The Commission and the CFSP

Dr Simon Duke
ISBN 13 EIPA Code #: 2006/W/01 Year: 2006 Pages: 37 Digital: 0 €

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The Maastricht Treaty established the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) as an intergovernmental second pillar, following from the historical antecedent of European Political Cooperation. The advent of the EU's CFSP and, more recently its subset, European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), introduced an inherent tension into EU external relations between the intergovernmental areas and the supranational, or communautaire, aspects. The need for consistency as a whole in EU external relations, alongside the presence of a 'single institutional framework' placed the focus upon the instruments and tools of coordination between the Community and Council aspects of external relations. The emphasis in this overview is upon the Commission and CFSP and the often complicated and at times fraught relations between the former and the latter.

Relations between the Community and CFSP aspects of external relations have been complicated by changes in the international system itself that face the EU with a set of diverse challenges that, in terms of competence, often fall in the grey area between the Community and intergovernmental responsibilities in external relations. This has heightened the importance of consistency in EU external relations and the way in which the Community coordinates with the Council in the CFSP area and vice versa. Subsequent modifications to the Treaty on European Union would introduce important new changes to the institutional structures in the second pillar which, in turn, would have important implications for the Commission's role in CFSP. Of utmost importance was the introduction of the post of High Representative for CFSP which, amongst other things, served to personalise relations between the Council Secretariat and the Commission in the form of Javier Solana and the Commissioner for External Relations, initially Chris Patten and now Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner.