union. The study of EFP expanded considerably following the negotiation of the Maastricht Treaty on European Union (TEU) of 1991. Several major empirical themes within these periods, which has persisted to the present-day EFP research agenda, include the status of EFP political influence relative to other global actors, particularly the US; a seeming disconnect between EFP procedures and substance; tensions between the economic/trade and political/security dimensions of EFP; and the relative inputs of European states versus EU institutional actors, particularly the European Commission.

Keywords: European foreign policy, EU foreign policy, Singe European Act, Maastricht Treaty, European Commission, comparative foreign policy, international relations, European integration

Introduction

The emergence of European foreign policy (EFP) as a field of inquiry presents a number of challenges and opportunities to political scientists. As an increasing number of foreign policy issues relevant to European states now involve European Union (EU) policies and institutions, EFP as a research field can be defined most broadly as the study of how certain European states (most of which are now EU members) manage their foreign policy responsibilities, whether individually, through coordinated national foreign policies, or through EU policies and institutions. Given this breadth, EFP effectively comprises at least three major research fields, each with its own assumptions, priorities, and theoretical implications. The first involves traditional foreign policy analysis (FPA) or comparative foreign policy (CFP), and focuses on foreign policy processes within, and variation among, nation-states. The second involves theories of international relations (IR) or international cooperation, focusing in particular on the relationship between national preference formation and strategic interaction. And the third involves the study of European integration, where strict assumptions about national preference formation may be relaxed, and where distinctly “European” factors – history, culture, operational experience, and institutions, for example – may exert a stronger influence than assumed by classic theories of FPA or IR (Carlsnaes and Smith 1994; Hill 1998; Ginsberg 1999; Soetendorp 1999; Nuttall 2000; Tonra 2000a; White 2001; Carlsnaes 2004; Hill and Smith 2005).

As noted above, the critical link between these fields involves the growing role of the EU as a major reference point for “Europe,” so much so that it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish EU foreign policy from European foreign policy. Each EU enlargement since the 1970s has been accompanied by an expansion of the so-called acquis politique, or the common procedures and policies that govern EFP activities under the rubrics of the EU’s foreign economic policies, the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), and other foreign policies devoted to specific issues (the environment and human rights, for example) or regions (such as the European Neighborhood Policy, or ENP). These extensive overlaps between these efforts call into question the existence of a true dividing line between “national” and “EU/European” FPA. In addition, the fact that non-EU member states are allowed to participate in some EFP institutions and operations means they can be included in an analysis of EFP. Consequently, this essay takes for granted that EFP nearly always involves some degree of EU involvement or influence, though that influence can vary widely – from virtually none to quite considerable – depending on the topic at hand. Since this implies a continuum, so too must we recast the question of whether EFP as a specific research field must be considered a sui generis phenomenon. The answer is that it depends on how one addresses the balance between national and EU-level factors, whether in terms of policies or processes and behaviors. At each end of the continuum, there might be nothing unusual in the claim that EU member states or the EU as a unit possesses and pursues foreign policy goals; however, if one looks closely at the middle ground between these extremes, it appears that EFP does involve a unique mix of elements not found in other political systems, although many concepts applied to the topic can be applied to, or derived from, other political questions such as regional integration or international cooperation outside Europe.

For example, changes in the content and pursuit of EFP over the past several decades are a result of two larger trends not necessarily confined to Europe. The first involves the difficulty of distinguishing between domestic and international politics, as most domestic issues involve some degree of international influence (and vice versa). The second involves the difficulty of distinguishing between economic and political affairs at both levels of analysis, domestic and international (Hocking and Spence 2002; Hill 2003; Jörgensen 2004). In EFP, these two problems are compounded by a uniquely regional – European – dynamic, often represented by a continuum ranging from intergovernmental to supranational decision making, which refers to the balance between national and collective/EU influence in the realm of EFP. The most extreme intergovernmental position, which is closely related to realism, would focus almost exclusively on negotiations or bargains among EU member states, and concurrently exclude a decisive role for EU factors. The most extreme version of supranationalism, which has strong conceptual links to both liberalism and social constructivism, would generally argue that European influences strongly condition the formation and pursuit of what used to be national foreign policy decisions. In this sense it is difficult if not impossible to analytically disentangle purely “national” and purely “European” aspects of EFP. Between these ideal-type positions, one can find a wide range of views in the literature.

In short, then, depending on one’s theoretical priorities, the region-specific effects on foreign policy making in Europe can range from none or minimal (e.g., pure power politics among stronger European states), to moderate (e.g., shared history, democratic traditions, the involvement of institutions such as the EU, and interdependence), to quite extreme (e.g., “Europe” as a critical, even dominant, normative reference point for all EFP participants). In addition, there is still a fair amount of contestation over the very term EFP as I have approached it above; indeed, the question whether “a European foreign policy worthy of the name must await a federal European state” (Hill 1993:316) is still very relevant for many analysts. Since there is no federal European “state,” some scholars continue to question the basic existence of EFP, a curious point of view considering that the EU in fact possesses more coherence, policy tools, and unity of purpose than many states. Others have asserted that a “common” European foreign policy necessarily means a single policy (Gordon 1997–8); again, the fact that national foreign policies still coexist with collective European policies greatly complicates our understanding of what actually comprises EFP as a policy domain and as a research field.

