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.