One State, One World

Seeking Unity On Security

Member states have been reluctant to cede control in foreign policy matters.

european peacekeepers in chad

Photo: EUFOR/TCHAD RCA

The 2009 Lisbon Treaty was designed to strengthen EU foreign policy, and the EU has engaged in peacekeeping missions in the Balkans, and Africa

Former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton wrote in a 1999 edition of Brookings Reviewthat it was vital to US interests to have an integrated Europe that was united in the areas of security and defense.

But member states have been reluctant to cede control in foreign policy matters. The 2009 Lisbon Treaty was designed to strengthen EU foreign policy, and the EU has engaged in peacekeeping missions in the Balkans, and Africa.

The 2009 Lisbon Treaty attempted to enable the EU to speak with a more unified voice on the world stage, with the creation of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. This position, which as of this writing is occupied by Catherine Ashton of the U.K., is akin to the American Secretary of State.

It is difficult to quantify whether these efforts to create a more unified EU foreign policy have succeeded. Some have argued that Ashton’s task is an impossible one, given that countries simply have divergent foreign policy preferences that no rhetoric about a unified EU can conceal.

Bitter disputes over the Iraq war, Libya, and other issues show that the EU will continue to speak with many voices on security matters for some time.

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This episode of One State One World is produced in partnership with the EU Center at Indiana University.

Read more about the European Union on the EU Center’s blog, Across the Pond.