Conclusion: The E3/EU and EU Foreign Policy
Lead groups are interest-based bargaining processes unfolding in the intersubjective normative context constituted by EU membership. As such, they are not only a theoretically consistent pattern of EU foreign policy-making but an empirically effective foreign policy practice. The experience of the E3/EU group (France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the High Representative) lends credibility to this claim. The E3/EU set up a negotiating framework that worked as a de-escalating tool, a catalyst for Security Council unity and a permanent forum for crisis management. The E3/EU inflicted pain on Iran by adopting a comprehensive sanctions regime in coordination with the United States, but did so only having pre-emptively secured US commitment to seeking a diplomatic solution. Once the deal was reached, they defended it with deeds and not only with words. If President Trump were indeed to reverse course, the EU can still defend the deal by refusing to cooperate. The E3/EU might have been supporting actors, yet their achievements were real.
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