Multilateralism at the Heart of the European Security Strategy

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EU-GRASP Working Paper 13
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In December 2003, the European Council published the first ever European Security Strategy (ESS), which clearly confirms the EU’s commitment to multilateralism. Ideally all member states would agree on a common position and thus speak with one voice, in multilateral fora, and also in bilateral cooperation with external states. Although many fora are mentioned in the ESS, special attention is given to the UN. Following is an examination of the EU’s experience with other multilateral organizations, both in policy practice and practical action. Considering the preference shown to the UN in the ESS, and the fact that it remains the largest and most broad multilateral forum, the EU-UN relationship will be explored in depth. The EU’s experience in a few other organizations will also be outlined, to put the UN experience in perspective. Finally suggestions will be made as to how the EU can further develop the ESS and its practical approach to external states, in order to build on the principle of multilateralism.