The Quest for Coherence: Institutional Dilemmas of External Action from Maastricht to Amsterdam

Michael E. Smith

in The Institutionalization of Europe

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780199247967
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601088 | DOI:
 The Quest for Coherence: Institutional Dilemmas of External Action from Maastricht to Amsterdam

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The focus of this chapter is on the institutionalization of a space for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), and on efforts since the signing of the Maastricht Treaty on European Union (TEU) to link the CFSP with other European Union (EU) domains under a principle of coherence. In the light of unfavourable perceptions about institutional performance in the conduct of EU external relations, and the perceived need for change, two major questions are addressed: the kinds of institutional problems that have resulted from the TEU’s provisions on external relations; and the extent to which, and how, these problems have been resolved. The chapter first maps out the EU’s institutional space in the policy domains most directly concerned with external relations, and then shows how these mechanisms created new problems, and thus pressures for institutional change, once the TEU came into effect. These problems are defined primarily in terms of institutional gaps and contradictions across the EU’s external policy domains. Finally, the attempts of the EU to resolve these problems through two sets of institutional reforms, one informal and the other formal, are described.

Keywords: coherence; Common Foreign and Security Policy; European policy; European Union; external policy; external relations; institutional change; institutional contradictions; institutional gaps; institutional performance; institutional problems; institutional reform; institutional space; Maastricht Treaty on European Union

Chapter.  11292 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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