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The Political and Security Committee: A Case Study in "Supranational Inter-Governmentalism"


  • Joylon Howorth


The distinctive profile of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) as it has emerged to date is complex and far-ranging. It involves the mobilisation – in the cause of international crisis management, regional stabilisation, nation-building and post-conflict reconstruction – of a vast range of policy instruments: from sophisticated weaponry and robust policing capacity, to gender mainstreaming techniques and cultural assistance; from rapid-reaction battle-groups and strategic transport aircraft, to judges, penitentiary officers and human rights experts; from state capacity-building resources to frontier-control expertise. The role, in this gestation, of the key policy-shaping instrument which has underpinned ESDP – the Political and Security Committee (PSC) – has been noted by several scholars. The principal substantive argument of this study, the first comprehensive analysis of the workings of this committee, is that the normative socialisation processes which inform the work of the PSC have succeeded to an appreciable extent in allowing a trans-European strategic culture to begin to stamp its imprint on one of the EU’s principal foreign policy projects. A supranational culture is emerging from an intergovernmental process. The PSC has emerged, to a significant degree, as script-writer for ESDP.

Suggested Citation

  • Joylon Howorth, 2010. "The Political and Security Committee: A Case Study in "Supranational Inter-Governmentalism"," Les Cahiers européens de Sciences Po 1, Centre d'études européennes (CEE) at Sciences Po, Paris.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:scpoxx:p0004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hooghe, Liesbet, 2005. "Several Roads Lead to International Norms, but Few Via International Socialization: A Case Study of the European Commission," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(04), pages 861-898, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jolyon Howorth, 2011. "Decision-Making in Security and Defence Policy - Towards Supranational Intergovernmentalism?," KFG Working Papers p0025, Free University Berlin.
    2. Christoph O. Meyer & Eva Strickmann, 2011. "Solidifying Constructivism: How Material and Ideational Factors Interact in European Defence," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 61-81, January.

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