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Europe and Its Foreign Policy Essay

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Paper type: Essay

Mariaclara Ingrid Ludovici EU relations with the world Nowadays, the EU has adopted a foreign policy that has been modified and improved over time thanks to a series of treaties. It has been introduced to maintain EU values, interests, independence, and integrity of the Union. EU foreign and security policy has the aim of strengthening the Union’s security by keeping peace and promoting cooperation, democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. It is connected with four main aspects: trade, foreign direct investment, development, and monetary policy.

Other fundamental factors related to it are the increasing process of enlargement and cooperation, and international relations. Those elements have been introduced to built relations not only with countries close to the EU, but also with those far away. A great tool of European? Foreign Policy is also its system of justice and home affairs established to bring peace, and create economic interdependence among European countries. Between the main goals of the European Union, one of those could be to extend frameworks between all the partner states regardless of their diversity.

Moreover, the EU has the purpose of improving relationships with other countries, such as Turkey, Russia and China with whom it has an ambivalent rapport. Therefore, this paper is going to explain and discuss the basics, tendencies, approaches and possible future roles of EU foreign policy. EU foreign and security policy has been created together with its growing economic and political policy. The first forms of regular meetings aimed at coordinating the European foreign policy arose during the 1970s between EU ministers of foreign affairs.

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Later, due to an increasing threat of international terrorism and regional conflicts in Europe during the 1990s, EU leaders decided to create a formal method for diplomacy and intervention. As a result, in 1993 they established the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). It has been designed to allow Member States to coordinate and assert the EU’s identity, and to preserve values, interests, independence, international security and integrity of the Union. Furthermore, it has been created to consolidate international cooperation, develop the rule of law and democracy, and to promote respect for human rights.

All of the EU’s major institutions are essential for EU foreign policy, and CFSP decision-making procedures are intergovernmental. The European Council is in charge for foreign policy, defining policy principles, activities, strategies, and general guidelines (A Guide for Americans, 26-27). In addition, in 1999, European leaders decided to establish a EU Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) considered as a part of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. It occurred because there was the need to improve and strengthen security and operations related to it, such as peacekeeping, monitoring, and conflict prevention.

Under the ESDP structure, EU member states has been able to organize and send civilian and/or military operations in many countries, for example in Southeast Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Georgia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (A Guide for Americans, 26-27). In order to reach a great success and expansion of the ESDP, in 2009, substantial innovations thanks to the Treaty of Lisbon were introduced: the ESDP became the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP).

The Treaty of Lisbon was organized to introduce the concept of solidarity and mutual assistance between all EU Member States if another Member State was attacked. In addition, other two measures were introduced within the Lisbon Treaty: “enhanced cooperation,” and “permanent structured cooperation” (A Guide for Americans, 26). The first one was addressed to deepen military cooperation of at least nine member states. The second one, controlled by the European Defense Agency, was aimed at providing a strong defense system, which every country could carry out.

Eventually, the treaty updated targets of CSDP: humanitarian works, peacekeeping, stabilization, crisis management, assistance in other countries, disarmament operations, and antiterrorist actions (A Guide for Americans, 26). Another important tool of EU foreign policy is its external economic policies where its trade power is seen as a method for negotiations, promising benefits, assistance, and so on. It is a way to present conditions to other countries if they are willing to access the EU market (Hay and Menon, 403).

In fact, European foreign policy has really strong forces that are connected with its global economic policies. It presents four main aspects: trade, foreign direct investment, development, and monetary policy. External economic relations are built especially for trade with other countries. Except for the agriculture regime that is pretty protectionist, the EU’s trade is moved by liberal system. Also the monetary policy became really important since the advent of euro. Nowadays, this currency encompasses 12 out of 27 EU’s member states (Hay and Menon, 391-395).

The EU’s approach is also bound to the promotion of its values and models abroad. However, EU foreign policy is made stronger and more effective when there is unity among its member states (Bindi). Finally, another central role in EU foreign policy is played by the strategic partnership between the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in order to keep regional stability and peace. In particular, this cooperation has been planned for crisis management, anti-terrorism, nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and so on.

