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Understanding the Common Foreign and Security Policy: Analytical Building Blocs


  • Helene Sjursen


This paper asks how we can make sense of the efforts in the late 1990s to strengthen the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the EU and build common institutional structures and shared capabilities in security and defence. Was it only a passing phenomenon, dependent on a particular and temporary state of affairs? Or can we consider such efforts as evidence of a more lasting trend in foreign policy integration in the EU? It is suggested that if we rely exclusively on a realist approach, where political processes within the EU are defined as processes of bargaining between self-interested actors, we risk underestimating the longer-term changesinvolved in political processes within the second pillar. We need an alternative analytical perspective, in addition to – not instead of – the realist one. If nothing else then this perspective can at least measure if there is something more to the CFSP than a coalition of interest, which by definition is likely to be temporary. This perspective will be referred to as a deliberative perspective.

Suggested Citation

  • Helene Sjursen, 2003. "Understanding the Common Foreign and Security Policy: Analytical Building Blocs," ARENA Working Papers 9, ARENA.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:arenax:p0049

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