Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

On a common EU foreign policy

“Oh noes!” Say the eurosceptics. “Teh Lisbon tweety dat am weely teh constitootion am gonna make teh EU a state and stuff! Got foreign minister! Oh noes! Dat mean common foreign policy! Our sovereignty gone bye-byes! Waaah!”

I really can’t ever hope to summarise the likelihood of this particular bogeyman coming into being any time soon better than Nanne at DJ Nozem, so instead I’ll just reproduce it in full. :

EU Foreign Ministers fail to agree on the most basic issues about the status of a small breakaway Yugoslav province (population: 2 million est.) that declared its independence over the weekend.

An issue that had been on the horizon for about, oh, nine years.

How’s that common foreign policy coming along?

He he he!

I do like how many intriguing questions the Kosovo situation is helping to raise. And how many answers it’s providing to boot…


  1. NM,

    This is hardly the first time, is it? After all, we had that war in Iraq tha every country of the EU was totally united… oh, wait.

    This just demonstrates the stupidity of attempting to make a common foreign policy (which they are undoubtedly trying to do).

    So, the EU is not only an evil, undemocratic construct, but also one that just won’t work.

    And we’re better off in?


  2. Ah, but maybe it just won’t work on certain issues (such as a common foreign policy) that are more usually associated with state control – because it isn’t a state. Maybe…

    Let’s face it, foreign relations are one of THE most complex areas of politics (it’s why I find them so fascinating). There are countless historical, local, personal, economic and cultural factors that go into every decision about a country’s international actions. But on almost every other issue the EU deals with, it’s a lot simple – they almost all boil down to “will it make me richer?”

    Recognising Kosovo or supporting the invasion of Iraq both have some economic elements to them, no doubt – but they’re very, very minor ones. Things like new product regulations to help strengthen the single market through unified standards – or even farm subsidies – are far easier to find common ground over. That’s mostly what the EU focusses on, and it mostly gets agreement.

    After all, if the perennial anti-EU claim that 80% of all laws stem from Brussels is true, that’s a hell of a lot of laws that have been agreed by all 27 member states, wouldn’t you say?

  3. I think EU Foreign Policy must be seen in a broader context. We tend to forget common trade and commercial policy which has a foreign policy aspect in which the Commission has the power to speak for all EU member states.

    EU product regulations, farm subsidies or competition rules have also quite an impact on the rest of the world. EU regulations on products even have to be respected by Chinese manufacturers (at least theoretically) if they want to get market access. Some EU standards even become world standards because everything else would be to costly for producers. Farm subsidies and the whole CAP have rather negative effects in developing countries, a CAP reform could have foreign policy implications. More examples include EU competition rules that have an effect on US regulators and even the Euro might turn into a foreign policy tool…

    So the problem seems to be the coordination of all these aspects that in itself already are a sort of ‘common foreign policy’. The political dimension of a common foreign policy (e.g diplomatic recognition of a country) seems to be a secondary problem…