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Eu Focus As A Civlian Power Or Miitary Power

2822 words - 12 pages

"The EU should focus on acting as a civilian power and not a military power" – do you agree?

The increasingly turbulent political climate of late has placed increasing pressure upon the European Union to consider furthering itself as a military power. There is no question that the EU is already a major actor on the world stage in terms of trade; the EU conducts economic relations with virtually every country on earth (Smith 2003, cited in Cini 2004), but there has been mounting speculation over its strength as a major political actor in light of the recent escalating security threat to western democracies. However, what has come under scrutiny recently is whether the EU would maintain ...view middle of the document...

After careful consideration of the evidence provided, a conclusion shall be reached in relation to the proposed question of whether I agree that the EU should focus on acting more as a civilian, rather than a military power.

I shall begin by introducing how the EU reached its current situation in relation to the European Common Foreign and Security Policy. In the past, external relations were conducted via a framework called European Political Co-operation; foreign policy at the time was far too sensitive to be incorporated into the remit of the Community, hence the EPC was created as a separate framework. The object of the EPC was to increase consultation amongst member states on foreign policy issues, after being informally introduced in 1970 and eventually formalised by the Single European Act in 1987, it was eventually superseded by the CFSP. Title V replaced the EPC in the Treaty on European Union, creating an intergovernmental pillar in the Community in light of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the collapse of the former Yugoslavia and the reunification of Germany. It was seen that the EPC was failing and was illustrated through its inability to coordinate member states' actions during both the Gulf War in 1991 and the outbreak of war in Yugoslavia (Archer 2004, cited in Nugent 2004). Smith (2003) says:

The EU was ineffective in the Bosnian War. Its most substantial contribution was to administer the divided town of Mostar, Bosnia HerzegovinaÂ…The EU's record in other crises of the mid-1990's was even less admirable, itÂ…stood by and watched the genocide in Rwanda, and in Albania the EU and WEU failed to take action (Smith 2003, cited in Cini 2004:237)

In reaction to the criticism the EU was receiving over its inability to act as an international political actor, it consequently gave itself the objective:

to assert its identity on the international scene, in particular through the implementation of a common foreign and security policy including the progressive framing of a common defence policy, which might lead to a common defence (Title I, Article 2, TEU)

It has so far been illustrated how the EU has, since its creation, done very little as an international political actor and accordingly attempted to rectify the problem through the creation of a more effective decentralised agency (the CFSP) in the TEU. It further developed its potential as a Military power through the Amsterdam Treaty. The capacity for action and the decision-making structure of the CFSP was augmented through the addition of a new foreign policy instrument to the existing joint actions and common strategies. In the treaty, closer links were created between the EU and the Western European Union (WEU) through the fact that the EU can instruct the WEU to carry out the Petersberg Tasks; consequently some of the WEU capacities were fused into those of the EU. The Petersberg Declaration is what stemmed the Petersberg Tasks. The Declaration...

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