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The Role of Europarties in Framing the European Union Foreign and Security Policy

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  • Fabrizio Coticchia
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    The implementation of the Lisbon Treaty assessed new prerogatives to the European Parliament (EP) on the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and on the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). This has increased the role of the EP thus changing the balance of power with other EU institutions, as the Council of Ministers, the European Council and also the new High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR). This new situation conveys more powers and responsibilities to the EP and to its main actors, i.e. the political parties. Even if also national parties have their own opinions on CFSP and CSDP issues, it is obvious that their supranational and EU level organisations, the so-called Europarties, devote to the foreign policy of EU much more attention. Aim of this paper is to analyse whether Europarties share the same attitude towards the existence of a EU common foreign and defence policy, and what are the main conceptual frames adopted by each Europarty on some of the main EU foreign and defence issues.Europarties’ positions are analysed through a discourse analysis approach in order to understand their ideas towards three fundamental institutional frameworks of the EU foreign policy: the Lisbon Treaty, the existence of the CFSP and the existence of the CSDP (and the European Defence Agency).Moreover, a content analysis is conducted on Europarties’ electoral manifestos and on the main EU strategic documents in order to understand which are the main conceptual frames used by parties and by EU on the foreign and defence issues. In particular four categories concerning different aspects of the CFSP and of the CSDP are identified: nature of threats, foreign and defence policy tools, geographical areas of interest, multilateral organizations.Results show that not only the non-mainstream Europarties, whose critical views towards the EU or some aspects of the EU were already known, but also amongst the EPP, the PES and ELDR there are some differences in their attitude towards the CFSP and the CSDP. While the EPP and the ELDR seem to be clearly enthusiastic of the new CFSP and CSDP - as designed by the Lisbon Treaty - Socialists, even if they agree and underline the importance of the reformed CFSP, are more critical towards the CSDP. With respect to the four categories (nature of threats, foreign and defence policy tools, geographical areas of interest, multilateral organizations) the Europarties offer different attitudes and priorities to those expressed in the official documents of the EU. In particular, Europarties seem to have a completely different perception of which threats have to be considered the most dangerous. It is worth noting that every Europarty considers the climate change as the threat which deserves more space and attention while for the official documents the environmental issue represents only one of the menaces posed to the EU.

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    Paper provided by European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS) in its series EUI-RSCAS Working Papers with number 3.

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    Date of creation: 01 Mar 2013
    Handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0329
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    1. Gourevitch, Peter, 1978. "The second image reversed: the international sources of domestic politics," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(04), pages 881-912, September.
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