Blog AnalysisEU Defense (Doctrine)European policyIGC Treaties

Lisbon Treaty: ESDP becomes PeSDC. A little more common?

(BRUSSELS2) Like foreign policy, of which it constitutes one of the attributes, defense policy – ​​almost non-existent in the first treaties – now has a notable place. In the process, it gains the “common” attribute: the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) becomes the “ common security and defense policy (PeSDC or CDSP in English) (1).

The drafters of the new Treaty, however, took care toframe the defense policy so that it does not go beyond national competences. Substantial differences in the visions of the Member States and their military capabilities explain this series of provisions.

• The decision-making process in matters of defense policy remains entirely subject to the rule of unanimous voting. And the adoption of legislative acts is excluded (article 24 of the Treaty on the EU – TEU).

• No possibility of moving towards qualified majority is provided (article 333 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU – TFEU).

• In the same spirit, the Court of Justice of the European Union has no jurisdiction (Article 24 TEU and Article 275 TFEU).

The Treaty also mentions several times many reservations on the specific nature of the defense policy of certain Member States (neutral countries in particular), as well as the need to preserve the autonomy of NATO (British request in particular) or not to give more powers to the Union European.

It was thus clarified that:

'Union policy within the meaning of this section does not affect the specific character of the security and defense policy of certain Member States, it respects the obligations arising from the North Atlantic Treaty for certain Member States which consider that their common defense is carried out within the framework of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and is compatible with the common security and defense policy adopted within this framework. » (article 42 § 2)

• “ The provisions governing the common security and defense policy do not prejudge the specific nature of the security and defense policy of the Member States. The EU and its Member States will remain bound by the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and, in particular, by the primary responsibility of the Security Council and its Member States for ensuring the maintenance of international peace and security. (Declaration No. 13).

• “ The provisions concerning the common foreign and security policy, including the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the External Action Service, (1) will not affect the existing legal basis, responsibilities and competences of each Member State with regard to the development and conduct of its foreign policy, its national diplomatic service, its relations with third countries and its participation in international organisations, including the membership of a member state in the United Nations Security Council; (2) do not confer new powers on the Commission to take the initiative for decisions nor increase the role of the European Parliament; (3) are without prejudice to the specific nature of the security and defense policy of the Member States. » (Declaration No. 14)

But'reiterated ambition is to have " a progressive definition of a common defense policy which can lead to a common defence” (article 24 TEU). The transition to common defense is decided by the European Council, unanimously; it then recommends that the Member States adopt a decision, according to their own national constitutional rules (article 42 § 2 TEU).

A slightly more offensive policy.

Missions of the CFSP have been significantly broadened compared to the mandate given in the previous treaties (emphasis added) : « joint actions in disarmament, humanitarian and evacuation missions, advice and assistance missions in military matters, conflict prevention and peacekeeping missions, combat force missions for crisis management, including peacemaking missions and post-conflict stabilization operations. All these missions can contribute to the fight against terrorism, including through the support provided to third countries to combat terrorism on their territory. As we can see, all the new missions reflect developments in recent years: internationalized terrorism (2001 and 2004) and interventions in Iraq or Afghanistan. Undeniably, the PeSDC intends to cover a slightly more offensive field.

(1) The French text of the Lisbon Treaty contains on one or more occasions, the mention “common defense and security policy”, this name does not seem accurate, at least not consistent with the other mentions in the same French version and with the others versions (notably English) of the text.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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