As will be seen in this essay, the expanding literature on EFP largely maintains this diversity of views and can be organized in multiple ways (White 1999; Tonra 2000b; Carlsnaes 2004). It is therefore pointless to assert a single rigid definition of EFP that narrows the field to certain European states, certain EU institutions, or certain policy problems or issue areas; all of these aspects of EFP – and thus one’s working definition of it – are highly contingent on how a specific research question is framed. There is, however, enough consensus among most EFP scholars to justify the existence of this research field within the broader context of FPA and IR. All students of EFP, for example, do seem to agree that the idea of “Europe” does inform the foreign policy decisions of European states, although they conceptualize “Europe” in many different ways. Many, though certainly not all, students of EFP would further agree that global metatheoretical systemic and structural approaches – whether realist or liberal or constructivist – are quite limited in explaining the dynamics of this research domain (White 1999), which further justifies the need to conceptualize “Europe” as a critical region-specific political dynamic. Systemic approaches by definition stress general pressures or constraints on the agency of various actors within the system; conversely, EFP involves precisely the ability and willingness of European states to assert their own agency against that system, but (increasingly) through collective processes and actions. One might even argue that EFP in fact involves the creation of a new type of European political space, whose boundaries vis-à-vis the global system vary and can be difficult to discern with monolithic theoretical approaches. As a result the conventional tools of FPA or IR, many of which adopt a strong instrumental rational choice perspective, might be inappropriate to certain aspects of EFP (White 1999; Warleigh 2006). In short, then, the study of the relationship between EFP and national foreign policies seriously calls into question the virtues of stressing international or domestic factors over regional or European factors, whether manifested at the collective or EU level or among European states themselves.

The Emergence of EFP

In this essay, I favor the term EU throughout and refer to the original European Community (EC) only when the narrative requires a formal distinction between EU and EC affairs. Similarly, although the term EFP does not appear as such in the literature until the 1990s, I use it as a generic term to cover the large body of work cited in this entry and use more specific terms where relevant to the historical period or sources covered. Specifically, the emergence of EFP as a research field can be broken down into two major phases. These comprise (1) the first recognition of European foreign policy cooperation and some very limited conceptual innovation (1970s to early 1980s); and (2) the period surrounding the advent of the Single European Act (SEA; 1986), which placed European foreign policy cooperation on a new institutional path that resulted in the reforms – and the emergence of EFP proper – under the Treaty on European Union. Within these periods, one can discern several major empirical themes, each of which has persisted to the present-day EFP research agenda covered later in this chapter. These include (1) the status of EFP political influence relative to other global actors, particularly the US; (2) a seeming disconnect between EFP procedures and substance; (3) tensions between the economic/trade and political/security dimensions of EFP; and (4) the relative inputs of European states versus EU institutional actors, particularly the European Commission. These empirical debates often provided the core material for emerging theoretical debates about EFP as well, mainly in terms of realism versus liberalism, then intergovernmentalism versus institutionalism, then constructivism, normative theory, and beyond.

Before examining these periods, it is worth recalling that some leading figures in the early history of EU studies raised critical questions about the possibility of EFP, though for quite different reasons. One of the key founding fathers of European integration studies, Ernst Haas, explicitly excluded foreign policy from his neofunctional logic of regional integration, which stressed “spillover” processes in socioeconomic affairs (Haas 1961, 1964). Another key figure, Stanley Hoffmann, made a similar argument though from a somewhat different angle (Hoffmann 1965, 1966). He argued that deeply entrenched concerns over national sovereignty and autonomy would stifle foreign policy cooperation among European states. Although they might be willing to coordinate trade policy, European states were likely to retain their independence in foreign and security policy, and to pursue their involvement with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) rather than any type of EFP arrangement, including the Western European Union (WEU). Thus, from an early stage we can see a fair amount of pessimism about the potential for EFP from scholars associated with both liberalism (Haas) and realism (Hoffman), although a few slightly more optimistic assessments did appear at the time (Dahrendorf 1971; Galtung 1973).

The Advent of EFP (1970s–80s)

Despite an apparent impasse among European states regarding the scope and means of EFP through the 1960s, various strands of activity eventually came together to create a new approach to EFP, in the form of European Political Cooperation (EPC) in 1970. These strands included the creation of the WEU in 1954 to facilitate the inclusion of Germany and Italy in Western defense architectures (Menon et al. 1992), the creation in late 1959 of informal quarterly meetings of EU foreign ministers (M.E. Smith 2003:66), a series of proposals in the early 1960s (the so-called Fouchet Plans) centered on the idea of a new “council of heads of state or government” to harmonize the foreign policies of EU member states (Allen and Wallace 1982), and the Franco-German Treaty of Cooperation (Elysée Treaty) of 22 January 1963, which established twice-yearly meetings of French and German heads of government and quarterly meetings of foreign ministers to promote cooperation in foreign policy (Wallace 1986).

The 1970 Luxembourg (or Davignon) Report on EPC represented a new approach to EFP in the form of two key compromises. The first involved the idea of intergovernmental cooperation, which refers to regular policy discussions among European heads of government or foreign ministers rather than explicit involvement of EU institutions such as the Commission and the European Parliament (EP). These talks would be supported by a transgovernmental infrastructure of EPC participants in national capitals and, after 1986, at EU headquarters in Brussels. The second compromise involved the compartmentalization of “high-politics” EPC issues from the “low-politics” issues generally handled by the EC. Theoretically, these aspects of EPC appeared to confirm what later became known as the “liberal intergovernmental” approach to European integration (Moravcsik 1993). Empirically, the advent of EPC as a new form of diplomatic practice allowed scholars to analyze what various EPC and EC insiders actually did in the name of what would become known as EFP (Kohnstamm and Hager 1973); several of these early studies were in fact written by EPC practitioners (von der Gablentz 1979; de Schoutheete de Tervarent 1980; da Fonseca-Wollheim 1981; Hurd 1981), who provided details about the social networking and “soft law” aspects of EPC that would inform later work. Early recognition of the so-called coordination reflex was an especially important aspect of this work, as gradually a “European dimension” was built into policy issues “which previously had been almost exclusively based on national considerations” (de Schoutheete de Tervarent 1980:118).

