The EU: From Civilian Power to Speaking with a Common Voice — The Transition to a CFSP

  • Juliet Lodge


The idea that the European Union should speak with one voice in line with its emerging, but not sought after, status as an international power in the making confronts head-on the issue of just what kind of organization the EU is and what that means for the sovereignty of its component members. Foreign affairs, being the sole preserve of sovereign governments, was deliberately excluded from the EC’s competence. However, its economic influence, the rapidly changing and turbulent international agenda, and the member states’ recognition of the inseparability of external relations from foreign policy and security, and latterly the inseparability of internal and external security issues, resulted in the mid-1980s in a reappraisal of what international role, if any, the EC should pursue. As a result, not only were its internal mechanisms reformed but as its potential policy scope and domain widened, its long-professed self-image as a civilian power was contested. This paper briefly explores the question of the EC’s image, the breaking of the security taboo, the impact on the debate as to its image of enlargement in the context of widening and deepening, and the evolution of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP). It begins by placing the developments in their international and regional context and concludes that the move towards European Union, as exemplified in the Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) process leading up to the Maastricht Treaty on European Union (TEU), formed an essential pre-condition for the emergence of a European system based on interlocking institutions.


Member State Foreign Policy Security Policy European Parliament Maastricht Treaty 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1996

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  • Juliet Lodge

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