Union in Global Perspectives
The ambition of the
EU to promote its model of development and the fact that europeanisation remains
somehow a rival globalisation, imply a bigger ambition of the EU to attain a
position of an International actor. Chris Patten[i]
confirms this idea:
The European Union’s external relations are global and diverse, encompassing
both the common Foreign Policy and security policy and community aspect, such as
competition, the environment, justice and home affairs and consumers protection.
The commission role is to promote an effective, consistent and coherent external
relations policy for the European Union, so as to enable the European Union to
assert its identity on the international scene.”
However to what
extent and in what ways, can the EU be considered as a global actor? Has the EU
attained the position of a full-blown international actor? These questions lead
to an other: what does being an international actor mean?
The definition of
actor requires conceiving of the international actor as any entity that
participates in international relations and exerts an influence on their course.
The amplitude of this definition allows for the inclusion of both the
traditional functions performed by state in international relations and the
function carried out today by international organisations of various kinds[ii].
Does this definition
apply on the EU case?
potential as a global actor
statehood, the EU can be viewed as a homogeneous entity, especially if the
single market, customs union, common commercial policy and the single currency
are taken into consideration. After 2004 Europe will have the third largest
population after China and India and will compete with the United States in
being the strongest economic power. In addition within the increasingly unipolar
world Europe, particularly with the upcoming enlargement and as the world's
biggest trading partner, the EU, has a formidable chance to firmly establish
itself as a global player.
community in its past, present and future shape represents an organism
comprising Europe’s most highly developed, economically, politically and
military strong countries. Its core is formed by nations that were once classed
world powers. Each of them in the past perused it’s own foreign policy and
cultivated external relations on a broad international scale.
These aspects seem to
give the Union the credentials to promote initiative of a global character.
global reach and objectives of EU Foreign policy is reflected in the treaties.
Article 11 of the Treaty of Amsterdam (ToA)[iii].
It states five objectives. The first two are safeguarding the fundamental
interests, independence and common values of the Union itself and strengething
its security. The other three are of a broader nature: preserving peace and
strengething international security in accordance with the principles of the UN
charter, promoting international cooperation, and developing and consolidationg
democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental
freedom. The ToA aggregated certain powers at the Union level though previously
they had belonged to the sole competence of member governments. This is
confirmed by the institutional agreements introduced by article 18 to 28 ToA.
Policy in the EU structure
covers both economic and political relations. Economic cooperation is managed
under the common commercial policy, political relations under the CFSP. The CFSP
defines the EU’s political philosophy, which is reflected in the treaties and
the projects it peruses. The EU’s external relations comprise six principal
axes whose range and scale are of global nature. They also cover
bilateral-multilateral relations, enlargement commercial policy and human
importance the Union now attaches to its relations with countries around the
world can be seen through recent innovations in both the European Commission and
the Council of Ministers.
Some 15 years ago, the complete panoply of external relations was handled by
just two Commission departments. Now there are six. To ensure a coherent
approach and a clear identity, overall coordination is assured by the
External Relations Commissioner, Chris Patten. He works closely with his
colleagues in charge of sectoral policies - Poul Nielson (Development and
Humanitarian Aid), Günter Verheugen (Enlargement) and Pascal Lamy (Trade).
He also works in close contact with Javier Solana, the Secretary-General of
the Council of Ministers and the first High Representative for the Common
Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).
The Union has an extensive network around the world, which helps it to
formulate and implement policy. In addition to the many foreign embassies in
Brussels accredited to the EU, the Commission has over 120 of its own
delegations in third countries. Their role is to develop the Union's
bilateral links with nations of hugely differing size and wealth, promoting
the EU's policies and values and keeping Brussels informed of developments
on the ground.
Although the Presidency of the EU rotates between Member States every six
months, continuity in foreign policy is ensured by the CFSP
High Representative, the Council Secretariat and the Commission. The Member
State holding the Presidency is also assisted by the country that will hold
the next Presidency.
1993, the Council of Ministers has adopted some 70 common positions on
foreign policy issues ranging from the Balkans to East Timor and from the
non-proliferation of nuclear weapons to counter-terrorism. Once adopted, Member
States are required to adhere to common positions, which the Presidency defends
at the United Nations and in other international forums. Over the same period,
the Council has agreed some 50 common actions, including de-mining operations in
Africa and elsewhere and the dispatch of EU special envoys to crisis areas such
as the Balkans and the Middle East.
the Amsterdam Treaty of 1999, the European Council (Heads of State or
Government) is empowered to adopt longer-term common strategies for
certain countries or regions. Common strategies on Russia and the Ukraine were
adopted in 1999 and on the Mediterranean in 2000.
the CFSP, a common European security and defense policy (CESDP) is rapidly
taking shape. To reinforce the Union's ability to deal with crisis situations in
neighbouring regions, plans are in hand, in close cooperation with NATO, to set
up a rapid reaction military force to carry out peace-keeping and other
non-combat tasks at short notice. The existence of such a force would complement
the EU's existing possibilities, which include police operations, border
controls and civilian humanitarian assistance.