The early years of EPC also involved the coordination of EFP positions in international organizations, which inspired a series of studies of EU voting behavior in the UN General Assembly (Hurwitz 1975, 1976; Lindemann 1976; Foot 1979). By the end of the 1970s, these studies generally confirmed that the nine EU member states at the time were voting as a bloc around 60 percent of the time, although there were serious limitations regarding the use of UN vote data as key indicators of the existence of EFP (de Schoutheete de Tervarent 1980; Nuttall 1992b). Other important early work involved the expanding role of the six-month rotating EU Council Presidency, which led the EFP agenda at the UN and elsewhere as some EU member states were still opposed to the idea of greater Commission involvement in EPC at this time (Wallace and Edwards 1976). And, although it was not part of the EPC diplomatic system, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) also began to play a supporting role in EFP in terms of attempting to define the legal boundary between the external relations of the EC and the activities of EPC (Pescatore 1979).

Many of these themes were synthesized in several classic early studies, such as those by Wallace and Allen (1977) on policy making in the EU, Hill and Wallace (1979) on “diplomatic trends” in the EU which paid close attention to the EPC infrastructure, and a study of comparative foreign policy in Western Europe (Wallace and Paterson 1978). The latter volume was inspired in part by a dissatisfaction with (largely American) trends in FPA, such as behaviorism in general and the focus on bureaucratic politics in particular, and attempted to strike a balance between conceptual generalizations and examples of important empirical trends in Europe. And, although the Wallace and Paterson text focused on case studies of Western European states, it also included a pathbreaking chapter entitled “Foreign Policy at the European Level: Beyond the Nation-State?” (Allen 1978a). Although Allen effectively highlighted some of the real limits facing EFP at the time – its reactive nature, the difficulty of carving out a political space between levels of analysis, and the struggle to maintain a consensus in EPC decisions – the real achievement here was the deliberate inclusion of a chapter on EFP within a CFP text such as this while EPC was still in such an embryonic state.

This recognition of EFP as an emerging field of inquiry was bolstered by the first serious studies of EPC policies, starting with the Euro-Arab Dialogue (Allen 1978b) and related studies on the EU in the Middle East peace process (Allen and Pijpers 1984; Ifestos 1987). These works generally confirmed that the EPC machinery did help to produce common views, that the EU was “doing more” in the realm of foreign policy, and that it was deliberately attempting to reorganize and expand itself to meet these responsibilities. Yet they also pointed to the very real limits apparent to even sympathetic observers of EFP: that much of this activity seemed uncoordinated in the absence of permanent leadership, that opposition by a single EU member state could prevent progress, and that the lack of more robust policy tools would seriously hinder the external impact of EFP. These realizations were reflected in the themes of several insightful evaluations from this period, which tended to highlight the mismatch in EFP between procedures and substance, or between rhetoric and reality, or between “external (economic) relations” and “foreign (political) policy” (Twitchett 1976; Wallace and Allen 1977; Hill and Wallace 1979).

The 1980s and the Single European Act

The study of EFP, then, necessarily began rather more inductively than deductively, as the machinery of EPC did not fit very well with established models of either IR or FPA. EU member states continued to reform the system throughout the 1980s, beginning with the 1981 London Report on EPC and the 1986 SEA, efforts that inspired new scholarly works. The London Report opened the door to greater consideration of security affairs, while the SEA legally linked EPC to the EC and gave EFP its first permanent bureaucratic foundation in the form of a small EPC secretariat in the Council of Ministers. Two important edited collections appeared in the early 1980s: One provided a general overview of various EPC procedures and policies (Allen et al. 1982), and the other covered national foreign policies and EPC (Hill 1983a). The volume by Allen et al. (1982; originally published in German in 1978) represented the first truly comprehensive study of EFP, as represented by EPC and EPC–EC linkages, and highlighted the practical difficulties of compartmentalizing EPC and EC affairs (see especially Bonvicini 1982; Wallace 1982; Wessels 1982). It also included several important case studies on EFP activities, each of which offered insights into the peculiar dynamics of EFP decision making (see below). The Hill volume focused on the two-way relationship between national and European foreign policy making, and included case studies on all 10 EU member states at the time. Although, like the Allen et al. (1982) volume, it did not provide a conceptual framework to guide the contributors, it did ask a coherent set of questions about each EU member state. And as national “inputs” provided the real dynamism and leadership for EFP at the time (Hill 1983b; Wallace 1983b), the Hill volume was entirely justified in its approach and served as a useful complement to the more European-level approach of the Allen et al. volume.

By the time of the SEA, the literature on EFP had become relatively self-sustaining as new scholars joined the field. The topic of transatlantic relations continued to receive attention (Kohler 1982; Pardalis 1987), as did the issue of EFP coordination at the UN (Lindemann 1982). One major early success of EFP involved the origins of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) process, which required a great deal of institutional improvisation between EPC and the EC, including an expanded role for the Commission (von Groll 1982). The security dimension of EPC as provided by the London Report, even though it focused on “political and economic aspects” of security, still complicated things for the EU’s one neutral state at the time (Ireland), as some scholars recognized (Salmon 1982; Keatinge 1983). This issue was part of a broader debate about “civilian power Europe” (Duchêne 1973; Bull 1982) and the highly controversial question of an EU military capacity. However, the EU did attempt, though with some difficulty, to involve itself more in crises (van Praag 1982b), and took steps to facilitate counterterrorism cooperation through what was known as the “Trevi” framework (Freestone 1985). The EPC machinery was somewhat more successful regarding the 1982 Falkland Islands War, where EU member states managed to agree on the UK’s request for a ban on Argentinean imports to the EU (Edwards 1984). As with the CSCE process (from 1995, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE), this involved considerable legal coordination between the EC and EPC domains, this time under the pressures of a crisis situation, and the EU acted more effectively here than it had during previous crises (such as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan). As always, however, not all member states were equally committed to this policy, as one comprehensive study revealed later (Stavridis and Hill 1996). Studies of EFP activity involving South Africa highlighted the range and creativity of policies, involving both the EPC and EC domains, intended to help end the apartheid regime in that country (van Praag 1982a; Holland 1987, 1988).

