European political cooperation

European political cooperation

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The European Political Cooperation (EPC) was introduced in 1970 and was the synonym for European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 foreign policy coordination until it was superseded by the Common Foreign and Security Policy
Common Foreign and Security Policy
The Common Foreign and Security Policy is the organised, agreed foreign policy of the European Union for mainly security and defence diplomacy and actions. CFSP deals only with a specific part of the EU's external relations, which domains include mainly Trade and Commercial Policy and other areas...

 in the Maastricht Treaty
Maastricht Treaty
The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands. On 9–10 December 1991, the same city hosted the European Council which drafted the treaty...

 (November 1993).

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the EC member states
Member State of the European Union
A member state of the European Union is a state that is party to treaties of the European Union and has thereby undertaken the privileges and obligations that EU membership entails. Unlike membership of an international organisation, being an EU member state places a country under binding laws in...

 tried to give the internal market
European Economic Community
The European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) The European Economic Community (EEC) (also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world, renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993The information in this article primarily covers the EEC's time as an independent...

 a foreign policy dimension, but failed twice. The idea of the supranational European Defence Community
European Defence Community
The European Defense Community was a plan proposed in 1950 by René Pleven, the French President of the Council , in response to the American call for the rearmament of West Germany...

 of State and Government instructed their Foreign Ministers during The Hague summit (1969), to "study the best way of achieving progress in the matter of political unification, within the context of enlargement". The Foreign Ministers subsequently drafted the Luxembourg / Davignon report
Davignon report
The Davignon report, published October 27, 1970, was a report on the future foreign policy of European Economic Community member nations. It was written by a council chaired by Étienne Davignon of the Belgian Foreign Office. The committee was appointed by the Council of the European Communities to...

 (1970), which created an informal intergovernmental consultation mechanism where member states could achieve 'politics of scale' (Ginsberg 1989).

While EPC adopted the intergovernmental
Intergovernmental
Intergovernmental can refer to:*Intergovernmentalism*Intergovernmental Risk Pool*Intergovernmental organization...

 nature of the Fouchet Plan
Fouchet Plan
-Introduction:The Fouchet Plan was a plan proposed by President Charles de Gaulle of France in 1961. It was written by Christian Fouchet, France's ambassador to Denmark. The idea was to form a new 'Union of States', an intergovernmental alternative to the European Communities...

s, it disregarded the 'French grandeur' of the Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

 era. The involvement of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 guaranteed its Atlanticist nature. The European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

 would furthermore be able to express its opinion, if matters within its competencies were concerned. Finally, the EPC did not have the strong Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

-based Secretariat of the Fouchet proposals. The Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 had always been anxious about this idea, as they thought that it might turn into a competitor for the European Commission. The EPC was amended and strengthened in the Copenhagen report (1973) and London report (1981). It was codified (formalized) with the Single European Act
Single European Act
The Single European Act was the first major revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome. The Act set the European Community an objective of establishing a Single Market by 31 December 1992, and codified European Political Cooperation, the forerunner of the European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy...

 (1986).

The EPC turned out a 'mixed success'. During the 1970s it was an active player in the Middle-East conflict and in the creation of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the predecessor of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections...

. The Soviet war in Afghanistan
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

 (1979) and the handling of the Yugoslav Wars
Yugoslav wars
The Yugoslav Wars were a series of wars, fought throughout the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995. The wars were complex: characterized by bitter ethnic conflicts among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, mostly between Serbs on the one side and Croats and Bosniaks on the other; but also...

 (1991-1995), however, showed the weakness of the EPC.

See also

  • History of the European Union
    History of the European Union
    The European Union is a geo-political entity covering a large portion of the European continent. It is founded upon numerous treaties and has undergone expansions that have taken it from 7 member states to 27, a majority of states in Europe....

  • European Defence Community
    European Defence Community
    The European Defense Community was a plan proposed in 1950 by René Pleven, the French President of the Council , in response to the American call for the rearmament of West Germany...

     and European Political Community
    European Political Community
    The European Political Community was proposed in 1952 as a combination of the existing European Coal and Steel Community and the proposed European Defence Community...

  • Common Foreign and Security Policy
    Common Foreign and Security Policy
    The Common Foreign and Security Policy is the organised, agreed foreign policy of the European Union for mainly security and defence diplomacy and actions. CFSP deals only with a specific part of the EU's external relations, which domains include mainly Trade and Commercial Policy and other areas...


Further reading

  • Allen, D., Rummel, R. & Wessels, W. (1982), European Political Cooperation: Towards a Foreign Policy for Western Europe, London: Butterworth Scientific.
  • Ginsberg, R.H. (1989), Foreign Policy Actions of the European Community: The Politics of Scale, Boulder: Lynne Rienner.
  • Holland, M. (ed.) (1991), The Future of European Political Cooperation: Essays in Theory and Practice, Basingstoke: Macmillan.
  • Pijpers, A. et al. (eds.), European Political Cooperation in the 1980s: A Common Foreign Policy for Western Europe?, Dordrecht: M. Nijhoff.
  • Regelsberger, E., De Schoutheete de Tervarent, P. & Wessels, W. (eds.) (1997), Foreign Policy of the European Union: From EPC to CFSP and Beyond, London: Lynne Rienner.
  • Smith, H. (2002), European Union Foreign Policy: What it is and What is Does London: Pluto Press.