Norheim-Martinsen, Per M. (2007) Who Speaks for Europe While We Wait for the EU Foreign Minister? In: UNSPECIFIED, Montreal, Canada. (Unpublished)
[From the introduction]. Although it may be too early to write the obituary for the Constitutional Treaty, the French and Dutch no votes make it unlikely that it will be ratified without some major revisions. This will take years. In the meantime, a number of less contested and much-needed innovations in the area of EU foreign policy have been put on hold, such as the establishment of a permanent president of the European Council; a Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, merging the posts of High Representative for the CFSP and External Relations Commissioner; and an External Action Service (EAS), bringing together the external services of the Council and the Commission in one EU diplomatic service. Especially in terms of providing the EU with foreign policy leadership, the establishment of the post of a double-hatted Union Foreign Minister (FM) would represent a potentially significant step forward at a time when the Union is seeking a more active role on the world stage. Having a person speak on behalf of the Union as its Foreign Minister would, however, not in itself provide it with the necessary leadership, since the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) is—and would remain so under the Constitutional Treaty framework—firmly in the hands of the member state governments.1 Yet in some respects, the High Representative Javier Solana already fills such a role de facto, notably by taking the lead in the process that ultimately produced the 2003 European Security Strategy (ESS) and by representing the Union, for example, as events unravelled in the Ukraine in 2004, at a time when the member states were still recovering from the Iraq debacle. On the other hand, Solana has been effectively sidelined together with the larger part of the EU membership, although he was eventually taken on board, in negotiations with Iran, where the exclusiveness of the club of the EU-3 (Britain, France and Germany) has revived the notion of a directoire—an EU “Security Council” of sorts—to lead an ever larger Union of 25. This raises the question whether the Foreign Minister would, indeed, receive the backing needed from large and small member states alike in order to exert the political leadership that the Union so desperately needs in order to fulfil its ambitions as a global actor.
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