Why The European Union Has No Foreign Policy

LONDON: Britain’s Labour government reacted to the crisis in Kosovo by coming out in favour of a stronger defence role for the European Union. The lesson of Kosovo, said Prime MinisterTony Blair, was that Europe "must speak coherently on foreign and security policy".

The need is long overdue. Europe’s incapacity to act coherently in foreign policy is a glaring shortcoming, and it became a source of scandal and shame when the EU failed to intervene effectively in the war in Yugoslavia. The Kosovo tragedy is yet another reminder that the Europeans never seem to get their act together.

Why is this so? Some say it is a question of nationalism: the French or the British are reluctant to subordinate national to European interests. Others say that Europe can hardly have a single foreign and defence policy when four of its members are neutral. A third explanation, often advanced by Americans, blames moral and political cowardice: the Europeans are as numerous as the Americans and nearly as rich, yet they prefer to shirk their international responsibilities, freeloading on their American allies.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.


By proceeding, you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions.

Log in


Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.