An example showing the relationship between these two institutions can be descripted by the EU’s assumption on March 31, 2003, of NATO’s mission, called Operation Concordia, in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. There, EU Member States and other nations sent around 400 troops. That was the first time in which the EU led a military mission (A Guide for Americans, 26). However, in order to better understand and explain how Europe approaches foreign policies, it is appropriate to consider some diplomats’ thoughts exanimating international relations in the twenty-first century, such as Cooper with his liberal vision.

He thinks that there are three types of states in the world, and the way in which they are classified depends on how they deal with each other. In the world there are countries without fully functioning states that are called “pre-modern,” nation states dealing with territorial sovereignty and national interest, known as “modern” states, and then countries whose foreign and domestic policy are deeply connected, governance means are shared, and the control of territory and of power is not the only method to keep security. This last kind of state is called “post-modern. Through this distinction, Cooper also confronts the United States and Europe’s different approaches. The U. S. is more hegemonic, and seeking for control, also military if necessary. Europe, instead, has a more defensive attitude, and more compatible with human rights and cosmopolitan values. These characteristics make America a “modern” entity, while Europe a “post-modern. ” It is still not really clear the situation of the U. S. It sometimes acts as a “post-modern” entity as well, even though it owns really strong military forces, and it is not cared to use them (Cooper). In fact, Cooper says, “America’s aim, like everyone else, is to preserve its national security. Sometimes commentators refer, slightly incredulously, to America’s wish to be invulnerable” (Cooper, 45). However, post-modernism influences the nature of European foreign policy: its political and economic environment of interdependence and cooperation make Europe a post-modernist world. Its foreign policy is based on compromises and negotiations controlled by a multinational hegemony. Europe is ruled by international and regional law (Cooper).

In contrast to the modern state system based on national political sovereignty, there is no longer the distinction between domestic and foreign affairs in post-modern countries. Everything is done for the good of all, not just for domestic interest. In contrast to America, which has adopted a realistic view in acting for its own national interest regardless of moral values, Europe is acting as a liberal force fostering democracy and free-market capitalism. In fact, another interesting point is the fact that Europe has become really strong in its democratization strategy.

The EU has been able to promote human rights, democracy and integration in various countries, also in some formerly communist countries. The EU community has never had fear to share its sovereignty with different countries, or to be subjected to international institutions’ activities. On the other hand, even though in the US documents and in its ambitions human rights and democracy are two fundamental points, the US still remains reluctant in front of human rights treaties, such as that in favor of the International Criminal Court.

US contemporary international relations are hindering American interests. The US has a realistic attitude, and it is the sole superpower in the world. This condition shows that every restriction of US’ sovereignty can have a negative effect on the country. For example, just the idea of an international court controlling American citizens could not be seen positively for US judicial process because the court could limit the US power (Hay and Menon, 418-419). The EU is “essentially post-modern and highly moralistic, values-based stance” (Hay and Menon, 419).

Although the US could stand the introduction of international human rights system, these values could not be compatible anymore, especially talking about gun control, death penalty, abortion and the part of religion in public life (Hay and Menon, 419). The diversity between the liberal EU and the realist US is clarified by Kagan’s realist ideology also to better explain the EU foreign policy. According to him, Europe has its own method to deal with the others. That method is completely different from those of the other countries, such as the U. S.

In fact, he affirms that “Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus: they agree on little and understand one another less and less. ” Europe is moving toward a world of laws, rules, transnational negotiation and cooperation. On the other hand, the United States continue exercising power depending on the possession and use of military forces. According to Kagan, the transatlantic division is deep. The United States and Europe work separately, especially in setting national priorities, determining threats, defining challenges and establishing foreign and defense policies (Kagan). The U.

