Common Foreign and Security Policy, CFSP

The EU started as a common market designed to allow free movement of people and goods between European countries. Since then the countries involved have agreed to have other common policies.

A Common Foreign and Security Policy has now developed through the so-called "Pillar II" of the EU treaties. The principles of this are set out in Title V of the EU Treaty.

Within the CFSP the most important decisions are decided by unanimity voting. A qualified majority vote is required to implement decisions.


The future

The EU Constitution retains the requirement for unanimity decision-making within the area of CFSP, except when the European Council has laid down strategic guidelines. For instance, when a proposal is put forward from the Foreign Minister, at the request of the European Council (deciding by unanimity), when implementing a decision or when appointing a special representative.

At present, the EU is represented externally by the Council presidency and the High Representative.
The EU Constitution proposes a double-hatted EU Foreign Minister appointed by the European Council, accepted by the EU Commission President and approved together with the rest of the Commission by the European Parliament as a vice-chair in the Commission for Foreign Relations. This proposal was submitted by France and Germany. The German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, is a candidate for the job.

It is possible that this could lead to the 126 EU Commission delegations in other countries being enlarged and turned into EU embassies. For rules on common foreign policy, see the EU Constitution Art. I-39.