After the failure of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe and a “period of reflection”, the agreement on a “Reform Treaty” was reached at an informal summit in Lisbon on October 19, 2007. Three months later, on December 13, the Treaty of Lisbon was signed and came into force on December 1, 2009. The innovations of the Treaty of Lisbon are not as far reaching as those of the Constitutional Treaty. Nevertheless, they have the potential to increase the effectiveness of European foreign policy and to strengthen the EU as an international actor. Coherence is a necessary precondition for the efficacy of foreign policy not only of the EU but of all international actors. In the past, however, coherence constituted a challenge to European foreign policy. One of the reasons was the structure of the EU and the differences in the institutional involvement and procedures between different issue areas of the EU’s foreign policy. The issue of the legal personality of the EU, which is closely connected to the EU’s structure, has been presented as a serious obstacle to the EU’s foreign policy and to the perception of the EU as an international actor. On the other hand, there have also been discrepancies between the agreed Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) at European level and the varying behaviour of the Member States at national level.
The Treaty of Lisbon has led to a simplification of the EU’s structure, the explicit provision on the EU’s legal personality and institutional amendments related to the European foreign policy, namely, the new position of the President of the European Council, the revised position of the High Representative and a new institution, the European External Action Service. These substantive and institutional innovations affect European external relations, particularly their coherence, in a positive way. In contrast, the Treaty of Lisbon has no effect on the principle of coherence codified in the Treaty on European... [continues]
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