S. , less willing to work cooperatively, is less patient with diplomacy than Europe. The U. S. easily introduces punitive sanctions, and favors policies of coercion and punitive sanctions. Europeans, on the contrary, have more nuance and sophistication. They are more tolerant of failure and prefer peaceful solutions, negotiation, and diplomacy. “They often emphasize process over result, believing that ultimately process can become substance” (Kagan). However, there is a scholar called Wendt who has another ideology. He thinks that foreign policies depend on the concepts of interest and identity.

According to him, governments should treat these elements as dependent variables, because states’ identity and interests are easily affected by anarchy. Wendt critiques realist and liberalist viewpoints by saying that “they change behavior but not identities and interest” (Wendt, 392). Realism is only concentrated on power of the state. Moreover, they think “states are the dominant actors in the system, and define security in “self-interested” terms” (Wendt, 392). Liberalism, in stead, is only the expression of collective good focusing on process, but this is not sufficient. These two ways of thinking are unable to make a state functional.

According to Wendt who has a constructivist approach, constructivism is the fundamental way to study how the system affects state identities and interests. If governments know how this system works, they can “construct,” change, and improve people’s minds. So, America and Europe should adopt this ideology instead of approaching in a realistic or a liberal way in foreign policy. Wendt argues that, if ideas change all times, international institutions can also change state identities and interests. It is a great method to make a state effective and functional, because it is connected with the concept of self-help.

The concept is based on interactions between states, and, according to Wendt, it can be improved by norms-based constructivism, the only ideology that can account for changes in the system (Wendt). EU tools are not just those related to the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), but also the EU’s past successful enlargements and relations with the neighborhood. With the passing of time, the EU has obtained more popularity, in particular for its promise of democratic incentives and change in the region (Bindi). In fact, democracy is one of the three primary themes of the EU foreign policy.

The other two are rule of law and respect for human rights. Cooperation between states is not systematic, and, if a state wants to join the EU, it should handle a deep and radical change in its government’s foundation. Another tool of European? Foreign Policy can its system of justice and home affairs. The EU was established to bring peace, and create economic interdependence among European countries. For this reason, military cooperation was not really considered given that NATO and the United States were in charge for providing military defense in Western European countries.

However, the EU made some changes. With the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), and then, the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP), Europe integrated the innovative element of the EU’s military capability. The ESDP/CSDP represents a significant transformation: “In 1999 the European Council of Cologne decided to provide the EU with the capacity for autonomous military action, backed by military forces, as well as the means to decide to use them in responding to international crises” (Bindi, 73).

However, it was with the establishment of the Area of Freedom, Security, and Justice (AFSJ) that there was the first attempt of the EU to pass from a more “civilian power approach” to a “multidimensional power,” more capable of managing actual threats. The AFSJ, in fact, is a “security strategy based on the project of developing regional stability abroad, and the issues covered by the AFSJ are respect for human rights, respect for the rule of law, guarantees of personal freedom, the right of defense, and freedom of movement” (Bindi, 77). Moreover, an interesting key point of EU is the relationship with its neighbor countries.

The European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) has been an interesting change for the EU by creating stability across its borders beyond the member states. European foreign policy has been able to extend frameworks between all the partner states regardless of their diversity. However, European Union’s outcomes and dealing skills with its eastern and southern neighbors could be capable of determining the success or failure of the ENP (Bindi). Nevertheless, not all relations have been easy to establish for the EU. For example, the relation between the EU and Russia is made by an alternation of attraction and rejection.

The eurozone crisis is having a negative impact in the EU neighborhood, especially in Russia. Furthermore, EU member states adopted different positions on Russia, and this is not bringing unity in the EU’s foreign policy. Because Russia has a great geopolitical importance, EU has the aim of improving its relations with this country. This situation could have important consequences for international relations. (Bindi). In the past few years, other developments occurred in the relations between the EU and other two countries: Ukraine and Belarus.

Under the presidency of Viktor Yanukovich, Ukraine is becoming to be less western-oriented. On the other hand, the EU has isolated Belarus with sanctions imposed some year ago. The only way to improve the relation with these countries could be: engaging of Russia and making this country less aggressive. The European Union could “try to create regional conditions for a win-win situation and to avoid any initiative that insults Moscow’s sensibilities” (Bindi, 145). The Western Balkans is another important region in which the European Commission, the EU Council, and individual member states play a fundamental role.

