The EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy after Lisbon: From Pillar Talk to Constitutionalism

Piet Eeckhout

in EU Law after Lisbon

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644322
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738173 | DOI:
The EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy after Lisbon: From Pillar Talk to Constitutionalism

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The Treaty of Lisbon is generally described as doing away with the three-pillar structure of the European Union. There is no better indication of this unification than the single legal personality which has been created for the whole of the EU construct (Article 47 TEU). However, notwithstanding the attempt to unify the EU's legal and institutional system, the Treaty of Lisbon certainly did not remove all differences between the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the EU's other policies. There is much that can and needs to be said about the EU's evolving attempt, post Lisbon, to set up a genuine foreign policy. This chapter focuses on some of the essential changes to the system which the Lisbon Treaty introduced. As will be seen, pillar talk cannot as yet be avoided. However, there is also a need to move beyond pillar talk, and to analyse the CFSP from the perspective of constitutionalism. Is it really proper for the CFSP to be intergovernmental, which means that it is dominated by executives? Are there adequate checks and balances? Again, this chapter does not aim to provide a definitive analysis. More modestly, it seeks to draw attention to at least some of the constitutional defects. It focuses on three areas of Lisbon innovation: the scope and nature of the CFSP competences (including their delimitation from other competences); the legal acts employed to conduct the CFSP; and the institutional innovations, in particular the office of the High Representative and the European External Action Service.

Keywords: CFSP; The Three Pillars; constitutionalism; external relations

Chapter.  13932 words. 

Subjects: EU Law

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