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Essay: The European Union

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  • Subject area(s): International Relations
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  • The European Union
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The European Union is a unique and valuable organization, actor. EU represents “the common community idea” that emerged after the WW II that had a devastating impact all the world. In time, the Union became multi-stakeholder and more complicated.  These processes include two different dimensions; institutional and political. The second half the century, the Union experienced significant developments; like deepening and widening processes, particularly after the Cold war era. Despite the all positive processes, some main problems remained unchanged. The transfer of state sovereignty, common foreign policy behaviors etc. Lastly, the current developments in the world (Libya Intervention, the Arab Spring, and Syria Crisis) brought out that the Union still have a problem to act together.

Keywords: European Union, Foreign Policy, Common Foreign and Security Policy, Lisbon Treaty


In last century, the world changed

The European Union started to become more crucial with different characteristics of globalization progress step by step. In this study, I aimed to answer that how did change happen in the Union? Is the EU a coherence international actor with all its members?

which are unique and mass flows since the Second World War. In this way, we aimed to reach to the picture behind the numbers within sadness, tragedy, patience and hope within these two cases. As methodologically, we conduct our paper has three methodological dimensions by using historical literature review, analyzing of two case studies as Bosnian migration and Syrian migration and a comparison between Bosnian and Syrian migrations within their similar and different dynamics.

A social scientist should be analyze the different variables and develop models and theories in the context of understanding migration. Studies which are searching migration flows that is multi-dimensional, complicated and questionable, focus on the critical review on individualistic and structural reasons of migration and reasons’ affects on shaping of migration. International migration theories mainly are divided into three parts which are named micro, mezzo and macro migrations in the literature. In the international migration theories concepts, Syrian and Bosnian migration are referred to macro migrations within the large scale internally displaced people due to the nation state dissolutions and the ups and downs of globalization process. Syrian and Bosnia Human Flows as macro migrations are also consistent with Wallerstein’s World System Theory Migration assumptions. Basically, the Wallerstein’s World System Migration Theory  explains that migration naturally occurs as a result of relocation and ruptures are caused  by capitalist development and  expanding global market of political and economic dimensions . It is possible to mention that Syrian and Bosnian migrations are seen as samples of this migration theory due to the mass refugee flows from peripheral countries to central capitalist countries.


The United States former secretary of state Kissinger’s complaint about having no phone number for the European Union shows us important problem. In time, the issue has continued in the political area. The European Community idea created after the WW II and its economic and social destruction by the United States support. Firstly, the integration became official with the establishment of with the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951. Following that in 1957, The European Economic Community and The European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM), by the treaty of Rome. It started from one dimension and eventually expanded to diversified fields. However, there was alternative competition which called European Free Trade Association (EFTA). In the ongoing process, some members of the EFTA joined the European Economic Community. Within that period, the US provided remarkable economic aid to the reconstruction of the EU, apart from that it created a security umbrella against The Soviet threat. Europe a free ride on American security services. (Winn & Lord , 2001) In the 1990s begun with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and it led another world order by the leadership of the United States. By the way, besides, two important steps were taken by the European Union; with the Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty. Thus, the EU gained powerful momentum in order to integration. After all, in 2005, the referendum defeat of the Constitutional Treat in Dutch and France changed the situation.  At that, the EU has entered a form of crisis (Postel-Vinay, 2008)  The Union again was accepted EU as an intergovernmental organization, not a supranational organization. At now the EU has 28 members by the last enlargement in 2013. Also, the number of members led diversity in internal and the foreign policy interests. As stated by Manner, the EU main principles; ‘social solidarity, European social model, sustainable development, sustainable peace, cosmopolitical supranationalition” (Manners, 2006). Despite all differences, these principles provide a common feeling in the EU.  Besides, an unclear division of labour is the one of the reasons of policy disagreements. We cannot define the EU as a classical international actor, it contains elements of constructivism and neoliberal institutionalism. (Cram, 2003) The uniqueness of the Union requires different point of views.  On the other hand, the Lisbon Treaty entered into force on 1 December 2009, which was planned to give the EU a single voice, increase the effectiveness of EU institutions and improve the coherence. Wallace stated that by this political order The Union is “a kind of polity-in-the-making, and, in this sense, governance than of government” (Wallace, et al., 2005)


In the beginning, the common community idea emerged different formats. David Mitrany advocated ‘a Working Peace System’, but Schuman was aiming to federation Europe (Cram, 2003)

The European Union was constructed on three pillars: European Community, Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC) by the Maastricht Treaty (Treaty on the European Union – TEU) of 1992.  The ‘second pillar’ for developing the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), was known in the Single European Act (SEA) of 1986 and put onto a more formal basis in the Maastricht.  Lastly, the ‘third pillar’ for developing cooperation in justice and home affairs (JHA), also established in 1992. Additional developments have happened in the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) and the Treaty of Nice (2001) had some rule changes but did not affect the overall architecture of the EU.