Because in the Lisbon Treaty it has not been established the way in which to deal with these countries, the EU’s policy in Western Balkans is a mixture of enlargement, and common foreign and security policy. However, the future enlargement of the EU will probably concern those countries, but this will occur only by strengthening membership negotiations in the Western Balkans and with Turkey (Bindi). In fact, the membership of Turkey is one of the main goals of the EU with whom Turkey still continues to be ambivalent in negotiating (Bindi). The European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), however, refers to Mediterranean non-member states as well.

For example, the EU should be careful to Arab countries due to the rise of China and India. The Arab region could become more dependent on the Mediterranean region in order to import its products. Therefore, the EU should always be tolerant and compromising with this region, such as in protectionism in agriculture or limited mobility. This attitude would be really advantageous for the EU that could attain beneficial relations with its neighbor states (Bindi). Also the relation with the Middle East should not be underestimated, and the European member states should enhance their presence in the region.

So far, the EU has not really had positive interactions with the Middle East. The EU was concerned not about Middle East foreign policy, but about instability or illegal immigration (Bindi). Regarding the relations between the EU and the other continents, it can be said that the Lisbon Treaty has been relevant for transatlantic relations. However, the EU’s and the U. S. ’s really complicated institutional structure and arrangements in decision-making have not been resolved with this Treaty. The Lisbon Treaty, in fact, changed the “domestic politics,” namely those politics referring to cooperation and antiterrorism efforts.

So, it did not resolve the fact that transatlantic relations did not develop at the same level with those changes in the EU. Because of from both sides lack the effort to keep and enhance these relations, the two regions could drift apart (Bindi). Nowadays, the relationship between The U. S. and the EU is based on tropes and lead lines. The way in which these two entities handle the issue between Palestine and Israel could be a good example to show their diversity. USA is working with Israel and considers Palestine untreatable. On the other hand, Europe is treating those countries more equally.

On the contrary, Canada is relatively more interested in developing trade and cooperation with the EU, although recent trade relations have been deteriorated due to some problems with the EU’s common agricultural policy (CAP). Europe should pay attention to this situation to avoid that Canada shifts its attention toward other parts of the world, like East Asia (Bindi). The EU’s relations with Latin America and the Caribbean increased soon after Spain and Portugal joined the EU, and it is principally a trade relationship. The relationship is very beneficial especially because of the Hispanic banks.

In addition, the EU is not only a model for integration, but also one of the biggest donors in this area (Bindi). With regard to the relationship between the EU and Africa, this latter has always played an important role in European foreign relations since the Treaty of Rome. Three major agreements between the EU and Africa have been introduced: the Yaounde Convention, the Lome Convention, and the Cotonou Agreement. The EU is hyperactive in Africa, in particular for European interests, such as for security and migration issues, but also for better aid in the African countries and improvement of trade deals (Bindi).

The EU’s relation with East Asia is increasing in trade, investment, development, market access, and other aspects of foreign policy. Nevertheless, the EU is not really seen as a united community. The euro crisis, for example, is undermining the idea of a possible adoption of the EU model in East Asia (Bindi). For example, China’s relationship with the EU became really strong, in particular between 2003 and 2005. However, for a shift in the EU’s strategy toward China, and the euro crisis causing Europe’s industrial decline, Europe started to consider China more as a competitor and a threat for European development and production.

Another negative factor for China-EU relations was the election of more assertive politicians in Europe who made some European countries, such as France and Germany, pretty aggressive toward China. In addition, because of the lack of unity in Europe, China is forced to deal with each European country individually, and reaching agreements became more difficult and slower (Zhiqin). Finally, while the United States is strengthening its presence at military bases in South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines, Europe is losing its influence there, because the EU is not integrated in the territory (Zhiqin). The U. S. is always present in East Asia.

