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The Evolving Role of Foreign Ministries in the Conduct of European Union Affairs

  • David Spence
Part of the Studies in Diplomacy and International Relations book series (SID)

Abstract

As the previous chapter has demonstrated, if the world of diplomacy has changed, the issue of whether the foreign ministry per se is in decline, or is enmeshed in more subtle processes of change and adaptation remains to be determined. But the evidence provided in this book suggests that despite many predicaments and forms of adaptation common to foreign ministries around the world, there are aspects of uniqueness in the European experience. The EU institutional and decision-making structures clearly influence national administrative arrangements. So, the challenge presented to the contributors was to review how two specific EU-related tasks performed by European foreign ministries could lead us to telling conclusions about their current condition. The first is the coordination of European and international aspects of domestic policy, and the second the provision of national input to EU external relations. The term ‘external relations’ covers three areas: traditional ‘first pillar’ areas of trade, development, EU enlargement and technical assistance; ‘second pillar’ policies — the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP); and finally the international aspects of the EU’s justice and home affairs cooperation in the so-called ‘third pillar’.1

Keywords

Member State Foreign Policy Security Policy Foreign Ministry Home Affair 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    The Maastricht Treaty introduced the three-pillar system in 1993. The first, European Community, pillar is based on ‘the community method’, where the Commission has the sole right of legislative initiative and where the Council of Ministers decides, largely, by qualified majority in a process of co-decision with the European Parliament. The second pillar covers the intergovernmental Common Foreign and Security policy, in which the European Commission is fully associated, but where decisions of principle are taken unanimously, though the possibility of qualified majority voting exists, in theory, for operational matters. The third, justice and home affairs pillar is also intergovernmental, but many of the subject areas are set to be folded into the European Community pillar in the coming years. See J. W. de Zwaan and M. Vrouenraets, ‘The Future of the Third Pillar: an evaluation of the Treaty of Amsterdam’ in T. Heukels, N. Blokker and M. Brus (eds) The European Union after Amsterdam (Kluwer, 1998).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© David Spence 2005

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  • David Spence

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