On the other hand, there are four main institutions which shape the institutional structure of the EU. Firstly, the Parliament has legislative, supervisory and budgetary roles. Secondly, the European Council comprises heads of state and government from the bloc’s 28 countries; it meets four times a year to decide policy priorities and general route (does not pass laws). the Council of Ministers is the third one which “negotiates and adopts laws, with the European Parliament, Coordinates EU members countries’ policies etc. the last one is the Commission. Its duties are to propose new laws, to manage EU policies & to allocate EU funding, and to enforce EU law. Nation official may maintain their interests with the absent of the reconciliation role of the Commission (Wallace, 2007)

In the progress of time, national diplomats lost their positions and powers by the establishment of The Political and Security Committee under the Amsterdam Treaty (1997). Brussel comes in possession of headquarter of the EU foreign policy rather than members’ capitals. We can say that the Lisbon Treaty has provided a development on the executive and the legislative bodies. Allerkamp (2009) states that “after the Lisbon Treaty formally entrenched the intergovernmental method of policy and decision-making, thus celebrating an alternative model of integration. This model is characterized by a different logic than the supranational model” (cited from Fabbrini, 2013)

End of the Lisbon treaty a new position was created the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR). The HR’ principal duties, and powers categorized under,

• Initiative and agenda-setting,

• Coordination and consensus building,

• Representation and negotiating,

• Implementation,

• Crisis management.” (Paul, 2008)

Moravscik differentiated his ‘intergovernmental institutionalism’ by stressing the importance of ‘domestic politics’ in influencing the changing interests of states (1991:48) (Cram, 2003)


In the international community, the European Union has a significant role.Global and domestic conditions  pave the way for a setting in which the European Commission could exercise policy entrepreneurship, mobilizing a multinational coalition in favor of the integrated internal market’ Apart from that how we can describe the desires, characteristics, and the limits of the EU. Therefore, we may check on the Europe’s grand strategy: A Secure Europe in a Better World: Europe’s Security Strategy accepted in 2003.  To have a strategy help to be aware of the gap between the wishes and the capabilities.

In the present day, universal values, international norms have been produced from western sources. The modernization concept stemmed from to be like western state or to have western values. The norm is interpreted as ‘a standard of appropriate behaviour for actors with a given identity’ (Finnemore & Sikkink, 1998) Taking off that since the beginning of the twentieth century to today, firstly the United State with the Woodrow Wilson’ policies. Then stated by the Postel-Vinay, “The European Union as a normative power is linked to a representation of the world that is shaped by both globalism and regionalism … after the fall of the Berlin Wall…” (Postel-Vinay, 2008)

European Community and national programmes in third countries operate in parallel, often only loosely co-ordinated, promoting democracy, human rights, judicial or educational reform, technical or economic development  (Wallace, 2007)

The fact that in a changed setting no EU member state is big enough alone to make much of a difference in the world, and that all long-term strategy would be best conducted in accord with other member states, has very little real-world impact.

(Techau, 2010)

Moreover, Hyde-Price (2006, 2007) contends that the EU is a “calculator, not a crusader” in that it behaves like a normal interest maximizer in the international arena and almost never shows signs of being altruistic (Nitoiu, 2015)

Travel, trade, telecommunications and postal links might, in themselves, lead to mutual relevance but, without creating mutual responsiveness, would fail to generate a sense of community (Cram, 2003)


A grand strategy is a polity’s conception of its security goals and of the ways it plans to insure its security. Institutionalization of EU’s foreign policy has developed over the last decades by the creation of several new institutions like the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy. The High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy was created under the Treaty of Amsterdam; it then was occupied by Javier Solana for ten years until. Following the Lisbon Treaty providing a seat on the European Commission and chair of the council of EU foreign ministers. After the Lisbon the HR is assisted by the European External Action Service (EEAS) that was found in 2010 and the ESDP is renamed to Common Security and Defence Policy.  However, states such as France or Germany take part in developing and accept common foreign policy when it supports their interests or it does not risk them.  The Lisbon Treaty of the EU brings new developments in the field of foreign and security policies. These changes targets to strengthen the role of the EU on the international stage. ‘External Action Service’ presented answers to critical, political questions; its primary duty is to support the HR and second one is to promote and defend the EU values all the world as a diplomatic service

Neo-functionalist integration theory has traditionally been rejected as a useful framework for conceptualizing the CFSP experience.

(Øhrgaard, 2004)

Since the beginning of the 1990s the European Council produced external relations documents labelled ‘strategy’ usually limited to a country or a region. Yet this is the first time in the history of Western Europe’s integration that the High Representative – in the name of the European Union – and member states’ leaders, have defined and approved a grand strategy. The goal of A Secure Europe is to define a grand strategy for the European Union and to shape the grand strategies of its member states. (Vennesson, 2007)

Our own experience in Europe demonstrates that security can be increased through confidence building and arms control regimes.  (Cram, 2003)

a single European narrative of foreign policy and exceptionalism is yet to appear and transfer legitimacy to the EU, as national narratives resonate with powerful images of national identity: “French puissance; Finnish ‘peacekeeping superpower’; German zivilmacht” (Tonra, 2011, p. 1198).

(Nitoiu, 2015)

Collectively, the EU is the world’s largest humanitarian and development aid donor. Since 2003, the EU has conducted civilian and military crisis management operations in the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), spanning from police and border assistance missions to more robust military operations.  (Koenig, 2011)

The key question here is whether the lack of a coherent identity that could sustain an effective foreign policy validates the recent focus on institutional processes in the literature. (Nitoiu, 2015)

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