By the mid-1980s, all major texts on European integration, such as the periodic editions of Policy-Making in the European Community, were also including chapters on EPC and EFP as a regular feature (Wallace 1983a; Lodge 1989). Book-length studies on more specific EFP-related topics also began to appear on a regular basis, most of which were edited collections (Pijpers et al. 1988; Crawford and Schulze 1990; Edwards and Regelsberger 1990; Rummel 1990). Nearly all of these, however, lacked an overarching theoretical or conceptual framework to help consolidate the findings. However, the volume edited by Pijpers et al. (1988) was especially useful as it combined both the more traditional intergovernmental approaches to EFP with its post-SEA institutional dimensions. Thus, the volume included chapters on not only national foreign policies and EFP (de la Serre 1988) but also studies of both the role of the presidency (de Schoutheete de Tervarent 1988) and the role of the Commission (Nuttall 1988; also see Nuttall 1990), plus analyses of other institutional and procedural aspects of EFP (Bonvicini 1988), including the role of the new EPC Secretariat (da Costa Pereira 1988). Several well-constructed, though theoretically eclectic, case studies on EFP rounded out the volume, including chapters on terrorism (Hill 1988) and EFP activities “out of area” (i.e., beyond the European region) (Pijpers 1988). Finally, a chapter on EPC and the challenge of theory (Weiler and Wessels 1988) helped pave the way for later studies focused on the social and normative dimensions of EFP.

The focus on norms and rules in EFP inspired by the SEA became part of a tradition of legal-institutional analyses of EFP (Weiler 1985; Lak 1989), some of which highlighted the European Council (Bulmer and Wessels 1987) and the Council Presidency (O’Nuallain 1985), though such intergovernmental approaches were becoming somewhat limited as top-level government officials only set the broad EFP agenda. The “relaunching” of Europe under the terms of the SEA also gave the EP a small role in the EFP policy process, thus inspiring studies of the EPC–EP relationship (Lodge 1988; Corbett 1989; Elles 1990; Neunreither 1990). The EP had a voice in trade affairs and in vetting EU agreements with third countries, but it enjoyed little real power over other aspects of EFP. The same held true of the role of public opinion in EFP affairs, although European citizens were becoming more aware of this activity after the SEA. The last major edited volume on EFP before the Maastricht era (Holland 1991a) included, as always, several eclectic case studies, such as the question of sanctions (Holland 1991b), plus several solid theoretical essays interpreting EFP in terms of realism (Pijpers 1991), intergovernmental (i.e., two-level) bargaining (Bulmer 1991), legal-institutional theory (Dehousse and Weiler 1991), and world systems theory (George 1991). These contributions, of course, were too short to test any single theory, though their inclusion in the volume did indicate the wide range of approaches to EFP on offer at the time.

More focused approaches to EFP in the 1980s did appear, however, in the form of two major solo-authored studies, each of which attempted to provide some theoretical clarity to the topic. Ifestos (1987) critically analyzed the growth of EPC in light of a range of approaches, including federalism, functionalism, intergovernmentalism, and pluralism. Though he was sympathetic to the latter two approaches, his lengthy study unfortunately did not attempt to test or defend rigorously any single theory. A second comprehensive work (Ginsberg 1989) avoided this problem by specifically proposing three “logics” to explain certain EFP outcomes, all of which were classified according to these logics in the manner of events-data analyses. Each causal logic of EFP activity was associated with a specific level of analysis: the “interdependence logic” derived from the international level and stressed exogenous global pressures; the “integration logic” involved the regional level and stressed how the EU (particularly its common market) could inspire third parties to demand certain EFP actions in a kind of backlash effect; and the “self-styled logic” involved the intra-EU level of analysis (meaning the interaction between EU institutions and EU member states), which resulted in EFP actions inspired by the EU’s own sense of mission and place in the world, rather than those devised merely in reaction to external pressures. In Ginsberg’s analysis, these logics – particularly the integration logic – were far more useful in explaining specific EFP actions than the more general theories of IR and FPA noted above.

The Maastricht Era (1990s)

The study of EFP expanded considerably following the negotiation of the Maastricht Treaty on European Union (TEU) of 1991, which entered into effect in 1993 after a difficult ratification process. It should be noted at the outset that not all observers of EFP were enthusiastic about its prospects; several scholars found much to criticize in the form and substance of EFP – particularly its defense ambitions – even after the TEU had supposedly improved this domain (Gordon 1997–8; Zielonka 1998). Other analysts, however, adopted a more sanguine view and focused on the specific mechanics of institution building and policy making in addition to the effectiveness of particular EFP initiatives.

Institutions and National Inputs: The Functioning of the TEU

One of the most widely cited studies of the 1990s appeared just as the TEU was entering into effect: Hill’s (1993) insightful analysis of Europe’s “capability-expectations gap,” which provided a useful way to think about EFP performance in terms of a broad range of functions rather than capacities (also see Nuttall 1997). Although the Hill study also pointed to a gap in EFP expectations and capabilities, it also suggested the EU could close the gap in many ways that did not involve or privilege military power. A year later a major edited volume entitled European Foreign Policy appeared (Carlsnaes and Smith 1994); it included over a dozen contributions representing a range of conceptual approaches, including a rare feminist critique of EFP (Zalewski 1994). Unfortunately, the volume appeared before the TEU had produced any real EFP outputs (a similar limitation of Rummel’s 1992 edited volume); however, more empirically up-to-date work on the topic began to appear in the late 1990s. As during the 1980s, most studies involved either institutional issues or national inputs into EFP, or some combination, as revealed in several edited collections (Holland 1997a; Regelsberger et al. 1997; Peterson and Sjursen 1998). One important contribution by an EPC insider (Nuttall 1992a) helped to provide a considerable degree of empirical context for understanding the EPC-to-CFSP transition. Although this work was more historical than theoretical, it was highly insightful about how things really worked in the realm of EFP, particularly in terms of “domestic” versus “foreign and European” issues and “economic” versus “political and security” issues, as well as the larger process of institution building in EFP. Other, though far more concise, insider accounts helped to round out these reflections (Crowe 1993; Hurd 1994).

