The Convention, the Draft Constitution and External Relations: Effects and Implications for the EU and its International Role

Simon Duke
ISBN 13 EIPA Code #: 2003/W/02 Year: 2003 Pages: 39 Digital: 0 €

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This article reviews the likely effects and implications of the draft EU Constitution on external relations. One of the most potentially significant reforms is the suggested adoption by the EU of legal personality. This may well open up the possibility of developing an EU wide diplomatic service, beyond that of the current External Service, to assist the EU Foreign Minister. However the implications of this are far from clear and could have potentially dramatic effects on EU external relations. It is argued that more thought is necessary on consistency and coherence in external relations, especially how the various actors should relate to one another. The potential relationship between the EU Foreign Minister, the European External Action Service and the President of the European Council are of particular relevance. It is also argued that the sections pertaining to defence are likely to be immensely controversial in the forthcoming IGC and should be rethought since the value added of adopting an interim mutual defence commitment is far from evident. It is also less than clear that a solidarity clause for threats emanating from non-state sources, marks a significant advance. Finally, the inclusion of a possible European Armaments, Research and Military Capabilities Agency in the draft constitution is welcome in principle, but it is questioned whether this belongs in the constitution.