EU’s International Actor role
The EU exerts an
influence on non-member countries via trade policy and decision- taking in the
field of internal economic policy. It can be said that the interrelationship
between progress in the integration of EU space and liberalisation of relations
with non-member countries takes shape on a feedback basis.
should mention that the relationship held by the EU in the international level
covers both bilateral and multilateral contacts.
closely not just on bilateral matters, but in international forums like the
United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, NATO and the G8.
and the new independent States:
EU common strategy on Russia for the following four years. The initiative
signalled a new phase in relations between the two partners and was the first
foreign policy document approved by the EU under the new common foreign and
security policy provisions introduced by the Amsterdam Treaty from 1997. It was
followed six months later by a similar common strategy towards Ukraine.
initiatives go further than the 'partnership and cooperation agreements', which
the Union has with all the new independent States, i.e. the countries which
earlier formed the Soviet Union. They aim to consolidate democracy, the rule of
law and public institutions and to help the countries integrate into a 'common
European economic and social space', including working towards a free trade area
with the Union.
European Union is committed to bringing peace and stability to the Balkans and
its main objective is to integrate the countries of the region into Europe's
political and economic mainstream. The 'stabilisation and association process'
is its principal policy instrument involving Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia. The process is individually tailored to the needs of each participant
and includes economic and financial assistance, cooperation, political dialogue,
the goal of a free trade area, approximation of EU legislation and practices and
cooperation in areas like justice and home affairs.
Partnership: At the beginning of the 1990s,
the EU and its member governments took up again the state of their relations
with the states of the Mediterranean region. They decided to pass from the
unproductiveness of the Mediterranean programs and actions of the last twenty
years to a new strategy aimed at substituting the traditional sectorial and
bilateral approach strategy with the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. The
November 1995 Barcelona Conference - where the Partnership was solemnly launched
- wanted to be the opening of a new chapter in the history of relations between
the European Union and the countries of the Mediterranean.
Declaration - the founding charter of the Partnership - targets a free trade
area between the 27 participants by the year 2010 and pledges to start
cooperation in a broad range of political, social and economic fields. It
comprises four chapters and a work programme. The chapters deal with Political
and Security Partnership; Economic and Financial Partnership; Partnership in
Social, Cultural and Human Affairs.
In the Political and
Security Partnership chapter, the participating countries stress their
conviction that peace, stability and security in the Mediterranean region are
common assets which they pledged to promote and strengthen "by all means at
their disposal". In the Economic and Financial Partnership chapter, three
long term objectives are given to their partnership: to speed up the pace of
lasting social and economic development; to improve peoples' living conditions
by raising employment and closing the development gap in the region; to promote
cooperation and regional integration. In the Partnership in Social, Cultural and
Human Affairs chapter, governments recognise that mutual understanding can be
greatly enhanced by human exchanges and a dialogue between cultures; they agree
to establish a wide range of cooperation between peoples, not only in politics
but also in culture, religion, education, the media, as well as between trade
unions and public and private companies.
The EMP regional
project is a projection of the EU integration. However, the projection of the EU
model doesn’t stop at this level that is considered to be structural. A deeper
level is being set up aiming at supporting this structure. In fact the southern
Mediterranean countries are called to implement the “Acquis communautaire”
on the national scale. The
entire body of European laws is known as the “acquis communautaire”.
The EU influence has
grown stronger as deeper integration made process, a process, which can be
analysed from the angle of the number and kinds of agreements, conclude with
non-member countries and in the light of the procedures introduced in the course
of deepening integration. The last feature of this deepening integrating remains
the new concept of neighbouring policy. The European Commission adopted a
setting out a new framework for relations over the coming decade with Russia,
the Western NIS and the Southern Mediterranean – countries[v]
not currently have a perspective of membership but who will soon find themselves
sharing a border with the Union. As the Copenhagen European Council confirmed,
enlargement is an opportunity to promote stability and prosperity beyond the new
borders of the Union. The Communication proposes that, over the coming decade,
the EU should therefore aim to work in partnership to develop a zone of
prosperity and a friendly neighbourhood – a ‘ring of friends’ - with whom
the EU enjoys close, peaceful and co-operative relations. It suggests that, in
return for concrete progress demonstrating shared values and effective
implementation of political, economic and institutional reforms, all the
neighbouring countries should be offered the prospect of a stake in the EU’s
internal market. This should be accompanied by further integration and
liberalisation to promote the free movement of persons, goods, services and
capital (four freedoms).
