2nd AUTUMN SEMINAR: “AN EU FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICY WITH GLOBAL REACH ? ACTORS, PROCEDURES, CAPABILITIES AND EFFECTIVENESS”
International conference, Brussels, 12 – 16 September 2006, organised by IEP together with Compagnia di San Paolo (Torino), Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (Stockholm) and the VolkswagenFoundation (Hanover).
From 12 to 16 September 2006, the follow-up conference for the first and second cohort of the grant holders of the Programme “European Foreign and Security Policy Studies” took place in Brussels at Fondation Universitaire, EU institutions premises and Crowne Plaza Hotel Europa. It was organised by the IEP together with Compagnia di San Paolo (Torino), Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (Stockholm) and the VolkswagenFoundation (Hanover). More than 20 academics and officials and 46 grant holders from all over Europe and beyond participated in the conference and discussed the question of “European Foreign and Security Policy with Global Reach?”.
After welcome speeches of Dr. Alfred Schmidt from the VolkswagenFoundation and Dr. Mathias Jopp from the Institut für Europäische Politik the first two days of the conference were primarily dedicated to the presentations of the first research results of the second cohort of the grant holders. In order to facilitate coherent feedback and an exchange between the young academics of the first and the second cohort and professionals, the presentations were given in eight thematic panels, which addressed the following aspects:
“Civil and Military Crisis Management of the EU – Conceptual Trends and the Application of Instruments”,
“Current Trends in CFSP/ESDP – Institutions, Strategic Culture, Cross-pillarisation”,
“The Europeanisation of National Foreign, Security and Defence Policy – the Case of Germany and Cyprus”,
“Democratic Control and the Role of the Media in the CFSP”,
“Other CFSP Priorities – Relations with China and Russia”,
“Other CFSP Priorities – Arms (Export) Control and IAEA”,
“CFSP in Action — the Southern Caucasus and Western Africa” and
“The EU’s Policy in the Western Balkans”.
In the first panel the projects of the grant holders concentrated on the EU as a civil and military crisis manager. From more theoretical to more empirical perspectives concepts and instruments of EU crisis management were critically reflected. A special emphasis was put on the civilian part of EU crisis management. Interdisciplinary aspects of CFSP/ESDP were then taken up in the panel on “Current Trends in CFSP/ESDP — Institutions, Strategic Culture, Cross-pillarisation”. The presented projects analysed CFSP and ESDP from legal perspective, asked for the emergence of an EU strategic culture, respectively of a trans-national public good and concentrated on policy-crossing challenges for European coherence. In a third step the conference dealt with the national level and asked, in how far the CFSP and the ESDP influence national foreign, security and defence policies, here in the case of Germany and Cyprus. On the next day the fourth panel concentrated on the factor and role of public opinion in CFSP.
In three other panels the focus shifted more towards concrete external relations of the EU with other regions in Europe and in the world. The respective research projects focused on China and Russia, Southern Caucasus and Western Africa and the Western Balkans. The panel left on “Other CFSP Priorities — Arms (Export) Control and IAEA” took a different perspective and questioned the arms export policies of EU member states in context of Europeanization as well as the IAEA safeguard systems regarding possible advantages of early warning capabilities. In all panels, one part of the discussion of the research papers focused on methodological questions. The chairmen of the panels as well as the young researchers of the first cohort tried to give advices especially along the following aspects: definition of concepts, leading research question, justification of theoretical framework/approach and cases, aim of research (more policy- or research-orientated) etc. In a second part of the conference the views of CFSP/ESDP actors and analysts mainly from Brussels were presented. In the contributions made by CFSP practioners the enormous growth of CFSP activities most obvious in the (as of July 2006: in total 15 i.e. 4 military and 11 civilian or civilian-military ones) crisis management operations was frequently referred to. Despite all the well-known shortcomings — the major challenge being the question of coherence between the EU pillars and EU actors but also between them and the national levels — the EU has moved towards a global player not only in economic but also in political terms. Those involved in the daily CFSP business have underlined the strong will among all participating countries to achieve a common line on all major issues with only few exceptional cases like the Iraq War, i.e. when at top political level national positions have been taken already before attempts were made in CFSP to find common ground. Today, concertation among the 25/27 goes as far as to include also the agenda of the UN Security Council — a strict taboo in earlier CFSP times. In contrast to previous assessments of several observers enlargement has not produced any difficulties for CFSP decision-making. This may have been due to the initial “silence” of the “newcomers” but it also reflects the basic interest of the member states to promote consensus instead of working against it. This is not to say as was pointed out that no divergences exist ‑like in the definition of the EU policy towards Russia — but that efforts are strong towards a common line even if negotiations take some time.
Furthermore and according to CFSP insiders, the process of “Brusselisation” i.e. the growth of the CFSP institutions in Brussels since the late nineties, did also help to improve the EU’s capacities as an international actor. Among those most frequently referred were the Policy Unit, the High Representative for the CFSP, Javier Solana, the Political and Security Committee (PSC) and the ESDP infrastructure.
