REVIEW #20: High Time for Real Common EU Foreign and Security Policy

The last several years have brought unprecedented challenges for the European Union (EU) as a whole. It faced a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the energy crisis that followed, as well as internal squabbles within the block (especially seen during the negotiations about sanctions against Russia and military aid for Ukraine), not to mention trade competition with China and the United States. All these phenomena have left their mark on the EU and have showcased the downsides of the currently existing arrangements in regard to the common foreign and security policy of the EU.

It became clear that there is a need for change. Therefore, it is not surprising that the European Parliament realized the extent of the existing problems and called to set up a convention centered around amending the treaties. While doing so, the MEPs had in their minds the potential future shape of the European Union – as consisting of 36 member states (including Western Balkan countries as well as Ukraine and Moldova), rather than the current 27



The proposed amendments concern various areas – some very crucial for the European economy, while others deal with the balance of power between European institutions. However, the most important ones touch upon the common foreign and security policy, as they would mean the removal of the existing veto power for all member states. This change would essentially mean that EU’s actions could no longer be blocked by the ‘black sheep’ like Hungary, a move that would greatly improve the velocity of the decision making, so crucial in the fast-changing world of today.

There are, however, a few drawbacks to that development. A major one would be the potential growth of populist forces, which would portray such a change as a ‘limitation of sovereignty’ by the European bureaucrats or even the ‘dismantling of the nation state’ (as the leader of formerly ruling Law and Justice party claimed in Poland). Another one is the difficulty with passing such amendments, since there is a visible amount of opposition present among the politicians, especially of the central and eastern EU member states, to such an idea.

Still, it seems that, in the long run, there is no other way forward for the EU if it wants to remain a competitive powerhouse. It needs to deepen its integration in crucial areas for the sake of security – like the energy sector and defense. At the same time, it must improve its decision making if it intends to fully accommodate the potential new member states. This is why the proposed changes go in a good direction. The aim of this article is, therefore, to answer whether there is a need for changes to the EU’s common foreign and security policy in order to accommodate the potential new member states, and if there is such a need, what an answer to that problem could be.

Therefore, the starting point would be a presentation of current arrangements in that area combined with analysis whether they are sufficient with respect to integrating potential new members of the EU. Afterwards, proposed changes to the treaties will be explored, especially with the focus on removal of the veto power of the member states, which is (in my opinion at least) a necessary step.

Apart from that, the article will touch upon the topics of deepening the integration in the areas of military and energy, as well as addressing the problem of insufficient (in my opinion) monitoring of foreign direct investments from hostile countries (e.g. PRC), which all will be crucial for the EU to properly face potential challenges in the long run.


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Eryk Ziedalski