Cfsp in the Light of the ¡¥Pendulum Theory¡¦

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  • Topic: European Union, Treaty of Lisbon, Common Foreign and Security Policy
  • Pages : 8 (3007 words )
  • Download(s) : 28
  • Published : June 9, 2006
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CFSP in the light of the ¡¥pendulum theory¡¦
This article evaluates the applicability of the theoretical framework, suggested by Helen Wallace, for the examination of EU policies. In particular, we will first try to identify the elements that Wallace implies in her ¡¥pendulum model¡¦ in the specific field of Common Foreign and Security Policy; second, we will illustrate whether recent developments of CFSP, since the year 2000 (when the book was published) have further reinforced the assumptions made by the author; and finally we will conclude on the explicability relevance of the ¡¥policy pendulum¡¦ regarding the policy-making process of CFSP. Wallace argues that: ¡§cooperation is often a means to manage differences, rather than an instrument of convergence. It is this combination that brings much of the dynamic to policy-making across borders in Western Europe, a dynamic that can intensify cooperation, but which also can interrupt it¡¨ . To characterize the policy-making process of the EU, the same author introduces the metaphor of a pendulum. Accordingly, the policy pendulum swings between the member-states¡¦ areas of national politics and interests, and the European pole. The relative gravity of these poles varies across the particular policy domains, attracting some forces to locate the policy-making process either on national or on EU level, while other policy areas let the pendulum sway in uncertainty. However, this metaphor may probably illustrate the different intentions on EU and member-states level, which shape the initial policy-making process throughout the particular EU bodies and institutions. Moreover, it implies that policy process in the EU is not a straight line; rather it is defined by a sense of movement, containing variations over time and between countries. The above assumption is clearly verified in the case of CFSP, where variations of both types have characterized its evolution. Accordingly, after the collapse of the EDC in August 1954, defense issues were essentially taboo among Europeans, NATO being the only organization responsible for European security. After more that fifty years of status quo, several factors may explain the progressive emergence of a genuine security and defense policy for the Union accompanied by a similar trend of reassessment by the member-states of their prerogative on matters belonging to the core of national sovereignty. The first change was systemic. With the end of the Cold War, Europe partly lost its strategic significance for the United States. The security guarantee provided by Washington remained, yet the end of the Soviet threat meant ultimately the end of European dependency in security and defense. Moreover, armies in Western Europe were built on collective and territorial defense. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, collective security and intervention abroad became the new principles of European defense. The second factor is related to the specific dynamic of the integration process. Once economic integration had nearly been completed, the political side of the European process became the next obvious area of integration. Yet, in foreign policy, the spillover effect was limited. The first initiatives of the ¡¥70s were fairly minimal; only the Maastricht Treaty was seen as a first breakthrough, however modest. Foreign policy, additionally, is not an area where the logic of integration can easily replace the logic of collective action. The intergovernmental nature of foreign policy cooperation remained the basic rule of the game. This basic reality explained the creation of a second pillar of the Union, dedicated to a common foreign policy. Third, the deepening of the Union meant that the gap between Europe as an economic giant and a political dwarf became all too obvious after the end of the Cold War. It seemed particularly odd that the Union could make its voice heard in international economic forums, but remained...
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