Common Foreign and Security Policy

From Academic Kids

The Common Foreign and Security Policy or CFSP was established as the second of the three pillars of the European Union in the Maastricht treaty of 1992, and further defined and broadened in the Amsterdam Treaty of 1997. It superseded the European Political Cooperation.



According to the treaties, the European Union defines and implements a common foreign and security policy covering all areas of foreign and security policy, the objectives of which shall be:

  • to safeguard the common values, fundamental interests, independence and integrity of the Union in conformity with the principles of the United Nations Charter;
  • to strengthen the security of the Union in all ways;
  • to preserve peace and strengthen international security, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter, as well as the principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the objectives of the Paris Charter, including those on external borders;
  • to promote international cooperation;
  • to develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.


The European Council defines the principles and general guidelines for the CFSP as well as common strategies to be implemented by the EU. On the basis of those guidelines the Council of Ministers adopts joint actions or common positions.

  • Joint actions address specific situations where operation action by the EU is considered necessary and lay down the objectives, scope and means to be made available to the EU. They commit the member states.
  • Common positions on the other hand, define the approach that the EU takes on a certain matter of geographical or thematic nature, and define in the abstract the general guidelines that the national policies of Member states must conform to.

The treaties indicate that the function of the High Representative for the CFSP is exercised by the Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers, who assists the country holding the Presidency of the European Union in matters coming within the scope of the CFSP. When appropriate he conducts political dialogue with third parties, acting on behalf of the Council of Ministers, at the Request of the Presidency. The current High Representative for the CFSP is Javier Solana.

Since the Cologne European Council in 1999, the European Security and Defence Policy (or ESDP) has become a significant part of the CFSP.

Bodies of the European Union set up within the CFSP context include the following:

European Security and Defence Policy

The European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) is considered a major element of the CFSP. The ESDP was initiated by provisions of the Treaty of Amsterdam which stipulated the progressive framing of a common security and defence policy that could deal with humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking. These are the so-called Petersberg tasks.

Political and Security Committee

The Political and Security Committee (PSC) assists in developing policy for the European Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) by drafting opinions for the General Affairs and External Affairs Council which is one of the configurations of the Council of the European Union.

Past and Future

The CFSP can be considered the outgrowth and replacement of the European Political Cooperation which had been formally established in the Single European Act (in effect since 1987), and informally introduced already from 1970 in response to the Davignon report. In the 1950s an even earlier attempt at political cooperation through the European Political Community had failed to be launched.

According to the as yet unratified European Constitution, the pillar structure will be abandoned -- this means that the functions currently considered part of the CFSP will be further incorporated into the functions of the rest of the Union. Among other things the post of the High Representative of the CFSP will be merged with the post of the Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, creating the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs who will be at the same time Vice-President of the Commission.

As part of the simplification of jargon in the treaties, "common positions" and "joint actions" will be both renamed into "decisions".


Evolution of the Structures of European Union Template:EU-timeline

See also

External links

no:Felles utenriks- og sikkerhetspolitikk (EU)


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