In times of international crises the effectiveness of the European Union Foreign Policy (EFP) has been seriously called into question: why has the EU failed so often in achieving its objectives? Besides an essential lack of political will among the European capitals there is something more. The current EU institutional system governing external action has shown a number of shortcomings ascribable to three original structural sins affecting its architecture, namely: an artificial separation within EU foreign policy areas; a lack of EU capabilities; and a democratic deficit in the EFP policy cycles. These deficiencies have contributed to reducing the global effectiveness of the EU action undermining its readiness for action, autonomy, coherence and visibility. The Lisbon Treaty tried to mitigate these sins with oscillating levels of success because at the heart of the problem lies an existential and unresolved dilemma about the future of the Union. At this point of the integration path any further institutional development aimed to fix these sins definitely has to face and solve this dilemma. If the current political context does not seem to allow this leap forward, the Lisbon Treaty and the EU actors may still have something to say in struggling for a more effective EU in the world.
Paper prepared within the context of “Governing Europe”, a joint project led by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) and Centro Studi sul Federalismo (CSF) of Turin in the framework of the strategic partnership with Compagnia di San Paolo, International Affairs Programme. Publ. in: Lorenzo Vai, Pier Domenico Tortola, Nicoletta Pirozzi (eds.), Governing Europe. How to Make the EU More Efficient and Democratic, Bruxelles [etc], P.I.E-Peter Lang, 2017, 248 p. (Federalism ; 8), ISBN 978-2-8076-0058-4 (pbk); 978-2-8076-0059-1 (pdf); 978-2-8076-0060-7 (EPUB); DOI: 10.3726/b10699.
1. The three original structural sins
2. What has been done to atone for the structural sins?
3. The qualities of an effective foreign policy
3.1 Activism and readiness
Conclusions and recommendations