President Prodi said
"With globalisation and the creation of a trans-national civil society, the
Union’s external relations can no longer be distinguished from its internal
development, particularly when it comes to our neighbourhood. Instead of trying
to establish new dividing lines, deeper integration between the EU and the ring
of friends will accelerate our mutual political, economic and cultural
It therefore proposes
that further measures to enhance integration and liberalisation should be
implemented gradually and progressively, responding to positive action on the
part of the neighbouring countries.
These measures are:
Extension of the
Internal Market and Regulatory Structures
Trading relations and Market Opening
Lawful Migration and Movement of Persons
Co-operation to Prevent and Combat Common Security Threats
Political Involvement in Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management
to Promote Human Rights, Further Cultural Co-operation and Enhance Mutual
Transport, Energy and Telecommunications Networks and the European Research
for Investment Promotion and Protection
Integration into the Global Trading System
Assistance, Better Tailored to Needs
New Sources of
new version of the EU relations of it’s surrounding countries is also
mentioned in the European convention. Article
Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring States, aiming to
establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the
values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on
2.For this purpose, the Union may conclude and implement specific agreements
with the countries concerned in accordance with Article III-227.
These agreements may contain reciprocal rights and obligations as well as
the possibility of undertaking activities jointly. Their implementation shall be
the subject of periodic consultation.
gradual development of specific neighbourhood policy reveals a growing awareness
of the external consequences of the forthcoming EU enlargement. This article
shows the interaction between the deepening of the EU and the strengthening of
its’ external role in the world.
must underline the fact that the Formula “neighborhood policy” is not
expressively mentioned in the treaty itself. The members of the convention
favored a more neutral designation “The Union and its immediate
addition to bilateral contacts, the Union has a large number of multilateral
relations both with international organisations and with other regional
groupings of countries. It attaches particular importance to encouraging
regional forms of integration, since these help create large, integrated local
markets and enable countries in specific parts of the world to participate more
effectively on global issues.
In Asia, the Union has developed a
stronger regional relationship through greater involvement with the Association
of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Burma/Myanmar, while a member of ASEAN is
not part of the EU-ASEAN Member States agreement.
Latin America, the main partnerships
are with the San José Group (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras,
Nicaragua and Panama), Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), the
Andean Community (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela) and the Rio
Group of countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador,
Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela).
Union encourage the establishment of regional groupings among the African,
Caribbean and Pacific[vi]
countries and cooperates closely with the Southern African Development Community
has a well- developed relationship, particularly on single market matters and
flanking policies such as the environment and competition, with the three
European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
countries - Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein - which, with the EU, make up the
European Economic Area.
of the most recent initiatives is the 'northern
dimension' which brings together the EU's more northerly members, Russia and
candidate countries in northern Europe.
EU and The United Nations :
between the United Nations and regional organizations has taken a variety of
forms ranging from de facto collaboration to highly formalized and
permanent relationships. The most obvious formal relationship is observer status
for regional organizations with particular UN organs. The General Assembly has
granted observer status to a number of regional organizations, including the
European Economic Community (EEC) in 1974. Cooperation among the
Members of the European Union is close but individual membership remains
unaffected. By contrast, the Community has all but replaced its individual
Members as participants in GATT. The other GATT Members have informally accepted
this succession of a regional organization to the rights and duties of its
development was taken to its logical conclusion in the relationship of the
European Community to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In November
1991, the Community was formally admitted to membership of the global
organization after FAO had amended its constitution. The individual EC Members
retain their respective memberships in FAO but have to share the exercise of
their rights with the regional organization.
growing role of the EU and the reinforcement of europeanisation as a process of
influence of the EU foreign Policy confirm
the global ambition of the EU and makes the EU more than a regional project.
However, the evolving role of the EU as a global actor faces several challenges
limiting it’s effeciency.
2-Challenges of the global
role of the EU
The on going process of the EU to attain a
global role as a full-blown international player faces various obstacles which
weakens the process. First, the
architecture of pillars is poorly suited to the situation in that there are
areas that link or impact more than one pillar. For example, this raises the
need for bringing together elements of the first pillar, which still operates on
the basis of the community system (trade policy, co-operation for development,
etc.) with foreign policy, which functions by means of a new, intergovernmental
system. The creation of the High Representative has certainly revolutionised the
European Union's foreign relations, but there will nonetheless still be two
systems-community and intergovernmental-and it will be absolutely necessary to
make them work together in a compatible fashion.