In the realm of institutional approaches, scholars were first preoccupied with simply mapping the changes to EFP made under the TEU and evaluating whether the CFSP had improved upon the EPC mechanism (Nuttall 1992b; Edwards and Nuttall 1994; Regelsberger and Wessels 1996; Ginsberg 1997; Øhrgaard 1997; Regelsberger 1997; Rummel 1997a; Cameron 1998; M.E. Smith 1998). This type of work was especially salient as EU insiders were already considering reforms to the CFSP process just a few years after the TEU began operating; some of these changes found their way into the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam. Although most agreed that the CFSP was now somewhat more coherent, and allowed a greater role for EU actors (particularly the Commission), it also was far more bureaucratic (especially regarding EFP finances; see Monar 1997b) and still lacked a sustained source of leadership as the TEU had maintained the rotating presidency system to guide EFP. Some scholars examined the much greater legal formality of the CFSP and the complexities this legalism raised in terms of combing the three “pillars” of the EU into coherent foreign policy action (Govaere and Eeckhout 1992; Lak 1992; Curtin 1993; Cheyne 1994; Eaton 1994; Sak 1995; Macleod et al. 1996; M. Smith 1998; M.E. Smith 2001a). These pillars comprise the EC (first pillar), the CFSP and what would become the ESDP (second pillar), and cooperation in JHA or the “Area of Freedom, Security, and Justice” (third pillar). One major study of the legal aspects of EU foreign relations (McGoldrick 1997) set a new standard for comprehensiveness in this area and must be seen as a critical reference work, although the CFSP still remained outside the jurisdiction of the ECJ. Related work involved the question of an international legal personality for the EU (Wessel 1997, 1999, 2000) and the role of committees in EFP (Tonra 2000b).

Overall, this work started to confirm in the 1990s what some scholars had suspected already in the 1980s. First, it was becoming increasingly difficult to disentangle various institutional responsibilities where EFP was concerned, which could vary widely across the intergovernmental–supranational continuum; and, second, it was necessary to pay attention to the importance of customary or soft law in working out these institutional problems, which could eventually mature into hard law (i.e., treaty reforms) over time. In some areas, such as trade in intellectual property or environmental diplomacy, it was unclear whether EU member states, the EU as an institution, or both had a right to enter international agreements or to join international organizations or conferences (M. Smith 1994; Sak 1995; Damro 2001, 2006). This question of competence over various aspects of EFP under the TEU also inspired conceptual work on the issue of consistency and coherence in EFP (Coignez 1992; Neuwahl 1994; Krenzler and Schneider 1997; Tietje 1997; M.E. Smith 2001b; Szymanski and Smith 2005), which had a strong institutional-legal bias to it.

Other scholars took a more “bottom-up” approach by examining the variation in national approaches to EFP (Pfetsch 1994). Most prominently, an update of Hill’s 1983 study of national approaches to EFP, with a new title of The Actors in Europe’s Foreign Policy, appeared on the scene (Hill 1996), though this time it included a new chapter on the role of the European Commission (Nuttall 1996). Hill also contributed to a study on national (European) approaches to the Falkland Islands war (Stavridis and Hill 1996), which helped to map out the various reasons why EU member states supported or opposed EU sanctions and other policies toward Argentina. In a similar view, various studies of the membership of individual EU states, particularly Germany and the UK, continued to appear, most of which included some analysis of the EFP domain. This work, too extensive to summarize here, became more prominent in light of the “Europeanization” thesis of Ladrech (1994), which attempted to map the processes by which EU member states adapted to the demands of EU membership. Some studies related to Europeanization were specifically devoted to EFP issues, as with M.E. Smith’s (2000) study of national adaptation to EFP, work on small states and EFP (Arter 2000; Tonra 2001; Laatikainen 2003), and work on the relationship between national and European identities (A. Smith 1992; Waever 1996).

A more comprehensive effort appeared in the form of Manners and Whitman’s (2000) analysis of the foreign policies of EU member states; like Hill’s 1996 volume, it included chapters on all EU member states at the time (except Luxembourg), and also advanced a general analytical framework to structure the individual contributions. This involved measuring the scope of EFP in terms of “foreign policy change” through EU membership and elite socialization processes; “foreign policy process” involving domestic politics and bureaucratic politics; and “foreign policy actions” in terms of associating with EFP activities or through more unilateral efforts. The volume thus provided a great deal of conceptual and empirical material to help define the existence and functioning of EFP and should be considered a major reference work. It also provided some insights into the adaptation of new EU member states in the 1990s (Austria, Finland, and Sweden), and the related question of “postneutrality” in light of the greater attention to security affairs in the new CFSP framework (Scheich 1992; Laursen 1993; Harden 1994; Sundelius 1994; Ingebritsen 1997). These studies confirmed the ability of all EU states, even formally neutral ones (Austria, Finland, Ireland, and Sweden), to redefine “security” to accommodate their EU and EFP commitments, and to permit the expansion of same beyond territorial defense into new areas involving peacekeeping, peacemaking, and humanitarian aid (the so-called Petersberg tasks). All of this activity helped to lay the important groundwork for the emergence of the ESDP capability (see below).

