The EU as a Multilateral Security Actor after Lisbon: Constitutional and Institutional Aspects

Working paper n° 80
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Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies
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Two years since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty the implementation of the constitutional and institutional changes it introduced is ongoing. This paper examines the potential and actual implications of these novelties for the capacity of the European Union (EU) to act as an effective multilateral security actor, placing special emphasis on coordination, flexibility and coherence in the areas of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The structure is twofold. First, the main constitutional changes to the areas of CFSP and CSDP will be examined in a critical light. The legal personality of the EU, its cross-cutting external relations objectives, the status of the CFSP and CSDP, new mechanisms for deepened security solidarity between the Member States and enhanced flexibility for CSFSP and CSDP are the focus of analysis. Second, the paper analyses the main novelties to the institutional framework of the European Union after the Lisbon Treaty, including the permanent President of the European Council, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service and Union Delegations, as well as the Political and Security Committee and the European Defence Agency. This paper argues that the Lisbon Treaty may have provided the constitutional and institutional ingredients for the EU to strengthen its position as a strategic actor in multilateral settings. However, practice shows that the political will of all EU actors involved and of the Member States remains an obstacle in the pursuit to reach the full potential of the novelties introduced by the Lisbon Treaty.

European Union, CFSP, CSDP, Security, Multilateralism, Lisbon Treaty