The other challenge EU faces in the short term is how to become a
global political player. We are perfectly aware that being an economic
giant does not imply also being a political giant.
Now, in order to be a major political player one must develop certain
Another important challenge, perhaps the greatest one of all, is defining EU
interests. At certain levels, this is not very complex. The EU member states
don’t share always the same interests ( the division in the EU regarding the
war in Irak). If the EU members are talking about values, individual liberties,
respect for human rights, etc. they can come to an agreement quite easily. The
problem arises when they are dealing with more specific or material issues. For
example, what are the EU's interests in Argentina or in Zimbabwe?
However, One should keep in mind that the EU is based in large measure on the
principle of subsidiarity, a situation that will presumably not change relative
to certain areas such as foreign policy for quite some time.
The group dealing with the elaboration of the European constitution seemed to be
aware of the existence of these handicaps. The Draft Treaty establishing a
Constitution for Europe[vii]
is equipping the EU by new means that may help it step forward towards the
achievement of the ultimate objective of being a full-blown global actor.
The article 6 of the Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe may
reinforce the potential role of the EU as a political player. It states,
“The Union shall have legal
personality”. The role of the EU
in world politics has always suffered from the ambiguity caused by the
organization lack or legal personality. The
fact that the EU is equipped with a legal personality is a big a step towards
reinforcing the potential role of the EU as a global actor as it provides the EU
to authorize the opening of the negotiation and issues the negotiate directions,
and to conclude International agreements once they are negotiated.
The convention seems
also to give a solution for the poor conceptualisation of the EU interests.
According to the European convention, article
III-193 dealing with general provisions, paragraph 2:
“The Union shall define and pursue common policies and actions, and shall work
for a high degree of cooperation in all fields of international relations, in
safeguard the common values, fundamental interests, security, independence and
integrity of the Union;
consolidate and support democracy, the rule of law, human rights and
preserve peace, prevent conflicts and strengthen international security, in
conformity with the principles of the United Nations Charter;
foster the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of
developing countries, with the primary aim of eradicating poverty;
encourage the integration of all countries into the world economy, including
through the progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade;
help develop international measures to preserve and improve the quality of the
environment and the sustainable management of global natural resources, in order
to ensure sustainable development;
assist populations, countries and regions confronting natural or man-made
promote an international system based on stronger multilateral cooperation and
good global governance.”
It appears that the will to develop these elements was strengthened by the
European constitution, but there is still a long way to go.
there is much to debate about the relationship between globalisation and
European integration. What seems clear is that Both The EU and the Globalisation
constitute a tentative to get over the logic of traditional trade inter-state
and bilateral in order to give triumph to a new logic of the global economic
integration.At its origins European integration was meant to resolve European
problems not to promote globalisation. So it is bit surprising the EU as
regional integration and even considered as an exception not much compatible
with Globalisation, is getting so close to it. On the other hand Globalisation
as for its intentions, it seeks an ultimate target to uniform the international
economic arena thus to eliminate borders and obstacles implied by process of
regional integration? A central
debate is whether European integration facilitates or constitutes a defensive
reaction to globalisation?
and europeanisation are complementary, partly overlapping, mutually reinforcing,
but also competing processes. Both friends and rivals,
the two processes are undergoing a self-achieving dynamics, both sides keep on
trying to infiltrate its own logic in the opponent process or at least reduce
its negative impacts. On the one hand, globalisation both reinforces and
strengthens the demand for the constitutionalisation of EU decision-making, on
the other hand, globalisation tends to retard or even prevent the marriage of
europeanisation and constitutionalisation. The
ultimate destination of this complex interaction is unknown, depending as much
on politics and power as economics.
Chris Patten, EU Commissioner in charge of External Relations.
R.O. Keohane, J.S. Nye, Power
and interdependence, New York, 2001, pp.47-52.
Article J.1 Treaty on the European Union (TEU).
Europe— Neighbourhood: A New Framework for Relations with our Eastern and
Southern Neighbours. Brussels, COM(2003) 104 final, 11.3.2003.
Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Algeria,
Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestinians Authority,
Syria and Tunisia)
The new ACP EU Partnership Agreement, - which, after the Lome Conventions,
is to cover the next 20 years of the relationship between the European Union
and the ACP countries -, was signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000.
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