A treaty for foreign policy

Foreign ministers from France, Britain and Germany, plus Javier Solana, European Union foreign policy chief (picture United States Department of State)

By Richard Laming

Published in EUobserver, 28 June 2007

The successful European treaties all have a theme. The Single European Act created the single market, the Maastricht treaty gave us the euro, and Amsterdam led to greater cooperation in justice and home affairs.

What will be the theme of the new Reform Treaty, the outlines of which were agreed at the weekend? Will it have a big idea to give it meaning and purpose, or will it, like the Nice treaty, linger on, pointless and lamented.

The answer lies in the enhanced capacity for the EU to act on the world stage. At present, the representation of the EU to third countries is divided three ways between the High Representative for the CFSP, the European Commissioner for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy, and the foreign affairs minister of the member state that holds rotating presidency. Not surprisingly, this can sometimes be confusing.

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