In fact, Caira writes, “China has become more aware of the weight of transatlantic relations, of the connections between the China-EU relationship and the EU-U. S. relationship. It has become aware that the relationship is in fact triangular” (Bindi, 268). As a consequence, the future role of Europe in world affair may be related to making stronger relations with other countries, not only with the neighbors, but also with the others more far away. For example, the EU could think to improve the Sino-European relations. The best solution to do this is trying to better understand each other’s ideals, interests, and culture.

This could lead to a great approach and cooperation (Zhiqin). Its external economic policies could be a powerful aspect for negotiations, promising benefits, assistance, and so on. It could be a way to set conditions to other countries if they are willing to access the EU market. Moreover, because there is a bipolar currency dividing the world in US dollars and EU euros, there could also be stronger competitiveness and pressure between the two currencies. It is crucial to manage these conditions in order to avoid instability in the international financial system.

The monetary policy also affects the process of enlargement, in particular about the costs of enlargement for those countries being willing to, or waiting for being members of the EU (Hay and Menon, 285-289). Democracy promotion is at the center of both U. S. and EU strategies in their foreign policies. Democracy could be a fundamental instrument for achieving their primary foreign policy goals, such as security, economic prosperity and peace (Bindi, 303). So far, for six decades, the European Union obtained Nobel Peace Prize for peace in Europe.

The EU has been able to transform Europe “from a continent of war to a continent of peace” (Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to European Union). Because of recession, financial problems, and social unrest in many member states, the EU faced the biggest crisis of its history. However, the EU has been capable of maintaining the principle of “peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights (Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to European Union). The way, in which all these forces will affect the future outlook for European foreign policy-making, could also depend on the process of enlargement.

It could be a possible tool to spread European influence not only close to its boundaries, but also throughout the world. The benefits of becoming a member of the EU would be so appealing and astonishing that even more countries would join the European Union. This situation could be a great inducement for political and economic reforms in states wishing to satisfy the EU’s accession criteria. Finally, another important EU force for the future could be its approach with human rights. The EU is patient with diplomacy and willing to work cooperatively instead of favoring policies of coercion and punitive sanctions.

For the fact that Europeans have more nuance and sophistication, in the future they would always opt for peaceful solutions, negotiation, and diplomacy. In conclusion, member states have reached great accomplishments over time in EU foreign policy. Anyhow, it can be made stronger and more effective if there is unity among its member states. It promotes humanitarian works, peacekeeping, stabilization, crisis management, assistance in other countries, disarmament operations, and antiterrorist actions. The EU’s approach also consists in promoting its values and models abroad by creating relationships throughout the globe. In he future, in fact, a further process of enlargement and competitiveness between EU member states and the other countries could affect the European Union’s foreign policy. Peaceful solutions, negotiation, and diplomacy will be the key of its power. Works cited: * “A Guide For Americans: The European Union. ” Delegation of the European Commission to the United States. Mar. 2011. 26-35. Print. * “Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to European Union. ” BBC News. BBC, 10 Dec. 2012. Web. 20 Oct. 2012. * Bindi, F. M. The foreign policy of the European Union, assessing Europe’s role in the world. Washington, D. C. : Brookings Inst Pr, 2010. 1-348.

Print. * Cooper, Robert. The Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the Twenty-First Century . Grove/Atlantic , 2004. 1-55. Web. * Hay, Colin, and, Menon, Anand. European politics. Oxford University Press, USA, 2007. 274-290 and 386-424. Print. * Kagan, Robert. “Power and Weakness. ” Power and Weakness | Hoover Institution. Hoover Institution, 1 June 2002. Web. 21 Oct. 2012. * Wendt, Alexander. “Anarchy Is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics. ” Ic. ucsc. edu. Spring 1992. p. 391-425. Web. * Zhiqin, Shi. “Understanding China-EU Relations. ” Carnegieeurope. eu. Carnegieeurope, 15 Oct. 2012. Web. 21 Oct. 2012.

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