The European Union's role in transatlantic relations: a coherent body or disjointed partner for the USA
Müftüler-Baç, Meltem and Kıbrıs, Arzu (2013) The European Union's role in transatlantic relations: a coherent body or disjointed partner for the USA. In: International Studies Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, USA
Ever since the 1992, Maastricht Treaty, the European Union has aimed at deepening its integration on foreign, security and defense policies. The integration process in these specific areas evolved rather slowly because competences were seen mainly as member states’ responsibilities. This meant that integration in foreign, security and defense matters proceeded on a rather bumpy road as member states’ preferences diverged from one another on security matters. This is hardly surprising given the fact that common decision making on foreign policy issues is problematic especially if a member state perceives key national interests at stake. Since foreign policy is still intergovernmental, any member state could act as a veto player. The key issue, of course, is whether a collective European interest in foreign policy exists which transcends the national interests of the EU members. This paper approaches these issues by focusing on an important area for the EU’s foreign policy, the Transatlantic relationship. A key proposition in this paper is that the pace and nature of the European integration process impacts the Transatlantic relationship. If the EU were an internally unified, coherent bloc on foreign policy matters, the Transatlantic relationship would have radically changed in consequence. In the absence of strong supranational direction and control of the security issues, the EU presents itself as a disjointed body vis-à-vis the USA. This in turn makes the member states emerge as the critical interlocutors on the Transatlantic relationship rather than the EU institutions. A key challenge for the future of Transatlantic relationship is than the process of European integration itself.
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