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Common Foreign Security Policy of the EU

The Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union
Peter Brückner, Former Permanent Representative of Denmark to the OECD, UNESCO and to the United Nations; Former Ambassador of Denmark to Japan, South Africa and Madagascar

SAIS Europe
February 4, 2016

Henry Kissinger once famously asked, "Who do I call when I call Europe?" An answer was recently offered at the SAIS Europe campus by Peter Brückner of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) program.

While many figures have been dismissive of the role of the CFSP and the notion of EU solidarity in foreign affairs, Brückner argues the policy has been remarkably resilient and successful. Brückner focused much of his attention on structural aspects that have supported the development of the CFSP. In particular, he highlighted the role of the Political and Security Committee (PSC), a body consisting of ambassadors from across the EU’s members, which has been extremely influential in shaping the foreign policy of individual EU member states. The PSC has thus become an essential cornerstone, from which member nations have been able to push for collective action on challenging foreign policy issues. Brückner gave the example of Russian sanctions, which he understands were a great surprise to President Putin and senior Russian officials.

Despite these achievements, Brückner notes that the EU has still been unable to address the challenge posed by its greatest enemy of all: the member states themselves. While EU members remain keen for a collective voice when faced with challenging international political issues, they seek to “keep the goodies for themselves” such as trade deals and investment opportunities.

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