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Political and security aspects of the EU's external relations External relations

Leaders: G. Bonvicini


In the fourth and final year, Work Package VII intends to wrap up the results of the research activities that have been carried out within the different teams that make up WP VII in the light of the overarching research question concerning the relationship between widening and deepening in the area of the EU foreign and security policy and, more in general, in the area of the EUís external relations. WP VII will elaborate on this issue in line with the ideas developed by the EU-CONSENT Task Force Research Frame. The area of the European foreign, security and defence policy is an interesting and at the same time very peculiar area as far as the relationship between EU deepening and widening is concerned. The EUís enlargement to new member states should be studied not only as an independent variable, but also as a dependent one. While in the course of the first three years of the project we have studied the impact of enlargement as an independent variable on the EU foreign, security and defence policy as a dependent variable, in the final year of the project we will also concentrate on the opposite nexus of causation, that is the impact of a strengthening of the EUís foreign and security policy on enlargement.
The relative weakness of the EU foreign policy has often resulted in the tendency to use enlargement as a foreign and security policy by other means. However, the new foreign policy instruments envisaged in the Treaty of Lisbon (permanent President of the Council, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, European External Action Service, permanent structured cooperation and so on) might lead to the emergence of a stronger and more coherent EU foreign and security policy in case of ratification of the Treaty. This shows that there is also an impact of the deepening of the EU on its widening in the area of foreign and security policy: the stronger the CFSP/ESDP instruments are, as well as the EUís determination to use them, the lower the likelihood that enlargement will continue to be used as a substitute for the EUís foreign and security policy. Should the Lisbon Treaty fail, possibilities of strengthening foreign and security policy on the basis of the Nice Treaty have to be considered.
This can be applied also to the analysis of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). As we have found out in our research, the ENP is a policy based on instruments and methodology largely drawn from enlargement policy and as such it lacks a strategic orientation of its own. The stronger CFSP grows, the less central the ENP is likely to become. In this case, the EU will try to elaborate different strategic orientation for Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus and the Southern rim of the Mediterranean basin. In the last project year, the topic of the European Neighbourhood Policy will be further developed, with a view to a publication of a book on the Southern dimension of the ENP, bringing together the papers presented at the Ankara conference of November 2007 (month 30).
Other topics that will be thoroughly studied within the research activities of the Work package VII are the strategic debate on whether to revise the European Security Strategy and the external aspects of Justice and Home Affairs, especially immigration policy. A special emphasis will be put on the involvement of practitioners and on dissemination of the results of our research activities beyond the academic community.

Specific objectives are:

  • to examine the impact of the strengthening of the EUís foreign and security policy instruments on enlargement;
  • to analyse whether enlargement can still work as a substitute for the EUís foreign and security policy;
  • to examine the impact of enlargement to Romania and Bulgaria on the EUís foreign and security policy and on the European Neighbourhood Policy, with a specific focus on the Black Sea Synergy;
  • to link these topics with the cross-cutting working group on ďWidening and the ENPĒ;
  • to examine the implementation of the European Security Strategy and assess whether it needs to be revised;
  • to deepen the analysis of immigration policy within the context of the internal and external security of the EU;
  • to ensure a greater involvement of practitioners and policy-makers within the WP research activities (discussion of papers; participation in seminars and WP meetings).