EFP Activities and Impact

Finally, a third major trend in the post-Maastricht period involved specific case studies of EFP activity, many of which bridged the gap between institutional analyses and broad overviews of EFP output trends. These included studies on EFP and the former Soviet Union (Allen 1997), transatlantic relations (Peterson 1996; Ginsberg 1997; Guay 1999), Somalia (Keatinge 1997), Central and Eastern Europe (Lippert 1997), the pending Central and Eastern Europe enlargement process (Luif 1997; Mayhew 1998; Mannin 1999), the CSCE and OSCE process (Schneider 1997), relations with the Mediterranean region (Barbé and Izquierdo 1997) and other less developed countries (Cosgrove-Sacks 1999), multilateral cooperation (Long 1997; Jörgensen 2006), the Stability Pact with the Balkans (Ueta 1997), EU political dialogue agreements (Monar 1997a), “Europe agreements” with third states (McManus 1998), and the conspicuously limited human rights aspects of EFP (Clapham 1999). Three major post-TEU comprehensive case studies of EFP involved Central America (H. Smith 1995), South Africa (Holland 1995; see also Holland 1997b), and Eastern Europe (K. Smith 1998), all of which could generally point to the increasing “actorness” of the EU in terms of its range of policy tools, complexity of policy goals and outputs, and measures of impact or effectiveness.

Of particular importance at this time was the expansion of EFP into the security realm. Several analysts examined the EU’s difficulties in the first Persian Gulf War (Anderson 1992), the Balkans conflicts (Edwards 1992, 1997; Nuttall 1994; Kintis 1997), or both (Wood 1993). These assessments varied somewhat, but virtually all analysts agreed on two basic points: that the EU’s lack of a robust military arm placed it at a disadvantage compared to NATO, and that the emphasis on consensus made EFP prone to “lowest common denominator” decisions or (worse) outright stalemate and paralysis (for broader treatments, see Taylor 1979; Menon et al. 1992; von Staden 1994; Martin and Roper 1995; Howorth and Menon 1997; Sjursen 1998). These views also tended to apply to the use of the WEU to implement security and defense aspects of EFP (Duke 1996; Jopp 1997), based on its extremely limited material resources and lack of operational planning capacities relative to NATO. However, the area of nuclear nonproliferation saw some degree of success as an EFP security-related policy, as the EU was able to marshal its diplomatic resources behind a renewal of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (Müller 1992; Müller and van Dassen 1997). Others attempted to find positive EFP contributions to security involving economic security and arms control (Cornish 1997), conflict prevention (Rummel 1997b), and the EU’s emerging capacities for crisis management (Hill 1992; Wagner 2003), which were still extremely modest relative to the overall ambitions of the TEU.

A final aspect of the activities and impact approach to EFP involved a range of studies focused on the larger issue of EU “actorness,” “roles,” or “identity” – even that of a “European superpower” (Hill 1993; Soetendorp 1994; M. Smith 1996; Schneider and Seybold 1997; Whitman 1998; Cederman 2000; Elgström and Smith 2006; Cerutti and Lucarelli 2008). To varying degrees, and with various analytical frameworks, these works attempted to map the full range of EFP activities and impact in world politics, an increasingly complicated task. As one might expect, these studies defined the scope of EFP in a variety of ways, and as a result highlighted some topics or activities while downplaying or ignoring others. They also tended to favor more descriptive approaches to EFP rather than advancing or testing a specific theory, though their comprehensiveness provided some very useful empirical material for those attempting a more conceptual approach to the study of EFP.

Current Trends in European FPA

By the eve of the millennium, then, EFP was well established as a distinct subfield of IR and EU studies. Beyond the works noted above, one might also mention the founding of at least two new journals devoted specifically to EFP: European Security (founded 1992) and the European Foreign Affairs Review (founded 1996). The creation of FORNET, an academic network on EFP, also helped to institutionalize EFP as a research field; FORNET also publishes (since 2003) the CFSP Forum, a newsletter on current EFP trends. The US-based European Union Studies Association established an “EU as a Global Actor” interest section in 2002 to help build bridges in this area, while an EFP-related think tank, the European Council on Foreign Relations, was established in 2007. Finally, we might note the regular appearance now of teaching texts on EFP (Cameron 1999; H. Smith 2002; K. Smith 2003; Carlsnaes et al. 2004; Tonra and Christiansen 2004; Bretherton and Vogler 2005), as well as those focused more on security and defense affairs (Cottey 2007; Howorth 2007). One volume, International Relations of the European Union (Hill and Smith 2005), was especially noteworthy, as it examined EFP in light of European integration theory, FPA, and IR.

General Trends

In terms of specific research outputs, edited volumes on EFP have appeared on a regular basis, though their quality and coverage can be quite uneven; in many cases they lack a theoretical dimension and tend merely to update the scope of EFP activities (Foradori et al. 2007). On a more positive note, a number of scholars began to advance more rigorous conceptual approaches to EFP after the turn of the century. Two major institutional analyses of EFP appeared at this time (Winn and Lord 2001; M.E. Smith 2003; also see Nuttall 2000 for a historical perspective). Winn and Lord focused on EFP policy making as reflected in three case studies (Bosnia, Chechnya, and the former Yugoslavia/Mostar), while Smith applied a new institutionalist perspective to the broader development of EFP from the late 1950s to the late 1990s. Both studies highlighted the inappropriateness of treating national and European-level activity as distinct processes in favor of more unified, coherent explanations involving institutional change, performance, and feedback effects, not all of which were necessarily functionally effective from an instrumental rational choice perspective.

Regarding EFP performance in particular, mention must be made of Ginsberg’s 2001 monograph, which updated his earlier (1989) compendium of EFP actions and placed them on a more explicit conceptual foundation in terms of measuring EFP “impact” on specific problems, such as the Middle East and the Balkans. The volume also complemented his earlier reflections (Ginsberg 1999) regarding a more comprehensive approach to EFP, which treated it as a political system for producing specific policy outputs. A similar evaluation can be made of White’s article (1999) and volume (2001) on EFP, which tended to favor an FPA approach to the topic rather than a systemic one, though one specifically based on its multidimensional nature: national foreign policies, the CFSP, and the foreign economic relations of the EU. Other noteworthy general conceptual contributions from this period include those of Tonra (1997) and Soetendorp (1999).