The establishment of an admittedly small staff of mostly diplomats seconded from their respective foreign ministries to the Policy Unit has successfully contributed to the present CFSP. Though limited to specific key issues like e.g. the Western Balkans, the Policy Unit has been able to define and promote shared visions among the member states. This presupposes close links between the members of the Policy Unit and their colleagues “at home” which enable them to launch Brussels — based ideas and test them in the capitals and vice-versa i.e. an important channel of communicating national interests to Brussels early in advance. Similarly this applies also to the work and success of the High Representative who is in close contact not only with the acting presidency but with the other foreign ministers even though some might be more preferred interlocuteurs than others.
The creation of the PSC, composed of high ranking diplomats at ambassadorial level and posted in the Permanent Representations o the EU member states in Brussels, and its quasi permanent consultation mechanism is another key to the greater efficiency and effectiveness of today’s CFSP. According to insiders gone are the days when rivalry was strong between it and Coreper, the “genuine” and exclusive body for preparing the Council Sessions. Instead the amount of workload on either side, the specificity of the issues and the requirement for coordination i.e. to better harmonise the different tools of the various pillars, work towards normal relations.
Though limited in personnel the European Union Military Staff and as part of it the recently created Civil-Military Cell have important tasks to fulfil with regard to the ESDP objectives. Apart from genuine strategic planning much time has to be devoted there also to internal and interpillar coordination to meet the EU’s overall claim to promote long lasting stability in crisis regions. Besides, regular concertation is necessary with the national level and Nato e.g. in order to set up and implement the ESDP operations while well-known obstacles on the part of some member states persist towards greater autonomy towards a “Brussels”-based operation centre.
To achieve greater consistency the role of the European Commission is said to be of considerable importance as well. Despite undeniable rivalries between Council and Commission bodies warnings were issued and recommendations made to focus more on a cooperative approach in the day-to-day CFSP business successfully performed e.g. with the nomination of the EU Special Representative for Macedonia, E. Foueré, who served before as the Head of the Commission delegation in Skopje. This decision should not be seen as a “victory” of the Commission as one official warned but as a sign of doing things that are not forbidden in order to improve coherence in the EU’s foreign policy. Nevertheless — as other CFSP experts put it — there seem to be certain suspicions among member states towards such an interpretation which might prevent the application of this “model” of a Special Representative to other cases.
Due to the deadlock of the Constitutional Treaty institutional reform seems to be more than modest and limited to more practical adaptations as mentioned above. Even though the incoming German Presidency intends to give new life to the constitutional process CFSP will have to live with the existing institutional set-up and the creation of the post of a double-hatted EU foreign minister will take considerable
time. In the meantime the High Representative for the CFSP will probably receive greater responsibility, however, depending on the readiness of each presidency to do so. In general his participation in the EU‑3 (United Kingdom, France and Germany) to negotiate with Iran is generally assessed as a positive step particularly in order to build the bridge between the “big three” and those EU members which have to remain outside. Given the general suspicions on the part of the smaller member states towards directoires/ core groups it seems that that the formula used for Iran will not serve as a model for the future.
Among the issues frequently referred to were the scope, nature and results of various ESDP missions as was the EU’s policy towards the Balkans.
Even though one has to acknowledge that the EU’s capabilities are not fully developed and that the headline goals as defined by the politicians still differ from reality (particularly in the civilian sector) the ESDP operations conducted since 2003 have been successful and improved the EU’s profile as a major international actor. Among those cited were the EU border mission in Palestine (EUBAM Rafah) heavily promoted by the acting presidency at that time and in close concertation with Solana and the Council Secretariat and the EU mission to foster peace in Indonesia (Aceh) in which countries from the region (ASEAN) participated in a fruitful way, according to official sources.
As a highlight in the framework of the conference the first Anna Lindh Award Ceremony, chaired by the Secretaries General of the three fondations, Prof. Dr. Dan BRÄNDSTRÖM from the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, Prof. Dr. Piero GASTALDO from the Compagnia di San Paolo and Dr. Wilhelm KRULL from the VolkswagenFoundation were held on 14 September 2006 in the Crowne Plaza Europa Hotel in Brussels. After introductory speeches of Hans DAHLGREN, Swedish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Margot WALLSTRÖM, Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Institutional Relations and Communication and Prof. Dr. Klaus HÄNSCH, MEP, former President of the European Parliament and former Member of the European Convention and the Laudatio of Prof. Dr. Walter Emanuel CARLSNAES from the University of Uppsala and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs the Anna Lindh Award was given to Prof. Dr. Helene SJURSEN from the University of Oslo for excellent research in European Foreign and Security Policies.
The Conference ended with a Panel Discussion on the question of “Coherence, Effectiveness and Legitimacy through Brusselisation?” with remarks of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wessels from University of Cologne, Ambassador Alyson Bailes, Director of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Prof. Dr. Jörg Monar from University of Strasbourg, Dr. Gunilla Herolf from Swedish Institute of International Affairs and Prof. Dr. Jan Zielonka from University of Oxford. As a conclusion of the conference they all asked for the definition of the concepts ‘coherence’, ‘effectiveness’ and ‘legitimacy’ not only in Foreign and Security issues but also in a comprehensive way regarding European integration as a whole.