Norms and All That: Progress in Research on EU Foreign Policy
Thomas Risse – 2011
‘Economic giant, political dwarf!’ — ‘The EU does not get its act together’ — ‘The capability-expectation gap is widening’ (on the latter see Hill, 1993; for a most recent criticism of the EU’s inability to develop a coherent foreign policy see Howorth, 2010). These are only a few of the many indictments of the European Union’s (EU) foreign and security policy to be found in the editorials, but also occasionally in the scholarly literature. And yet it moves! As Daniel Thomas writes in this volume (ch.1), there have been more than 1,000 common strategies, common positions, and joint actions under Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) since 1993 and more than 2,000 foreign policy statements by the EU Council and Presidency between 1995 and 2008. In other words, cooperation on foreign policy matters is the rule rather than the exception in the EU — and the empirical case studies in this volume document it in detail. They show beyond doubt that the EU has emerged as a foreign policy actor which pursues rather coherent foreign policies — if it wants to and if the conditions are right. Thus, the EU’s actorness in foreign and security policy matters is no longer in question (see Sjursen, 2006). This is the first good news about this volume. It could be stated even more loudly and more clearly — particularly in light of the bad press that the EU’s foreign policy got recently in the context of Catherine Ashton’s appointment as EU ‘foreign minister’ (High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to be precise) and the turbulent negotiations surrounding the European External Action Service (EEAS).