As always, numerous case studies of EFP provided much of the raw material for the more conceptual reflections, particularly studies of transatlantic relations following the 9/11 terror attacks and the 2003 war in Iraq (Shaffer and Pollack 2001; Howorth 2003; Penska and Mason 2003; Hill 2004; Gartner and Cuthbertson 2005; Longhurst and Zaborowski 2005; Dannreuther and Peterson 2006; McGuire and Smith 2008). Other scholars have recently examined EU human rights policy (K. Smith 2006), EU democracy promotion (Youngs 2002), EU-UN relations (Laatikainen and Smith 2006), EU-Mediterranean relations (Spencer 2001), EU-Asia relations (Wiessala 2002), Macedonia (Piana 2002), the EU’s increasing efforts in policing and counterterrorism (Occhipinti 2003), the implications of the eastern enlargement (Brown and Shepherd 2007), and the EU’s emerging European Neighborhood Policy (Dannreuther 2004; K. Smith 2005; Weber et al. 2007).

Attention to the security aspects of EFP has increased considerably in the last decade, particularly after the Anglo-French agreement at St. Malo in 1998 to give the EU an autonomous and credible military capacity. In this realm studies have proliferated on the ESDP and various related initiatives, such as the EU’s Civilian Crisis Management capability, security aspects of JHA, the new European Gendarmerie Force, the European Defense Agency, and related topics. However, as with EFP in general, there is very little consensus on how to problematize these efforts as a research question. Many studies have focused on the question of the EU as a global military actor and/or security provider, particularly in light of the release in 2003 of the first-ever European Security Strategy (Gärtner 2001; Deighton 2002; Hunter 2002; Larsen 2002; Salmon and Shepherd 2003; Shepherd 2003; Giegerich and Wallace 2004; Shearman and Sussex 2004; Gnesotto 2005; Wivel 2005; Anderson and Seitz 2006; Merlingen and Ostrauskaite 2006; Anderson 2008; Biscop and Andersson 2008). Other scholars have focused on a more general question: whether these efforts represent some form of power balancing, either among EU member states and/or against the US. As ever, there is no clear consensus on this issue, and scholars use a variety of measures to grapple with it (Jones 2003, 2007; Pape 2005; Posen 2006). However, since the EU has been engaging in actual security operations since 2003, we now have more empirical material to work with in light of actions in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Macedonia, and others (Gourlay 2004; Keane 2004; Kronenberger and Wouters 2004; Mace 2004; Osland 2004; Ulriksen et al. 2004; Diez et al. 2006).

A final area of interest somewhat related to the question of EU security actions involves the question of the “soft power” aspects of EFP, such as the EU’s so-called normative, civilian, ethical, civilizing, moral, or cosmopolitan power, after a highly influential article on “normative power Europe” (Manners 2002) instigated a lively debate (also see the special issue of International Affairs, Vol. 84, 2008, as well as Linklater 2005; Lerch and Schwellnus 2006; Lucarelli and Manners 2006; Manners 2006; Telo 2006). As this proliferation of terms suggests, however, there seems to be a great deal of confusion in the literature over how these forms of power exert influence (i.e., by reputation or through action), how they relate to each other and to other ideational-cultural aspects of EFP (interests, values, principles, customs, institutions, etc.), how one defines and measures these concepts empirically, and how one explains them – as a cause or an effect – theoretically (Youngs 2004; Bicchi 2006; Hyde-Price 2006; Sjursen 2006; M. Smith 2006). Further, this aspect of EFP necessarily overlaps with the policing-military side of EFP, and very little attention has been paid to how the EU’s forms of hard and soft power may complement or undermine each other (for one exception, see Sangiovanni 2003).

Major Thematic Approaches to EFP

As we have seen, the literature on EFP – particularly in terms of its content and formulation – has produced a range of explanations. Some approaches are inspired by realism (intergovernmentalism, national interests), and others by liberalism (institutionalism, domestic pluralism, bureaucratic and organizational politics); still others reflect a constructivist orientation (elite socialization, identity construction). However, another way to think about EFP as a research agenda is to examine systems and actors within this domain, keeping in mind the general trends noted above. As suggested earlier, there are at least four political systems directly relevant to the study of EFP: national foreign policies, supranational policies, intergovernmental policies, and “mixed” or “hybrid” policies that involve complex interactions between these systems. It is now difficult if not impossible to isolate these various systems from each other analytically, especially where multiple EFP tools are used against a single target actor or problem (which is increasingly the case). In fact, one might argue that the basic reason for studying EFP is to reject the idea of these disparate systems drawn from more orthodox approaches to IR and FPA in favor of a more comprehensive approach, which may or may not involve the creation of a general or grand theory of EFP.

One way to square this circle – or reject monocausal or monosystemic approaches on the one hand while admitting the lack of a general theory of EFP on the other – is by focusing on the larger institutional framework in which these various elements are embedded, which may extend to the treatment of EFP as a system of governance (Bulmer 1994; Hooghe and Marks 2003). Briefly, these elements involve intergovernmental agenda setting in the European Council; political steering by a complex transgovernmental EFP network; the emergence and codification of norms and laws governing EFP; and the involvement of EU organizational actors – all governed by a policy process whose dynamics vary according to the EFP domain in question (M.E. Smith 2003; also White 1999:42). The governance approach is now fairly well established in EU studies, and it allows scholars to assign different “weights” to the various factors noted above depending on the policy in question, including the influence of EFP on non-European states and actors (i.e., “external governance”; see Lavenex 2004; Weber et al. 2007) and on specific policy problems (i.e., “security governance”; see Kirchner and Sperling 2007). Finally, by admitting the importance of national “inputs,” the approach allows one to incorporate domestic political factors, but only to the extent that they influence actual EFP decision-making calculations by empowered elites (for more details, see M.E. Smith 2004a).

