• Marina Tovar Velasco

Coherence in the Union's External Action

From the three communities on the European Political Cooperation to achieving consistency in EU’s External Action

Credit photo: https://www.cer.eu/in-the-press/importance-european-foreign-and-security-policy

How does the European Union ensure that Member States and their institutions follow the same path when it comes to external action? The aim of this article is to understand how the foreign policy of the European Union has evolved around the establishment of a coherence marked by a single action by its institutions and member states. This contribution analyses how this concept has evolved from primary institutions to the present and how the introduction of new members has conditioned this marked evolution of complexity and divergent interests.

The beginnings: the European Political Cooperation

The European Political Cooperation (EPC) was introduced in the 1970s until it was surpassed by the Common Foreign & Security Policy (CFSP) in the Maastricht Treaty of 1993. The EPC was known to be a mechanism of diplomatic agreement with an intergovernmental base, flexible and pragmatic based in the Westphalian concepts of sovereignty and mutual respect. The main goals of the EPC were the creation and combination of three imaginary communities. The community of information aimed to share positions and information among the European Union (EU) Member States and develop the goals of cooperation through these practices. The community of vision aimed to share views and common positions regarding specific topics or events thus achieving a concentration of positions and following one same direction. Finally, the community of action aimed to act together as a single unit and thus, achieve coordination. The implementation of these three communities sought to provide the basis for the EU’s coherence in external action.