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Cover Politics in the European Union

25. Common Foreign and Security Policy  

This chapter examines the European Union’s (EU’s) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). It tells the story of increasing co-operation between member states on foreign policy matters, first with European Political Co-operation (EPC) and, since the 1990s, with CFSP and a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The chapter highlights the internal dynamics and external events that drove the member states towards such co-operation and considers the most recent example of such efforts: the 2017 attempt to create a system of permanent structured co-operation (PESCO). However, it is noted that the EU remains far from having a truly supranational foreign policy and there remains a reluctance from member states to push much further integration, given states’ keen desire to remain sovereign in this area. Finally, the chapter considers the EU’s status as a ‘power’ in international relations, noting that it has diminished in important respects since 2003, but remains an important economic power.

Chapter

Cover Origins and Evolution of the European Union

1. Integration and Disintegration before 1945  

Peter Stirk

This chapter examines patterns of national integration and international disintegration in the decades before World War II. It first provides an overview of integration and disintegration before World War I, along with World War I and postwar reconstruction, before discussing the challenge of the New Order envisioned by Adolf Hitler. It argues that national integration was a source of myths that formed an obstacle to the consolidation of incipient European integration. It also shows that economic integration did not lead inexorably to political unification and that visions of empire, central to the history of the major European states, challenged the supposed pre-eminence of the nation state and were bound up, in varying degrees, with some visions of integration. Finally, the chapter explains how integration, often assumed to be a peaceful process in contrast to the violent proclivities of nationalism and the nation state, has not always taken a benign form.