European Foreign Policy: Projecting Stability

The Common Foreign and Security Policy has developed slowly in the European Union. It is still weak, because it is an area in which the member states are rightly jealous of their national prerogatives. There are distinct limits on how far they want to go in pooling their capacity, and on how much they want to spend. But in recent years they have begun to fashion a policy which can be more than just declaratory. It is a policy which will allow us to promote global stability.

The World Today
5 minute READ

Chris Patten

European Union's Commissioner for External Relations

More than forty years ago the European Commission’s first President, Walter Hallstein, wanted to formalise the European Commission’s relations with the representatives of third countries in Brussels.

President de Gaulle slapped him down, pooh-poohing this ‘artificial country springing from the brow of a technocrat’.

Foreign policy goes to the heart of what it means to be a nation. And the Commission’s role is still disputed. When it comes to trade policy or agriculture, we know where we stand. The Commission acts – more or less – according to Jean Monnet’s brilliant vision of Europe. But what exactly is the Common Foreign and Security Policy? Should the member states be willing to curb their national instincts for the sake of it?

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