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Common Foreign and Security Policy
The Common Foreign and Security Policy or CFSP was established as the second of the three pillars of the European Union in the Maastricht treaty of 1992, and further defined and broadened in the Amsterdam Treaty of 1997. It superseded the European Political Cooperation.
According to the treaties, the European Union defines and implements a common foreign and security policy covering all areas of foreign and security policy, the objectives of which shall be:
- to safeguard the common values, fundamental interests, independence and integrity of the Union in conformity with the principles of the United Nations Charter;
- to strengthen the security of the Union in all ways;
- to preserve peace and strengthen international security, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter, as well as the principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the objectives of the Paris Charter, including those on external borders;
- to promote international cooperation;
- to develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The European Council defines the principles and general guidelines for the CFSP as well as common strategies to be implemented by the EU. On the basis of those guidelines the Council of Ministers adopts joint actions or common positions.
- Joint actions address specific situations where operation action by the EU is considered necessary and lay down the objectives, scope and means to be made available to the EU. They commit the member states.
- Common positions on the other hand, define the approach that the EU takes on a certain matter of geographical or thematic nature, and define in the abstract the general guidelines that the national policies of Member states must conform to.
The treaties indicate that the function of the High Representative for the CFSP is exercised by the Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers, who assists the country holding the Presidency of the European Union in matters coming within the scope of the CFSP. When appropriate he conducts political dialogue with third parties, acting on behalf of the Council of Ministers, at the Request of the Presidency. The current High Representative for the CFSP is Javier Solana.
Bodies of the European Union set up within the CFSP context include the following:
- The General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC)
- A Political and Security Committee or PSC, which monitors the international situation in the areas covered by the CFSP and contributes by delivering opinions to the Council of Ministers, either at its request or its own initiative, and also monitors the implementation of agreed policies.
- The European Union Institute for Security Studies ( EUISS)
- The European Union Satellite Centre (EUSC)
European Security and Defence Policy
The European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) is considered a major element of the CFSP. The ESDP was initiated by provisions of the Treaty of Amsterdam which stipulated the progressive framing of a common security and defence policy that could deal with humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking. These are the so-called Petersberg tasks.
Past and Future
The CFSP can be considered the outgrowth and replacement of the European Political Cooperation which had been formally established in the Single European Act (in effect since 1987), and informally introduced already from 1970 in response to the Davignon report . In the 1950s an even earlier attempt at political cooperation through the European Political Community had failed to be launched.
According to the as yet unratified European Constitution, the pillar structure will be abandoned -- this means that the functions currently considered part of the CFSP will be further incorporated into the functions of the rest of the Union. Among other things the post of the High Representative of the CFSP will be merged with the post of the Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, creating the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs who will be at the same time Vice-President of the Commission.
As part of the simplification of jargon in the treaties, "common positions" and "joint actions" will be both renamed into "decisions".
Evolution of the Structures of European Union
- Three pillars of the European Union
- European Security and Defense Policy
- European Union Association Agreement
- Javier Solana Current High Representative
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