A related, and perhaps more flexible, approach involves the creation of policy networks within the realm of EFP. For example, there is little doubt that although EFP has come a long way since the 1970s, it has always remained an elite and even “self-contained” phenomenon involving confidential discussions among experts with limited interference by interest groups (Hill and Wallace 1979). Indeed, Weiler and Wessels (1988:243–8) have suggested the consociational model for EFP, where a “cartel” of elites regularly cooperates to preserve functionality and stability. Such intensive deliberation within the EPC/CFSP working groups certainly encourages the formation of multilevel networks (Krahmann 2003), or even nascent epistemic communities of technical experts, as Müller and van Dassen (1997:68) have suggested of EU nonproliferation policy. In these more technical areas, the common understandings and solutions – or socialization processes – created by the participants help perpetuate EFP; a similar approach is suggested by Tonra’s (2003) application of a cognitive approach. More recently, some analysts have explored the emergence of an EFP “strategic culture” (Quille 2004; Cornish and Edwards 2005; Meyer 2005) in light of the EU’s growing involvement in security operations, which lends itself to a policy network or epistemic community approach that stresses common mind-sets among relevant policy makers.

Even if one rejects the idea of a governance or network approach to EFP in favor of a more orthodox treatment (such as classic FPA involving an EFP “system”; see Ginsberg 2001; White 2001), there are multiple ways to introduce variance among these actors, and researchers must be very clear on why one criterion is selected over another. A sophisticated approach to national variance or inputs into EFP would recognize a number of potential political cleavages: large states versus small states, neutral versus nonneutral states, regional orientations or “dimensions” to EFP (Northern, Southern/Mediterranean, Eastern, Atlanticist), older EU member states versus more recent ones, former Communist or authoritarian states versus those with a longer democratic tradition, the permanent UN Security Council member states, Euro-zone member states, and so on. In addition to this general variation, one can expand the analysis further by examining domestic politics in more detail: party systems, electoral rules, bureaucratic politics and cultures, presidential versus parliamentary control of foreign policy, social groups, trade relationships, factor endowments, and so on. Thus, even when focusing on national inputs as a “first cut” in explaining EFP, it is by no means apparent that certain state-level variables should be chosen over others, or that certain states should be favored over the others in any account. These choices must be made explicit and then justified, acts that will often reveal the true attitude of the scholar to EFP as a research topic.

Unfinished Business? The Future of EFP

This last point leads us to several other important areas of opportunity for EFP scholars. As suggested above, there is in fact very little work involving a traditional FPA approach to EFP (for one exception, see White 2001) in light of state-level or individual-level factors. Although a few studies of public opinion have appeared, mainly in the context of broader studies of European integration (Eichenberg and Dalton 1993) or studies of European security (Manigart and Marlier 1993), there is very little work on EFP in terms of political parties, psychological factors (including crisis decision making), bureaucratic politics, and interest groups. At the more macro level, some commentators have advanced the idea of a United States of Europe, a European superpower, and even a “European dream” (Reid 2004; Rifkin 2004; Leonard 2006; McCormick 2006). Each of these arguments involves a foreign policy element, yet we still lack a deep understanding of the specifically European content of these efforts, how they inspire EFP, and how they compare with other major global competitors and even certain EU member states.

Some of these factors could be incorporated more systematically into studies of national approaches to EFP, particularly in light of the most recent enlargements and the greater involvement of the EU in security affairs. This would include more work on national adaptation or Europeanization (including defense adaptation, military force structures, civilian control of the military, intelligence cooperation, etc.) in light of EU/NATO commitments (Forster 2006; M.E. Smith 2004b; Major 2005), as well as more attention to non-EU EFP participants, such as Turkey and Norway (Gstöhl 2002), and research into the bordering states closely involved in the ENP and similar programs. The literature still lacks a comprehensive, theoretically informed comparison of these various state actors involved in EFP, although we have many pieces of the puzzle. Moreover, the advent of greater flexibility (or enhanced cooperation) in terms of EFP decision making means we need to pay greater attention to how “coalitions of the willing” are created and led, and how these groups relate to other EFP-related groupings (such as the “Quint” or the “Quartet”; see, for example, Gegout 2002).

Finally, we should note the stubborn persistence of the democratic deficit within the context of EFP (Stavridis 1997; Wagner 2006; also see the special issue of European Security on security and democracy in the EU, Vol. 15, 2006). Here the question of democratic legitimacy (particularly with “coalitions of the willing”) may deserve more attention than we see in the literature. The legitimacy and accountability of national foreign policy rest with elected representatives. For EFP, however, where many decisions are taken in the name of “Europe” but do not involve the input of all European (or EU) states or citizens, the question arises as to whom, precisely, EFP should be made accountable, and at what level (the EU, states participating in EFP operations, all EFP states, or some combination of these). Beyond the concerns already noted, this issue might involve greater attention to national parliaments, the EP, electoral inputs and cycles, and other factors that tend to receive little attention in the EFP literature as compared to government and EU elites. If EFP deserves to command our attention as a vibrant research topic, as it now claims to represent the interests of hundreds of millions of Europeans, then both academics and publics must pay greater attention to its democratic foundations.

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Europa (http:/europa.eu/index_en.htm, accessed October 2009) is the main gateway to the European Union and includes numerous resources on European foreign policy.

Updated information about EU foreign, security, and defense policy activity can be found primarily at http:/europa.eu/pol/cfsp/index_en.htm, accessed October 2009.

The EU Institute for Security Studies publishes regular research papers on EFP at http:/www.iss.europa.eu, accessed October 2009.

The European Union Studies Association (EUSA), at http:/www.eustudies.org, accessed October 2009, is the primary scholarly organization devoted to the study of European integration and foreign policy.

FORNET (http:/www.fornet.info, accessed October 2009) is a scholarly network focused on European foreign policy. Its website hosts various research and teaching resources on this topic.